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Sweet and spicy cranberry salsa is served over cream cheese with crackers for the best holiday appetizer! The delicious combination of flavors makes this easy dip a hit at any party.

Some of our other favorite holiday appetizers are bacon ranch cheese ball and cranberry meatballs!

Cranberry salsa in glass dish with crackers.
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Fresh Cranberry Salsa Recipe

Whenever I bring this cranberry salsa dip anywhere, I always get asked for the recipe. It’s the perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving or serve it on on a Christmas charcuterie board along with cranberry brie bites to add a colorful vibrant touch!

I love this appetizer because the flavor combination of sweet cranberries with spicy jalapeno are unique and unexpected. The salsa is then served over softened cream cheese, which adds a creamy and tangy component that tastes absolutely amazing.

Recipe Ingredients

Cranberries become the star of this appetizer with the help of a few flavorful ingredients.

Cranberries on pan.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Cranberries: Look for a bag of fresh cranberries that have a vibrant dark red tone.
  • Green onions: Use green onions, as they have a milder taste but still add plenty of flavor.
  • Cilantro: This herb is loaded with flavor and blends together nicely with the other ingredients.
  • Jalapeno: This gives the salsa the perfect amount of spice. Keep the seeds on the pepper if you like spicy (remove them if you don’t).
  • Sugar: The sugar helps maximize the sweetness of the fresh cranberries. You can add more or less to taste.
  • Lime juice: Mix in a spoonful of lime or lemon juice to add some acidity to the salsa.
  • Cream cheese: It’s creaminess and tang compliments the sweet and spicy flavors from the dip. Make sure it has softened before serving.

How to Make Cranberry Salsa

Three simple steps to make your holidays merry and bright.

How to make cranberry salsa.
  1. Blend. Use a food processor or blender to blend together the rinsed cranberries, green onions, cilantro and jalapeno. You want the mixture to be finely chopped, but not pureed.
  2. Mix. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugar, lime juice and salt. Cover the bowl and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours so that the flavors can marinate together. The longer it marinates, the more flavor the salsa will have.
  3. Add cream cheese. Spread the softened cream cheese on a plate or in a shallow pie dish.
  4. Assemble and serve: Drain any extra juices from the salsa, then spread it evenly on top of the cream cheese. Serve with your favorite crackers or chips!
Cranberry salsa with cilantro and crackers.

Tips + Variations

  • Make sure to rinse and dry your cranberries really well. I like to rinse them in a strainer and then place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry.
  • I’d recommend making this salsa the day before, so that the flavors can marinate together overnight. Add on top of the cream cheese just before serving and strain any extra juices.
  • Add an extra jalapeno for extra spice.
  • Add chopped pecans to the salsa just before serving.
  • Serve the cranberry salsa on it’s own and don’t add the cream cheese.
  • Serve over baked brie instead of cream cheese.

5 star review

“I absolutely love cranberry salsa! It is almost addictive! It has become my favorite way to use cranberries.”

Cranberry cream cheese dip on crackers.

Recipe FAQs

Can I freeze this cranberry salsa?

Absolutely! Store the salsa in a freezer bag and spread out so it is flat. Place it in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Can fresh cranberries be eaten uncooked?

Yes! But they are pretty bitter on their own, which is why I like to add sugar to help balance the flavors.

More Recipes with Fresh Cranberries

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cranberry salsa with cilantro and crackers

Cranberry Salsa

5 from 25 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Sweet and spicy cranberry salsa with cream cheese is the ultimate holiday dip! This delicious combination of flavors is sure to satisfy your taste buds. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 16


  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • cup chopped cilantro , plus more to taste
  • 1 jalapeno , minced and seeded (leave seeds if you like spice)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar , plus more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese , softened

For serving: Crackers (I prefer Wheat Thins and Ritz) or tortilla chips


    • Rinse the cranberries in a strainer and remove any that may be mushy. Place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry.
    • In a food processor or blender, pulse the cranberries, green onions, cilantro, and jalapeno until finely chopped, but not to puréed.
    • Pour into a bowl (leaving any extra juice in blender) and stir in the sugar, lime juice, and salt. Store in a covered container and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
    • When ready to serve, spread cream cheese onto a plate or in the bottom of a shallow 9-inch pie dish.
    • Drain any excess juice from the salsa and spoon on top of the cream cheese. Top with a sprig of cilantro, if desired. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.


    Freeze: Place the salsa a freezer bag. Lay flat and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving. 
    Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 7 days. Drain it before serving, if needed. 


    Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 86mg | Potassium: 59mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 362IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Appetizer
    Cuisine: American

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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