This delicious Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is a delicious cranberry salsa atop smooth cream cheese. It’s a delicious, unique, and perfect appetizer for any holiday gathering.

And I’m all about the cranberries around the holidays. If you’re looking for some delicious holiday cranberry recipes, be sure to try my orange cranberry cake, cranberry chutney, white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies, cranberry apple cider, and Christmas cranberry slush punch!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip on a white plate surrounded by round crackers.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to make. This cranberry cilantro cream cheese dip is so easy to make! All you need is a food processor and the ingredients! That’s it!
  • No cooking required. Another perk of this recipe is that you don’t have to cook anything! That’s right, not even the cranberries. This is a fresh cranberry salsa recipe that you will love for its taste and easy-to-make process!
  • Great balance of flavors. This recipe has a delicious balance of sweet, salty, bitter and spicy! The acidity of the lemon juice is complemented by the sweet from the sugar and the bitter from the cranberries. The cilantro and cumin bring a nice salsa flavor and the cream cheese provides a smooth base!

Ingredient Notes

Cranberry cilantro dip ingredients in glass bowls on a white background.
  • Fresh Cranberries: Every grocery store usually carries fresh cranberries come November.
  • Lemon: The lemon adds some nice acidity to the cranberry jalapeño dip and balances out the bitterness of the cranberries.
  • Jalapeño: I add about 1/2 a jalapeño to my cranberry salsa. If you love salsa with a good kick, you might consider upping the jalapeño amount.
  • Sugar: The sugar helps neutralize the bitterness of the cranberries.
  • Cumin: Cumin is one of the main spices used in taco seasoning. Adding cumin to this recipe helps bring that salsa flavor to the cranberry dip.
  • Cream Cheese: You can use a full fat cream cheese or a fat free for this cranberry cilantro cream cheese dip.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Add cranberries to a food processor and pulse until chopped.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the cream cheese) and pulse until the mixture is combined and reaches your desired cranberry salsa consistency.
  1. Spread the cream cheese on a serving platter, plate, or in a pie dish. Use a plate with a lip (I didn’t this time around and I should have! The juices run a tad so you want something to help trap them from flowing freely).
  2. Spoon the fresh cranberry salsa over the cream cheese. Serve immediately or refrigerate and enjoy later.

Recipe Tips

For less juice spillage from the cranberry salsa on the cream cheese, use a slotted spoon to scoop it.

Assemble this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese dip in a container or plate with a lip or slight edge to it.

Don’t have a food processor? No problem! Use a blender instead. Just be sure not to over blend or over pulse the mixture! If you do, the thick dip consistency will be lost and you’ll essentially have a juice consistency. You want the cranberries to be in small bits but not blended to a juice.

Use fresh ingredients — fresh cranberries, fresh jalepeños and fresh cilantro. The only thing I would say you can get away with not using fresh is the lemon. If you don’t have a fresh lemon you could use lemon juice. Using fresh ingredients will result in a brighter color and fresher flavor.

Use pretzels, crackers, chip, etc. for this festive dip!

You can also beat the cream cheese for a lighter cream cheese texture, prior to spreading it down on your plate or dish.

This cranberry cilantro salsa is also incredibly tasty on leftover turkey sandwiches!

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

This is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time! In fact, I would encourage it! Making this cranberry cilantro cream cheese dip in advance gives all the flavors a chance to meld together, resulting in stronger and brighter flavors.

If making in advance, don’t put the cranberry jalapeño salsa on top of the cream cheese until just prior to serving.

Store this cranberry dip covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

If wanting to freeze, freeze the cranberry salsa and not the cream cheese. The cranberry salsa will stay good in the freezer up to 3 months. Upon thawing, drain off any excess liquid and spread on top of cream cheese to serve.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip topped with a fresh cranberry salsa surrounded by round crackers.

FAQs

Do you cook cranberries for cranberry salsa?

Nope! This recipe uses fresh, raw cranberries. Just stick them in a blender or food processor and pulse.

Is cranberry jalapeño dip spicy?

If you remove the seeds and the internal membranes of the jalapeños it will have a much milder flavor (just a minor, minor spice to it). If you leave in the seeds and membranes, it will be spicier. However, please note that some jalapeños are naturally spicier than others, regardless of removing the seeds and membranes.

What’s in cranberry cream cheese dip?

Cranberry cream cheese dip has a cranberry salsa made with cilantro, cranberries, jalapeños, sugar, lemon juice and cumin atop cream cheese. It’s a delicious festive appetizer!

Can I use canned cranberry sauce for cranberry cream cheese dip?

I wouldn’t! The cranberry salsa on top of the cream cheese is completely different than cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Cilantro Dip showcasing a close up of cranberry salsa overtop cream cheese.

More Appetizer Recipes

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A white plate with a cranberry cream cheese dip surrounded by round crackers.
Print Review
5 from 3 votes

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

A fresh cranberry salsa made with jalapeños, cilantro, and green onions that's placed atop a spread of cream cheese. This is such a delicious, festive, and unique holiday appetizer! Cater this recipe to your desired heat level by either keeping or tossing the japaleno seeds.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 20 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 4 green onions - chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro - slightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno - seeded and deveined for less heat. Keep seeds for more heat
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice - about 1/2 lemon
  • 16 oz cream cheese - softened to room temperature

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the cranberries. Pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Add the green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, cumin, and lemon juice. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. Place the mixture into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. (see note #1)
  • In a 9-9 ½ inch pie plate (or a serving plate of your choosing), spread the cream cheese in an even layer. I recommend using a serving plate of some kind that has a lip to it so that any extra juices will be trapped and not spread all over the place.
  • Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cranberry cilantro mixture over the cream cheese. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with crackers.

Notes

Do not over blend or over pulse the mixture! If you do, the thick dip consistency will be lost and you’ll essentially have a juice consistency. You want the cranberries to be in small bits but not blended to a juice.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
If making in advance, don’t put the cranberry jalapeño salsa on top of the cream cheese until just prior to serving. Store this cranberry dip covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freeze the cranberry salsa and not the cream cheese. The cranberry salsa will stay good in the freezer up to 3 months in an airtight container or Ziplock bag. Upon thawing, drain off any excess liquid and spread on top of cream cheese to serve.
Store this cranberry dip covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 167kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 17g (6%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 10g (15%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Cholesterol: 33mg (11%)Sodium: 98mg (4%)Potassium: 72mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 15g (17%)Vitamin A: 485IU (10%)Vitamin C: 5.4mg (7%)Calcium: 34mg (3%)Iron: 0.2mg (1%)
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Instagram and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!

This recipe was originally published on Dec. 19, 2017. It was republished on Dec. 13, 2021, to include additional information and photos.