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Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese

This fresh cranberry salsa recipe has the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and tart for a holiday salsa recipe that’s sure to be the hit of every party. I have included this recipe in the dairy free category because serving the salsa over cream cheese is optional. It’s also wonderful on its own with chips!

Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese


With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s the time of year to stock up on easy appetizer recipes. Looking for Christmas potluck ideas, a snack for unexpected guests, or a last minute appetizer? Holiday cranberry salsa is the perfect solution.

Imagine a fresh salsa dip similar to your favorite cranberry sauce, but with a surprising heat.

This cranberry jalapeno salsa is absolutely gorgeous with bright pops of red and green. But it also only takes about 5 minutes of hands on time. It even freezes well, so you can make it in advance for unexpected entertaining.


Like I said, this cranberry salsa recipe is ridiculously easy. There’s very little knife work required because it’s all chopped and mixed in your food processor.

Cranberry Salsa with Jalapeno

Start by cutting the root ends (the white part with the little hairy roots) off a bunch of green onions (or scallions). Then cut the bulk of the stems off the bottom of a bunch of fresh cilantro.

Give the green onions and cilantro a few rough chops so they fit easily into the bowl of your food processor.

Add a 12 ounce bag of cranberries. This will be a little less than 4 cups depending on the size of the cranberries. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. I typically use fresh during the holidays, and frozen if it’s a time of year that fresh cranberries are hard to come by.

For the jalapenos, wear a pair of disposable gloves and slice the jalapenos in half the long way. Carefully remove the stem, seeds, and membranes from the peppers.

If you want really spicy cranberry salsa, you can leave the seeds and membranes. Oh, and if you don’t have gloves, you can use tongs. Just be really careful to wash your hands SO well before touching your eyes, going to the bathroom, etc.

Holiday Cranberry Salsa

Add the jalapenos to the food processor and pulse until everything is mixed together. You don’t need everything finely chopped. Just chopped enough so it’s all combined.

Now add your citrus juice, sugar, and salt then pulse again. I use lemon juice in the recipe, but I have also made cranberry salsa with orange juice and with lime juice. They’re all delicious! If you use orange juice, I suggest reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup since there will be less tartness to cut.


Once everything is all mixed together, I suggest refrigerating your salsa for at least an hour. This lets the flavors develop and blend really well. That said, if you’re making this last minute, just go ahead and serve it. No one will know!

You can pour the salsa into a bowl to serve with tortilla chips. But cranberry salsa is traditionally served over cream cheese.

Scooping Cranberry Salsa Cream Cheese Dip with Cracker

Bring a block of cream cheese to room temperature on a rimmed plate. Pour half of the salsa over the cream cheese and serve with a bowl of chips or crackers. My favorite pairing for cranberry salsa over cream cheese is definitely Wheat Thins.

The salsa recipe makes enough to pour over two blocks of cream cheese. So you may want to freeze half the salsa unless you are having a really big party. Or serve half over a block of cream cheese, and half in a bowl for guests who are vegan or dairy free.


Make sure you pin this recipe so you don’t lose it! Once you’ve made it, we’d love to have you leave a photo on the pin so we can see!

Cranberry Salsa Appetizer



Yield: 20

Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese

Fresh Cranberry Salsa Recipe

This cranberry salsa recipe has the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and tart for a holiday salsa recipe that's sure to be the hit of every party. This salsa recipe makes enough to pour over 2 blocks of cream cheese, so you can feed a large crowd, or save half the salsa for a future party. Feel free to skip the cream cheese and serve with chips for guests who are vegan or dairy free.

Adapted with permission from Genius Kitchen.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes



  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch green onion
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 jalapenos, may use canned
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 8 ounce blocks cream cheese


  1. Prep the cilantro by rough chopping. Prep the green onions by cutting off (and discarding) the root ends, then rough chopping.
  2. Add cilantro, green onion, cranberries, and jalapenos to a food processor.
  3. Pulse well to combine.
  4. Add sugar and lemon juice, and pulse again until combined.
  5. Let cranberry salsa chill in the fridge for at least an hour for flavors to develop.
  6. Pour over cream cheese and serve!


Nutritional Info is an estimate only and does not include crackers or chips for dipping.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

20 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 129Saturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 192mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g

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