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Tangy cranberries, spicy jalapeno chiles, and warming ginger create the base for my festive Cranberry Jalapeño Dip. Made with just 7 ingredients and less than 10 minutes of active time, this is a creamy, spicy and tangy appetizer that’s perfect for any holiday table!
Cranberries are a huge symbol of the holidays, but they can do more than melt into Orange Cranberry Sauce or decorate a glass of Christmas Punch. They pair perfectly with the jalapenos and cream cheese in this creamy cranberry jalapeno dip!Pin this recipe for later!
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Why We Love This Recipe
One of the things I love most about the holiday season is that I can finally get my hands on fresh cranberries. They’re only in stores for about 2 months out of the year, so I do everything I can to get my fill before they’re gone! I make Cranberry Brie Bites, Cranberry Muffins, and Cranberry Fluff Salad but my favorite is this creamy cranberry jalapeno salsa.
This spicy, sweet, and tangy jalapeño cranberry dip is:
- Super Versatile – Serve it over a bed of cream cheese for a tasty cracker topping, use it as a salsa, or serve it as an alternative to traditional cranberry relish on your holiday table. Read on below for even more great ways to use this gorgeous red and green dip!
- Quick & Easy – There’s no cooking involved here. Just rinse and roughly chop your ingredients before blitzing them in a food processor. Easy, peasy!
- Wholesome & Delicious – Made entirely of whole foods, this tasty dip is something you can feel good about feeding to your family.
- Made With Just 7 Ingredients – With such a short ingredient list, there’s no reason not to make this cranberry jalapeno cream cheese dip!
As promised, you only need a handful of ingredients to make this brightly flavored chile cranberry dip. Here’s what to grab:
- Cranberries – Fresh cranberries will give you the best texture, but in a pinch, you can use frozen instead. I always pick up an extra bag or two to toss in my freezer because they will last practically the whole year.
- Green Onions – Also known as scallions, these alliums have a mild onion flavor and gorgeous color. Use both the whites and greens.
- Jalapeños – Aside from being spicy, jalapeños also have a nice vegetal flavor that pairs well with this cranberry salsa. Removing the ribs and seeds will take the heat down a notch.
- Cilantro – If you’re someone who doesn’t really like cilantro, I hear you and I see you. Simply swap in another fresh herb like parsley, Thai basil, or mint instead.
- Ginger – I love using fresh minced ginger when I can; it adds a ton of unique flavor and you can actually find it in squeezable bottles so no peeling or scraping is required. It’s not an easy swap to ground ginger since they aren’t quite the same thing.
- Lime Juice – Fresh lime juice will taste much brighter than bottled. To get the most juice from your citrus, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting it open.
- Granulated Sugar – If you’ve ever bitten into a fresh cranberry, you know how tart and bitter they can taste. Sugar helps to mellow out that harsh tannin flavor!
- Cream Cheese – While you can certainly enjoy cranberry jalapeño dip sans cream cheese, using it as a base for your dip will improve spreadability and help tame the heat.
How To Make Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Step 1: Place cranberries and jalapeno into the bowl of a food processor.
Step 3: Add sugar, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, ginger and salt and pulse again, until all ingredients are finely chopped and well combined.
Step 2: Pulse until they are coarsely chopped.
Step 4: Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Step 5: Spread softened cream cheese onto the serving dish or platter of your choice.
Step 6: Spread the cranberry jalapeno mixture over the cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
Serve with crackers, bagel chips, crostini, pita chips, air fryer wonton chips or air fryer tortilla chips. I like to garnish with something green, like thinly sliced green onions or chives. It adds visual interest and makes it a little festive, too.
If you’re serving it over cream cheese, I suggest opting for a sturdy cracker. Some of my favorites include pita chips, bagel crisps, or butter crackers. If you’re serving it as more of a salsa (i.e. without the cream cheese), I suggest freshly fried wonton chips.
As the cranberry relish with jalapeño sits, it will naturally macerate because of the sugar and lime juice. This will cause it to release liquid over time, eventually turning it into more of a cranberry jalapeño sauce. As such, I recommend serving it within 24 hours if you plan on plating it over cream cheese for the tidiest presentation.
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate within 2 hours of setting it out. As stated above, more liquid will be released with time, but you can always blend the cranberry with the cream cheese (trust me, it’s delicious!).
- If you’re a cranberry fanatic like me, take the opportunity to stock up while you can. Fresh cranberries will last for up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge and up to 12 months in the freezer!
- Wear gloves when working with chile peppers, or at least be sure to wash your hands and equipment very thoroughly afterward. Capsaicin doesn’t just taste spicy, it can also burn your fingers, eyes, mouth, and nose. Seriously, folks. You don’t want to accidentally touch your eyes or go to the restroom if it’s still on your hands. Just trust me.
- Try using the dip as a relish. Omit the cream cheese entirely and add the cranberry jalapeno relish to your holiday table. Serve it alongside your favorite holiday turkey recipe or with a Pan Roasted Pork Loin.
- Make it extra spicy. The seeds and white membranes of chili peppers is where most of the capsaicin (the primary compound responsible for spicy flavors) lives. If you’re a heat fanatic, leave the membranes in the mix! You can also always add more chiles to your liking.
- Make it family-friendly (less spicy). Remove all of the seeds and white membranes from the jalapenos.
More Cranberry Recipes
- Spicy Cranberry Meatballs
- Cranberry Walnut Pinwheels
- Cranberry Brie Bites
- Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Baked Brie with Jam
Cranberry Jalapeno Dip
- 12 ounces cranberries
- 4 green onions
- 2 jalapeños minced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pulse cranberries and seeded jalapenos in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped. Add sugar, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, ginger, and salt, and pulse a few times to combine.
- Pour the mixture into another bowl and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- When you are ready to serve, spread the softened cream cheese into a pie plate or onto a serving dish. Top with the cranberry mixture.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
- Serve with crackers, bagel, or pita chips.
- Use caution when working with chile peppers, and at least be sure to wash your hands and equipment very thoroughly afterward. Capsaicin doesn’t just taste spicy, it can also burn your fingers, eyes, mouth and nose.
- For a less spicy dip, remove all of the seeds and white membranes from the jalapenos; conversely, for a more spicy dip, include some or all of them.
- Serving over the cream cheese will also provide relief from the bold flavors. You could also serve with the cream cheese for more of a salsa style dip.
- Store leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- As the cranberry relish with jalapeño sits, it will naturally macerate because of the sugar and lime juice, which will cause it to release liquid over time, eventually turning it into more of a cranberry jalapeño sauce. I recommend plating only when you are ready to serve.