Try this super simple, but deliciously creamy and tangy, make-ahead Cranberry Jalapeño Dip appetizer for your next holiday party or gathering. You won’t believe how flavorful it is!
It’s my favorite time of year, and I want to celebrate the holiday season by sharing my absolute all-time favorite holiday appetizer recipe, Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip.
I can’t help myself from grabbing a spoonful of this delicious mixture every time I walk by the refrigerator; it’s that good! I also plan to replace my usual cooked cranberry sauce with this delicious raw mixture. It’s like a relish or salsa, and it’s delicious with either turkey or ham.
You might be skeptical and wonder how tart fresh cranberries and spicy jalapeños can work together, but trust me, they do, and once you add the cream cheese, you will become a believer! It will even remind you a little of the cream cheese and green pepper jelly dip that is a retro Christmas classic in the South.
Speaking of retro holiday classics, if you like this recipe, I’ll bet you will also love my post on The Ultimate Relish Tray Guide.
Here’s what’s in this recipe:
The ingredients for this delicious dip include fresh cranberries, green onions, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, sugar, cumin, lemon juice, kosher salt, and cream cheese.
You will also need crackers or toasted baguette slices for serving. Choose a sturdy variety because the cream cheese can be pretty stiff.
Here’s how to make it:
Rinse the cranberries and drain well. Put them in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add minced green onions, chopped cilantro, and the jalapeño pepper.
Add the sugar, cumin, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse the ingredients until everything has been well mixed, and your ingredients are finely chopped.
Don’t over-process this mixture. You still want some texture, and you still should be able to see flecks of the jalapeño and cilantro.
Transfer the mixture to a storage container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours to allow your flavors to come together.
To serve, spread the softened cream cheese in a pie plate and spread the fruit mixture evenly over the top.
Another more informal way to serve this dip is to put a block of cream cheese on a plate and spoon the fruit mixture on top.
If you serve this dip on a plate, be sure to use one with a lip to prevent any cranberry juice from spilling out.
Serve this dip with sturdy crackers or toasted baguette slices as the cream cheese can become stiff.
If you don’t have cilantro or don’t care for it, you can substitute fresh parsley.
To soften your cream cheese, leave it out on your kitchen counter for about an hour before you plan to use it. You can also soften it in the microwave. To do this, unwrap it and place it in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it for about 15-20 seconds.
Stock up on cranberries now while they are in season and just store them in your freezer to use later in the year.
More recipes with cranberries:
Since we are talking cranberries, in addition to this delicious dip, I have several other popular dessert recipes on my blog that I know you will love. They include Ultimate Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, Cranberry Cake with Hard Sauce, and No-Bake Cranberry Cheesecake.
Popular cocktail recipes on my blog include Cranberry Infused Vodka and Frozen Cranberry Margaritas. And, if you are looking for appetizers, check out my Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls, and 3-Ingredient Cranberry Brie Bites.
Just when you think there couldn’t be anymore, how about Cornish Game Hens with Cranberry Stuffing, Apricot-Cranberry Stuffed Pork Loin Roast, and my Thanksgiving favorite Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Oranges?
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Easy Make-Ahead Cranberry Jalapeño Dip
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries rinsed and drained
- 4 green onions or scallions finely minced
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper with seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- Pulse the cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add, green onions, cilantro, and jalapeño pepper. Pulse a few more times to combine.
- Add sugar, cumin, lemon juice, and salt and pulse until thoroughly mixed.
- Transfer the cranberry mixture to a bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours to allow the flavors time to come together.
- To serve, spread the softened cream cheese in a pie plate and spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the top.
*Originally published on December 12, 2015. Republished on December 19, 2019, with new photos, expanded directions, and tips.