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Cranberry salsa is a fresh cranberry mixture of sweet and savory that is laid over the top of cream cheese. This makes for the BEST holiday appetizer!

If you love holiday appetizers as much as I do then for your next holiday party you must try these Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts, these Cranberry Pecan Brie Bites, or this Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Ball!

Cranberry salsa with cream cheese and crackers

Cranberry Salsa

Ok, I know that there are a million and one holiday appetizers out there for you to try. But believe me when I tell you that this one is seriously the best! I have never had so many people ask me for a recipe more! It’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory and on top of that… It’s SO simple to make! I bring it to every holiday party that I can and if I’m being honest… I make this long after Christmastime is over. It’s THAT good!

It’s so easy to make and is blended together in minutes.. Simply blend all the ingredients together leaving out the cream cheese. Once it is blended then lay your cream cheese flat on a plate and add your cranberry salsa over top for dipping. Your friends and family will be so impressed by the flavor this cranberry salsa recipe has to offer. It is filled with fresh and flavorful ingredients in every bite. Add some chips, sliced bread or crackers for dipping and make this one AMAZING holiday appetizer!

Ingredients in Cranberry Salsa

Bring this cranberry salsa to your next holiday party. Try it out and then you will see how simple this cranberry salsa is to make this holiday season! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Fresh cranberries: Using fresh cranberries is perfect for this season. Fresh and tart really add to this dish!
  • Granny Smith apple: This adds a great crunch to the texture.
  • Green onions, cilantro and jalepeno: This is where the savory flavor comes in! They add a beautiful color as well as a little kick with the jalepeno.
  • Sugar: This adds some sweetness to counter the tanginess of the cream cheese.
  • Apple cider vinegar: I like that this adds a different taste to mix it all with.
  • Juice of one lime: A little citrus is used to cool down the jalapeño.
  • Cream cheese: This will be in it’s brick form with the salsa added over top of the cream cheese.

Let’s Make Some Salsa!

This cranberry salsa is going to blow you away with how good it is! It’s going to be a hit at any holiday party! Go ahead and try it, everyone is going to love it!

  1. Blend ingredients together: In a food processor add the cranberries, apple, green onions, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and juice of one lime. Then, pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. Top and serve: Serve over softened cream cheese.
Cranberry salsa ingredients blended together.

Tips and Tricks to Making Cranberry Salsa

This holiday season be sure to make this cranberry salsa with fresh ingredients and know that it will be gone in minutes with everyone raving about it. Here are a few tips that will help make this cranberry salsa even better!

  • Food processor: If you do not have a food processor then a blender will work just as well to chop and blend all the ingredients together. Watch over your blender making sure you do not completely blend it all together. You will still want the cranberry salsa to be coarse, almost a chunky cranberry salsa.
  • Cranberries: Fresh is best and not canned for this cranberry salsa recipe. Cranberries are a little tart but with the sugar and juices it all blends together nicely.
  • Preparing cranberries: be sure to wash the cranberries and remove any cranberry that is squishy or too soft.
  • Jalapeños: Cut the ends off the jalapeños then slice in half and remove the seeds from them. The seeds hold in most of the heat. Add as little to no seeds to the food processor or blender depending on how hot you like your cranberry salsa. Then, finish chopping your jalapeño.
  • Honey: If you would like another sweetener then add honey or substitute it for the sugar. This will give you a glaze look on your cranberry salsa and still have the sweet taste.
  • Limes: Fresh limes are great or using lime juice from a bottle will work well too.
Cranberry salsa over top of a cream cheese block.

What to Serve it With

This cranberry salsa makes for the best holiday appetizer and is sure to please a crowd. Enjoy it with these fun ways of spreading and dipping it into the salsa this holiday season!

  • Crackers: Ritz crackers are soft but they still have the salty texture and great for spreading. Wheat thins, Triscuits or a whole wheat cracker are great for a sweet and salty blend.
  • Pretzels: The thick, flatter pretzels that are a little bigger in size are the best for dipping in this cranberry salsa.
  • Chips: Colored chips or a plain corn chip is delicious to dip in this!
  • Bread: Slice up some Sourdough Bread, a Crostini or this French Baguette. Then, either spread this on or dip it in!
Cranberry salsa with cream cheese spread over a cracker.

How to Store Leftovers (Or Make it Ahead of Time!)

With simple ingredients and with quick and easy instructions, this cranberry salsa comes together beautifully for your next holiday appetizer! Here are some great ways to store it.

  • Can you make cranberry salsa recipe ahead of time? Yes! This cranberry salsa will last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days when sealed in an airtight container. When ready to serve it then simply take it out and add it over cream cheese and crackers.
  • Can you freeze cranberry salsa? It is best fresh but if needed you can freeze this up to 1 month. When ready to serve it then let thaw in the refrigerator. Before serving, drain all of the extra juices from the cranberry salsa leaving it with only the chunks rather than with the juice.

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Cranberry Salsa (The Best Holiday Appetizer!)

5 from 2 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Cranberry salsa is a fresh cranberry mixture of sweet and savory that is laid over the top of cream cheese. This makes for the BEST holiday appetizer!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 people



  • In a food processor add the cranberries, apple, green onions, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and juice of one lime. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Serve over softened cream cheese.


Updated on November 29, 2021
Originally Posted on December 11, 2019


Calories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 69mgPotassium: 70mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 346IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Just made this. We love it. Cut my block of cream cheese into a tree shape. This will be great over goat cheese as well. Will be on the table to serve with the turkey on Thursday and can’t wait to put on turkey sandwiches.
    Next time I make, I will process everything but the apples to start and then add the apples for pulsing so they aren’t quite as fine.
    Great new recipe! Thank you!