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cranberry salsa served on cream cheese with crackers

Fresh Cranberry Salsa (+Appetizer!)

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups salsa 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This cranberry salsa is the perfect holiday appetizer. It’s always a hit at parties!



For Cranberry Salsa:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
  • 1/31/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 12 Tablespoons finely minced jalapeño (start with 1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

For Cream Cheese Appetizer:

  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese (use 2 blocks for a large group!)
  • Your favorite crackers*


For Cranberry Salsa:

  1. Break Up The Cranberries. To start, place cranberries into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to break the cranberries down a bit, but don’t puree them. (I recommend 15-20 short pulses.)
  2. Add Remaining Ingredients. Add onion, 1/3 cup cilantro, 1 Tablespoon minced jalapeño, lime juice, honey/agave, and salt.
  3. Pulse To Combine. Then, pulse a few times (don’t puree!) to combine everything and break it down. (You’ll only need 5-10 short pulses.) Stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Taste & Adjust. Add more cilantro, salt, honey/agave, or jalapeño, as desired. (Remember that the flavors will intensify and develop as the salsa chills in the fridge.)
  5. Chill, If Possible. For best results, transfer the salsa to an airtight container and chill in the fridge at least 1-2 hours. The salsa will get softer, more juicy, and more flavorful.
  6. Serve & Store. Enjoy right away on its own, or turn it into an appetizer. Salsa will keep in the fridge 4–5 days.

For Cranberry Salsa Cream Cheese Appetizer:

  1. Plate Cream Cheese. When the salsa is done, unwrap a block of cream cheese and place it on a platter or plate. (I keep the block of cream cheese whole for easy scooping, though you can whip it and spread it out like hummus, if you prefer.)
  2. Spoon Cranberry Salsa Over Cream Cheese. Then, spoon some of the salsa over the cream cheese. (You won’t use all of the salsa. For large crowds, you can use 2 blocks of cream cheese)
  3. Serve With Crackers or Chips. You can scoop the salsa and cream cheese together onto your cracker like a dip!


*CRACKERS: We like Schar Entertainment Crackers for a gluten-free option. They taste like gluten-free Ritz crackers! If you’re not gluten-free, Ritz crackers and Wheat Thins work well!


  • With tortilla chips or crackers as a dip
  • Over grilled or cooked chicken
  • In tacos or over nachos
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cranberry salsa, cranberry salsa cream cheese, cranberry cream cheese appetizer