This Jalapeño Cranberry Dip is a 20-minute appetizer and a beautiful deep red color, perfect for the holiday season! Tart cranberries are paired with an unexpected kick of heat and married with rich cream cheese for a satisfying, bright first course.
Anyone else “here for the appetizers” around the holidays? I would take heavy apps over a traditional main meal the majority of the time, especially when the apps are as good as this jalapeño cranberry dip.
It has all flavors and textures covered: a rich and creamy base layer with a tart, juicy cranberry relish. It’s spiced with a kick from the peppers, while cilantro and lime bring freshness and something interesting.
This was inspired by something I had at a holiday potluck when I still worked in an office. I wanted to make a version that was quick, simple and slightly less sweet than the original version.
- fresh cranberries (I used Ocean Spray)
- jalapeño (one small or half a large)
- brown sugar
- cream cheese
- crackers (for serving)
The food processor makes this recipe extra fast because you don’t need to pre-chop the jalapeño or cilantro. Everything goes right in and it’s pulsed until uniform (see photo on the right).
Spread the softened cream cheese on a plate or serving platter (doesn’t have to be fancy because you can’t see it). Then, spoon the strained cranberry relish evenly over the top and smooth it out.
Serve with your favorite seedy crackers. I found these to be the perfect pairing. They were thick and sturdy enough not to crack when pushed through the cream cheese and had crunch without nearly breaking a tooth.
Whether you need something for a work potluck or are hosting a sit-down dinner, this will definitely be a crowd-pleaser!
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Jalapeño Cranberry Dip
This Jalapeño Cranberry Dip is a fast and simple appetizer that’s also a beautiful deep red color – perfect for the holiday season!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 small jalapeño
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- Big pinch of kosher salt
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- Seedy crackers for serving
- Add cranberries through salt to a food processor and run until ingredients are uniformly chopped and well combined. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread cream cheese in an even layer on a plate or serving platter (about 1/4-1/2″ thick)
- Pour cranberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer, using a spoon to push excess liquid out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, some liquid will remain.
- Spoon the cranberry mixture on top the cream cheese and spread so it’s completely covering the top. Optional: garnish with sliced lime and extra cilantro leaves. Serve with seedy crackers.
- The equipment section above includes affiliate links to things I use often in my kitchen and recommend.
- The cranberry mixture can be made up to one day in advance, just keep it separate from the cream cheese and strain/spread it out just before serving.
- Serving Size: 2 Tbsp dip + 5 crackers
- Calories: 225 calories
- Fat: 11 grams
- Carbohydrates: 28 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Protein: 4 grams
Keywords: holiday appetizers, cilantro, fruit recipes, cranberry recipes, easy appetizers
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