This sweet and spicy cranberry salsa is an incredible way to spice up your holidays! When you blend the tart juicy bite of fresh cranberries with fiery jalapeños, magic happens. This Christmas salsa is the ultimate addition to your holiday appetizer spread!

Serve it over a block of cream cheese with crackers, or try it more traditionally, served with your favorite tortilla chips. However you serve it, this cranberry salsa is sure to be the star of the show!

A platter of crackers surrounding cranberry salsa on a block of cream cheese
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While we might choose classic appetizers for parties throughout the year, it’s fun to find something more seasonal for the holidays. This cranberry salsa is exactly that!

Delicious for Thanksgiving and Christmas, this is a tart, vibrant salsa recipe. It is excellent over cream cheese when served with crackers, or with tortilla chips as a more traditional salsa.

Any which way you serve it, I think you’re going to love it! Reminiscent of my pineapple salsa and mango guacamole, the fruity flavors when combined with a touch of spice are so memorable.

Love salsa as much as we do? Don’t miss this incredible round-up of salsa recipes… there’s one for any occasion!

Why You’ll Love this Cranberry Salsa

  • Flavorful and Festive
  • Easy to Make
  • Mixes Heat, Tartness and Creaminess
  • Great for Entertaining
A white bowl full of cranberry salsa on a marble surface

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cranberries – Fresh cranberries sold in a 12 oz package are preferred here. Frozen cranberries tend to get mushy when thawed. The fresh cranberries stay firm and work the best.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar gets all of the juices flowing out of the cranberries to sweeten them up just the right amount.
  • Green Onions – These are the perfect mild onion to eat raw in a dip. Substitute with a red or sweet yellow onion if desired.
  • Cilantro – A traditional salsa flavor that incorporates beautifully into this salsa as well.
  • Jalapeño Pepper – I recommend removing the seeds, but if you like a lot of heat you can keep them in. Replace with a bell pepper if you don’t want any heat.
  • Cream Cheese – Salsa is served over cream cheese to counter the heat of the pepper and add a luxurious taste.
A platter of crackers surrounding cranberry salsa on a block of cream cheese

Variations

  • Experiment with different flavors–a little ginger, different peppers or onions, a squirt of lime juice.
  • Serve over another variety of dippable cheese.
  • Or, skip the cream cheese entirely and just serve this as a traditional bowl of salsa.
A bowl of Christmas salsa made with cranberries, surrounded by tortilla chips

How to Make Cranberry Salsa in Just Four Easy Steps

  1. Pulse cranberries and sugar in food processor until desired texture.
  2. Stir together with onions, cilantro and jalapeño.
  3. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, place cream cheese on serving plate, drain salsa and spoon over cream cheese.

Watch the video where Julie will walk you through each step of this easy recipe. You will find a collection of recipe videos right here on our website with corresponding recipes.

A platter of crackers surrounding cranberry salsa on a block of cream cheese
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Tips

  • Make sure to let the salsa refrigerate for a few hours. This allows the flavors of the ingredients to absorb into each other.
  • The smaller you dice your cranberries, the less tangy your salsa will be. That’s because the sugar has a change to sweeten more of the surface of the berries in smaller pieces.
  • In these photos, the recipe is doubled. Use the easy sliding bar in the printable recipe card to quickly double or triple ingredients.
  • Be careful when cutting jalapeños! Don’t touch your face/eyes after you’ve touched a jalapeno until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands. The capsaicin, or heat, can transfer from your hands to your eyes and make them burn for a while.
A platter of crackers surrounding cranberry salsa on a block of cream cheese

Shortcuts

  • Use the food processer to pulse the ingredients at the same time. Place the cranberries on the top of the other ingredients. Stir between pulses if necessary.
  • Cream cheese is easiest to serve when it’s at room temperature. Feel free to prepare this dish and allow it to sit out for up to an hour before guests arrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different cheese than cream cheese?

Cream cheese works well for this recipe because it is firm and has a creamy texture that offsets the flavors of the salsa. But you could easily spoon some Christmas Salsa over ricotta cheese, mascarpone, Neufchatel, or even a dish of sour cream.

Can you freeze cranberry salsa?

You can freeze cranberry sauce, relish and salsa. (See the details and how-to below!) However, it’s always best when served fresh, as the cranberries tend to become mushy as they defrost.

Make Ahead

  1. Chop your vegetables ahead of time and store in a dish for up to three days before you make the salsa.
  2. Allow time for chilling, at least four hours, before serving.
A platter of crackers surrounding cranberry salsa on a block of cream cheese

How to Store

  • At Room Temperature – This cranberry salsa can sit out at room temperature while serving for up to two hours.
  • Refrigerate – This Christmas salsa keeps so well! Store it in the fridge for up to a week, and enjoy anytime!
  • Freeze – store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. However, this cranberry salsa is best served fresh.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this cranberry salsa with these festive Christmas tree crackers and snowflake crackers for the perfect holiday-inspired touch!

What to Do with Leftovers

A bowl of Christmas salsa made with cranberries, surrounded by tortilla chips

Dietary Considerations

  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free
A close up of a cranberry salsa recipe

More Holiday Appetizers

A platter of crackers surrounding cranberry salsa on a block of cream cheese
5 from 3 votes

Cranberry Salsa

This sweet and spicy cranberry salsa is an incredible way to spice up your holidays!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Pin Rate Print

Ingredients  

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (1 bag) finely diced
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 6 green onions chopped fine
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper seeded and finely chopped

Optional

Instructions 

  • Pulse cranberries and sugar in a food processor or blender until you achieve the desired consistency and texture.
  • Fold in chopped onions, cilantro and jalapeño.
  • Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight to allow it to marinate.
  • Serve as salsa with tortilla chips or place softened cream cheese on serving platter. Spoon salsa over cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Tips

Tips

  • The smaller you dice your cranberries, the less tangy your salsa will be. 
  • Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to absorb into each other.
  • Use the easy sliding bar in the printable recipe card to quickly double or triple ingredients.
  • Don’t want to dice and chop? You can add jalapeño and cilantro leaves into the food processor and pulse once.
Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 604IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Julie,
    I’m Eden who loves your recipe and your website. To be honest, the thing I admire most is that someone like you can do these meaningful things, sharing, caring, and living. Hope you can update everyday!!