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Cranberry Salsa

This Cranberry Salsa is a favorite, festive holiday appetizer that everyone raves about. Best of all, it’s easy to make in the food processor in literally minutes and can be made days in advance AKA the perfect stress-free party food!  This salsa is a mesmerizing combination of sweet, tangy, spicy, fresh and vibrant. It’s divine over a bed of luxurious cream cheese with crackers, delicious plain with tortilla chips or instantly jazzes up your favorite protein. No matter how you serve it, this Cranberry Salsa recipe is always a hit.   
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 -15 servings



  • 1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, more or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 4 ounce can diced green chilies
  • 2-4 jalapenos, seeded, roughly chopped (reserve the seeds)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, pepper

For serving

  • 2 blocks (16 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • crackers, crostini or bread if serving with cream cheese
  • tortilla chips if serving plain


  • Combine all the Salsa ingredients in a food processor and process to desired consistency (I like mine pretty fine). Wait to adjust to taste until ready to serve.
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve (up to one week) to let the cranberries macerate in the sugar (they will become less tart).
  • When ready to serve, drain off excess liquid. The flavors will mellow and the salsa will become less tart the longer it is chilled so be prepared to do some jazzing up. Add additional sugar if your cranberries are extra tart or if you would like the salsa less tangy. Add additional lime juice for tangier (I'm generous), jalapeno seeds or red pepper flakes for spicier and/or salt and pepper for flavor.
  • To serve, place cream cheese on a plate and pour some of the drained salsa over top. You can also spread the cream cheese into an even layer in a dish then top with the salsa. Serve with crackers.
  • The salsa can also be served plain with tortilla chips, or as a side to chicken, pork, turkey, salmon or steak.



*Prep time does not include chilling.

How to Store leftover or make ahead

  • Storage/Make Ahead:  this salsa will last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days stored in an airtight container.  When ready to serve, drain off some of the liquid and adjust to taste because the flavors will continue to mellow as it chills.   
  • How to freeze: the salsa is best served fresh but it can be frozen in an airtight container for up to one month. When ready to serve, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and drain off excess liquid.  Adjust to taste as needed.  If you don’t want to worry about loss in texture when freezing, try pureeing it!  Pureed salsa makes a fabulous sauce for chicken, fish or pork and a dip for shrimp.