Looking for an amazing holiday appetizer? Then, you have to try this sweet-spicy Cranberry Jalapeño Dip … this easy Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is perfect for any party, and best of all, it’s ready in minutes!
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I don’t know about you, but when it comes to holiday entertaining, I look for easy recipes. It still has to be good enough to impress my guests though, you know what I mean?
And that’s why I love this Cranberry Jalapeño Dip!
This yummy holiday appetizer is the perfect combination of flavors: bright, fresh cranberries, rich cream cheese, and a spicy kick from the jalapeño. Yum!
Besides being just delicious though, this dip is also so easy to make … which is why it’s perfect for all your holiday parties!
Cranberry Jalapeño Dip
This festive appetizer was inspired by my Cranberry Orange Sauce.
I love making homemade cranberry sauce, but I always seem to have a little left over after the big meal. So I thought, why not turn the leftovers into an easy dip?
Of course, you don’t need to use leftover cranberry sauce for this recipe, because it takes so little time to make it from scratch!
This Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip recipe is ideal for spicy food lovers. But don’t worry, it’s easy to turn down the spice level if you can’t take the heat. Keep reading for all the details!
Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip Ingredients
This easy Cranberry Dip uses ingredient you’ll find in any grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh Cranberries
- Cream Cheese
A few notes about the ingredients:
- The cranberry sauce part of this dish is super flexible! I’ve made it with everything listed above, and I’ve made it with just the cranberries, jalapeños, and sugar. Both ways are delicious.
- This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce! Just cut down on the cream cheese, depending on how much sauce you have.
- Even with one full jalapeño added to the sauce, the heat level is really mild. You get that delicious jalapeño flavor, but not a lot of spice. You can adjust the spiciness of this recipe depending on how many jalapeños you use for the topping … spicy food lovers like me will want to use two.
- If you’re serving some people who like spicy food and some people who don’t, serve the jalapeño topping on the side.
- Feel free to use reduced fat or Neufchâtel cheese if you’d like to save a few calories.
- The cranberry sauce part of this appetizer can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.
How to Make Cranberry Jalapeño Dip
Let’s get started! The first thing you need to do is make the cranberry sauce.
Begin by zesting a large orange, then mincing the zest. Juice the orange and add just enough water to the juice to equal one cup of liquid.
Next, remove the seeds from one of the jalapeños and mince it. Then, grate the fresh ginger … a microplane zester works best for this (and for zesting the orange).
Combine the orange juice / zest, jalapeño, and ginger, along with the fresh cranberries and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
You want to cook the sauce until most of the cranberries have popped. It should only take about seven to ten minutes.
The sauce needs to cool off completely before you top the cream cheese. So set the sauce aside, or if you’re making the dip ahead of time, cover and refrigerate it.
To finish the dip, place both blocks of cream cheese in a large, flat bowl or on a serving platter with a rim. You can place both blocks of cream cheese in one bowl, or use two, like I did.
Then, pour the cranberry sauce over the top. I prefer to leave a little bit of the cream cheese peaking out … that way people know what they’re getting into!
Finally, top your cream cheese cranberry dip with the jalapeños. You can mince the jalapeños or slice them, it’s up to you (I did a combo).
Use two jalapeños to make the dip spicy, or one jalapeño to keep it milder. You could also serve most of the jalapeños on the side, so people can add them to taste.
And that’s it, your Cranberry Jalapeño Dip is ready to eat! Doesn’t it look delicious? This is one of those appetizers that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser … it’s impossible to stop at one bite!
What to Serve with Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
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Cranberry Jalapeño Dip
- 1 large orange
- 2 to 3 large jalapeños
- 1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
- Zest orange, then mince zest. Juice orange, then add enough water to juice to equal 1 cup.
- Mince one of the jalapeños, removing seeds if desired. (Set the others aside for the topping.)
- Combine orange juice, minced jalapeño, cranberries, sugar, and ginger in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook until cranberries have softened and most have popped, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Remove cranberry sauce from heat, then set aside to cool completely.
- Place cream cheese on a platter. Top with cranberry sauce.
- Mince or slice remaining jalapeños (use 1 to 2 depending on desired spice level); sprinkle over dip.
- Serve immediately with crackers for dipping. Enjoy!
- This recipe is super flexible! The cranberry sauce can be prepared with just cranberries, jalapeños, water, and sugar if that's all you have.
- Skip the jalapeños (or serve them on the side) if you don't like spicy food.
- Cranberry sauce can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.
- Substitute leftover cranberry sauce, if you have it. Just add the jalapeños to the top.
- Feel free to used reduced fat cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese to save a few calories.