The College Housewife » Recipes » appetizers » Jalapeño Cranberry Dip

Jalapeño Cranberry Dip

Embrace this Jalapeño Cranberry Dip as your secret weapon for the holidays! This quick and easy appetizer is the perfect compliment to your favorite holiday cocktails and has just the right level of spice to help get you through the end of the year.

Red jalapeno cranberry dip on top of cream cheese spread on white plate next to dish of crackers

Why you’ll love this Jalapeño Cranberry Dip

It’s perfect for snacking. I don’t know about you, but on any given holiday — Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas, you name it — my family usually eats one big meal and spends the rest of the day snacking and grazing. Sound familiar? This jalapeño cranberry dip should help curb those snack cravings this holiday season! Made with cranberries, jalapeño peppers, and low-fat cream cheese, this mouthwatering dip will make a simple cracker appetizer the star of your next holiday menu.

It’s the perfect complimentary dish. There are so many things I love about this holiday appetizer! It pairs perfectly with all of my favorite cocktails, making it incredibly easy to plan a tiny holiday happy hour (safe and socially distanced, of course!) — and it doesn’t break the bank OR your appetite. Plus, it’s an incredibly easy recipe and is perfect for prepping ahead of time. Simply take 5-10 minutes to chop and mix your ingredients, let sit overnight, and serve.

It’s perfect — because you can customize it! There are so many flavor possibilities for this jalapeño cranberry dip. You can experiment with different spice levels (I have a quick guide for you below), use different kinds of crackers, pita, or flatbreads, or pair with different deli meats and cheese to create a beautiful holiday charcuterie board.

But how spicy is too spicy?

Having trouble deciding just how much spice you want for this cranberry dip? Here’s a quick guide you can use when determining how many (or few) jalapeños to use based on the spice level you’re trying to achieve.

  • Just a kick: First things first, it’s important to remember that a lot of the heat from peppers lives in the seeds. So if you want “barely there” heat and just a little spicy kick, de-seed your jalapeño before chopping and adding to the cranberry mixture. You can always create a jalapeño garnish on the sign for guests who want to turn up the heat.
  • Mild or medium: This is the category I like to stay within because it’s usually not too spicy for anyone but also spicy enough for the heat lovers. Even if the mild is a bit too hot for some, adding extra cream cheese can help to mellow out the flavor. To achieve this level of heat, I recommend one seeded jalapeño pepper. This will give you a nice spicy kick that isn’t overwhelming.
  • Hot and spicy: Are you a heat lover? Are you trying to challenge a friend who claims to be a spicy food champ? You can always add in more jalapeño peppers to taste or graduate to a hotter pepper, like serrano chili peppers.

Ingredients top shot, bowl of red cranberries, small bowls of cilantro, jalapeños, chopped onion, and sugar, and two blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese

Ingredients for Jalapeño Cranberry Dip:

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Green onions
  • Jalapeño peppers (depending on your spice level)
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime juice
  • Cream cheese
  • Crackers, for dipping

Red jalapeño cranberry dip on top of cream cheese spread on white plate next to dish of crackers

How to make Jalapeño Cranberry Dip:

  1. Create the cranberry-jalapeño mix. Add cranberries, green onions, jalapeño peppers, cilantro leaves, sugar, salt and lime juice into a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are combined and finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to come together.
  2. Refrigerate then plate with cream cheese. Before serving stir cranberry mixture together once more. Spread cream cheese in an even layer into a shallow bowl or serving platter and top with the cranberry-jalapeño mixture.
  3. Serve with crackers. Keep reading to see a selection of cocktails that pair excellently with this holiday appetizer!

Step by step to make cranberry jalapeno dip.

Hand dipping cracker in red jalapeño cranberry dip with cream cheese spread on white plate next to dish of crackers

Pair with your favorite holiday cocktail

  • Apple Cider Sangria is a fruity, wine-based cocktail that takes just minutes to come together with a few of your favorite winter ingredients. What I really love about sangrias in general is how easy it is to make large quantities at a time in case you have close family or friends visiting for the holidays. Plus, it’s delicious! Each sip is laced with cinnamon apple flavor and crisp white wine, making this holiday sangria a sweet counterpart to your spicy cranberry dip.
  • You HAVE to try these Christmas Margaritas — I mean, jalapeños and margaritas go hand-in-hand, am I right? This year, I finally decided to turn this delicious classic (and one of my favorite drinks) into a cocktail that maintains the classic margarita flavors you love, while also encapsulating flavors you look forward to during the winter holidays, like pomegranate and cranberry. You really can’t go wrong with cranberry-jalapeño dip AND cranberry Christmas margaritas!
  • While we’re talking about cranberries, I had to go find my old Mrs. Claus Cranberry Whiskey Cocktail. It’s filled with things that totally make me envision what Mrs. Claus would drink — which obviously includes cranberries. Like, this is her cocktail like margaritas are my cocktail. It’s sweet, tart, spicy and very colorful. Pop in your favorite holiday movie (Home Alone, anyone?), grab your favorite blanket, and enjoy this Mrs. Claus cocktail while snacking on your freshly made jalapeño cranberry dip.

Hand dipping cracker in red jalapeno cranberry dip with cream cheese spread on white plate next to dish of crackers

Looking for more holiday appetizers? Check these out!

Other cranberry-inspired recipes to try:

Print

Jalapeño Cranberry Dip

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours or overnight
  • Total Time: 4 1/2 hours
  • Yield: Servies 4-6 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Food Processor

Description

Embrace this Jalapeño Cranberry Dip as your secret weapon for the holidays! This quick and easy appetizer is the perfect compliment to your favorite holiday cocktails and has just the right level of spice to help get you through the end of the year.


Scale

Ingredients

12 oz fresh cranberries
2 green onions, chopped
12 jalapeño peppers
Handful of cilantro leaves
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
Crackers, for dipping


Instructions

  1. Create the cranberry-jalapeño mix. Add cranberries, green onions, jalapeño peppers, cilantro leaves, sugar, salt and lime juice into a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are combined and finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to come together.
  2. Add cream cheese and plate. Before serving stir cranberry mixture together once more. Spread cream cheese in an even layer into a shallow bowl or serving platter and top with the cranberry-jalapeño mixture.
  3. Enjoy! Serve with crackers.

Keywords: jalapeño cranberry dip, dip, crackers, crackers and dip, dip for crackers, jalapenos, cranberry, holiday appetizer, christmas appetizer recipe, appetizer recipe, quick and easy recipe

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