This festive holiday dip is the perfect combination of sweet, creamy and spicy! It’s made with fresh cranberries, jalapeños, orange zest and cold cream cheese. Ready within 10 minutes using a food processor.
There aren't enough words to explain my love for this dip. It speaks to me on a deep level...DEEP!!!
Maybe because I have unashamedly eaten cheese and crackers for dinner on many occasions and this is a must for an appetizer (or dinner 😉 ) during the holidays! Or just because it is simply amazing and I need no reasoning for my love affair with it. 😜
I have been making this for my friends and family for YEARS and will make at least 6 batches of it while fresh cranberries are in season. I do not show up to any family function without it - I think my sister would disown me if I did!
This Holiday dip with cream cheese is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. It reminds me of 2 Minute Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Dip which is one of my favorite things of all time - of which I have ALSO eaten for dinner on multiple occasions. Do we see a theme here with me and homemade dips and spreads?? haha #sorrynotsorry
This is the thing, this cold dip is so easy! This is similar to creamy whipped feta dip where everything goes in a food processor and you let it do the work for you! Dump a bag of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Finally dice jalapenos and green onions and add in. Toss some spices in and zest an orange - pulse about 10 times and whaalaa! You are finished. Spoon over cream cheese and serve with Carr's water crackers (the BEST IMO) and enjoy!
This 1 recipe makes enough for 2-3x worth of use and lasts a week stored covered in the fridge - perfect for entertaining and prepping for any holiday party ahead of time. And everyone goes crazy for it! Plus it is a beautiful bright red and is so aesthetically pleasing for any holiday table. I am telling you, you have to have to make the Cranberry jalapeño cream cheese dip this holiday! I do not have or go to a party from October - December without this in hand.
What Equipment Is Needed to Make this SUPER Easy?
Here is the scoop. You will need a food processor for this recipe to make it super easy- this is my favorite way to make this dip. If you don't have one, a heavy-duty blender will work too. Skip chopping the cranberries by hand. No one has time for that!
If you do not have a food processor, no worries! You can still just chop everything by hand. It will take a bit longer but not impossible. The key with a food processor besides its ease and time-saving hack, is that it gets everything chopped into tiny pieces. So it is easy to eat. If you are chopping by hand, just make sure to mince the cranberries, jalapenos, and green onions super tiny (and with a sharp knife - that will help!).
- Jalapeños - depending on the spice level you prefer, you can use anywhere from 3-4 jalapenos. I usually find 3 of a "normal" medium-sized pepper is the perfect amount of kick and spice this needs.
- Green Onion - roughly chop these along with the jalapenos and toss them in the food processor. if you don't, they will shred up in weird long strips and not tiny pieces that incorporate nicely with the rest of the dip.
- Fresh Cranberries - you will need one 12oz bag of fresh cranberries. Unfortunately, these are only available during the holiday season and can't be found at any other time (at least where I live in Kentucky). So take advantage when you can! Frozen won't work for this recipe.
- Sugar - just regular white sugar. This helps bring out the sweetness of the dip and creates a lovely syrupy sauce that is divine!
- Orange - the juice and zest of orange is used and just help brighten up the whole dip. It really elevates the flavor and immediately reminds me of Christmas. You will need a zester for this as well. (Amazon affiliate link*)
- Spices - cumin, salt, and pepper
How to Make
This is such an easy and simple dip recipe to make. But pro tip - dice your jalapeños and green onion before adding to the food processor. If you were to add them whole they do not get chopped up very well and will result in an unpleasantly large bite of each. Chop them first so that everything gets finely diced and is the same size.
Prep the veggies: Finely dice the jalapenos and green onions. Add to a food processor.
Pulse in a food processor: Add in 1 bag of fresh cranberries, and the rest of the ingredients to the food processor. Pulse around 10 times just to mix and finely dice the cranberries.
Chill: Place into a bowl or large Tupperware. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving.
To Serve: Place a block of cream cheese on a thin platter or pie plate-shaped dish and spread it out in a thin layer. Spoon out cranberry dip to cover. Serve with Carr's water crackers.
As you let this sit, the flavors will mix together and the sugar will help create a bit of a sweet saucy liquid. It is divine! My favorite cracker to serve this with is Carr's water crackers. And PS - you can usually find a HUGE box of them on sale at Costco during the holidays. Just go ahead and grab it because you will be making this more than once!
If you are not going to enjoy this dip all at once, then just store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. I have also sprinkled this over a spinach salad and it's delicious!
Since you can keep this in the fridge for a week, it's a great recipe to prep ahead of time. Makeup to 24 hours in advance before serving for the best flavor and freshness!