Cranberry Salsa

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This cranberry salsa is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and so easy to make! This salsa is great on its own as a dip for tortilla chips or you can use it to spice up your favorite dishes. Try it on tacos, quesadillas, eggs, or grilled meats! It's also perfect for holiday entertaining. Trust me, this cranberry jalapeño salsa is always a crowd pleaser at Thanksgiving and Christmas!
A closeup of a bowl of cranberry salsa topped with green onion with a tortilla chip in it.
A bowl of cranberry salsa topped with green onion with a tortilla chip in it.

Why this easy recipe works

This cranberry salsa with jalapeño is the perfect holiday appetizer! It’s sweet, tangy, and has just the right amount of heat. Plus, it’s super easy to make, too!

All you need is some cranberries, a jalapeño pepper, and a few other simple ingredients. Just pulse it all in a food processor and you’re done!  Serve with tortilla chips for an easy holiday appetizer. You can also serve it over some softened cream cheese as a dip with gluten-free crackers.

No matter which way you serve it, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next holiday party! It’s a great Christmas or Thanksgiving appetizer for family gatherings and holiday parties!

You’ll love this fresh cranberry salsa recipe because:

  • It’s easy. All you need is a food processor to quickly pulse the ingredients for this cranberry jalapeño salsa together. So simple!
  • It’s festive. There is nothing more festive than cranberries at Thanksgiving and Christmas! It’s the perfect party appetizer this holiday season.
  • It’s versatile. You can serve this salsa as a dip with tortilla chips, use it for my cranberry cream cheese dip, or serve it with your favorite main meals, like grilled meats, eggs, tacos and more!

Ingredients

Ingredients in small bowls to make cranberry jalapeño salsa, including jalapeño, cranberries, green onions, sugar, lime juice, salt, and cilantro with text overlays over each ingredient.

Ingredient Notes

  • Fresh cranberries – Use fresh cranberries for best results. During the late fall and winter months, cranberries are sold in 12 oz bags at your local grocery store in the refrigerated area of the produce section. Sort through the cranberries and remove any that are mushy or soft before using. 
  • Jalapeño – This will add just a bit of heat to your cranberry salsa recipe. I used 1 jalapeño that I de-seeded for a little kick. If you like your salsa spicier, use 2 jalapeños instead to increase the heat level.
  • Green onion – I typically use just the green part of the green onion because I like the color that it adds to the salsa, but you could also use the white parts. The green parts are a bit more mild than the white parts of the onion. 
  • Granulated sugar – You need granulated sugar to tone down tart cranberries. You could use a little less sugar if you like your salsa a bit more tangy, but I think the amount specified is perfect. You will need to let the cranberry mixture sit in the sugar for an hour in the refrigerator so that the sugar can help the cranberries release their natural juices.
  • Fresh lime juice – Use fresh lime juice for best results. There is about 2 tablespoons of lime juice in one lime, so you can just juice one lime for this recipe. If you’d like a little extra zing, you can add the lime zest from the lime into the recipe as well. 
  • Cilantro  – I love the flavor that fresh cilantro brings, but if you are one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap you can leave it out.

Step-by-Step instructions

This festive cranberry salsa is so easy to make and you only need a few fresh ingredients! Just follow the step-by-step photos with matching instructions to help you see the recipe at various stages. You’ll be ready for your next Christmas party in no time!

For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.

A food processor with cranberries, jalapeño, cilantro, green onions, sugar, cumin and lime juice.
Add the fresh cranberries, cilantro, green onions, jalapeño, cumin, salt, lime juice and granulated sugar to the bowl of a food processor.
A food processor with cranberry jalapeño salsa in it that has been pulsed until finely chopped.
Pulse the food processor until the cranberries are finely chopped. You want the mixture to be almost smooth but still have some chunks in it.
A clear mixing bowl with cranberry salsa in it with bowls of green onions and cilantro on the side.
Place the cranberry jalapeño salsa into a glass mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
A closeup of a bowl of cranberry salsa topped with green onion with a tortilla chip in it.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe FAQs

Can cranberry salsa be frozen?

If you’re getting ready for the holidays and want to freeze cranberry salsa, you can freeze it! After making the salsa, let it still sit in the refrigerator for an hour to let the cranberries release their juices. Then, transfer to an airtight container that is also freezer-safe and freeze for up to 2 months. 

Can you use frozen cranberries in this recipe?

While fresh cranberries do work much better, you can use frozen cranberries if you cannot find fresh cranberries or if they are out of season. Let the frozen cranberries thaw completely before using and drain off any excess liquid. The cranberries will be mushier than fresh cranberries so you may get a slightly smoother salsa instead of a chunky cranberry salsa.

hints & tips

  • Do not blend the cranberry mixture in the food processor. Instead, keep hitting the pulse button just until the cranberries are finely chopped. This will allow you to see some of the green from the jalapeño and green onions and give you great texture for serving with tortilla chips.
  • Don’t skimp on the granulated sugar. Sugar is necessary to balance the tartness of the cranberries and help them release their juices.

Storage instructions

  • Storage: You can store leftover salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, making it a great make ahead appetizer to add to your holiday spread.    
  • Freezer Option: Freeze salsa in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator for about a day before serving.
A tortilla chip with a scoop of cranberry salsa on it with a bowl of salsa below it.

Serving suggestions

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A closeup of a bowl of cranberry salsa topped with green onion with a tortilla chip in it.

Cranberry Salsa

This cranberry salsa is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and so easy to make! This salsa is great on its own as a dip for tortilla chips or you can use it to spice up your favorite dishes. Try it on tacos, quesadillas, eggs, or grilled meats! It's also perfect for holiday entertaining. Trust me, this cranberry jalapeño salsa is always a crowd pleaser at Thanksgiving and Christmas!
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 63kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (340g)
  • 1/4 cup green onion (roughly chopped (from 3-4 green onions, 18g))
  • 1 jalapeño (deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (12g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Place cranberries, red onion, jalapeño, granulated sugar, cumin, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a food processor.
  • Pulse until the mixture is almost smooth, but still has some chunks.
  • Place the cranberry salsa mixture into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the cranberries release their natural juices.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips.

Notes

  • If you want a little more zing, you can add the zest of the lime into the salsa as well. 
  • If you prefer your salsa chunkier, leave the jalapeño and green onion out of the food processor. Pulse the cranberries until they are chunky and then pour them into a bowl and stir in finely diced jalapeño and thinly sliced green onion. 

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ADashofMegnut or tag #adashofmegnut!

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