Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

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 Thanksgiving will be comin’ round the mountain in just a few days now you know, folks. I just can’t wait. It’s always such an enjoyable day. I love enjoyable days. Days spent eating delicious food, and visiting with wonderful family members. Looking forward to it!

Today for me, was one of “those” days. You know about them, don’t you? Not the really enjoyable kind.  The kind you just try and plow through while you wonder how many things are going to go wrong!
A few months ago my cute TeenNephewJayDee told me, “Aunt Jamie, everything you cook is like perfect, and everybody like LOVES everything you make because it is like ALWAYS so good.”
Wow. What a cute and thoughtful boy. I wonder what he would think if he were to have witnessed the “like” perfection going on in my kitchen this morning.
This morning my goal was to make and photo this fabulous Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip….just for you all.

Ten minutes into the project, I had burned both of my hands on some hot and fiery jalapeno pepper seeds.
Then….I filled my blender up with cranberries. (While running to the sink every 30 seconds to pour water over my burned hands) Trying to get the cranberries to break up in the bottom of the blender, I stuck a wooden spoon down into the cranberries and chopped the thing to bits. At this point I spent a good 5 minutes contemplating the pros and cons of inflicting wood poisoning on my family. My blender can grind things up pretty fine you know.

Then…. I poured the CranberryWoodChipDelight down the disposal.

My sink wasn’t that impressed with the concoction and chose to get all clogged, and plunger needy. Nice.
Right at that same moment….
another form of plumbing….
in a separate room…..(white porcelain piece of work with a lid)
got all plunger needy.
Don’t hold that picture in your mind for  too long…this is a food blog you know. 
It was a plunger happy, hands on fire, wood chips in my teeth kind of morning. And right on a day I was going to not drink any Diet Coke, too. Let me just say, Diet Coke doesn’t taste that great if you’ve got wood chips in your teeth. Perfect. Just perfect.

But lucky for us….this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is super fabulous! My TeenNephewJayDee would give it the “like” perfect thumbs up. It’s got a little bit of a spicy kick to it. If spicy-kick isn’t your cup of tea, no worries. Just leave the jalapeno out.  Then you would also most definitely not burn your hands with it’s venomous seeds. Double bonus!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
Time: 15 minutes prep + 4 hours refrigeration
Yield: 15 servings
Recipe adapted from my dear friend Heather Peterson
1  12 oz package fresh cranberries
1/4 C green onion, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 t cumin
2 T lemon juice
dash salt
2  8 oz packages cream cheese

1. Put your cranberries in a food processor. I used my mini chopper (one batch of CranberryWoodChipDelight was enough for me. The blender and I aren’t speaking to each other at this point….) You could also, just chop them up.

2. Chop up your green onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper into small pieces. Careful of the seeds now. Throw on a pair of rubber gloves or something, please. The seeds are the hot part of the pepper. If you don’t like a lot of heat on the old pallet, just leave the jalapeno out.
3. Add all ingredients (but the cream cheese and the wheat thins) into a bowl. Mix them all together, cover and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours. The sugar needs some time to soak in to the cranberries and break up their bitter taste.  

4. When you are ready to serve, place your cream cheese bricks on a plate.
5. Spread the cream cheese out as evenly as you can.
6. Pour your cranberry mixture over the cream cheese.
7. Spread it all around.
8. Serve immediately with Wheat Thins, Ritz Crackers or Tortilla Chips.


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  1. Nina D. says:


  2. Katy says:

    how far in advance do you think you could make the cranberry dip part? Could I make this Tuesday to spread on the cream cheese and serve Thursday?

    1. Amy says:

      Absolutely! Two notes though: 1) you might need to drain off the excess liquid from the cranberries before spreading them over the cream cheese.
      2) don’t spread the cranberries over the cream cheeses until just prior to serving. (Although if you happen to have leftovers, which is unlikely, you can mix them all together to make a spread.)

  3. Julie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I have been making it for two years now and it is a huge hit. My husband shared some at work one year and now it gets requested at his work functions as well as any family or friend functions too! I have started trying to direct people to your blog when they ask for the recipe.
    BTW, We serve this with Stacy’s brand Naked Pita Chips.We’ve found it to be THE perfect cracker for this dip.

  4. Tabitha says:

    I made this last week for my in-laws’ Thanksgiving gathering, except I HAAATE cilantro, and Google told me that Italian parsley was a good substitute. Let the record show that (at least in this recipe), it’s not such a good substitute. The whole thing pretty much tasted like grass with a little cranberry kick. (Still got eaten, though!)

    So I’m trying it again for a potluck tomorrow, but this time I am just leaving out the cilantro/parsley and adding a second jalapeno and maybe some fresh chives. We’ll see how it turns out!

  5. dawn says:

    Around my house we call this stuff “cranberry crack.” All of my family and friends are addicted. It makes us cry in January when the stores stop selling bags of cranberries.

  6. Clover says:

    I made this for a Thanksgiving appetizer, and it was a huge it. Everyone loved it. I was a little unsure with the jalapeno and cumin but we ate it for days afterward and wasted none of it. Thanks..

    Ps. Made the artichoke dip as well and it was a huge hit too. Thanks for making my Thanksgiving wonderful.

  7. coco says:

    This is to die for and leftovers of the cranberry relish are fabulous with black eyed peas. Yum

  8. Carol says:

    Why aren’t your receipes accessible on Pinterest thru this site?

  9. TexNut says:

    My daughter made this for Thanksgiving and it kept steadily disappearing. … Just found the receipe up on the computer – looks like my wife is going to make some for work.
    But, reading through it, I’ve got to tell you more recent work has been done on where the hot resides in peppers: “Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (which holds the seeds), the internal membranes and, to a lesser extent, the other fleshy parts of the fruits of plants in the genus Capsicum. The seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith of the inner wall, where the seeds are attached.”

  10. Trish says:

    I thought I had lemon juice on hand but only had lime. Will it work as a substitute? Or, should I leave it out? We love jalapenos and I added an extra (with a few seeds). We love spice! Just curious about the lime juice though.
    Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Manromnsa says:

      Hi, Nadine,Is your second book out yet. I would like to give it as a gift to sveeral friends if it is. We are get to Coco on January 1 and will be there for 2 months. No matter what, the weather will be warmer and dryer than it is here! Is your house finished and have you moved in? Tamarindo? Our goal is to be in Coco for most of the winter and see if we would like 3 months next year. Feels like a theme!pam

  11. Rachel says:

    Your description of your morning made me laugh out loud! Wow! I think this looks perfect for a holiday app – will definitely make this in the next week or so. Different, colorful, accessible!

  12. Connie says:

    This was delicious! I made one batch and took it to two Christmas parties. Just made another batch tonight for a New Year’s party. I used frozen cranberries, straight from the freezer.

  13. Lauralyn Theodore says:

    I came across this recipe last year, and demonstrated it for a club I belong to . . overwhelming success. At this year’s Christmas party, one of the members commented “I made your dip, it’s so delicious.” I’m always happy when there are left overs . .. I spread cream cheese on a cracker and top with the cranberry relish . . . yum!

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  15. sue griffore says:

    what can be used instead of cilantro?

    1. Jamie says:

      Fresh cilantro is really vital to this recipe. I would suggest using it and not using any kind of substitution. Best of luck to you!

    2. mel says:

      The dip is just as good without the cilantro.

    3. Carmen says:

      I also made this without the cilantro and it was great! Some people experience cilantro as a soapy taste. For those of us that do, it can RUIN a good recipe. I added extra jalapeno/green onions too, but that was a just personal preference. It was a hit at the last party I took it to.

  16. Patty says:

    Do you cook the cranberries first?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Patty,
      Nope, you don’t need to cook them. They will break down in the blender, and the addition of the sugar will soften them up. Best of luck!

  17. Denise says:

    I just found this and it sounds wonderful. I wonder if you have experimented with adding any flavors to the cream cheese? I was thinking a little cilantro, lemon or OJ would pull the flavors together. Maybe straining a tablespoon of the cranberry mix and creaming it into the cream cheese? I might give it a try – I love flavored cream cheese.

  18. Patty says:

    Thank you. Going to give it a try for Thanksgiving ????

  19. Karen Carver says:

    Could this mixture be made in bulk and canned?

  20. Caw says:

    Dumb question. I’m new to cooking :)

    Do you mean 12 ounces of cranberries by volume or weight? I bought two 8 ounce bags and about 3/4 of a bag is 12 ounces in volume….

  21. Nicole B says:

    Had this at a friend’s house recently, OMG! YUM!!

  22. Anne says:

    I made this for a huge appetizer buffet party and it was by far the most requested recipe. Don’t fear the cilantro, it blends into the other flavors and is DELICIOUS! I served it with sea salt pita chips.

  23. Brooke says:

    The store was out of fresh and frozen so I had to get canned. I am hoping this turns out as good as the two times I’ve made it with fresh since it was requested for a new years party. Has anyone done it this way? Also I preferred it blended with the cream cheese it was easier to scoop with tortilla chips and not as messy and runny as when I poured just over the top.

  24. Ivey says:

    Muchos productores están satisfechos con los desenlaces conseguidos mediante el empleo de un 1.000 vatios de fantasma completo luces led.

  25. Frances Webster says:

    I made have been making something similar for the holidays for many years. I take 2 cans whole cranberry sauce; 1 can diced jalapenos (with the juice), mix them together and put in the refrigerator in a sealed container for at least a day. Serve over an 8 oz package of cream cheese. I serve with crackers or tortilla chips for dipping.

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  29. claudia says:

    thought I would share my tip for next time you burn your hands because of hot peppers. As soon as you start feeling that burning sensation on your hands or fingers rub your hands on your hair, it will take the burn out faster than anything else. Same thing if you were to accidentally touch your mouth or eye just rub your hair with it.

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