This fresh Cranberry Salsa recipe is a tasty and unique way to use cranberries featuring cranberries, cilantro, lime, and jalapenos. This holiday appetizer is made in just minutes in the food processor and is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, the holiday season, and beyond!
Fresh Cranberry Salsa recipe
Fresh Cranberry Salsa is the perfect way to use fresh cranberries in season. I love traditional cranberry sauce, and fresh Cranberry Relish but there is something fun about mixing up the flavors and using cranberries in an unexpected way. This Cranberry Salsa uses some unique flavors with cranberries including cilantro, lime, jalapenos, and more. The flavors are more traditionally Mexican, but it's bright, lively, and unique.
You can serve it with tortilla chips, over cream cheese, or even with a spoon as a unique side dish. You could even use this as a festive topping over turkey, pork, or tofu. This kind of tasty and unique recipe will disappear from your holiday spread.
The colors and textures (hello, red and green!) make this a perfect Christmas, Thanksgiving, or holiday appetizer but this is fast and easy enough to serve anytime you can get your hands on those gorgeous fresh cranberries.
This is such a yummy and delicious use of this tart superfood berry. My Fresh Cranberry Salsa recipe is a unique way to serve them and I know you will love this berry too. It's a flavor explosion in the best possible way! The tart, sweet, AND savory are a delicious combination.
Plus this recipe just happens to be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free!
Why You'll Love this Fresh Cranberry Salsa...
- This Fresh Cranberry Salsa is made with just a few ingredients in less than 10 minutes.
- You can make this ahead if you are making it for a party.
- You really can't go wrong with cranberries! They are packed with vitamins C, A, and K plus FULL of antioxidants.
- This unexpected treat makes the perfect holiday snack or appetizer with fun red and green coloring for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
- It's versatile as a side dish or appetizer. Serve it with the chips, crackers, on its own OR over cream cheese. You can also just make it into a fun side dish.
- You can make it spicy by leaving in the jalapeno seeds or make it mild by taking them out.
- It's a great way to use fresh cranberries in season.
- It tastes so delicious! The perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and savory.
This Cranberry Salsa recipe is only a few simple, easy-to-find ingredients. Here's an overview of what you'll need to make it, but for the full recipe, amounts scroll to the recipe card.
- Cranberries: Cranberries are only harvested in the fall and you generally can only find fresh ones in the store from October to December, making this recipe a perfect one for the holiday season. Cranberries need to be rinsed and sorted before cooking with them.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is a key ingredient in giving salsa a distinctive flavor. It's a fresh and bright herb that you'll need to find fresh.
- Green Onion: Instead of using a harsh white or purple or red onion like most salsa, I used tender green onion to still give the Cranberry Salsa that bite but without the flavors being too harsh.
- Jalapeno Pepper: Use a fresh jalapeno with the seeds and white part removed for maximum flavor and minimum spiciness.
- Lime Juice: Lime juice is the perfect addition to the salsa. I like to use fresh lime juice.
- Sugar: Since the berries are very tart, I added just a small amount of regular ole' sugar to the mix. I did some experimenting and tried to leave it out BUT the tart berries just need a little sweetness to balance it out. I try to limit the sugar I cook with, but in this case, I think it just needs it.
This is an overview of the instructions for Cranberry Salsa. For a full printable recipe scroll to the recipe card.
- Prep all of your ingredients including washing the berries. Use a food processor to chop the cranberries and sugar into a salsa consistency. Pulse the food chopped until you get the consistency you see below.
- You'll want to hand chop the rest of the ingredients including the cilantro, green onion, and jalapeno.
- In a bowl, stir the cranberry mixture and the rest of the ingredients including the cilantro, green onion, jalapeno, and lime juice.
- Allow chilling for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to mix together.
- Serve with chips or crackers.
I love this Cranberry Salsa as written, but here are some fun ways to mix it up.
- Make it Spicy: Make this spicier by using the seeds of the jalapenos or a touch of cayenne pepper.
- Make it Mild: Mix out the jalapeno for green bell pepper.
- Make it Fruiter: Add some chopped pineapple, chopped orange, or chopped apples into the mix.
- Make it with Cream Cheese: Soften a block of cream cheese and put the Cranberry Salsa on top of it.
- Make it Without Sugar: I tested these several ways and think white sugar works best, but you could substitute honey for sugar. The cranberries do need something sweet to balance out the tartness.
How do I store leftovers?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. This salsa is actually a great make ahead and stores well in the fridge.
Can I use frozen cranberries?
You can use frozen cranberries, but the texture of the Cranberry Salsa will be softer. I prefer fresh for this recipe, but in a pinch, it will work. You will need to thaw out the berries before using them.
Can I make this without a food processor?
It is easier to mince up the cranberries with a food processor but if you don't have one, you could also do it by hand. Just carefully mince the cranberries with a sharp knife and mix them together with the sugar by hand.
Fresh Cranberry Salsa is the Perfect Holiday Appetizer!
This Cranberry Salsa is the perfect holiday appetizer. The bright red and green coloring is so festive and not to mention delicious. This recipe would be fabulous for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, or any holiday party appetizer.
I bet everyone will rave about the unique flavors of cranberries. It's downright addictive.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Serve it With:
- Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Cranberry Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries
- Vegetarian Stuffing
More Cranberry Recipes:
- Cranberry Orange Relish
- Cranberry Smoothie
- Cranberry Walnut Energy Bites
- Cranberry Seed Energy Bites
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Cranberry Almond Granola
More Fresh Salsa Recipes:
If you make this Fresh Cranberry Salsa recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment and a star rating ★ below. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook too!
Fresh Cranberry Salsa recipe
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 jalapenos, finely diced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup green onion, sliced
- 2 limes juiced
- Put the cranberries and sugar in a food processor and blend until you get a chunky salsa consistency.
- Stir in the jalapenos, cilantro, green onion, and lime juice. Add additional lime, sugar or salt to taste!
- Allow to chill for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite chips.
Pin for later:
I'm used to serving dishes with cranberry because I love it so much. This is one of my favorite berries. I absolutely love the way it goes with meat, poultry, cheese, pastry, and so on. It has a unique exquisite taste, so sweet and sour. By the way, I have my own recipe for cranberry sauce which can be served with all types of meat, especially with turkey. I'm thinking of posting it some time in my blog but always forget about it. It's amazing, I assure you! It's not mine, well, but I modified it and added a "secret" ingredient. Probably, somebody will be interested in it. I get 12 oz of cranberry, 7 oz of sugar, and put 3 tablespoons of cherry liqueur. And warm it until it's thick. That's all!
I thank for this stunning recipe of cranberry salsa! I need to taste it as soon as possible!
Happy New Year, Julie! I hope you'll go on posting your recipes next year! I wish you plenty of ideas in 2020!
I love salsas. In the summer I love making strawberry salsa. But this would be perfect for the winter months.
This is such a beautiful salsa, I love the colors! I have all the ingredients on hand, so I will give it a try!!!
This looks so good! :] I've never had cranberry salsa before but now I definitely wanna try!
I love the transformation you gave to this Holiday berry! This is such a fun, festive twist on the traditional use of cranberries! Love it!
Deborah Brooks says
I love this sweet and spicy combo! What a fun way to mix things up
Pinned and saved, Julie! Hope you are all well at your house now. BTW, I made some of your peanut butter cookies again this year. They are soooo good!!
Lisa Ballantyne says
Looks and sounds absolutely incredible, Julie! I have to be careful with onions because of a slight food intolerance, but recipes can be adjusted so it's all good!
Andrea on Vacation says
This looks so festive! I am looking for something to bring to a dinner party on Saturday, we may have a winner!
Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real says
This sounds so unique! I always see mango salsas but cranberry is such a fun twist on fruit salsa.
Lori R says
I can't wait to try this it sounds amazing!