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This cranberry salsa recipe is fresh, zingy and mildly spicy! It’s a fun fall and winter appetizer everyone will love.

Cranberry salsa
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Cranberries and salsa aren’t the most likely pair: until you’ve tried this Cranberry Salsa recipe! This fun fall appetizer is zingy and bright, pairing tart berries with fresh cilantro, onion, and jalapeno for a sweet tart dip. Trust us: once you try it, you’ll fall head over heels! Sugar balances out the tart flavor, and the hint of heat from jalapeno is just right for pairing with the berries. Here’s how it’s done!

Ingredients in cranberry salsa

This cranberry salsa recipe is simple to whip up with a few ingredients and a few processor. This one is a spin on a recipe an old friend gave us years ago, and it’s been on repeat every since. Here’s what you’ll need for this easy concept:

  • Fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Red onion
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Lime juice
  • Sugar
  • Cilantro
  • Kosher salt
Cranberry salsa recipe

Tips for making cranberry salsa

This cranberry salsa recipe is just a matter of whizzing up a few ingredients in a food processor. But there are a few tips to making this recipe fit your tastes. Here’s what to know:

  • Customize the spice level to taste. Removing the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño pepper makes a mild salsa. If you’d like it spicier, simply add some of the jalapeño seeds. Err on the side of caution: you can always add more! Taste and adjust the heat level as desired.
  • Defrost the cranberries before you start. The bag of cranberries indicates to refrigerate or leave the berries at room temperature for several hours. A shortcut method? Place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, then rinse again with warm water. Strain and pat dry with a paper towel. This may add a little extra moisture, which you can adjust for in the next step.
  • Drain the salsa before adding to a bowl. The cranberry salsa can pick up a bit of extra moisture, especially if you’re using frozen berries. It’s helpful to strain it before transferring it to the serving bowl.

How to serve it

Once you’ve got your cranberry salsa, there are lots of ways to serve it! It’s a great for fall and winter, ideal as a Thanksgiving appetizer or a Christmas appetizer. This one works with more than just chips: it’s great as a dip with any sort of cracker. Try this recipe served with:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Crackers of any type
  • Pita chips
  • Crostini
  • Over a block of cream cheese, served with crackers
Cranberry salsa

Storage info

This cranberry salsa stores refrigerated for up to 1 week. In fact, the flavor gets better the longer you let the flavors mingle! We don’t recommend freezing this recipe, but you won’t have to: it will disappear that fast!

More cranberry recipes

When it’s the season, go big on this tart berry. Here are a few more cranberry recipes to try:

This cranberry salsa recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Cranberry salsa

Easy Cranberry Salsa

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 cups 1x


This cranberry salsa recipe is fresh, zingy and spicy! It’s a fun fall and winter appetizer everyone will love.


  • 10 ounces (2 ½ cups) cranberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. If the cranberries are frozen, bring them to room temperature.
  2. Cut the red onion into rough chunks. Slice the jalapeño pepper in half, remove the ribs and seeds, and chop the pepper into a few pieces. (You can add back some seeds if you’d like it spicy.) Place both in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to chop.
  3. Add the cranberries, lime juice, sugar, cilantro, and salt. Pulse several times until a roughly chopped texture forms.
  4. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary (add more seeds if you’d like it spicier). Before placing in a bowl, strain off any excess liquid. Serve with crackers, chips, pita, or bread. If desired, you can also serve over cream cheese. Stores refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Sabrina says:

    great idea for a salsa, very creative use of cranberries, and I’ve seen a lot of them lately as I’m in a full cranberry kick even well after November, so thank you!


    I have made this recipe for years. I prefer it with a habenero rather than jalapeno pepper — it works better with fruit products. You might want to try it

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Sounds delicious — we’ll have to try it that way sometime too!

  3. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!