4.98 from 216 votes

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

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Get your taste buds ready because cranberry cream cheese dip combines the sweet, tart, and salty for a delicious fall-friendly appetizer dip that looks beautiful and tastes amazing!

cranberry cream cheese dip with chunk out of it and mint on top

Whether you use this recipe as a dip, a spread, or a stuffing for the inside of won-tons or pinwheel sandwiches, this Cranberry Cream Cheese dip is a beautiful mix of cranberry tart and the sweet taste of sugar and jam.

A perfect combo with cream cheese, eating with pretzel crisps adds the bit of salt that takes this recipe to the next level.

What you see in the images is only HALF the topping of the recipe, it makes in total two bricks, so it is a good-sized appetizer for a party. 

Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread

  • 1 package, 12 oz, frozen whole cranberries (no sugar added), thawed OR 1 bag of FRESH cranberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup apricot preserves or jam
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 bricks, 8 oz, cream cheese, softened
  • buttery crackers or pretzel chips for serving
  • fresh mint to garnish, optional

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MORE CRANBERRY RECIPES: Apple and Cinnamon Spiced Cranberry Sauce, 3 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce 

Common Appetizer Questions

  1. What do you dip Cranberry Dip with? I recommend serving with pretzels, Ritz Crackers, or even a veggie dipper like celery sticks. Personally I also love bits of Italian or French bread torn up to dip with!
  2. Instead of a block, can you ball the Cream Cheese? The easiest way to ball up cream cheese is to place on plastic wrap, shape, and put in the fridge to firm for an hour or two. You can see more info on this in my chocolate chip cheese ball dip recipe.
  3. How much dip does this recipe make? This recipe makes enough cranberry pour for 2 blocks of cream cheese, or if you like a lot of cranberry on top, to re-pour as people eat the cream cheese down. 
  4. Are there any other ingredient changes I can make? A lot of people love the flavors of jalapeno and cranberries together, so you could easily dice fresh jalapenos and combine with the cranberries for a Cran-Jalapeno dip. Additionally, instead of cream cheese, you could also use a other soft cheeses like goat cheese or brie as the base. 
  5. Can fresh cranberries be used – YES! Simply use fresh cranberries in place of thawed frozen ones, follow recipe as instructed.

Let’s Get Started on that Cranberry Dip! 

Add cranberries, sugar, preserves, and water to a large saucepan.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling.

Cranberries, sugar, and preserves inside the pot for dip

The mixture will begin to bubble and get frothy as it heats, and you may hear the cranberries sizzling and popping.

Continue to boil for 5 minutes, constantly stirring until the berries are popped open, and the mixture begins to darken.

Remove from heat and stir in pecans.

delicious pecans dumped into cranberry dip

Let set to cool and refrigerate to cool completely.

Once cooled, stir the cranberry mixture, so it’s pliable.

Press a spoon in the center of the cream cheese to create a divot.

Dump delicious cranberry dip on top of cream cheese spread and serve with pretzles

Spoon the mixture on a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers or pretzel chips.

Makes 2-3 appetizer bricks.

perfect holiday appetizer, bite into cranberry cream cheese dip with salty pretzels

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4.98 from 216 votes

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip


Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Tart cranberries and sweet jam make this cranberry cream cheese dip a fall favorite appetizer that serves up a crowd. Everyone will be asking for this recipe!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 package 12 oz, frozen whole cranberries (no sugar added), thawed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup apricot preserves or jam
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 bricks 8 oz, cream cheese, softened
  • buttery crackers or pretzel chips for serving
  • fresh mint to garnish optional

Instructions

  • Add cranberries, sugar, preserves and water to a large saucepan.
  • Heat saucepan over medium high heat until boiling.
  • Mixture will begin to bubble and get frothy as it heats and you may hear the cranberries sizzling and pop.
  • Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until berries are popped open and mixture begins to darken.
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans.
  • Let set too cool from stove and then refrigerate until complete cooled.
  • Gently press a spoon in the center of the cream cheese to create a divot.
  • Spoon mixture on top of cream cheese and serve with crackers or pretzel chips.
  • Makes 2 appetizer bricks.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 196mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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4.98 from 216 votes

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39 Comments

  1. This looks delicious! Do you think it could be canned to give as holiday gifts?

  2. I buy fresh cranberries in bulk and freeze them. Would I need to defrost them? And, what would the ratio be for cups rather than a 12 ounce bag? Thank you in advance!

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      There are about 2 cups in a 12 oz bag. Yes, you would need to defrost frozen cranberries (and dump any excess water).

  3. Have you ever frozen this (after preparing)? I’m thinking 1 block of cream cheese will be plenty for our group, but would love to be able to freeze the other half of the cranberry mixture.

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      Hi Deb, unfortunately, I have not frozen the leftovers of this cranberry cream cheese dip but I can tell you that as people eat the cream cheese, they tend to grab more cranberry sauce…so what I would so just keep replenishing more of the topping throughout the party and there might not be as much left over as you think.

  4. Can you use canned cranberries? And could you mix the sauce and cream cheese together?

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      I suppose you could try it anyway you wanted but I have never tested it out that way 🙂

  5. Virginia Martinez says:

    can you make it ahead of time ? and is the sauce suppose to be hot or warm when you serve it

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      Yes it can be made a head of time. It should be cooled before putting on cream cheese. 🙂

  6. Maxie Moates says:

    Can you cheat and use the canned whole berry cranberry sauce?? Just in a pinch.

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      TBH, I am not 100% sure how the preservatives in a can would melt with other flavors but…maybe if you warmed a can up and added pecans and a little spoon or two of grape jam it would quicken to the same consistency (if necessary). I would not rule it out!

  7. Will this still work without pecans? My brother-in-law has a severe nut allergy so no one in his family eats any nuts just in case.

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      Yes, it should be fine!

  8. I am not a fan of apricot preserves. What are some suggestions to use as a substitution. Thank you.

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      You can test any preserves you like and they should work fine.

  9. Mary Place says:

    Looks luscious! Can I freeze it for 2 weeks? Mary

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      I would not freeze the cream cheese and cranberries together, but there shouldnt be a problem freezing them for 2 weeks separately. Then put in fridge and let thaw naturally.

  10. Your thoughts about adding cilantro along with the jalapeno to it? I had been looking at making cranberry salsa and then I found your recipe and it sounds really tasty. 😋

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      Those sound like great additions to me!

  11. Any idea how long this will last in the fridge? I made it last Saturday and have over half left in fridge. Wanted to serve it Christmas Eve but I’m not sure if it’s still good or not.

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      I keep it about 3 days.