A Spicy Perspective

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip (Cream Cheese Dip)

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Our Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Jalapeno Dip (Cream Cheese Dip), is an easy and addictive party snack for the holidays! It’s rich and creamy with a pop of berry flavor!

 Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

Go-To Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip

Every year as the holidays roll in, there seems to be an endless procession of parties, work events, and neighborhood potlucks to attend. And of course, to each event you are required to bring food. 

Therefore, having a handful of quick and elegant make-and-take party snack recipes, in your back pocket, is of the utmost importance.

You want to bring an appetizer to the party that will stand out, taste delicious, and will disappear by the end of the night… However, you do not want something that will break the bank or take unnecessary time to prepare.

After all, during the holiday season, who has extra time and money to waste?

Today I’m sharing a fabulous old-school recipe with a twist! 

This Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip Recipe is a nod to the beloved retro “block of cream cheese with jalapeno jelly poured over the top.”

Yet it’s so much more!

cream cheese dip

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip Recipe… There’s No School Like the Old School

So why would we take a vintage 2-ingredient recipe and turn it into an 8-ingredient recipe?

Well, because it’s much better.

Our Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip looks better and tastes better than the classic jelly-covered-block concept, so you can feel proud to set it out amongst the other dishes.

Plus, almost all the ingredients are fridge and pantry staples, so it’s easy to pull together in minutes.

This version of Cranberry Jalapeno Dip with Cream Cheese is… 

  • Sweet and savory
  • Tangy and spicy
  • Herbaceous
  • And dazzling to behold! 

The quick homemade cranberry sauce drapes over the zesty cream cheese dip like glistening jewels.

jalapeño cream cheese

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip Recipe Ingredients

There are two components of this Easy Cranberry Jalapeno Dip… The cream cheese dip, and the cranberry topping.

The Cream Cheese Dip on the bottom is bold and zesty, with a pop of herbs and heat.

The cranberry sauce is sweet, with an unapologetic tangy note.

Together, they are magic. 

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Here’s what you’ll need…


For The Cream Cheese Dip

  • Cream Cheese
  • Pickled Jalapenos (mild or hot)
  • Scallions
  • Lemon Zest
  • Garlic Powder

For The Cranberry Sauce Topping

  • Fresh Cranberries (or frozen)
  • Pomegranate Juice
  • Sugar

…And a little salt and pepper never hurts.

cranberry cream cheese dip

How to Make Holiday Cranberry Dip with Cream Cheese 

  1. Simmer the Sauce. Cook the cranberries with pomegranate juice and sugar until they form a thick sauce. 
  2. Mash and Mix. Smash the herbs, lemon zest, and jalapenos into the cream cheese.
  3. Scoop and Top. Scoop the cream cheese dip into a serving bowl and pour the cooled cranberry sauce over the top.

Get the Full (Printable) Holiday Cranberry Jalapeno Dip Recipe Below

cream cheese

Easy Cranberry Dip Tips & Tricks

  • Can’t find fresh cranberries? You can use frozen cranberries instead. If no cranberries are available, try making it with tart cherries or raspberries and only 1/2 cup sugar.
  • Short on Time? You can add the cranberry sauce over the cream cheese dip while it’s still a little warm… It just can’t be hot.
  • Prepping Ahead? You can make the entire recipe as-is up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Then set it out 1 hour before serving so the cream cheese can soften. If you need to make it further in advance (up to 5 days) keep the cream cheese dip and cranberry sauce separate in the fridge.
  • Gluten-Free? Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten-free. If you want to keep it that way, select gluten-free crackers for dipping. 
  • Dairy-Free & Vegan? You can actually make a dairy-free and/or vegan version of this Cranberry Jalapeno Dip by swapping the cream cheese for a vegan cream cheese substitute.
sweet and spicy

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this dip last in the fridge?

Leftovers of this cream cheese recipe can last in the fridge for 4 to 5 days when stored properly. I would not recommend freezing this recipe. 

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can make this Cranberry Dip up to 2 days in advance, placing the cranberry sauce directly over the cream cheese. Cover and refrigerate.

You can also make it up to 5 days ahead. However, you will need to keep the two components separate in the refrigerator, until ready to serve.

Can I use fresh Jalapenos instead of the pickled ones?

You can use fresh jalapeno if you like. I would cut back on the amount though because fresh jalapenos tend to be spicier than the pickled variety.

Is there a substitution for the lemon zest?

You can add a squeeze of lemon juice, or just leave it out.

rich and creamy

More Holiday Dip Recipes

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Perky Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Our Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip, is an easy and addictive party snack for the holidays! It's rich and creamy with a pop of berry flavor!
Servings: 16



  • Set a small saucepot over medium heat. Pour in the cranberries, pomegranate juice, and sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until thick.
  • Meanwhile, set out a medium mixing bowl. Add the softened cream cheese, chopped scallions, 3 tablespoons of chopped jalapeno, lemon zest, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Smash and mix well.
  • Taste the cream cheese dip. Add more chopped jalapeno if desired, as well as salt and pepper.
  • Remove the cranberry sauce from the heat. Let it cool and thicken.
  • Place the cream cheese dip in a serving bowl and arrange crackers around the bowl. Once the cranberry topping is cool, pour it over the cream cheese dip. (The cranberry sauce can still be warm to the touch when you pour it over the cream cheese dip. Just not hot!)
  • Sprinkle extra scallions over the top if desired. Serve at room temperature.



Make Ahead: You can make this Cranberry Dip up to 2 days in advance, placing the cranberry sauce directly over the cream cheese. Cover and refrigerate.
You can also make it up to 5 days ahead. However, you will need to keep the two components separate in the refrigerator, until ready to serve.


Serving: 2oz, Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 166mg, Potassium: 121mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 217IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 46mg
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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7 comments on “Cranberry Jalapeno Dip (Cream Cheese Dip)”

  1. This was soooo good, and so easy to make. The hardest thing to find was the fresh cranberries. I definetly plan to make this again.

  2. This is such an amazing dip!! Everyone at my house loved it!

  3. Can you use fresh jalapeno or do you need the pickled

  4. I really don’t care for zest. I think it’s a texture thing. Is there a substitute I can use for the zest? Thank

  5. The sweet and spicy combination is one for the books!