This Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is a delicious dip that can be served as an appetizer for the holidays. Christmas is especially a good opportunity to make the recipe, as it looks festive and beautiful on the table.
A delicious appetizer for the holidays
It is December, and in my family, we have many celebrations to attend. We do not celebrate only Christmas, but we also celebrate birthdays, name days, and Saint Nicholas on December 6th.
As a food blogger, I am always interested in testing the recipes by sharing them with others for feedback. What better opportunity than testing the "waters" with your own family and friends?
My initial thought was that nobody would enjoy the appetizer. Romanians are not used to appetizers that are combinations of savory and sweet at the same time, but I was totally wrong.
This cranberry cream cheese dip was the star of the party. Everyone loved it and asked about it.
What is a cranberry cream cheese dip?
This dip is usually a simple cream cheese layer topped with cranberry sauce. My recipe is made with cream cheese mixed with green onions, salt, and pepper, topped with fresh cranberries cooked with warming spices and serrano pepper for added heat.
I used cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a little bit of serrano pepper for heat (it is up to you how spicy you make it). I also added freshly squeezed orange juice.
This appetizer is effortless to make and absolutely delicious. In my opinion, nothing screams more festive than cranberries and orange together during the holidays.
A few words on green onions
If you were patient enough to read the article up to here, you saw that I encouraged you to replace the ingredients with what you have available or what you like. One thing I would insist on, though, is not to skip the green onion.
If you do, it is up to you, but I really think that the green onion balances the sweetness of the dish and makes it amazing. Try this recipe with and without the green onion, and let me know.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions:
Cream cheese is the easiest to find and cheapest ingredient for this recipe, but you can also go with goat cheese, baked brie, or even a combination of cream cheese mixed with Feta.
Some popular recipes use candied walnuts or pecans, but I think almonds are a great option. I make this recipe with whatever nuts I have in the pantry at that particular time. Go ahead and make this recipe yours.
The nuts add texture and flavor to the dish.
How to make this dip
Start with cranberries. Of course, you can use canned cranberries, but if you want this dip to go to the next level, use fresh or frozen cranberries. I try to freeze cranberries when they are in season and take advantage of them later.
Rinse the cranberries, then add them to a small sauce pot.
Clean and dice the serrano pepper. Remove the stem from the serrano pepper, slice it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds (or leave some in if you like it extra spicy), then finely dice the pepper. Add the diced pepper to the sauce pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients and allow the pot to come to a boil. After about 5 minutes of simmering, you will notice that the cranberries will burst open, creating a thicker sauce.
Give it a good stir once in a while and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Allow the sauce to cool, then add part of the sliced almonds to it. Mix.
Assemble the Cream Cheese Dip
Chop the green onions and preserve a teaspoon of them for decoration. Mix the cream cheese with the green onions and add salt and pepper to your taste.
Place the cream cheese on a medium plate or a shallow bowl. Add the cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese and decorate with the preserved teaspoon of green onions and more almonds.
Of course! You can make the cranberry sauce up to two days in advance and just put the dip together on the day of serving.
Yes, you can, but why would you do that? Your canned cranberry sauce might taste a little bit metallic, and it takes only 10 minutes to make this sauce from scratch! So much better than anything else you could find in the store.
Also, if you have some leftover Cranberry Chutney with Apples, you can also add that too. I sometimes make more and have a jar or two in the fridge so I can use it in later recipes.
You could serve it with savory crackers, but you can also be creative and add a few slices of apple, grapes, or even cheese, like Cheddar or anything else you like.
More recipes with cranberries:
Some other recipes to love
Craving more? Subscribe to The Bossy Kitchen to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! Stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates. Don't forget to use the star rating and leave a review.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
Cream Cheese Base:
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- 2-3 medium size green onions chopped finely
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries 2.5 cups
- 1 serrano pepper seeded and finely chopped
- juice of 1 large orange or 2 smalled oranges
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- crackers for serving
- a few apples to slice and serve with the dip
To prepare the cranberry sauce:
- Rinse the cranberries then add them to a medium sauce pot.
- Remove the stem from the serrano pepper, slice it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds (or not if you like it extra spicy), then finely dice the pepper. Add the diced pepper to the sauce pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and allow the pot to come to a boil. You will notice that after about 5 minutes of simmering, the cranberries will burst open creating a thicker sauce. Give it a good stir once in a while and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Allow them to cool, then add part of the sliced almonds to it and mix.
Cream cheese dip:
- Chop the green onions and preserve a teaspoon of them for decoration. Mix the cream cheese with the green onions and add salt and pepper to your taste.
Assemble the cranberry cream cheese dip:
- Place the cream cheese on a medium plate or a shallow bowl. Add the cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese and decorate with the preserved teaspoon of green onions and more almonds.
- Serve with crackers or slices of apples.