Warm up with some cranberry salsa this fall season. This is a great recipe for those looking to try something new and different. One of the best things about cranberries is that they go well with so many other foods, such as turkey casserole and stuffing which are two Thanksgiving staples! Cranberry Salsa is also a great appetizer for any holiday party you might be attending. If you’re not sure what to make for your next dinner party or family gathering, try adding this dish on the menu! It’s easy to prepare and it will surely delight all of your guests with its bold and fresh flavors.
Ready for a new, but old-school recipe? Cranberry Salsa is perfect for the Thanksgiving table. This salsa can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. It tastes great on top of turkey, ham or chicken! The tangy cranberries pair nicely with cilantro, honey, lime juice and jalapeños to give your taste buds an explosion of flavor. Serve this spicy and sweet salsa over some cream cheese for a nice cooling appetizer with crackers or chips.
I love trying new to me recipes that are fresh and delicious and this salsa recipe is no exception. I used Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries which you can find in the freezer section. They are frozen whole at the peak of perfection and are perfect not only appetizers, but also baked goods like these Cranberry Orange Scones.
Before we get into the recipe, I want to make sure you all are prepared with everything you need to make a delicious appetizer this holiday season.
How to Make Cranberry Salsa
Making cranberry salsa is super simple! You will need the following supplies to make it a success:
- Cutting board & knife – To ensure you have a safe space to prepare all your veggies and herbs.
- Gloves – For working with jalapenos. Be sure to never touch your face or eyes!
- Food processor – to process frozen or fresh cranberries effortlessly to a rough chop consistency.
- Colander – to wash fresh herbs and rinse fresh cranberries (if you use them).
- Large bowl with a lid or large storage container – For storing the salsa in.
- Zester – To zest the lime.
The most important thing about making this salsa is to make sure all the veggies and herbs are chopped into smaller pieces. I do not recommend keeping the berries whole as they wont be able to absorb the flavor, and they are a choking hazard.
You pretty much just need to chop all the fresh elements, and add them to a bowl. Then, add the sweeter elements, lime zest, juice, honey. These additives add a much needed zing to the salsa.
Is this Salsa Spicy?
This salsa is tangy, sweet, and spicy! I would say that it is pretty spicy for anyone that might be sensitive to heat. If you are serving this to kids or anyone with spice sensitivities I would reduce the jalapeno to just one, or sub in a red, green, or orange sweet bell pepper. Always make sure to remove all the white “ribs” and seeds from the peppers to reduce the heat with gloves hands– do not touch your face!
Recipes Tips & Swaps
- Reduce Heat – To reduce heat use one jalapeno or use one sweet bell pepper.
- Flavor mix-ups – If you want to add some warmth to this salsa, consider adding 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to this and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. Use orange zest & juice instead of a lime zest.
- Serving Tip – If you make this recipe as is, it will be spicy, but you can provide a cooling element with some dairy. Serve this salsa over a brick of cream cheese, or a layer of sour cream. Crackers, and thick chips pair well with this.
Fresh or Frozen Cranberries?
This recipe is perfect for both fresh or frozen cranberries. If you are having a hard time finding fresh cranberries, or prefer a larger amount, Cape Cod Select has large 3 pound bags available. I find I can make about 3-4 recipes per bag and prefer them frozen.
On the other hand, if you get too many fresh cranberries, be sure to wash them, dry them, and freeze them in airtight containers or bags to maximize their freshness. You do not even need to thaw them before making this salsa or pretty much any recipe containing cranberries.
How Long Does Cranberry Salsa Last in the Fridge?
This salsa recipe is perfect for a make-ahead appetizer. It also is one of those foods that taste better the longer it sits because the flavors have a chance to meld. While it likely will not last this long, I have kept it for up to 6 days when stored in an airtight container with NO dairy added. If you have leftovers that contain dairy like cream cheese or sour cream it reduces the time to just 3 days max in the refrigerator.
Freezing Cranberry Salsa
While I would not opt to freeze this salsa myself, it can be frozen for up to 30 days when stored in an airtight freezer bag or container. The greens in the salsa will turn a deep green/blackish color and the salsa will likely be watery when thawed. If you can opt to not freeze it, I would suggest not doing it!
Cranberry Salsa Recipe
- food processor
- cutting board & knife
- large bowl or container
- 16 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
- 3 jalapeños remove seeds, and ribs with gloved hands, diced
- 1 shallot minced
- ¼ cup green onion diced
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon lime zest zest of one lime
- 2 tablespoons lime juice juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a food processor, pulse cranberries until rough chopped; about 5 seconds.
- In a large bowl or container, add cranberries, herbs, shallot, honey, vinegar, sugar, and spices. Mix to combine.
- Cover and store the salsa in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
This is absolutely delicious!!! I made 2 batches of the cranberry salsa (one with 1 jalapeño and the other with bell pepper, orange, and the warming spices) and both were SO GOOD! The only change I made was I left out was the shallots and mint, because I forgot to buy them at the store. I let the flavours meld in the fridge for about 36 hours before bringing it out to try. Seriously, how have I never heard about or tried cranberry salsa before? It is a game changer. I brought both recipes to a family potluck Christmas dinner. Everyone loved it. And the leftovers taste great with cheese and crackers or Tostito style chips. This recipe will definitely be added to my arsenal of go to recipes.