Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread

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This is a Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread appetizer that is sure to please any crowd!  It’s that time of year when we get to share our homemade appetizers at family and friend parties. That’s why I decided to update this post as part of my focus on appetizers the past couple of weeks.

This is a really easy one to make. I love fresh cranberries, and my sister, Denise (from Texas) taught me one year how to make homemade cranberry sauce.

This appetizer is sweet, creamy, and with a little kick from the Jalapeño jelly, it should be enjoyed by all your family and friends. It’s easy to put together and make ahead of time. Just pour the cranberry mixture over the cream cheese when you are ready to serve it.

It’s perfect for that Christmas potluck or family get-together. Who doesn’t love appetizers, right? Be ready to pass out the recipe because people love easy recipes, particularly at this busy time of year.

Okay, I was instantly hooked on the cranberry topping. It is only fresh cranberries, sugar, and water. You bring the sugar and water to a boil then add the fresh cranberries, stirring almost constantly. I can’t stir them constantly because I always have five things going on at the same time! LOL! What I love about this recipe is I can add some Jalapeño jelly from a jar to give this cranberry sauce a little kick!

Be sure and use fresh cranberries, it makes all the difference. I wash them and add them to the sugar and water mixture that has been boiling. Just stir until the cranberries start to break down and the mixture thickens. It will get thicker after it cools, as well.

Let me ask you this, do you get excited when November rolls around and you see those bags of cranberries? Squeal, I sure do! Here’s the deal, you can’t go super early in November because the grocery stores may not have them until around the 10th of the month.

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread

Ingredients – Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread

  • Cream cheese (softened): The main ingredient! A soft and smooth, mild-tasting cheese made from milk and cream which contains protein and calcium.
  • Fresh cranberries: A small, hard, round red fruit. Known to be sour and bitter. High in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Use fresh cranberries in this recipe!
  • Sugar: Preserves the color, texture, and flavor of food. Helps the fresh cranberries break down and thicken. Increases the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Water: Used to dissolve the sugar while boiling and to soften the cranberries.
  • Jalapeño Jelly: A delicious sweet and spicy jelly generally made of spicy jalapeños, sugar, vinegar, pectin, and bell peppers.
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Items You May Need In The Kitchen:

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread

Step One – Gather and Assemble the Ingredients

Gather and assemble the ingredients, so you know exactly what you need to start the recipe.

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese

Step Two – Boil Sugar and Water Until Sugar Dissolves – Turn Down the Heat

Boil the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Turn down the heat on the stove.

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese

Step Three – Wash the Cranberries – Add to Sugar Mixture – Allow to Thicken

Wash the cranberries, remove any damaged ones and drain. Add the cranberries to the sugar mixture and stir until the cranberries break down slightly and start to thicken. This really helps with liquidity so the cranberry mixture isn’t too thin when placed on the cream cheese. There is no chopping involved or the need to use a food processor! So easy! 🙂

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese

Step Four – Before Placing in Fridge, Add the Jalapeño Jelly

The mixture will thicken when it cools and is refrigerated. Before placing the cranberry sauce in the refrigerator add the amount of Jalapeño jelly you prefer. The more you add, the more “kick” the Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Appetizer will have. I add the whole jar. I do buy the mild Jalapeño Jelly since most of my family doesn’t enjoy “hot” jelly, as in spicy hot.

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese

Finished Product

After the mixture is refrigerated and ready to serve, spread the cranberry mixture over the softened cream cheese in a serving bowl, dish, or pie plate. Serve with your favorite crackers. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Enjoy!

Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese
5 from 3 votes
Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese
Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

This is a Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread that is sure to please any crowd! You can make it ahead of time for parties!

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 1- eight-ounce cream cheese (softened)
  • 1-12 ounce package freshly washed cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your favorite Jalapeño Jelly- I use one whole jar – 10 ounces
Instructions
  1. Gather and assemble all of the ingredients.

  2. Boil the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Turn down the heat on the stove.

  3. Wash the fresh cranberries, remove any suspect berries and drain. Add the cranberries to the sugar mixture and stir until the cranberries break down slightly and it starts to thicken. There is no chopping involved or the need to use a food processor! So easy! 🙂

  4. The mixture will thicken more when it cools and is refrigerated. Before placing the cranberry sauce in the refrigerator, add the amount of Jalapeño jelly you prefer. The more you add the more “kick” the Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread will have. I add the whole 10 ounce jar. I do buy the mild Jalapeño Jelly.

  5. After the mixture is refrigerated and ready to serve, spread the mixture over the softened cream cheese. Serve with your favorite crackers.

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How do I store this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese spread?

I use a Tupperware-type container and store the cranberry jelly mixture in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I store it without the cream cheese.

Can I freeze this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese spread?

I haven’t frozen it, but I have frozen fresh cranberries without the sugar and water mixture. I’m guessing you can, but I don’t know for sure.

Can I use the cranberry mixture on sandwiches?

Yes, you can! It’s so good on a turkey with dressing/stuffing sandwich! Add a bit of cream cheese and you have a million-dollar sandwich, in my opinion!

What do I use to eat this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese spread?

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Wheat Thins
  • Triscuit Crackers
  • Pita Chips
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Pretzel Chips
  • Sour Dough Toast
  • Crostinis

Are there any alternative ingredients I could add to this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese spread?

I really love this cranberry jalapeno dip the way it is! If you’re interested in a slight variation, I would recommend adding some lime juice or lemon juice to the cranberry-jalapeno mixture. This would add a little sour punch to the spread. You could also garnish the spread with a little cilantro, chives, or green onions to give the cream cheese spread a delicious twist! So many options for the perfect appetizer for you to take to a get-together!

Looking for a cheese ball to take to a get-together? These are some of my favorites!

Love cranberries? Check out these other delicious cranberry recipes!

Final Word

Oh my gosh, I love fresh cranberry sauce! Do you make your own? This cranberry Jalapeño cream cheese spread is a keeper for parties! It seems like most people only think of cranberry sauce as something to eat with a turkey dinner, particularly at Thanksgiving.

Let me tell you, we’ve made this cranberry jalapeño cream cheese spread for years and it’s become a favorite for us. The tart cranberries add such a delicious flavor!

Let me know if you make it and how it turned out for you. May God Bless this world, Linda

5 from 2 votes
3-Ingredient Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 1 32-ounce fresh cranberries
  • 2-1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups water
Instructions
  1. Gather all of the ingredients.

  2. Using a colander, wash the cranberries after sorting through them and discarding the bad ones.

  3. In a medium saucepan, boil the water and sugar together.

  4. Continue to boil the water and sugar together until the sugar completely dissolves.

  5. Add the cranberries to the sugar and water mixture and stir until the cranberries break down slightly and start to thicken.

  6. Bring the cranberries and sugar mixture to a boil. Simmer.

  7. Use a potato masher to break down most of the soft cranberries. There is no chopping involved or the need to use a food processor! 

  8. The mixture will thicken more when it cools and is refrigerated. 

  9. Fill your jars with the cranberry sauce after it cools down a bit. Refrigerate until needed. It will keep for up to ten days.

12 thoughts on “Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread

  • December 28, 2021 at 7:49 am
    Permalink

    5 stars
    This sounds so good. I can’t wait to make some.

    Reply
    • December 28, 2021 at 9:37 am
      Permalink

      Hi Deborah, thank you for the 5 stars! I’m coming to the end of my appetizers! LOL! Linda

      Reply
  • December 28, 2021 at 9:52 am
    Permalink

    Can you substitute canned whole cranberries for fresh cranberries?

    Reply
    • December 28, 2021 at 10:59 am
      Permalink

      Hi Marie, That’s a great question. It’s worth a try but I’m not sure it would thicken up enough. Because the canned whole berries have already been “cooked” it may become too runny. You could thicken it with “Clear Jel” maybe. Linda

      Reply
  • December 28, 2021 at 10:31 am
    Permalink

    I love them! I made Crack Chicken Pinwheels and they were so good. I have none left. My sis-in-law and I ate them for breakfast one morning. LOL Yes, we’re weird. We also had pecan pie bars one morning.

    Reply
    • December 28, 2021 at 11:00 am
      Permalink

      Hi Deborah, not weird at all. I just had leftover chicken salad sandwiches for breakfast! LOL! Now I need the recipe for Crack Chicken Pinwheels! LOL! It sounds good! Linda

      Reply
  • November 1, 2022 at 6:09 pm
    Permalink

    5 stars
    Yummm!! I’m always looking for delicious appetizers to take to family get togethers. This one looks perfect! I love an appetizer I can throw together quick! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!❤️

    Reply
    • November 2, 2022 at 7:19 am
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      Hi Camille, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! I love the holidays!!! Linda

      Reply
  • November 2, 2022 at 7:32 am
    Permalink

    Take your cream cheese and whip it to make it spreadable. Some family members do not like whole cranberries so I process them some in my food processor .
    Great spread on dough of your choice and add some left over turkey and roll then bake cut into rounds after cooled a little

    Reply
    • November 2, 2022 at 7:49 am
      Permalink

      Hi Carrie, WHAT? Why didn’t I think of whipping the cream cheese? That’s the best idea!!! I learn something new every single day! I’m going to try your tip on the dough, turkey, and spread and baking them. That’s a great idea! Linda

      Reply
  • November 2, 2022 at 10:41 am
    Permalink

    5 stars
    Now I’ll never get more jalapeno jelly–they will be all sold out, oh wat, they already are! I am thinking I will have to make some jalapeno-y something to add as this sounds great! I usually make my cranberries with lime, lime zest, and ginger (I love those little frozen cubes, but fresh or powdered works also). I have used the pepper jelly straight over cream cheese as a dip, this sounds even better!

    Reply
    • November 2, 2022 at 12:54 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Jan, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! I love to put the Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Jelly straight over cream cheese! I’m heading to the store today to see if I can find some Jalapeño Jelly. I sure hope they have some. Great tip on cranberries! Linda

      Reply

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