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Cranberry Salsa Appetizer

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I always find it good to have an appetizer like this Cranberry Salsa Appetizer ready to go as guests arrive for Thanksgiving Dinner. It seems no matter how hard I try, I never have the meal ready to go on time.

If everyone else is like me, I don’t eat much before the dinner because I will eat more than my fair share or calories for the day on Thanksgiving. I eat a little something in the morning and  then Thanksgiving dinner takes place in the late afternoon. So I am primed and ready to go when the time rolls around, so if I have to wait long for the meal to start, I start to get the munchies. Just a little something we satisfy me until the meal is ready. This is way it is so good to have a light appetizer.

Cranberry Salsa Appetizer | realmomkitchen.com

This recipe uses an easy cranberry salsa that can be made the day before. The trick with this salsa is it is best made with cranberries that have been frozen and then thawed. I can hardly ever find frozen cranberries here where I live. So all I do is buy fresh cranberries, though them in the freezer. Then when I am ready to make the salsa, I just thaw them and I am ready to go.

The reason frozen is best in this recipe is the texture of the cranberries change after being frozen. Fresh cranberries and pretty crisp. If you cook them they turn out soft. If you use them after being frozen, they are a consistency in between the texture of the fresh and cooked. I have a salsa recipe that uses them fresh and it definitely has more of a crisp texture.

Serving Options

Now there is two ways you can serve them. You can make them into individual bites like I have photographed. You pipe whipped cream cheese into Tostito Scoops. Whipped cream cheese is essential, it is nice and fluffy. Then you fill each chip with a little salsa and garnish with diced green onion.

The over way you can serve them is to spread the cream cheese out on a platter. Then top the cream cheese with the salsa followed by some diced green onion. This way everyone can just serve themselves. If I serve it this way I like to use the Tostitos Bite Sized Chips. However, crackers will also work well if you would rather use those.

I also use 1 jalapeno in this salsa with the seeds removed. This makes a mild salsa. If you want to make it spicier feel free to add more jalapeno or include some of the seeds. You could also serve it over jalapeno cream cheese instead of the whipped cream cheese.

Cranberry Salsa Appetizer | realmomkitchen.com

Cranberry Salsa Appetizer | realmomkitchen.com

Cranberry Salsa Appetizer

Real Mom Kitchen

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  • 3 green onions bottoms removed and cut into large pieces
  • 1 fresh jalapeño top, ribs and seeds removed
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • heaping 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 twelve ounce bag frozen cranberries thawed
  • 1 16 oz container whipped cream cheese
  • 2 10 oz bags Tostitos scoop or bite sized chips (type depends on how you want to serve it)


  • Add half of the green onion to a food processor along with the jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, salt, cumin, and sugar to the food processor. Pulse until mixture is combined.
  • Add the thawed cranberries to the food processor and pulse to combine with the other ingredients. Scrape down sides and pulse until thoroughly chopped but not puréed. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Place a strainer over a bowl and add salsa to the strainer to drain excess juice. Dice the remaining green onions.
  • Pipe cream cheese into the  Tostitos scoop chips if serving that way and or spread cream cheese onto a platter if serving that way.
  • For the scoops, place about a heaping teaspoon of strained cranberry salsa onto each chip on top of the cream cheese. Followed by a few pieces of the diced green onion.
  • For the platter, spread strained salsa over the platter with the spread cream cheese. Topped with the diced green onion and serve with the Tostitos bite sized chips.
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