Fresh Cranberry Salsa

Fresh cranberry salsa is a spicy, sweet twist on the traditional cranberry sauce.  I like to serve this alongside the holiday turkey or spooned onto cream cheese as an appetizer.  The salsa also makes a great dip with tortilla chips.

Bowls of Fresh Cranberry Salsa - a twist on a traditional Thanksgiving favorite. Fresh cranberries, jalapenos, ginger, onions, and cilantro is a sweet and spicy treat.

For years, our cranberry sauce came out of a can and was usually gelled and had to be sliced.  After seeing fresh cranberries in the grocery store, I started experimenting with different types of cranberry sauces for the holidays.  This one is one of my favorites.

First, there isn’t any cooking involved, so the berries retain a bit of texture and crunch.  I love the heat from the jalapenos and the spice of the fresh ginger.  It’s different and yet still feels like a special holiday dish.


  • Cranberries – fresh is best, but you can use frozen in a pinch and thaw them before using
  • Green onions – just give them a rough chop into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Jalapeno peppers – if you like heat leave in the seeds and veins.  Use as many as you like.  The peppers provide the heat.  Keep in mind that the heat will increase the longer the salsa sits.
  • Ginger – you can use fresh and grate it yourself or buy the grated ginger in a tube that is sold in the produce section of your grocery store, usually by the fresh herbs.  This adds to the spiciness without adding more heat.
  • Cilantro – use as much as you like or omit it completely for those who don’t care for the flavor.
  • Sugar – start with ¼ cup and add more to taste.  I like the sweet/spicy combination.
  • Zest and juice from an orange and a lime – they compliment the flavor of the cranberries and add freshness to the recipe
  • Salt – just a hint to bring out the flavors


  • Serve the salsa over cream cheese as a cold appetizer with crackers.
  • You can also top baked brie with the room temperature salsa.
  • This salsa makes a great condiment for grilled chicken or inside a leftover turkey sandwich.
  • Spread goat cheese on a toasted baguette slice and top it with the salsa for a quick bruschetta dish. 

Bowls of Fresh Cranberry Salsa - a twist on a traditional Thanksgiving favorite. Fresh cranberries, jalapenos, ginger, onions, and cilantro is a sweet and spicy treat.

More twists on holiday classics:



This Fresh Cranberry Salsa is a delicious, spicy/sweet twist on the traditional Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.

  • Author: Millie from Eats By The Beach
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes + chilling time
  • Total Time: 15 minutes + chilling time
  • Yield: Serves 6 - 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex



1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries

3 green onions, roughly chopped

12 large jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

¼ cup cilantro leaves

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon lime zest, finely minced

½ teaspoon salt


In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, combine all the ingredients.

Pulse 4 or 5 times, then pause to scrape down the sides.

Continue to pulse until a medium consistency with no large pieces is achieved.

Be careful not overprocess or it will be too watery. 

Spoon the salsa into a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least six hours.

Serve at room temperature.


This salsa can be made up to 1 month ahead and frozen.  Omit the fresh cilantro, if freezing, and store it in an airtight container.  Thaw in the refrigerator and stir in minced cilantro before serving.

Keywords: fresh cranberry salsa, spicy cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving recipes, cranberry sauce recipes, homemade cranberry sauce recipes