~ This super-easy Cranberry Dip recipe is a delightful, healthy appetizer that takes virtually no time to make (you can even prep it mostly ahead). Serve it sprinkled with goat cheese and piled beautifully on crostini, or offer your dip with crackers alongside – so versatile! Irresistibly tart and creamy, it’s perfect for parties, and gorgeous for holiday buffets! ~
(Originally posted as Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini.)
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Includes Make-Ahead steps • Vegetarian • Gluten Free •
You know how there are some foods that are so delicious you want to eat them in multiple forms? Like, as soon as you taste a bite, you’re thinking, “Mmmm … I could eat this as a casserole! And on ice cream! Ohhhh … maybe even in a taco!”
No? You don’t do that? Humph. Maybe it’s just a food blogger thing.
Well, lucky for you, I did just that. And Shelley and I have been holding onto this recipe for nearly a year now – just because it’s awesomely perfect for the holidays!
You remember last year when we shared Shelley’s recipe for her scrumptious Easy Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Pecans and Pineapple (5 Minutes and No Cooking!) … right?
Well, the day we did our final tasting and photographing, all I could think of was how fabulous that cranberry sauce would taste with goat cheese! Maybe with crackers, or on a crunchy little toast!
I pictured myself serving it on Thanksgiving Day to my extended family, everyone having a grand ol’ time laughing and happily munching away. Yes. I needed to make this happen.
As we were photographing, I mentioned my little idea to Shelley (’cause I tell her everything anyhow), and she immediately went and grabbed the goat cheese from her fridge. Because she just has goat cheese at all times. That lady has a well-stocked fridge. No joke there.
Sadly, she didn’t have any crunchy little toasts, so we substituted flat pretzels. (Works equally well in a pinch … just an FYI.)
Even before we’d finished the pictures for our original cranberry sauce, we’d made a note on the calendar to share cranberry dip … with goat cheese! … for this year (as we happily wiped cracker crumbs off our chins and grabbed for more).
You probably know that Shelley and I essentially share a brain, so it should come as no surprise that we both had the exact same idea to make Cranberry Dip with Goat Cheese last year to share with our families on Thanksgiving. It was just like I pictured … loads of our loved ones (mine in PA, and Shelley’s in OH) enjoying each other’s company over a delicious cranberry dip appetizer. Ahhh … perfection.
The only difference was that when we each separately created this yummy treat before the big meal – I made my dip into individual crostini, while Shelley combined the goat cheese and cranberry sauce into a big bowl of dip, and let everyone spread the mixture themselves.
Friends … it’s delicious either way. Trust me.
Since cranberries are unofficially the official fruit of fall (which is when they’re harvested), this appetizer dip is literally begging to be made next week and shared at your Thanksgiving feast. It’s a special little way to let your family know how much you care. (And to keep them from getting the hungry-grumpies before the potatoes are mashed!)
Your sweet (and not grouchy!) families will be head-over-heels for these crunchy, creamy, sweet-tart little bites. A healthy snack that looks like you slaved in the kitchen all day? MmmmHhmmmm. Everyone’s happy … just like Thanksgiving should be!
Can I Make This Cranberry Dip Ahead of Time?
You know we love make-ahead recipes, especially during the ultra-busy holiday season! This Cranberry Dip recipe is perfect for making ahead, except we recommend that you hold off on adding the goat cheese until just before serving, so the cheese doesn’t meld too much with the rest of the dip. You want those creamy pops of goat cheese to be deliciously prominent!
Why Can’t I Find Cranberries at My Store All Year?
In America, cranberries are harvested in the fall, and only show up fresh in grocery stores from about October – January.
Can I Substitute Frozen Cranberries in This Dip?
Cranberries freeze great, and I always try to grab an extra bag or two when they’re fresh and in-season, to stash in my freezer for recipes all year long. However, although this dip can be made with frozen cranberries in a pinch, this particular recipe really is at its best made with fresh berries. Save the frozen ones for muffins and quick breads.
Can I Substitute Dried Cranberries in This Dip?
No, dried cranberries definitely won’t work well here.
Pssssst … need two super-fast seasonal appetizers for your celebration?
Then you’ve gotta make our Easy Pomegranate Salsa, too! It literally takes about 5 minutes to throw together. (Or, for even more great ideas, check out our entire collection of extra-EASY Christmas Appetizers!)
You know … just in case you need to be extra-sure to fend off those hungry-grumpies … totally gotcha covered here!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, loyal THKers! We count you among our blessings, and are so thankful for you!
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- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1/2 Ambrosia or Honeycrisp apple (or other firm, sweet-tart variety), peeled and coarsely chopped (to equal about 3/4 cups)
- 3/4 cup (about 4 ounces) dried chopped pineapple
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- toasted mini breads or crackers, for serving (gluten free, if needed)
- Put cranberries, apple, pineapple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency, scraping the sides once or twice if needed (see note).
- Serve with goat cheese (two options): (1) You can gently mix most of the goat cheese directly into the cranberry mixture to serve as a dip with crackers, reserving a little of the goat cheese to sprinkle on top of your dip. (2) Alternately, you can spoon the cranberry dip onto individual crostini before adding the cheese (the exact amount of dip on each crostini will depend on the size of breads or crostini that you purchase), and then sprinkle the goat cheese on top, dividing it evenly amongst all crostini.
Consistency: The exact consistency of this dip is entirely up to you. We think it’s gorgeous and has great texture when the cranberry mixture is left a bit chunkier. If you prefer, however, you can make it smoother. The consistency you choose will affect the final yield.
Make-ahead tips: The cranberry mixture can be made a day or two in advance (without adding the goat cheese). Keep refrigerated until serving. Add goat cheese before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 servings Serving Size: 2 tablespoons cranberry and goat cheese mix
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 60Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 38mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g
Nutrition calculation does not include optional breads or crackers, as those can vary. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may additionally vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.