Cranberry Dip

by Gretchen · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated September 18, 2023

~ 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  

Overhead of several crostini on serving tray, with 3 on appetizer plate in foreground.

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!

Cranberry dip presented in serving bowl, sprinkled with goat cheese, with crostini and crackers ready for dipping.

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.

Overhead of cranberries, pineapple and apple chunks in blender, ready to be processed into the dip.

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).

Overhead of the processed ingredients in blender.

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.

Closeup of 1 toast spread with dip and held in fingers, with another on an appetizer plate in background below.

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!

FAQs At-a-Glance

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! 

Overhead of 3 appetizer crostini with the dip and goat cheese topping, with additional ones on a tray in background, with extra cranberry and sprinkled cheese laying around.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, loyal THKers! We count you among our blessings, and are so thankful for you!

~ by Gretchen

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Flatlay of 3 cranberry appetizer toasts on a white plate with more on a serving tray in background.

Cranberry Dip

Yield: About 1 3/4 cups of spread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This dip is healthy and super-fast, yet so delicious, too! Sweet-tart and creamy, it's perfect for parties and gorgeous as a holiday appetizer!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian  

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

Notes

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.

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Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

12 thoughts on “Cranberry Dip”

    • Hi Mary! Gosh, let me see if I can try to describe … So, raw cranberries are a bit firm. I don’t know if I’d quite say they’re crunchy exactly, but almost. They’re also delightfully tart, just the way unsweetened cranberry juice is. The sweet pineapple and touch of brown sugar counterbalance that tartness, though, and the sweet-tart apple mirrors both flavor profiles in its own way. The goat cheese has lush, rich creaminess that provides terrific underlying body, and the vanilla and cinnamon add comforting, subtle background notes. You don’t typically just eat raw cranberries, straight-up, on their own – I mean, you could, but that’s not typically how most people enjoy them. What’s important here and makes this recipe work so beautifully is how their taste and texture is leveraged against contrasting flavors and textures from the other ingredients. Also, note that if you want the texture of the cranberry bits to be less prominent, you can process the cranberry mixture a bit more – you don’t want it to be smooth and soupy, certainly, but you can make it more or less craggy, depending on how chunky you like the bits of ingredients. If you pop over to the recipe for Cranberry Sauce (https://twohealthykitchens.com/easy-cranberry-sauce-with-apples-pecans-and-pineapple-5-minutes-and-no-cooking/) that inspired this appetizer recipe, you can see a photo of three different textures for the cranberry mixture – from a bit smoother to a bit chunkier – that you can achieve by simply processing the cranberry mixture a little more or a little less. I hope that description helps you! And I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~Shelley

      Reply
  1. My sister offered several appetizers at our Thanksgiving gathering.
    The cranberry and goat cheese crostini was a huge hit! There was a long wait for all guests to arrive and so, all of this yummy dish was gone before the last guest appeared!!

    Reply
    • We’re so delighted that these were such a big success! They’ve definitely been a huge hit when we’ve taken them to parties to share, and we’re so glad to hear that your family loved them, too! Great appetizers definitely are a key, even on Thanksgiving, to keeping everyone happy until ALL the guests finally arrive (or the turkey finally is done!). Happy holidays to one of our most dedicated readers! We always appreciate your feedback! 😀 ~G&S

      Reply

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