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5-Minute Pomegranate Salsa

~ This delicious Pomegranate Salsa looks like Christmas in a bowl, with festive holiday colors! It’s a unique but super-simple Christmas appetizer that wins raves every single time – everybody asks for this recipe! Bonus for the busy holiday season: you can make it ahead of time, too! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free    Paleo  

White, oval serving bowl of this Pomegranate Salsa recipe, ready to serve with a cilantro leaf garnish, and yellow tortilla chips surrounding it, ready for the party.

So, that holiday party you’re going to.

(Ok … I know it’s 2020, so it’s probably a very small party with about 3 people you already hang out with all the time. I get it. But visualize this scenario with me, anyway. Maybe conjure up a picture of normal years, when you have lots of holiday gatherings … from the office, to bookclub, to a big neighborhood shindig, to all those assorted family get-togethers … squint hard … remember what it feels like to go to lots of parties … )

So that party.

Bring the Superstar Dish to Share!

You want to show up with an “ooooooh … who made this?!?” kinda dish.

The intriguing one that everybody’s curious to try … and then everybody begs for the recipe.

You bask in the delighted compliments while mentally smirking to yourself because it literally took about 5 minutes to make.

But oh, wait!

Everybody else is just as busy as you are, and they’re even more excited about this recipe when you finally admit that it’s so ridiculously quick and easy.

Closeup of this Christmas appetizer salsa in a white serving bowl, with yellow tortilla chips surrounding it.

YES! YES! They want to make this to share at their next Christmas party!

They want to be a foodie hero, too!

They want all their friends to be super-impressed and intrigued when they break free of the “routine” holiday appetizers, and breeze into the party with a bowl full of …

  • super-festive, sweet-tart pomegranate arils,
  • all spiffed up with green flecks of jalapeño and cilantro,
  • plus a little hit of red onion and a super-simple dressing that unites all the amazing flavors into one slightly sweet, slightly kicky, slightly savory, perfect little appetizer

It’s such a unique recipe, but completely stress-free to make!

Definitely the dish that’ll have everybody at the party sidling up to you, asking for the recipe.

How I Know Everyone Will Want the Recipe

I know because I’ve lived it. I’ve been part of the chain of events – I’ve begged for this recipe, too!

Luckily, it wasn’t hard to get. Because my sister-in-law, Missy, is super generous about sharing her genius recipes (she’s always got brilliant appetizer creations that everybody ooohs and aaahs over). It’s one of the many reasons I adore her.

Closeup of fingers dipping a yellow tortilla chip into a serving bowl filled with this salsa recipe.

So as she and I stood over a bowl of this gorgeous Pomegranate Salsa last Christmas (plowing through it and elbowing everybody else out of the way) … when I said pa-leeeeeeease could I have the recipe???? She happily shared (and even said I could share it with all of you)! She’d begged the recipe off of her dear friend, Jenn, who’d snagged it from “a boss, like at least three jobs ago.”

See what I mean? People want this recipe … and then they eagerly look forward to making it each Christmas. It’s just so unique, and special … and (most importantly!) surprisingly, wonderfully yummy!

And sooooo easy! You’ll have enough time to swipe on that Christmas-red nail polish before the party (2 coats, even!). It all starts with a smart shortcut …

The Pomegranate Shortcut

Whole pomegranates are stunning when peeled, and it’s honestly kind of fun to pop those little aril gems out of the casing.

Closeup of a cut-open pomegranate, with other salsa ingredients (cilantro and juiced limes) in the background.

If you do it right, it’s actually pretty quick, easy and non-messy. (We show you specifically how to do it in the post How to Open a Pomegranate.)

But if you wanna have time for two coats of that pretty red party nail polish, you might not also find yourself with the luxury of pomegranate-peeling-time, too. I hear ya!

To make this Pomegranate Salsa 5-minute-fast and easy, look for cups of pomegranate arils in your grocery store’s refrigerated produce section.

Ingredients for Pomegranate Salsa arranged on a cutting board, including a small bowl of arils, limes, a jalapeno, a bunch of cilantro, and a red onion.

A perfect shortcut for the busy holiday season, for sure! From there, the rest of the recipe is a total breeze …

How to Make This Pomegranate Salsa

Step 1) Gently toss the pomegranate arils, cilantro, red onion and jalapeño in a bowl.

Overhead of a glass mixing bowl on cutting board, filled with the ingredients for this Pomegranate Salsa, separated into quadrants before being mixed together.

Step 2) Whisk together some lime juice, extra virgin olive oil and honey for a super-fast but perfectly balanced dressing.

Step 3) Pour the dressing over your pomegranate mixture and enjoy!

You can dive in right away, or refrigerate it to serve a day or two later. It actually keeps well for several days, although the cilantro doesn’t look quite as perky.

Customizing the Heat

You can completely control the spiciness of this salsa recipe with the jalapeño.

This Christmas salsa isn’t intended to be super-hot. The jalapeño is there for a bit of complexity and a slight tingle. But of course, heat lovers can amp it up to taste!

Overhead of a glass mixing bowl on a wooden cutting board, filled with the salsa ingredients being combined with a spoon, before being put into a serving bowl.

Some jalapeños are naturally spicier than others, so it’s tough for me to tell you exactly how much to use for various heat levels. Just taste your pepper to check its spice level, and then start by adding a smaller amount of jalapeño to the salsa. You can taste and add more … taste and add more … until the heat is where you want it.

Besides adding extra jalapeño, another way to bump up the heat is to leave in your pepper’s internal ribs and seeds, which is where most of the heat hangs out.

Just remember to grab a pair of disposable gloves when you’re handling your pepper, since the pepper’s oil can cause a burning sensation on your skin. (I speak from experience from alllll those times I thought “meh … I can’t be bothered with gloves … it’ll be fine.” Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t!)

And definitely be sure not to touch your eyes or nose while you’re working. OUCH!

Dippers for Serving

I like to serve up this Pomegranate Salsa with crunchy tortilla chips.

Closeup of fingers holding a tortilla chip with some of the Pomegranate Salsa piled on its tip - the serving bowl and other tortilla chips are blurred out in the background.

I’ve tested it with pita chips and pretzel thins, but tortilla chips are definitely still my fave.

Preferably healthier tortilla chips that have multi-grains or are even baked. But hey – with all the antioxidant power and mega nutrition happening in this salsa, you won’t feel too guilty, even if you grab regular ol’ tortilla chips!

More Ways to Be a Christmas Party Superstar

Need even more great ideas to share at all those holiday parties? The really cute, unique ideas that are true standouts among all the other recipes people bring to the buffet?

These are guaranteed headliners, too:

I truly love all of these recipes.

I’ve tested, tested, and re-tested each of them (like we always do here at THK), and I’ve taken them to so many different parties through the years. I absolutely know they work beautifully, and are guaranteed stunners.

And, if you need even more inspiration, check out our curated collections of Party Food Appetizers, CUTE Christmas Appetizers, and super EASY Christmas Appetizers, too!

But you know what?

The Easiest Win of All

The very simplest, fastest, easiest of them all is this one.

This ultra-quick Pomegranate Salsa.

White, oval serving bowl filled with Christmas Salsa, garnished with a cilantro leaf, with a spoon dipping in and extra ingredients and tortilla chips surrounding it.

If you need a super-fast, guaranteed success, this is it.

Just be sure you’ve got the recipe link cued up on your phone, so you can share it with everybody who’s gonna ask for the recipe!

Closeup of a white serving bowl filled with this salsa, topped with a decorative cilantro leaf and surrounded by tortilla chips.

Easy Pomegranate Salsa

Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Pomegranate Salsa looks like Christmas in a bowl! A unique but super-fast holiday appetizer that wins huge raves every single time!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free    Paleo  


  • 2 cups pomegranate arils (see note)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1-3 tablespoons seeded, minced jalapeño (from about 1 small pepper; adjust amount of heat to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. In a medium bowl, gently toss pomegranate arils, cilantro, onion, and jalapeño.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, oil, and honey briefly to combine. Pour over pomegranate mixture and stir to incorporate evenly.
  3. Serve immediately or chill for at least an hour, if you have time. Can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1-2 days. 


Pomegranate arils: To make prep faster, instead of purchasing a whole pomegranate and removing the arils yourself (like we show you in our post How to Open a Pomegranate), look for cups of pomegranate arils in the refrigerated section of your grocery store's produce department. If purchasing whole pomegranates, note that each one (depending on size) should typically yield around 1 - 1 1/4 cups of arils, so you will need to purchase at least two for this recipe.

Jalapeños: Jalapeños vary somewhat in their level of heat. This salsa isn't meant to be particularly hot, but you can adjust its spiciness somewhat, according to how hot your particular jalapeño is, and how much of it you use. To add a lot of heat, do not remove the inner ribs and seeds. When handling jalapeños, it's a good idea to wear disposable gloves, and be very careful that you don’t touch your eyes, nose or face while you’re working.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 servings Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may 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.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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    1. Hi, Nicole! I don’t do much canning, and haven’t tested how this recipe performs if canned, so I apologize that I can’t say for sure how well that would work. If you try it, though, I’d be interested to know how it goes! Happy holidays! ~Shelley

  1. This was absolutely fantastic! I love pomegranates but never thought to use them in a salsa. Such a great idea!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I love making it all throughout pomegranate season (it’s not just for Christmas!). Such a delicious and unique salsa and a fun change of pace! Happy New Year, Stephanie! ~Shelley

    1. I love pomegranate, too! In the last few years, it’s kind of grown into an addiction, largely because I feel so in love with this salsa recipe! I’m really happy you love this salsa, too – it’s such a fun recipe to share! Happy New Year, Kristyn! ~Shelley

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