~ This Cream Cheese Dip appetizer recipe is a total snap to throw together in moments (like … 3 minutes flat)! It absolutely disappears whenever I serve it, and everybody asks for the recipe! Perfect for picnics and potlucks, tailgates and sports parties … even as a fancy, finger-food appetizer (we’ve got tips to gussy it right up)! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Make Ahead • Vegetarian • Gluten Free (depending on your choice of crackers) •
What do you do when you get invited to a last-minute gathering (and, of course … you have to bring along something to share)?!? All those little neighborhood get-togethers, ladies’ nights, and impromptu cookouts. There’s always something spontaneous and fun that pops up at the last moment … and requires you to have a dish to share.
So do you panic, wondering what you can throw together (in no time) that’ll still be impressive?
Nah! Don’t panic!
You just need a great appetizer recipe you can whip up at a moment’s notice. I love those kinds of appetizers! Ones that I absolutely know will always, always win big raves, every time I serve them … with no stress, and with practically no effort at all!
But wait … does that magical, mythical recipe exist? Of course it does!
This Cream Cheese Dip is “that dish”!
Everybody asks for the recipe, and even people who say they don’t like spicy foods love this!
It’s the perfect blend of:
- rich and creamy, cooling and slightly tangy cream cheese
- sweet, fruity jelly
- and a fun, spunky, spicy little kick from the Pepper Relish (but don’t worry – you can totally control the heat, which we’ll talk about in a sec …)
Dive in with a crispy-crunchy whole grain cracker, and you’re pretty much hitting all the flavor and texture notes here!
It’s just so good!
As in … it usually completely disappears, every time I serve it (and I’ve served it at quite a few parties!). In fact, I’ve actually had to make a second batch of it, after the first batch was scarfed down in a flash!
Why This Dip Is So Gosh-Darn Easy-Peasy
Luckily, this is one appetizer that’s a total snap to make (even if it disappears in minutes, and I have to make a second tray of it)!
What makes it so quick and simple it that:
• It’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand, since they all have relatively long “shelf lives.” So, you really can throw this together at a moment’s notice!
• It takes practically no time at all to make! If you’ve got Pepper Relish stockpiled in your freezer like I do (and seriously – you really and truly should!) … then this appetizer recipe takes maybe 3 minutes. Seriously. Ok ok … maybe 5 minutes if you get really artful about how you spread the jelly and sprinkle pretty parsley decoratively across the top. Maybe you could stretch it out to 5 minutes of effort if you really tried.
Varying the Spiciness
There are a couple of different ways to adjust the spiciness of this recipe.
1) First, when you’re making the Pepper Relish (to stock your freezer so you can eat it on practically everything!), you can follow our suggestions for making a milder Relish.
2) You can also vary exactly how much of the Pepper Relish you use when you make this appetizer. I like to start with just 1 tablespoon of Pepper Relish on top, and then offer extra Pepper Relish to the side.
That way, people who are hesitant about spicy foods still love it (and honestly – I’ve been so, so surprised how much they do!), but my spice-head friends can spoon on extra heat to their hearts’ content!
When (and How) to Serve This Cream Cheese Dip
• Picnics and Potlucks – I’ve taken this to picnics and served it at family reunions (like our annual “Fish-Off” Party). It’s great in the summer!
• Sporty Gatherings! – It’s definitely manly enough to be terrific at tailgates and sporty parties, too. I just served it up at our Super Bowl party few weeks ago, and now that it’s March Madness time, I’m thinking a few of you out there might need this to munch on with all that rollercoaster college hoops action!
• Plated for Dressier Affairs – If you want to fancy it up a bit, for that high-brow schwanky mixer you might be planning, here’s what I’d recommend: Instead of constructing the appetizer on a platter, with crackers alongside for dipping, individually build each cracker with a dab of cream cheese, a dollop of jelly, and a little dot of Pepper Relish. (Notice those highly technical cooking measurement words … dab and dollop and dot!).
Suddenly, that manly Super Bowl appetizer dip turns into a pretty, plated finger-food appetizer for your party buffet! (But still really simple!) Niiiiiiice!
And BTW – I’ve got lots of other terrific ideas for Party Food Appetizers, if you’re planning a whole, big buffet. 😉
• Snackin’ – I also like to make it just for us – as a fun appetizer-y snack for my family. If you’re looking for a great movie night snack, or an alternative to a little cheese tray for a relaxing “happy hour” with your sweetie, this is a fun recipe to try! If you don’t eat it all, just pop it back in the fridge, and it’ll still taste great a day or two later!
• Holiday Parties – For the holidays, you can tap into the red-and-gold-and-green Christmas vibe, too. Maybe toss some extra green parsley on top and arrange some sprigs of parsley on the serving platter. You could even nestle a red pepper bow into the parsley (like we show you how to do with our Christmas Appetizer Hummus Wreath). And be sure to use a holiday-themed spreader to add to the festive spirit!
Basically, this is one of those perfect appetizers that’s great practically any time, at any event, all year long. Dressy or casual or sporty or picnic-y … this appetizer is up to the task!
So if you get a last-minute invite … don’t panic about what to bring! Bring this – it’s absolutely tried and true, and sure to be a smash hit!
Sweet and Spicy Cream Cheese Dip
This Cream Cheese Dip appetizer recipe is so easy to throw together and absolutely disappears every time I serve it! Make it for casual parties and tailgates, or follow our tips (in the post above) to dress it up as a fancy plated appetizer!
• Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Make Ahead • Vegetarian • Gluten Free (depending on your choice of crackers) •
- 1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel cheese)
- 1/3 cup 100% pure fruit peach jelly or preserves (we use Smucker's Simply Fruit)
- 1 tablespoon Sweet and Spicy Pepper Relish, plus more to serve on the side, if desired
- optional for garnish: finely chopped fresh parsley
- Place block of cream cheese on small serving platter.
- Spoon peach jelly over top of the cream cheese, allowing a little to drip down the sides.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon Pepper Relish on top of peach jelly. Offer additional Pepper Relish to the side, if desired. (See note.)
- Sprinkle a little fresh parsley on top, if desired, and serve with whole grain crackers for dipping.
Spiciness and Extra Pepper Relish: I generally spoon just 1 tablespoon of Pepper Relish directly on top of this appetizer, so it's not too spicy for people who might not enjoy spicy foods. I've been very surprised at how much even non-spice-lovers like this recipe! To accommodate those who DO enjoy spicier foods, I like to offer extra Pepper Relish alongside. Alternately, if you know your family and friends all like spicier foods, you can feel free to spoon extra Pepper Relish directly on top.
Make ahead: You can assemble this dip up to about 1-2 days ahead and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 servings Serving Size: 2 tablespoons of dip
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 91mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g
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.
35 thoughts on “Sweet and Spicy Cream Cheese Dip”
Is there a good store bought sweet and spicy pepper relish if we are not able to make yours above?
Hi, Kassi! I haven’t found a store brand that’s quite the same, but you can usually doctor one up in a pinch. Some of them are a bit too sweet, in my opinion. As an example, in my recipe for 5-Minute Asian Sugar Snap Peas (which also uses the Sweet and Spicy pepper Relish), I suggest that you can alternately use seedless red raspberry jelly (preferably all-natural or pure-fruit) and a chili garlic paste (such as Dynasty brand), whisked together until smooth. I haven’t used that sub in this cream cheese dip, but it gives you an idea of how you could doctor a store-bought substitution until it’s as sweet or as spicy as you’d like. I hope that helps! And I hope you’ll love this dip as much as my family and friends do! ~Shelley
Thanks- lol- just saw the link to Amazon!!!
Oh good – glad you found it! I really do love that little plate. Precisely the right thing for serving a cream cheese dip like this! Enjoy! 😀 ~Shelley
Love this!! What plate do you serve it on- it looks like the perfect size!!