Cranberry Salsa

Here tell, there's a cranberry shortage in some parts so fingers crossed everyone put aside at least one bag from Thanksgiving. Because even if it's the season's verrrry last fresh cranberries, you might want to invest them in this raw Cranberry Salsa. Because wow. It's got a Christmas salsa kind of vibe, an explosion of fresh, seasonal flavors like apple, ginger, cilantro, lime juice and just a tiny touch of jalapeño and you just might feel compelled to put it in/on/beside, well, basically everything ...

Cranberry Salsa ♥, raw cranberries plus an explosion of seasonal flavors for a Christmas salsa vibe. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Real Food, Fresh & Inventive. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. Easy DIY. Raw Food. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

Recipe Advice Via Text.


Thanksgiving morning. "Elise's cranberry salsa is awesome."

Later that night. "Should've doubled the salsa. It was a hit. No leftovers. :-("


After Thanksgiving that year. "Made two double batches, one week after another. Great to have on hand."

Christmas that year. "2X again. Fits Mom's green pedestal bowl perfectly. Great to have on hand."

Christmas two years ago. "So good!"

Christmas last year. "Always do 2X batch."

Christmas this year. "So good. Tasting spoon got a workout."

Is This a Christmas Salsa?

My palate says yes, absolutely.

Now know this, my sister will probably disagree. After all, this year she and her husband needed plates delivered on Thanksgiving. The only thing she made this year? Yep. This.

Don't get me wrong. Cranberry Salsa is lovely for Thanksgiving, maybe especially for a casual, appetizer-friendly Friendsgiving.

But for Thanksgiving itself, I'm not giving up Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce for the Slow Cooker or Cranberry Chutney.

And besides, isn't it kinda cool to have a special salsa for December holiday gatherings, a festive substitute for the more traditional Best Quick Tomato Salsa (Red Salsa), say?

How-ever, when-ever, if-ever you make Cranberry Salsa, fingers crossed, I hope you love it half as much as these two sisters.

Cranberry Salsa ♥, raw cranberries plus an explosion of seasonal flavors for a Christmas salsa vibe. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.

What's In Cranberry Salsa? Familiar Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Fresh Cranberries Bags of fresh cranberries start to show up in grocery stores a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Be sure to grab two or three or four, they keep well as is in the fridge for a good month and also freeze well.
  • Fresh Apple Apple adds both bulk and fruity sweetness.
  • Sugar Cranberries are sour! So sugar is important. Never mess with perfection, but I do think that after three years and probably ten batches, in future I'll experiment with cutting back the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Maybe my sweet tooth is waning?
  • Big Flavors The salsa calls for cilantro plus fresh ginger and lime juice. To my taste, they're essential and without real substitutes. If you don't have these (or don't like cilantro, say), I suggest another recipe, lots of ideas here with all my cranberry recipes.
  • A Savory Bite This is part of the yin-yang of Cranberry Salsa, the bite of green onion (use just the green parts, not the bulbs themselves) and a touch of heat from jalapeño.

How to Make Cranberry Salsa

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights.

  • FOR CONSISTENCY, WEIGH THE INGREDIENTS Once a recipe is perfected, I'm a stickler for it turning out perfectly each and every time, for you, for me, for all of us. That's why my ingredient lists nearly always include weights in grams.
    Measuring by weight also makes it easy to scale a recipe. Let's say you only have 2/3 of a bag of cranberries. To keep the proportions spot on, just reduce all the other ingredients by 1/3 by multiplying the listed grams by .66. Easy math!
  • LAYER ALL THE INGREDIENTS IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR Just tick them off, one by one, one on top of the other, evenly spread around the center blade. Once the layers are built, then you'll pulse to make the salsa.
  • ROUGHLY CHOP The food processor will chop the salsa more evenly if some of the ingredients (the peeled apple, the jalapeño, green onion and fresh ginger) are roughly chopped up a bit beforehand.
  • USE THE PULSE BUTTON NOT THE PROCESS BUTTON Press the pulse button for one or two seconds, then continue to pulse in similar increments until the salsa is evenly chopped into small bits. The pulse action gives you so much better control over the salsa's final texture.
  • THAT's IT! You've got this!

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Are the cranberries really, um, raw? Absolutely. I wondered about this too. But the uncooked cranberry really works because it's chopped into small bits and because it's sweetened.
  • Can you use frozen cranberries? I think so. I haven't made the salsa with frozen cranberries but think they'd work just fine. Don't thaw them though, just throw them into the food processor still frozen.
  • What if you don't have a food processor? Well ... A mini food processor would work in a pinch. If it were me, I'd process each ingredient on its own before combining them. And the cranberries should be done in at least two batches, maybe three or even four. This is the newer model of the mini food processor (affiliate link) I've used for years and years.
    Then again. Remember how this recipe came from my sister? She's got great food instincts but got along just fine without a food processor for the longest time. It took this Detox Chopped Salad for her to push the "buy" button for a food processor. I'm wiling to bet she'd do it again for Cranberry Salsa.

Looking for Inspiration?

Here are some fun ways to use Cranberry Salsa. See why you need a double batch?

  • Spread onto a bagel with cream cheese or a cracker with goat cheese
  • Liven up a leftover turkey sandwich
  • Stir into turkey salad or into the mayo for turkey salad
  • Stir into cottage cheese
  • Tuck into a grilled cheese sandwich, especially with smoked gouda, say
  • Tuck into a turkey taco
  • Substitute for ketchup as a burger topping
  • Dollop onto pancakes, maybe, hmm, blini and sour cream?
  • Serve alongside a smoked pork chop or a smoked chicken
  • Serve with chips, just like Mexican chips and salsa
  • Spoon straight from the bowl, I'll never tell ...

You'll Love This Cranberry Salsa If ...

  • You love fresh, vibrant flavors in intriguing combinations
  • You (like me) collect cranberry recipes like Baskin Robbins collects ice cream flavors
  • You feel nostalgic when the cranberries disappear until next year
  • You're feeling creative about how to make the most of a big batch of salsa
  • You like to make little extras that make other foods taste even better
  • You love the idea of a Christmas version of chips & salsa

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a special recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...
Cranberry Salsa ♥, raw cranberries plus an explosion of seasonal flavors for a Christmas salsa vibe. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 20 minutes
Makes about 4 cups
  • 1 12-ounce (340g) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and roughly chopped (about 150g)
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped (about 16g)
  • 4 green onions, green parts only, roughly chopped (about 20g)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (10g) packed cilantro, mostly leaves, some stem ok
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of salt

In a large food processor, layer all the ingredients in the order listed, distributing each one evenly around the blade. Pulse the food processor about 15 times until the mixture is chopped into small, even bits but a long way from mush; if needed, scrape the sides halfway through pulsing.

Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve within a day or two.

DOUBLED RECIPE You know how my sister and I both learned to double the recipe? The ingredient list here already reflects a double batch, extra convenient because it uses up a whole 12-ounce bag of cranberries.

TIMING TIP On Day One, the flavors and textures are distinct and individual. You can taste the cranberry, the ginger, the cilantro, the apple. By Day Two, the flavors meld and the color turns to cranberry red. It's almost an entirely different concoction. Is one better than the other? I love them both but do find myself serving the salsa on the first day but am always delighted to have leftovers too.

LEFTOVERS are wonderful! It's so easy to use up.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/4 cup: 40 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium; 11g Carb; 1g Fiber; 8g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 2 & Freestyle 1 & myWW green 1 & blue 1 & purple 1 & future WW points
Adapted with great gratitude from Simply Recipes

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Well this sounds tasty, & healthy, too!

    We have a Christmas Eve buffet in our family, & since everyone's living here this year, I guess I'm hosting 😄

    I think it'll be a perfect adult appetizer- YUM!

    1. Laurinda ~ What’re you gonna do, right? :-) I hope “everyone” loves it, whatever the occasion. Have a wonderful Christmas - and a safe one too!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna