Cranberry Salsa

74 Comments

Years ago I was visiting with my favorite florist Dan, who is quite a foodie, and he asked me if I’d ever had cranberry salsa.

Cranberry salsa? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Where have I been? This just made me absolutely giddy. It’s always so exciting to come across something new and different.

Dan printed the recipe, and gave me a few suggestions on adaptations he’d made to it. But he promised me I’d absolutely love it with the turkey I’d be serving on Thanksgiving.

And I did. Here is that recipe. Thanks, Dan!

Cranberry Salsa

1- 12 ounce package cranberries
2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup super-fine white sugar
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Place the cranberries in a colander. Remove any bad ones and give the rest a good rinse.

Then place the cranberries on a towel to dry.

Place the jalapenos, garlic and sugar in the food processor and pulse until you can’t see any large pieces.

Add the cranberries, cilantro, oil and lime juice and pulse all of the ingredients, without over-processing.

Pour the salsa into a bowl and fold in the sliced green onions. I’ve found that this is easier than using the food processor to chop up green onion.

Cranberry salsa is really good, and I serve it with tortilla chips or pita crisps.


You can refrigerate the salsa overnight, but serve it at room temperature.

And as a condiment, it’s spectacular with turkey.


I make turkey cutlets often, and the pairing is fabulous.

Whether served as an appetizer or as a condiment, you’ll enjoy the zing of the cranberries and jalapeño.

The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, but I can’t fathom adding more than the 1 cup of sugar I used. It’s perfect to me just the way it is.

Next time I might consider adding some toasted walnuts or pecans to the salsa at the last minute.

Also, ginger could be used along with the garlic. Or, crystallized ginger…

74 thoughts on “Cranberry Salsa

  1. I started serving this ten years ago at the Taste of St Joe’s. Mine has lime juice and zest, ginger instead of garlic. No oil. Is so good and fresh – no fat – but toasted nuts for some fat sounds like a great addition. Will do that next time. Happy happy holidays, Mimi!

    • Thanks, Tracy. It may be the same/similar recipe. So many possible variations, that I must keep making it!!! I think the olive oil binds the ingredients a little bit.

  2. This is such a great condiment, I love salsa and never ever would have thought to use cranberries, what a perfectly wonderful idea, with tomatoes out of season and cranberries in season. I think it would go nicely with pork also.

  3. I’m really thrilled with this recipe. We enjoy salsa of all varieties, and this is so different. I have three bags of fresh cranberries that didn’t get used for Thanksgiving and I’ve been wondering what I would do with them…and I needed to make a decision quickly! I think I can freeze them and make this recipe on the spot when called for! What a surprise this would be! :-)

    • I froze the salsa I made, because I knew that no one else but me would indulge on Thanksgiving. But I’m getting it out during the holidays. I really think it will take to freezing well, but it’s also super easy to whip up at the last minute with fresh cilantro!

  4. Wow, I have got to try this! Your comment about the quantity of sugar reminded me of Virginia’s post (on OurGrowingPaynes) about cranberries the other day– she added a little baking soda. This was an epiphany for me when I realized what was happening was a change in pH– baking soda reduces acidity, which would be much more effective at softening the tartness of cranberries than adding sugar, which would only make it sweeter, not less tart. Kitchen chemistry!

    (Since you’re a knitter, Mimi, the reason this was so mind-blowing to me is that I’ve been preparing to start dyeing my own yarns, and what I’ve been learning is that colors are greatly affected by raising (with baking soda) or lowering (with citric acid or vinegar) the pH of the dyebath. Who knew there could be this kind of connection?)

    • Fascinating! I’ll have to read Virginia’s post, because I don’t remember this, but it does make sense. I really hate adding so much sugar to stuff, too.
      I cannot wait to see your yarns. I will be your biggest fan!
      I love your new photo!

  5. ooooh, cranberry salsa! Never thought about doing that with them. Actually, I can her think what to do with cranberries, they are so tart! But a salsa is perfect place for tartness. It looks wonderful Mimi

  6. I thought that the cranberry sauce was supposed to look like a marmelade rather than a relish but, of course, I’m not an expert and I’m still learning about American traditions. My point is … it looks delicious!!! :-)

  7. I think we would love this. I do have a “sauce” recipe that I make some years that calls for jalapenos. Thank Dan for us all ! :)

  8. Can’t imagine how good this would be as I’ve never tasted raw cranberries. Although I’ve cooked them in a chutney several years ago. I love salsa, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to love this as well!

    • They’re very tart raw, but my favorite cranberry sauce is cranberries, raw whole oranges, and some sugar, all ground up in a food processor. It’s fabulous!

  9. Great recipe … love salsa with my fish .. never thought about cranberries. Even if lingonberries is close to our hearts, but in Finland is cranberries a big thing. So this is going on file.

  10. This would be perfect for turkey tacos the next day, too! I like that idea for pecans. I thought you were talking about crystallized ginger at first. Now I’m going to have to look up crystallized garlic.

  11. Wow Chef Mimi – this looks so good, if only we could access fresh cranberries here in Australia – I’ve only ever seen dried ones!

    • Oh, right! That’s a good point! Although my favorite cranberry sauce ever is the mix of cranberries and oranges with sugar. No cooking.

    • Thank you! It does seem odd at first, because it’s supposed to be tomatoes! But once you try it, you’re hooked!

  12. Now I’ve eaten my share of cranberries and salsa, but never together. What an interesting salsa and one I’ll try if I can find fresh cranberries.

  13. Love all the ingredients, plus it’s quick to make – we don’t have Thanksgiving here but I’ll definitely give your recipe a go!

    • I know. I seriously believe my daughter started a Thanksgiving trend when she moved to London years ago. Her flat was big enough to host the dinner party and it was always a big hit!

  14. Mimi… this looks fabulous, a very versatile accompaniment which would go well with poultry and bbq meats as well as a stand-alone dip! It is one I’ll be serving over our Summer season 😊 Thank you!

  15. What a fantastic idea for this holiday season. The possibilities are endless for this Cranberry Salsa. I love the kick you add with Jalapeños. Thanks so much for sharing. I definitely need to try it.

    • It’s weird to think of cranberries instead of tomatoes, but once you taste it, it makes sense!!! Love the name of your blog.

  16. Very interesting idea. I would never had considered eating cranberries raw. They’re so mouth-puckeringly astringent. (Yes, I’ve tried one…) But I guess the sugar tames them even if they’re not simmered together. We do enjoy salsa in this house, so we’ll give it a try!

    • You just can’t compare it to tomato-based salsa, because it’s so different! Once you try it, you’ll get it. Guaranteed!

  17. What a fun idea! I’ve never tried cranberry salsa, either, and I’m pretty sure my reaction would have been the same…where have I been hiding? This one is perfect for snacking on Thanksgiving before the big meal later in the day! :-)

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