This cranberry cream cheese dip recipe is the perfect holiday appetizer! Not only is it a tasty crowd pleaser, but it’s so pretty topped with fresh rosemary and candied cranberries.
Best of all, this quick and easy appetizer takes less than than 5 minutes to assemble and is the perfect way to use up leftover cranberry sauce.
What Makes this Spread So Awesome
- The cranberry cream cheese dip takes less than 5 minutes to pull together, making it the perfect 5-minute appetizer to add to your holiday party plan.
- It’s a simple and delicious way to use up leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving
- Use a cookie cutter to shape the cream cheese into a fun, festive holiday dip. It’s totally optional, but definitely adds an extra special touch.
To make things even easier for you, I created a simple photo guide below. For all measurements and a more detailed guide, check out the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
- Step 1 – Combine cranberry sauce and creamy horseradish sauce in a small bowl.
- Step 2 – Place a block of cream cheese on a small plate.
- Step 3 – Pour the prepared cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese.
- Step 4 – Garnish with rosemary and/or candied cranberries. Serve with crackers.
How to Make the Christmas Tree Shape
Shaping the cream cheese block will add a few minutes of time, but you can easily do this a day or so in advance if you’re making the dip for a party.
Obviously I used a Christmas tree cookie cutter for this plate, but you could just as easily use an ornament or gingerbread man shape, or even a leaf shape for Thanksgiving.
- Step 1 – Place your block of cream cheese on a sheet of parchment paper and select a cookie cutter that fits inside the block.
- Step 2 – Press the cookie cutter down all the way through the cream cheese.
- Step 3 – Use a knife to carve the cream cheese off of the outside of the cookie cutter.
- Step 4 – Wipe off your knife and use it to separate the cream cheese from the inside of the cookie cutter. Remove the cookie cutter from the cream cheese and reshape anything that may have gotten messed up.
- Step 5 – Place your serving plate on top of the cream cheese, then flip the cream cheese and serving plate over together so the cream cheese is neatly on your plate.
- Step 6 – Remove the parchment paper from the top of the cream cheese. Now it’s ready for the toppings!
Essential Tips and FAQ:
Don’t skip these tips – read them before assembling to avoid any potential mistakes.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce is best
Sure, you could use canned cranberry jelly, but it won’t pour over very well, and you won’t get those beautiful whole cranberries on your dip.
Let the Dip Come to Room Temperature
Cold cream cheese will just make your guests crackers break and crumble. It’s best to let this appetizer sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
What to Serve with Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread
Obviously you need to put the dip on something! Here are some great options
- Butter crackers
- Crisp Apple slices (think Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Pink Lady)
- Baguette slices (fresh, or toasted into crostini)
- Wheat thins
- Water crackers
- Herbed or wheat crackers
- Pita chips
Our favorite is simple butter crackers. The buttery flavor is always tasty, and the saltiness is the perfect compliment to the sweet cranberry sauce.
Tasty appetizers that pair well with this spread include:
- Christmas appetizer wreath
- Easy stuffed mushrooms
- Crockpot apple butter meatballs with bourbon
- Cranberry brie bites
For more appetizer ideas, you can check out this list of 15 killer appetizer recipes for a crowd.
Make ahead tips
Cranberry cream cheese spread is best made on the same day as your party.
However, here’s what you can do ahead of time to make this appetizer come together in a matter of seconds:
- Combine the cranberry sauce and horseradish sauce up to two days in advance. Keep it in a covered bowl or sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Make the cream cheese shape in advance. Keep it in the refrigerator on a plate wrapped in plastic. Be careful not to put anything else on top of it
- Double check you have your fresh herbs and crackers and that they’re ready to go when it’s time to pull everything together.
If You Happen to Have any Leftovers
Pop any leftovers into a sealed container and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.
If you liked this cranberry cream cheese dip, you’re going to love my easy candied pecans. They’re the perfect balance of sweet and crunchy, and make a fantastic snack to place around the house for a party.
Or you can check out my other holiday recipes here.
- 8 ounce block cream cheese
- 2/3 cup cranberry sauce
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Candied cranberries (optional)
- Combine 2/3 cup cranberry sauce and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon creamy horseradish sauce in a small bowl. Stir well to combine.
- Place a block of cream cheese on a small plate.
- Pour the prepared cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese.
- Garnish with rosemary and/or candied cranberries.
- Serve with crackers.
Remember, the step-by-step photos in the recipe post are there to help you if you feel stuck at any point.
- Allow the spread to come to room temperature before serving - about 30 minutes.
- Serve with crackers of your choice, pita chips, or sliced baguettes. (We like the combination of this sweet sauce with salty crackers)
- Prepare your cranberry sauce and shape your cream cheese block a day or two in advance to make assembly even easier on the day of your party.
To Shape Your Cream Cheese Block:
Shaping the cream cheese block will add a few minutes of time, but you can easily do this a day or so in advance if you're making the dip for a party.
- Place your block of cream cheese on a sheet of parchment paper.
- Press a cookie cutter down all the way through the cream cheese
- Use a knife to carve the cream cheese off of the outside of the cookie cutter.
- Wipe off your knife and use it to separate the cream cheese from the inside of the cookie cutter.
- Remove the cookie cutter from the cream cheese and reshape anything that may have gotten messed up.
- Place your serving plate on top of the cream cheese, then flip the cream cheese and serving plate over together so the cream cheese is neatly on your plate.
- Remove the parchment paper from the top of the cream cheese. Now it's ready for the toppings.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g
__________________________________ The nutrition information provided above is estimated using an automated calculation system. Actual nutrition will vary depending on brand and measurements used in your recipe. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutrition information for any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information using the actual ingredients you used in your recipe.