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Best Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

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This Cranberry Cream Cheese dip is not only easy, is perfect for the holiday season. 4-ingredients to this cheesy, sweet-tart, salty and savory hot dip. Using homemade or leftover cranberry sauce, this cream cheese cranberry dip will be raved about at your next party. 

A slam-dunk holiday appetizer; with sharp white cheddar cheese and cream cheese studded with fresh cranberries assembles in minutes for the best baked holiday appetizer. Plus it’s gluten-free!

I’ve teamed up with other bloggers to bring you the best holiday party food and drinks! And if you love this easy cranberry dip, you will love this even easier, Goat Cheese Appetizer, this Cowboy Crack dip or my pretty whipped goat cheese with bacon and candied dates. And always a classic at any holiday party; this is the best Crudite Dip recipe for veggie platters!

White Cheddar Cranberry Dip in white baking dish with crostini nearby.

I love cranberries; these bright red, jewels of the holiday season show up everywhere, and I have had so much fun creating new cranberry recipes this week!

Be sure to try my new Oatmeal Cranberry Bars, Cranberry Christmas Cake, and don’t miss out on this stomach soothing Cranberry Relish.

You will want to wash it all down with this luscious Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini or my kid-friendly Cranberry Spritzer.

Simple Ingredients for Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Ingredients, directions and nutritional information in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.

White Cheddar Cranberry Dip ingredient shot L-R Fresh cranberries, sharp white cheddar cheese, homemade cranberry sauce, nutmeg, cream cheese.
  • Cranberries | If fresh berries aren’t in season, frozen work too, but don’t thaw them.
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese | If you aren’t used to buying extra sharp, give it a try for this white cheddar cranberry dip, the sharpness compliments the sweetness of the cranberry sauce.
  • Cream Cheese | I used full fat for this recipe, but you can use what you prefer, be sure it is softened cream cheese, you can leave it on the counter while making your homemade cranberry sauce.
  • Cranberry Sauce | A simple homemade cranberry sauce recipe is below, but if you are wondering what to do with leftover cranberry sauce this is a great way to use it!
  • Fresh Nutmeg | Why, because as a friend said lately, FRESH NUTMEG! You may substitute with ⅛-¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, but if you have never grated your own nutmeg you are in for a treat. Like on these eggnog butter cookies.

A good aged cheddar cheese is what you want here, it’s the star. The salty bite of the cheese is complimented by the sweet-tart cranberries. 

How to Make Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce 

Remove 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, set aside for the dip.

Add cranberries, granulated sugar, orange and lemon juice and water to a small saucepan. Stir to combine, cooking over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. 

The sugar will dissolve and the cranberries will start to burst, you want some cranberries rather whole, while others will disintegrate. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low. Refrigerate any leftover cranberry sauce and then make my Lemon Cranberry Bars!

How to Make Cranberry Dip

Lightly spray a small 1 ½ quart baking dish (I love the smaller one in this set) with a little spray oil and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (350 if using convection). 

In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and aged cheddar cheese until combined. 

Grate some fresh nutmeg into the cheese mixture and combine, this is a taste preference. I like a little more, about ⅛ – ½ a teaspoon (ground may be substituted).

Gently stir in the cranberry sauce and reserved fresh cranberries, spooning the cranberry mixture evenly into prepared baking dish, baking 18-23 minutes until bubbly in the middle and the edges. 

Cover if needed with some foil (shiny side down) if browning too quickly. If using convection, check at about 15 minutes. 

A few minutes before you are ready to pull it out of the oven, sprinkle remaining aged cheddar cheese on top and remove foil to brown a bit. 

Serve immediately with crostini, crackers or pita chips. If desired, grate a little more fresh grated nutmeg over the top. 

Cream cheese cranberry hot dip on board with crostini and pita chips.

How to Make Crostini

You can purchase these already baked, however; making your own is easy and superior in taste, plus I prefer them slightly less crunchy than store bought; you might also enjoy this Easy Tomato Bruschetta.

Purchase a fresh French Baguette from the bakery at your store, then run it through the slicer machine; evenly sliced pieces every-single-time! 

Pour a little olive oil into a shallow bowl, then lightly dip (don’t dunk) one side of the baguette slices into the oil and place on baking sheet. Alternatively, you may use a pastry brush and brush the tops with oil. 

Repeat with as many as you are making. I like to sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt as well. 

How to Bake Crostini in a Toaster Oven

Place in toaster oven under the toast setting and set for your desired brownness, I love my new Breville Smart Oven, I set it on toast for 8 slices on the 5-6 dark setting and they came out perfectly. 

Crostini in a Conventional Oven

Preheat oven to broil. Place baking sheet in middle of oven, and broil for about 2 minutes, checking often. The crostini may be made ahead of time. 

Variations & Substitutions

  • Jalapeño Cranberry Dip  | Like it spicy? Add two tablespoons of chopped jarred jalapeños to the cheese with cranberries mixture. Sweet, Spicy and YUMMY!
  • Swap the cream cheese for Mascarpone cheese for a creamy, cranberry cream cheese dip.
  • Love nuts? Add ¼ cup of your favorite chopped nuts, a deconstructed cranberry cheese ball. 
  • Mix in a little fresh chopped rosemary or thyme for an earthy taste. 
White Cheddar Cranberry Dip in white baking dish on wooden board with crostini and pita chips surrounding it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cranberry dip ahead of time?

Yes, assemble the dip ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from oven for 30 minutes to allow to come to room temperature, then bake as directed.

Is this Cranberry Cheese Dip Gluten-Free?

It sure is! But shred your own cheese, sometimes the anti-caking agents they put into pre-shredded cheeses have gluten in them. Plus hand shredded aged cheddar cheese melts so much better. 

Can I make Vegan cream cheese cranberry dip?

Yes! Substitute the cream cheese and shredded aged cheddar cheese with your favorite plant-based substitutes. 

Can I double this recipe?

Absolutely, use a 7×11 or 2 quart casserole dish, double the ingredients and bake until bubbly all the way through. 

Can I replace fresh cranberries with frozen?

YES, do not thaw them, if desired, give them a quick rinse right before using in your recipe.

White Cheddar Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip with hand holding crostini with beautiful red and white dip on it.

Storage & Rewarming Tips

Make Ahead | Make this dip up to 2 days in advance. Store covered in fridge, bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes) and bake as directed. 

Store | If you have leftovers, cool dip completely, store in airtight container in fridge up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this white cheddar cranberry dip. 

Reheat | Place cream cheese cranberry dip in an oven safe dish and warm covered with foil in 250 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes. Or place in microwave safe container and warm in 30-45 second intervals until bubbly. Serve immediately. 

Hand using crostini to dig into cream cheese cranberry dip with more crostini laying in front of the dip.

Long pin for cranberry cheddar dip with imge of cranberry dip on a board with pita chips, bottom image of hand dipping crostini into the dip pulling out cheesy cranberry goodness.

More holiday recipes

I hope you loved this 4-Ingredient Cranberry Dip — if you did, would you share your creation on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest? And be sure to comment below!

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

It’s time to start planning our holiday parties we all need some delicious and festive recipes to serve! Check out all these amazing holiday appetizers as part of the #FavoritePartyFood blogging event hosted by Jennifer from Take Two Tapas


Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. I think it’s funny that there was a question about leftovers for this dip!!!! It was THE BEST, and there were no leftovers!!!! Oh, so easy, pretty and YUMMY!! Thanks Kathleen, this will be a staple for the holidays from now on!!

  2. 1 star
    I bought the ingredients, went to make this recipe and then learned I don’t have orange. What kind of orange? How much sugar, lemon juice, water and “orange” am I supposed to use? This recipe was very unclear. Poor quality. Terrible.

    1. Hi Amelia — I wish you had given me a good email address, because I tried to email you with the details that are actually in the recipe card. You can choose to buy or make your own cranberry sauce, and the how too and ingredients are in the notes of the recipe card, but unfortunately since you gave a bad email address, it bounced. Sorry you had that experience. Kathleen

  3. I love the sweet and savory flavors in this dip! Totally perfect for the holidays or anytime your craving a delicious appetizer! Can’t wait to make this again, thanks so much for the recipe!