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Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

This Cranberry Cream Cheese dip is not only easy, it’s mouthwatering and perfect for the holiday season. 4 simple ingredients to this cheesy, sweet-tart, salty and savory dip. Using homemade cranberry sauce (or leftover) and fresh cranberries this cream cheese cranberry dip will be the rave at your next party. 

If you are looking for a slam-dunk holiday dip then you have found it. This cheese with 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 today! Be sure to check out all of the fabulous recipes at the end of this post. 

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 settling 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

Measurements and full directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of this 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.

TFC PRO TIP | 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. 

Instructions

How to 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.

How to Make White Cheddar Cranberry Cream Cheese 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. 

Cranberry White Cheddar Cream Cheese dip with hand holding a crostini with bright red and white dip on the bread.

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

TFC PRO TIP | 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. 

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

  • Jalapeno Cranberry Dip  | Like it spicy? Add two tablespoons of chopped jarred jalapenos 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 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.

Storage & Rewarming Tips

  • Make this dip up to 2 days in advance. Store covered in fridge, bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes) and bake as directed. 
  • After baking, cool dip completely, store in airtight container in fridge up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this white cheddar cranberry dip. 
  • To rewarm | place in 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.

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

FAVORITE PARTY FOODS

LOVE IT? PIN IT!

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White Cheddar Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip with hand holding crostini with beautiful red and white dip on it.
Yield: 6-10 servings

White Cheddar Cranberry Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

This White Cheddar Cranberry dip is not only easy, it’s mouthwatering and perfect for the holiday season. Just 4 simple ingredients to this cheesy, gooey, sweet, salty and savory dip. Using homemade cranberry sauce (or leftover) and fresh cranberries this cream cheese cranberry dip is the best. 

Ingredients

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries, rinsed (divided)
  • 1 cup cane sugar (granulated)
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice, fresh squeezed is best
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water

White Cheddar Cranberry Dip

  • 2 cups Extra-Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (divided)
  • 8 oz cream cheese (full fat, or Neufchatel is fine), room temperature
  • ¼ cup homemade cranberry sauce, heaping (recipe provided)
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries (may substitute with frozen, do not thaw)

Instructions

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce 

  1. Remove 1/2 cup of cranberries for the dip. Add the rest of the cranberries, granulated sugar, orange and lemon juice and water to a small saucepan. Stir to combine, cooking over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. 
  2. The sugar will dissolve and the cranberries will start to burst and pop, you want some cranberries rather whole, while others will disintegrate. NOTE: This recipe makes more than needed for the Cream Cheese Cranberry dip, store leftovers in airtight container in fridge and use another time. Or use leftover cranberry sauce.

White Cheddar Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

  1. 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 oven or mode). 
  2. In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and aged cheddar cheese until combined. 
  3. Grate some fresh nutmeg into the cheese mixture and combine, this is a taste preference. I like a little more, about ½ a teaspoon (ground may be substituted).
  4. Gently stir in the cranberry sauce and 1/2 cup reserved fresh cranberries, then spooning the cranberry mixture evenly into prepared baking dish, baking 18-23 minutes (15 minutes if convection) until bubbly in the middle and the edges. 
  5. Cover if needed with some foil (shiny side down) if browning too quickly.
  6. 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. 
  7. Serve immediately with crostini, crackers or pita chips. If desired, grate a little more fresh grated nutmeg over the top. 

How to Make Crostini

  1. You can purchase these already baked, however; making your own is not only easy, but superior in taste, plus I prefer them slightly less crunchy than store bought; you might like in this Easy Tomato Bruschetta. 
  2. TFC PRO TIP | Purchase a fresh French Baguette from the bakery at your store, then run it through the slicer machine, evenly sliced pieces every-single-time! 
  3. 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. 
  4. Repeat with as many as you are making. I like to sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt as well. 

Toaster Oven & Conventional Oven Crostini

  1. 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 setting and they came out perfectly. 
  2. Conventional Oven
  3. Preheat oven to broil. Place baking sheet in middle of oven, and broil for about 2 minutes, checking often. The crostinis may be made ahead of time.

Notes

Variations & Substitutions

  • Jalapeno Cranberry Dip  | Like it spicy? Add two tablespoons of chopped jarred jalapenos 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 for an earthy taste. 

This dip may be made ahead of time, covered in fridge, bring to room temp before baking in preheated oven.

This cranberry dip is naturally gluten-free, do not use pre-shredded cheese.

Vegan Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip | Replace cream cheese and shredded sharp cheddar with your favorite plant-based substitutions.

This recipe easily doubles | Absolutely, use a 7x11 or 2 quart casserole dish, double the ingredients and bake until bubbly all the way through. 

Storage & Rewarming

  • Make this dip up to 2 days in advance, covered in fridge, bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes) and bake as directed. 
  • After baking, cool dip completely, store in airtight container in fridge up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this white cheddar cranberry dip. 
  • To rewarm | place in 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. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 364mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 12g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

Did you make this recipe?

Go ahead, MAKE MY DAY! PIN on Pinterest and Comment on the blog!

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MS

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

This is delicious! I used store-bought cranberry sauce because I was in a hurry and it is still so tasty. Everyone loved it!

Kathleen Pope

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

That works great! So glad you improvised!!

Debi

Sunday 28th of November 2021

This disappeared so fast at Thanksgiving. Everyone asked me for the recipe!

Kathleen Pope

Monday 29th of November 2021

Love it!

Jennifer

Friday 19th of November 2021

I can't believe how quickly this disappeared when I made it last night! It was so good and the flavors are amazing!

Kathleen Pope

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

Thank you Jennifer, I agree!

Inger@Art of Natural Living

Friday 19th of November 2021

This looks so creamy and delicious! I'd try the jalapeno version too!

Kathleen Pope

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

You like a little kick do you?! :-)

Kathryn

Thursday 18th of November 2021

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!

Kathleen Pope

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

That is wonderful and I love that combo too!

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