This easy baked Cranberry Cream Cheese dip is perfect for the holiday season. 4 ingredients to this cheesy, sweet-tart, salty, and savory hot dip. Use homemade or leftover cranberry sauce.
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!
I enjoy giving precise details in my recipe posts to lead my readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, you can Jump to Recipe to head straight there!
Why You Will Love this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
- Leftover Use | Use up leftover cranberry sauce in this easy recipe (or make your own, I’ll show you how!
- Flavor | Your mouth will thank you with every bite!
- Party Dip | This is a favorite party dip during the holidays!
Simple Ingredients for Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
- 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 | Use leftover cranberry sauce or I’ll show you how to make a quick homemade cranberry sauce.
- Fresh Nutmeg (Optional) | 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
Step 1 | If you don’t have leftover cranberry sauce, make cranberry sauce
If you have leftover cranberry sauce, proceed to step 2.
Remove ½ 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!
Step 2 | How to Make 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° F (190° C) or 350° F (175° C) if using convection setting.
In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and aged cheddar cheese until combined.
If desired, 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).
Step 3 | Mix and Bake
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.
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 and this Easy Pesto Appetizer Recipe with Burrata and Roasted Tomatoes.
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 or fresh chopped jalapenos to the cheese with cranberries mixture. Sweet, Spicy and YUMMY!
- Swap the cream cheese for Mascarpone cheese for a rich, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, assemble the dip ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from fridge for 30 minutes to allow to come to room temperature, then bake as directed.
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.
Yes! Substitute the cream cheese and shredded aged cheddar cheese with your favorite plant-based substitutes.
Absolutely, use a 7×11 or 2 quart casserole dish, double the ingredients and bake until bubbly all the way through.
YES, do not thaw them, if desired, give them a quick rinse right before using in your recipe.
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) then, bake as directed.
Fridge | If you have leftovers, cool dip completely, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 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° F (120° C) oven for about 20-30 minutes. Or place in microwave-safe container and warm in 30-45 second intervals until bubbly. Serve immediately.
- Mixing Bowl | I love my Pampered Chef 2 qt batter bowl with a lid.
- Sturdy Spatula | love these spatulas as you can remove the silicone head and pop in your dishwasher. Plus this one is just plain darling!
- Baking Dish | These Staub dishes are perfect for hot dips, like this Antipasto Dip, or this Chocolate Bread Pudding.
- Board | Since this dish comes straight out of the oven, I like serving it on a cutting board.
Best dippers for cranberry and cream cheese dip
Cranberry cream cheese dip is a delightful and versatile treat that pairs well with various dippers. Here are some popular options:
- Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips: These add a sweet and slightly spicy flavor that complements the cranberry and cream cheese
- Graham Crackers: The sweet and slightly crunchy graham crackers are a classic choice and provide a nice contrast to the creamy dip.
- Crispy Apple Slices: An excellent option for gluten-free dippers; a refreshing option that pairs well with the tangy cream cheese and tart cranberries.
- Vanilla Wafers: These add a light and sweet touch that won’t overpower the flavors of the dip.
- Shortbread Cookies: Butteriness and crumbly texture of shortbread cookies can be a delightful match with the creamy and fruity dip.
- Cranberry Orange Scones: Consider serving the dip with cranberry orange scones to enhance the cranberry flavor.
Savory Dipping Options
- Crostini: These are probably my favorite; the soft yet crisped salty bread compliments this hot dip beautifully!
- Pita Chips: Love the salty snap of pita chips!
- Wheat Thins, Ritz, or your favorite sturdy cracker!
- Bagel Chips: These provide a sturdier option and can handle the thickness of the dip while adding a toasty flavor.
- Rice Cakes: For a lighter option, rice cakes can be a great choice. They offer a neutral base that allows the flavors of the dip to shine.
- Pretzels: The salty taste of pretzels can balance the sweetness of the dip, creating a delicious sweet-and-savory combination. Try pretzel chips too!
- Veggies: Serve it with sturdy veggies, like carrot chips, cucumber wheels, and celery. Not only are they great for gluten-free guests, but also low-carb!
Feel free to mix and match based on your preferences and the occasion. It’s always a good idea to offer a variety to cater to different tastes and dietary preferences.
Best drinks to serve with Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip
Every great appetizer deserves a delicious drink; be sure to check out all of my holiday drinks!
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This Spiced Holiday Pomegranate Sangria Recipe is perfect for the upcoming months. Sip on this winter sangria with beautifully blended flavors of punchy citrus, tangy pomegranate, honey, herbs and spices, and your favorite red wine.
Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini
This Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini is a sweet-tart; bright, delicious and festive holiday cocktail! With easy make-ahead cranberry simple syrup.
Pomegranate Cocktail Recipe (Best Thanksgiving Punch)
This fun drink is the best Thanksgiving punch! Pomegranate cocktail has pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice and a splash of chilled club soda to make it all sparkle! A vodka punch recipe that is easily adapted to be non-alcoholic!
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In just 5 minutes, and with only three ingredients, you can craft the best Cranberry Mimosas Cocktail Recipe Poinsettia Christmas Cocktail.
Best desserts to serve with baked cranberry cream cheese dip
Check out all of my holiday sweets, but here are a few of my favorites that would be great with this baked dip.
Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce
I can’t imagine the holidays without this easy Cranberry Christmas Cake! I love cranberries! It’s a sweet buttery, no eggs cake – great for breakfast or dessert with tart cranberries and a rich, warm vanilla butter sauce.
An easy must make this Christmas!
Best Copycat Crumbl Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
This classic Crumbl chocolate chip cookie recipe is a perfect copycat of the real thing. Packed with milk chocolate chips, this no-chill copycat Crumbl cookie recipe will become a family favorite. Learn how to make these incredibly popular cookies right at home!
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Baked with the perfect combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper (or pfeffer), Pfeffernusse Cookies are my family’s favorite traditional German cookies. Bursting with warm, holiday spices, these German spice cookies are tender and warm and the best dunking cookie as they cool!
More holiday recipes
- Cranberry Walnut Bread (No Knead)
- Easy Turkey Cranberry Sliders Recipe (Baked)
- Lemon Cranberry Bars
- Easy 3-Ingredient Cranberry Meatballs (Crockpot)
- Holiday Christmas Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette dressing.
- Air Fryer Ravioli
- Easy Corn Casserole without Jiffy
- How to Make Gravy from Scratch
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Best Baked Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip Recipe
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Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
Optional Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 12 ounces cranberries fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
- 1 cup sugar I use all natural cane sugar, white sugar may be used
- 3 tablespoons orange juice fresh squeezed is best, from a naval orange, but store bought is fine.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice fresh is best
- ¼ cup water
Optional Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Remove ½ cup of cranberries for the dip. If making your own cranberry sauce, then 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.
- 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 canned or leftover cranberry sauce.
Make the Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
- Lightly spray a small 1 ½ quart baking dish with a little spray oil and preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C) (350° F (175° C) if using a convection oven).
- In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and 1 ¾ cups aged cheddar cheese until combined.
- If desired, 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).
- Gently stir in the cranberry sauce and ½ cup reserved fresh cranberries, then spooning the cranberry mixture evenly into prepared baking dish, and top with remaining ¼ cup shredded cheddar. Baking 18-23 minutes (15 minutes if convection) until bubbly in the middle and the edges.
- Cover if needed with some foil (shiny side down) if browning too quickly.
- 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.
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.
- Sweet: Go for Nila wafers, graham crackers, cinnamon pita chips, shortbread.
- Savory: Go for crostini, pita chips, bagel chips, pretzels and pretzel chips, wheat thins, Ritz, Triscuit or your favorite cracker.
- Gluten-Free & Low Carb Dippers: Carrot chips, cucumber slices, celery and sliced bell peppers.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball from Take Two Tapas
- Pumpkin White Russian Cocktail from Michaela at An Affair from the Heart
- Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Dip from Ashley at Cheese Curd in Paradise
- Gingerbread Bundt Cake from Julie at Hostess at Heart
- Beer Cheese and Bacon Ball from Christie at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Pizza Dip from Kathryn at Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Snowman Cheese Ball from Liz at Eat Move Make
- Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip from Kathleen at The Fresh Cooky
- Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus from Audrey at That Recipe
- Gingerbread Martini from Coleen at The Redhead Baker
- Mini Cheeseball Truffles from Teri at Our Good Life
- Everything Bagel Mini Pigs in a Blanket from Lisa at Blogghetti
- Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Potato Skins from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball from Rebecca at Devour Dinner
- 4 Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp from Sue at Palatable Pastime
- Easy Italian Meatball Appetizer from Inger at Art of Natural Living
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates from Erin at The Spiffy Cookie
- Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella and Bacon from Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Caprese Cups from Radha at Magical Ingredients