Cranberry Salsa

Cranberries are only in season for a short time in the fall. Once they appear in the supermarket, fresh in bags, snatch them up while you can. They will last frozen for a few months, but even then, after a few months they will begin to get a bit iffy, so fall really is the time to enjoy whole cranberries. I tried to find frozen cranberries at our local grocer in February with no luck.

This is a quick and easy salsa recipe made with fresh cranberries, apples, cilantro, and chilies that is especially good with turkey (see our turkey tacos), but can be used with any dish that calls for fresh salsa.

Cranberry Salsa Recipe

  • Yield: Makes a little less than 2 cups.


  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 an apple, peeled and cored
  • Chopped serrano or jalapeno chili to taste (about a half a chili, but taste for desired heat)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Dash of lime or lemon juice
  • Dash of salt


1 Either grind cranberries and apple together in a grinder, or pulse in a food processor until coarsely shredded, around 10 short pulses.

2 Combine shredded cranberries, orange zest, chile, and sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit 15 minutes for the cranberries to macerate (soften in the sugar). Add cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste.

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  1. Andrew Cybulska

    I saw this recipe as I was heading out the door to the grocery store, so I picked up everything and made it with my girl when I got home. It was absolutely delicious. I ended up using an entire serrano chili (Andrew likes his salsa hot!)

  2. Susan from Food Blogga

    I agree with you–there is nothing quite as satisfyingly tart as fresh cranberries. I just bought another 3 pound bag a couple of days ago, and I plan on trying this salsa. Thanks!

  3. Diane

    I definitely would like to try this salsa but what do you do if you don’t have a grinder or food processor? Can you cook them first?

    Note from Elise: Do you have a blender? You can chop by hand but it will be extremely tedious. This is a raw salsa, not a cooked salsa. I have no idea what this would taste like cooked, but if you added some jalapeno and lime to cranberry sauce, that would give you some idea.

  4. Julia

    A wonderful addition to this salsa is hazelnuts chopped very finely. I make it every year. I chop the cranberries in a food processor, then add the other ingredients.

  5. Christine

    I must make this salsa! Thanks for a great recipe Elise.

  6. Christine

    BTW – I buy my cranberries in late October or early November direct from Faber Farms in Bandon, Oregon. They ship them Fed Ex overnight and they arrive very fresh, having just been picked. I believe I ordered 10 pounds last year and the cost was $1.00 per pound. I double freezer-bag them and they last a really long time in the freezer.
    Faber Farms (dot) com is their web site, but I just checked and it’s currently being updated. Worth bookmarking though.

  7. Chris p

    This salsa is very good as an appetizer when you take an 8-oz block of cream cheese and place it on a platter–pour the salsa over the top of the cream cheese place your favorite chips all around the cheese on the platter and serve–watch it disappear

  8. Alanna

    My dad and I loved your salsa with leftover hot turkey sandwiches and gravy – he claims to ‘not like’ white meat nor cranberries but had seconds of both. He must like them together, however!

  9. shuna fish lydon

    Elise & Her Amazing Readers,

    Please note: This here recipe is one of the best recipes out there for anything involving cranberries. A little extra work pays off immeasurably in terms of wow factor in the mouth and on the table.

    ps. I am going to put some in my freezer right now to for you for February.

  10. Selina

    Hello, This recipe sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it! One question: What kind of apple would work best? Thanks!

    Since cranberries are already tart, I would use a sweet apple such as a golden delicious. ~Elise

  11. Steven Charo

    We were very hesitant, but we loved it. Definitely a keeper!

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