Easy Cranberry Jalapeno Relish – simple mixture of cranberries and spicy jalapenos in a sweet, tangy sauce serve over cream cheese. An easy 15-minute holiday appetizer!
With NYE in just a few days, I wanted to share this AWESOME, super easy appetizer. It’s one of those easy appetizers that only takes 10-15 minutes to make and EVERYONE will love it. This cranberry jalapeno relish over cream cheese is a must on your holiday spread this year! It’s sweet, spicy, tangy and so incredibly good with crackers and cream cheese. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself today!
Looking for other delicious easy recipes? You may also like these:
- Easy Salmon Appetizer
- Spicy Pepper Relish Cheese Spread
- Bacon-Wrapped Onion Cream Cheese Dates
- Baked Basil Pesto Chicken Bites
- Healthy Tuna Salad Celery Sticks
What ingredients do I need to make this cranberry jalapeno relish?
The ingredients required for this recipe are simple and you may already have them in your fridge or pantry. There are 4 main ingredients plus a simple brine. The four main ingredients are cranberries, jalapeno peppers, sugar, and vinegar. The brine consists of water, salt, and garlic powder. That’s it! If you’re in a time crunch you can bypass the brine and stick to the four main ingredients, although I wouldn’t recommend it because the brine helps remove water and adds flavor through the salt and garlic powder.
How easy is it to make the cranberry jalapeno relish?
This easy relish only takes 10-15 minutes to make and can even be made days in advance. Using a food processor or blender, it makes chopping and mincing the cranberries and peppers a breeze. I love using my BlendTec for that. After chopping the cranberries and jalapeno peppers, they hang out in a simple brine until the syrup is ready. The syrup is two ingredients. That’s right, just two! Apple cider vinegar and sugar make this relish a sweet tangy treat. After the cranberries and peppers have been chilling in the brine for at least 10 minutes, drain all the liquid. Once the syrup has begun to thicken (about 5-8 minutes) add the cranberry pepper mixture, cool or carefully top your room temperature cream cheese. That’s how easy this recipe is to make!
Leftover relish? Here are some other ways we’ve enjoyed this relish.
We love having this cranberry jalapeno relish with cream cheese and crackers but the list of possibilities is endless. Here are a few other ideas on how you can use leftover relish (if there is any):
- turkey (like a cranberry sauce)
- cream cheese and salami
- cream cheese and toasted baguettes
What’s your favorite cranberry dish?
I’d love to hear about your favorite cranberry dish. Let me know how you like to enjoy cranberries in the comments.
Here’s the full printable recipe. Enjoy!
Cranberry Jalapeno Relish with cream cheese
Cranberries and spicy jalapenos in a sweet, tangy sauce serve over cream cheese. An easy 15-minute appetizer served with crackers, salami or toasted baguettes.
Simple brine (start 5 min before syrup):
- 1/3 cup salt
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 12 oz bag whole fresh cranberries, finely chopped- can use food processor or blender
- 6-8 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (about 1-1 1/2 cups) to increase spiciness, do not remove seeds
- 1-2 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- crackers, salami, toasted baguettes
- Mix warm water, salt, and garlic powder until salt is mostly dissolved to make brine. Pour brine over diced peppers and cranberries. Let sit at least 10 minutes.
- Pour brine off cranberry pepper mixture and rinse well (2-3 time) using cold water. Squeeze to remove excess water. Set aside.
- After the berries and peppers have been brining for at least 5 minutes start the syrup. In a medium saucepan add sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5-8 minutes until mixture begins to thicken like a syrup. *See notes*
- Remove from heat and add drained cranberry pepper mixture. Stir. Let cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, spoon cranberry pepper relish over cream cheese (room temperature).
- Serve cranberry jalapeno relish over cream cheese with crackers, salami or toasted baguette rounds.
- Timing is important in this recipe. Start brining the berries and peppers before starting the syrup. Have the berries and peppers ready and drained before the syrup is done cooking otherwise it will thicken too much before you can mix the berries and peppers into it. I typically let the berries and peppers brine for at least 5 minutes before starting the syrup.
- Make sure to remove syrup from heat before adding cranberry pepper mixture. If cranberries and peppers cook, they will lose their texture.
- This relish recipe is delicious on hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, turkey (like cranberry sauce) and more.
- Relish will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Do not store cream cheese and relish together. Add relish to cream cheese right before serving.
Hi Geri. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sorry for how it turned out for you. I hope you give it another try. I have updated my recipe card to include time sensitivity. It usually takes me a few minutes to get the ingredients into the pan and reach boiling but I can see where clarification on this would be helpful. Thanks again for sharing.
Geri Fromm says
Wow. Timing is very important in this recipe. I had the cranberry and pepper mixture soaking in the brine. Then it said, meanwhile, to get the syrup boiling for 5 minutes. Well, the syrup was done in 5 minutes, so I took it off the burner. The brine still had 2 minutes to soak with the berry mixture. Then I rinsed the brine off 3 times. I quickly squeezed out the remaining brine. By then, my syrup was very thick. So when I added the relish mixture to the syrup, I got basically a hard sticky candy, with most of it sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Wish I had finished brining the relish and squeezwd it out BEFORE beginning the syrup. Please note this in the directions. That would help a lot.
Hi Becky! So happy to hear you loved this Cranberry Jalapeno Relish recipe. It’s a favorite at my house too. As long as I keep the cream cheese on the side, Ryan, who won’t come near cheese, will eat it too. Haha. Thanks for stopping by!
Had this over the holidays and it is fabulous. I was surprised since I’d never had something like this. Easy to adjust the spiciness too.