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25 November 2019

This cranberry salsa recipe is my cooked version that combines tart cranberries with spicy jalapeno peppers and more, then simmers them for the best cranberry salsa ever.

Cranberry season is here, my friends, and we’re seeing everything cranberry right about now. Patty is enjoying her cranberry cocktails and cooks everywhere are incorporating them into everything. Even me.

Recently I made a Fresh Cranberry Salsa with them, incorporating spicy jalapeno peppers, shallot, green onion, cilantro, a bit of mint and honey and a few other ingredients, and DANG was it delicious. Today I’m here to show you how you can make a completely different cranberry salsa from the exact same ingredients.

This version I’m calling my Spicy Cranberry Salsa, and even though it uses all the same ingredients as the fresh version, it’s a totally different experience. The biggest difference is from cooking it.

Let’s discuss.

Cranberry Salsa made 2 different ways

Fresh Cranberry Salsa Vs. Cooked Cranberry Salsa

Salsa is basically a mixture of different fresh ingredients that usually include peppers, tomatoes, onions, fruits, herbs and seasonings. There is practically an infinite combination of those ingredients, resulting in many, many different salsas. Some salsas are chopped or processed and served fresh, without any cooking. The most popular example of this is pico de gallo.

However, you can take all the ingredients of pico de gallo, add them to a food processor and process them until smooth. Then, simmer the salsa for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes and let it cool. BOOM! You have yourself a cooked salsa.

Why Cook the Cranberry Salsa?

Cooking your cranberry salsa allows all of the ingredients to more fully meld together, creating an entirely new flavor experience. Fresh cranberry salsa has a wonderful flavor with each of the ingredients in a little dance with one another, playing off of each other. When it it cooked, however, the flavors become one and something entirely different.

Let’s talk about how we make cooked cranberry salsa, then, shall we?

The ingredients for my Fresh Cranberry Salsa Recipe

Ingredients Needed

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice from 1 small lime + some lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

How to Make Cranberry Salsa – the Recipe Method

  1. First, add all of the ingredients to a food processor. Process the mixture until nice and smooth.
  2. Transfer the blended salsa to a large pan. Heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes to soften up the ingredients.
  3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  4. Add to a bowl, seal and refrigerate at least 1 hour to let the flavors mingle. It is better to let it sit overnight.

BOOM! Super easy! It takes a little bit more time than the fresh salsa version, but still, the effort is minimal and the outcome quite wonderful. Set it out with a big bowl of tortilla chips and you’re good to go! It’s perfect for the holidays or for the game day table.

Cranberry Salsa in a bowl

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Flavor Additions. Other ingredients that pair nicely with cranberries include apple, pear, mint, orange, and cinnamon. Try adding some of these to find your preferred final salsa flavor.
  • The Peppers. I’m using jalapeno peppers, which are my favorite peppers for this recipe. They have a nice level of heat for most people and I love the flavor. If you’re looking for a milder version, either core out the jalapenos before using them, or use bell peppers instead for a no-heat version. If you’d like a spicier version, bring in a serrano pepper, or several, or use spicier peppers, like a habanero pepper. Did I hear somebody say ghost pepper? Yes!
  • Make it Ahead. The recipe calls for letting it cool and the ingredients mingle in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but I suggest making this a day ahead so the flavors can mingle even more. It gets even better after a day. Set it out a few minutes before your guests arrive.

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy my cooked cranberry salsa! Let me know if you make it!

Vibrant, Spicy Cranberry Salsa ready to serve

Patty’s Perspective

I am definitely having a hard time choosing which version of this salsa that I like more – the cooked or the fresh version. I think I lean toward the fresh version, but I love this one too! It’s so hard to choose. I’ll eat either one Mike puts in front of me. YUM.

Try Some of My Other Popular Salsa Recipes

Vibrant, Spicy Cranberry Salsa in a bowl with a chip

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

5 from 3 votes
Vibrant, Spicy Cranberry Salsa in a bowl with a chip
Spicy Cranberry Salsa
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
 
This cranberry salsa recipe is my cooked version that combines tart cranberries with spicy jalapeno peppers and more, then simmers them for the best cranberry salsa ever.
Course: Appetizer, Salsa
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberries, cranberry, holiday, jalapeno, recipe, salsa, spicy
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 128 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 3 jalapeno peppers finely chopped
  • 1 shallot minced
  • ¼ cup green onion chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice from 1 small lime + some lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. irst, add all of the ingredients to a food processor. Process the mixture until nice and smooth.
  2. Transfer the blended salsa to a large pan. Heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes to soften up the ingredients.
  3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  4. Add to a bowl, seal and refrigerate at least 1 hour to let the flavors mingle. It is better to let it sit overnight.
Recipe Notes

Heat Level: Medium-Low. You'll get a bit of a kick from the jalapenos, but this isn't overly spicy. For a hotter salsa, add more jalapenos or introduce a serrano pepper or two, or even a habanero. For a milder salsa, skip the jalapenos and go with a bell pepper.

Nutrition Facts
Spicy Cranberry Salsa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 128 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 299mg12%
Potassium 194mg6%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 400IU8%
Vitamin C 27mg33%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Spicy Cranberry Salsa - This cranberry salsa recipe is my cooked version that combines tart cranberries with spicy jalapeno peppers and more, then simmers them for the best cranberry salsa ever. #Cranberry #Salsa

8 comments

  1. Rosemary Barron

    5 stars
    So good … Actually, I’ve loved all the recipes that I’ve tried so far. One question … will this freeze well? I made twice as much but wondered about freezing … Thanks so much, Mike.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Rosemary. Thanks! Yes, this version will freeze pretty well, better than the fresh version. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. 5 stars
    Super easy to prepare – delicious payoff! Thanks Mike, my family loves it. Let it sit one hour in the fridge – we couldn’t wait overnight. Outstanding flavor! Hard to believe it can taste even better. Next batch will receive the full overnight treatment prior to consumption. Thanks for creating Chili Pepper Madness. Your efforts are much appreciated. Merry Christmas!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks so much, Ken! I greatly appreciate it and am happy you enjoyed the salsa!

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