Sweet and Tart Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry salsa as a sweet or tart condiment

The Spruce / Robin Grose

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
24 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 24
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 0g
Calcium 3mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Though not a traditional Mexican preparation, this cranberry salsa is definitely a fresh-tasting variation on the (usually tomato-based) everyday chunky table sauce so known and loved in that country. Simultaneously spicy, tart, and sweet, it is delightfully versatile, as well. Serve it as an appetizer with totopos (tortilla chips) or thin slices of jicama, as a side sauce to roast pork, turkey, or chicken, or as an eye-opening dressing for a fruit salad.

As with many salsa recipes, all quantities are given here as a general guideline. They can—and should—be successfully tweaked to make a sauce that you and yours will love and claim as your own.

Cranberries (called arándanos in Spanish) were unknown in most of Mexico until relatively recently, which is understandable given that they need a cool climate to grow. A few cranberry- and blueberry-flavored products have hit the supermarket shelves in recent years, but those are still uncommon fruits—much like guava and guanábana (soursop) are in cooler climes.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 jalapeños (fresh, or serrano chiles to taste)
  • 12 ounces / 340 grams cranberries (fresh, approx. 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Chop the onion and place it in a strainer. Rinse it for a few seconds under running water. Shake off water and set aside. This rinsing of the onion is done in order to soften its flavor without sacrificing texture in the finished product; omit this step if you prefer a strongly onion-flavored salsa.

  3. Cut the roots off the cilantro. Chop the cilantro, leaves, and stems together.

  4. Cut the stems off the chile peppers. Open them up and remove the seeds and veins if you prefer a milder salsa; leave them if you would like it very spicy. Dice the chile flesh.

  5. Place all the chopped ingredients into a blender or food processor. Add the cranberries, sugar, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Pulse (turning the device on and off rapidly) a few times, until all the ingredients are very finely chopped. Stop before liquefying completely. Move the ingredients around with a spoon between pulses in order to get a homogenous blend. Work slowly and patiently to achieve a good salsa texture and to avoid ending up with a spiritless puree.

  6. Pour your salsa into a glass jar or ceramic serving dish. This can be served immediately, but I always find it tastier after having sat for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Store your delicious cranberry salsa in the fridge. Take it out and let it sit at room temperature for half an hour or so before serving.

  7. Enjoy.