Dips are one dish I never tire of, mainly because there are so many different variations and serving options. Sweet or savory, baked or not, they are all good in my humble opinion. I also believe that we eat with our eyes first, so coming up with a dip that is appealing to the eye is key. How you do that is through color and having ingredients that pop.
This Cranberry and Orange Cream Cheese Dip hits the mark on so many different levels. It is fruit-forward with the combination of cranberries and orange, but adds a bit of heat with the addition of jalapeño. Cream cheese is the base of this dip, followed by cranberry sauce, pomegranate arils and green onions. Not only is it delicious, but the colors really draw you in.
Prepping the Ingredients
This recipe doesn’t require a great deal of prep work, so it comes together quickly. One ingredient you will need is zested orange and if you don’t have a zester, we have you covered. You can easily make your own zest using the 7-5/8" Petite Chef knife. First, using a Vegetable Peeler or paring knife, peel off thin strips of the peel, making sure you don’t cut too far into the bitter white pith. Using the Petite Chef, cut the thin slice of orange peel into very thin strips, rotate and then cut crosswise. Using a rocking motion continue cutting to mince the peel, and now you have orange zest. For step-by-step instructions take a look at our handy tutorial.
To prepare the jalapeño, use a 4" Gourmet Paring Knife to cut the top off the jalapeño and then slice it in half. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and cut one half of the jalapeño into thin strips, rotate and cut crosswise to finely dice the strips. If you want to have a spicier dip, use more jalapeño. Take a look at our easy How to Mince Jalapeños guide if you need assistance.
The pomegranate arils require a little more work. Use the 4" Gourmet Paring Knife to cut the flower stem off the pomegranate. Score the fruit along the ridges/ribs (the wider part of the fruit). You'll want to cut through the red rind and most of the white pith, starting from the top of the flower area to the bottom of the stem. Then just pull the pieces apart. Prepare a bowl of cold water and submerge each section of pomegranate in the water. Gently push out the seeds with your fingers. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the pith will float to the top. Scoop out the pith, drain the water and you have pomegranate arils. Watch our How to Cut a Pomegranate video for detailed instructions.
Making the Dip
Making a fresh cranberry sauce is so important for this dip to work because you can control how sweet or spicy the final dish will be. Add the cranberries, orange juice, water, orange zest, jalapeño and sugar into a 3-Qt. Saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low, simmering the sauce until it thickens and the cranberries have split. If the sauce does not thicken, which is likely to happen if you use frozen cranberries, add one tablespoon of cornstarch to two tablespoons of water in a separate bowl and mix until combined. Add the cornstarch mixture slowly to the sauce and it should thicken when stirred. Once the sauce is ready, allow it to chill.
Using a decorative serving bowl, spread the cream cheese along the bottom and up sides of the bowl creating an even layer. It’s important that the cream cheese be at room temperature for easy spreading. Layer the cooled cranberry sauce over the cream cheese and top with the pomegranate arils and sliced green onions. Serve immediately with an assortment of crackers.
This is such an easy dip to make and it’s so tasty. Cranberry and Orange Cream Cheese Dip combines fresh fruit flavors with a bite from the jalapeño and some additional crunch with the addition of pomegranate arils. It’s easiest to serve with a spoon to scoop out the dip onto a plate and scoop up with crackers. Every bite is colorful and delicious.
Cranberry and Orange Cream Cheese Dip
- 10 ounces fresh cranberries (can use frozen cranberries that are thawed)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- Zest of half orange
- 1/2 jalapeño, cored and finely diced (more if you want more heat in the dip)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (if needed)
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
- Crackers, for dipping
- Rinse the cranberries.
- Add the cranberries, orange juice, water, orange zest, jalapeño and sugar to a medium saucepan, and stir. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, simmering until the cranberries have split and a thick sauce is created, approximately 10 minutes. If the sauce doesn’t thicken (or you are using frozen then thawed cranberries), add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of water in a separate bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the cranberry sauce and stir until the thick sauce is created.
- Remove the sauce from heat and chill until completely cool, approximately 1 hour.
- Spread the cream cheese into a serving bowl, bringing the cheese up the sides.
- Layer the cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese. Top with pomegranate arils and green onions.
- Serve immediately with an assortment of crackers for dipping.