Fresh Cranberry Salsa

Having a last-minute Thanksgiving? Relax – you are not alone. I just tested out this fresh cranberry salsa for my own Thanksgiving table: it took me under 23 minutes from start to finish (yes, I timed myself) and that included rooting around in the Thanksgiving-stuffed fridge for ingredients, searching the packed-to-the-gills utensil drawer for the apple corer (and eventually turning it up in the dishwasher – oops), weighing the ingredients, and jotting down the recipe for you, the time-stressed Thanksgiving cook. Guaranteed to be at least 100 times better than the stuff with the ridges.

Disturbingly similar, I now realize, to Elise’s salsa at Simply Recipes. There’s also a slightly different version at Bon Appetit, and a cannable version at NCHFP. 


Fresh Cranberry Salsa


  • 1/2 of a small jalapeno (1/8 oz) (fresh or frozen), seeded as desired
  • 1 very small (1 oz) red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 a medium apple (3 oz), cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup (4 oz) cranberries (preferably organic), picked through and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp sugar (organic turbinado)
  • zest from 1/2 a large orange (about 1 heaping teaspoon)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Add the jalapeno to the bowl of a small processor. Process a few pulses until pepper is minced. Add onion; pulse a few times. Add apple, vinegar, and lemon juice; pulse a few times. Add cranberries; pulse until everything is chopped the way you like it (I left mine a little bit chunky, with bits of fruit about 1/8 – 1/4 inch).
  2. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in sugar, orange zest, cilantro, salt and pepper (I used a couple of good pinches of salt and about 1/8-tsp of pepper).  Allow flavors to blend at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Yields about 2 cups salsa.


  1. This amount would likely feed a family of four, especially with all the other Thanksgiving food on the table. Increase recipe accordingly for a larger party.
  2. Parsley can be substituted for the cilantro-adverse.
  3. Ginger, cumin, a bit of cayenne, dried basil: any of these would be good additions. I wanted to keep it pure & simple and I love the flavor and texture of this dish.


Refrigerated, 1 – 2 days. I suspect after that the texture will start to suffer.


Fall into winter.


  1. girl I just love how you manage to throw a chile in a lotta unlikely places. And i’ve been meaning to say happy newlywedom. The place you married/celebrated looks gorgeous!

  2. Donna Vines

    mmmm Kaela you have the yummiest most timely recipes and this does sound a lot better and more fun the the ridgey cranberry sauce

  3. Casey

    Could YOUR recipe be cannable? I clicked on the link you included for the cannable version, but it led me to nowhere. (I did enjoy, for just a moment, wondering what “cannibal” cranberry salsa might taste like.)

  4. Sorry about the broken links; WordPress changed the linking feature and I keep forgetting that now there is an extra http:// in there. Grrr.

    Anyway, I suspect my version above is cannable, as the bulk of the ingredients are quite acidic, but I would have to check the proportions against an ‘approved’ recipe just to make sure. Besides, I don’t know if I would can this as is; apple, upon canning, adds a texture that I don’t think I would want as it softens on cooking. I might replace with shredded carrot, or more spicy peppers, and then I would probably need to add more vinegar to make it all safely acidic. Worth playing around with….

  5. Pingback: Gluten Free Hanukkah Latkes

  6. Liz B.

    Added a touch more pepper to mine. This was definitely the hit of Quarantine Thanksgiving 2012. (I have pneumonia and my husband is getting over bronchitis, so we had our own little feast.)

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