Hey! I'm Des!

Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

Read more »

Cranberry Cream Cheese

This easy, festive Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread with a hint of rosemary will be the hit of all of your holiday parties!

If you’re in need of a quick, easy, festive appetizer for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table this Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread is it . Spread on some buttery crackers and you’ll have an addicting little snack perfect for all of your upcoming holiday festivities.

One of my favorite parts of the traditional Thanksgiving festivities is the platter of appetizers that cover the table before dinner.  After all it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we didn’t spend the entire day eating, right? Our family breaks out the appetizer platters at about 11 am while we’re watching the last hour of the Macy’s Parade.

It really is a smorgasbord of food. We usually have everything from pickles and olives, to salami and cheese to ham pin-wheels and deviled eggs. And while it may not sound like we need anything more, I couldn’t resist making just one more thing. That is where this Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread enters the equation. It’s quick, easy, full of flavor and sure to be a hit.

Ingredients you’ll  need:

Cranberry cream cheese ingredients.

  • CREAM CHEESE:  It is essential that it is at room temperature. This will help it whip better so that it will be easier to fold in the other ingredients.
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES: These are sweet, tart and add just a pop of color without turning the cream cheese pink.
  • FRESH ROSEMARY: Fresh rosemary is important in this recipe. Dried Rosemary is too brittle and won’t work as well. Fresh rosemary grows year round in my neck of the woods (PNW) if you can’t find it by itself, you can usually find it in the “Poultry blend” of fresh herbs in the produce section.
  • GRANULATED GARLIC: Adds just a hint of garlic flavor. You can also substitute garlic powder.
  • SALT AND PEPPER: You don’t need much here, just to taste.

Step by Step Photos and Instructions:

Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread is ridiculously easy to make! Follow along with these step by step photos and instructions to see just how easy it is.

  • STEP #1: When I originally posted this recipe, I simply stirred the ingredients into softened cream cheese. I  have since discovered that it is much better to use a hand mixer to whip the cream cheese first.  It makes it so much easier to fold in the cranberries and rosemary.Whipped cream cheese in a bowl.
  • STEP #2: Fold in the cranberries, rosemary and granulated garlic.  Mix well.Cranberry cream cheese ingredients in a bowl.

Make sure that you mix it very well so that there is cranberries and rosemary throughout the cream cheese.

Mixing cranberry cream cheese in a glass bowl.

I love to serve this with buttery crackers like Ritz or Townhouse. Honestly, it’d probably be fab on a bagel too!

Cranberry cream cheese on a cracker.

Storage and Leftovers:

This spread keeps pretty well in the fridge.  You’ll just want to make sure that you bring it to room temperature before serving. This will help ensure that it spreads well.

When I originally shared this Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread several years back, I knew that this recipe was going to be a hit. I often get friends telling me that this is one of their favorites from the blog and it is one of our favorites too. It has made an appearance at almost every holiday celebration for the last few years. I hope it has a spot at your table too!

Looking for more appetizers to serve for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Here are some of our must haves each year:

Brussels Sprouts as an appetizer?! Yes! This Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Dip will turn a Brussels sprouts hater into a lover every time. 

Easy Artichoke Tapenade is great with crostini or crackers.

Mini Pigs in a Blanket are our kiddos absolute favorite. 

Note: This post was updated in 2009.  It was updated in 2016 and again in 2022.

Cranberry cream cheese in white bowl.

Rosemary and Cranberry Spread

This easy, festive Cranberry Cream Cheese with a hint of rosemary will be the hit of all of your holiday parties!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Easy Appetizer Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 164 kcal



  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt


  • Place cream cheese into a bowl and using a spoon, fold in all ingredients until well combined.
  • Serve along side crackers or toasted baguette slices.


This is best served at room temperature. You can make it in advance just remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it's easier to spread. 
Nutrition information for estimation purposes only. 


Calories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 119mgPotassium: 58mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 509IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: appetizer, Christmas, cranberries, Dip, dried cranberries, holiday, rosemary, snack, Spread, thanksgiving

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    December 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    5 stars
    This went over really well at a work party, and a few people asked for the recipe.

    • Reply
      December 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      That is great to hear Elizabeth! Thank you!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    5 stars
    This is DELICIOUS and was enjoyed by ALL!!!!!

    • Reply
      December 6, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      I am so happy to hear that Susan!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Loved it

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Bam! This was good. I made it for a pot luck and loved the flavor. Super easy to make and super tasty. Thanks! I will be back to try out more.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Have you tried it with low fat or fat free cream cheese? I am trying to find yummy appetizers that won’t cause me to gain weight over the holidays! :)

    • Reply
      November 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I’m pretty sure it would work :)

  • Reply
    April 27, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I have to tell you that I’ve made this at least 10 times and it has been a HUGE hit at each event. I just got a call requesting that I bring this particular appetizer to an upcoming party. Thanks so much! So easy and mighty tasty!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2013 at 5:15 am

    I am going to try this today. I think of cream cheese as a food group on its own. Always looking for new ways to use it

  • Reply
    December 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I used fresh cranberries and added a little brown sugar. It is delicious. Thanks for the recipe idea I found on Pinterest.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I made this for our Thanksgiving appetizer, and it was a hit! My cousin said he doesn’t even like cream cheese, and he loved it. I’m passing the recipe on to others. Thank you!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Looks great! I’m thinking of making this for Thanksgiving… and this might be a dumb question, but can I make it a day in advance? I’m assuming yes, but I thought I’d check.

    • Reply
      November 6, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Renee! Of course you can make it a day in advance. But hide it…so it lasts until the big day :)

  • Reply
    December 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I cannot tell you how much I love this spread. This is the second year in a row it will be on my holiday menu. It just screams Christmas to me. The pineyness (pine-iness? piney-ness? are these words?) of the rosemary, the gorgeous red of the sweet/tart cranberries… perfection. Thanks so much for sharing a simple recipe that will be a Christmas must-have for us for years to come.

    And now that I’ve gushed uncontrollably, I will step over the line into slightly obsessed to say that I’m typing this comment while munching on it right this very second.

    • Reply
      December 14, 2010 at 9:44 pm

      haha well I suppose there are worse things to be obsessed with. You’re welcome and thank you for your comment :)

  • Reply
    December 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

    I had seen a recipe similar to this, but butter was used in place of the cream cheese and used on potatos and what not. I have no idea where I saw the recipe, but do you think that the same quanities of ingrediants can be used? Would sour cream work as well?
    Thanks so much!!

  • Reply
    Todd Ross
    January 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    My wife and I made this for a New Year’s Day potluck, and it was amazing. Don’t be shy with the cracked pepper! Use a pink and black peppercorn blend. The pink peppercorns impart a sweet and delicate flavor, while the black peppercorns give it that true peppery flavor. (For bonus points, use a mortar and pestle to better control the size and balance of the cracked ‘corns.)

    • Reply
      January 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      Todd- I love the idea of sub-ing some pink and black peppercorn blend. Thanks for the comments!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Made this for me & a friend to snack on today while we were doing Christmas crafts. We loved it! The fresh rosemary really makes it, then there’s that bite of the tart cranberry – just excellent. I’m putting it on my appetizer menu for Christmas Eve. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      December 7, 2009 at 9:44 am

      You’re welcome andifoo! It is wonderful to hear that you liked it so much :)

  • Reply
    December 4, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    This spread is delicious! I made it for Thanksgiving appetizers for my family and then again for my roommates when I got back. It was gone in under 10 minutes. Total winner. :)

    • Reply
      December 5, 2009 at 11:18 am

      Thank you Xochi! I am happy to hear that everyone enjoyed it so much and I even more flattered that you served this as part of your Thanksgiving celebration :)

  • Reply
    November 25, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Thank you Soma!

  • Reply
    November 24, 2009 at 5:43 am

    A very beautiful one with lots of taste and flavor. Nice combination of the tart and the sweet and the rosemary with it sounds really good.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Thank you Carrie and Michelle!
    You’re welcome Marion! I also find that cream cheese is wonderful with just about anything :)
    Thank Elle! I LOVE the changes that you made, I can understand why there wasn’t a scrap left.
    You’re welcome Alina!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I love dried cranberries, thank you for a great suggestion… I never thought of adding them to a cheese spread before! Thanks!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    This was WONDERFUL! Rolled it into a ball, then rolled in chopped pecans and cracked black pepper…….. there wasn’t a scrap left.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I love the idea of pairing cream cheese with just about everyth ing. It always puts a nice clean freshness into the offering, whatever that might be. This spread is colorful and with the garlic powder and the rosemary, it will suit any occasion, even the latenight snack. Thank you.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2009 at 6:32 am

    This would make a great appetizer… or just a snack :)

  • Reply
    November 18, 2009 at 6:18 am

    This sounds great and is so pretty! It would be great for Christmas, too, with those colors.

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

    Sharing is Caring

    Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!