Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange

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Your holiday guests will love this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange. And you’ll love how easy it is! Serve this make-ahead holiday appetizer alongside pretzels or crackers.

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cranberry orange sauce over cream cheese on a plate

Thank you to Hero Fruit Spreads for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are mine.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange

The holidays are quickly approaching..and creating this recipe got me ready for all things holiday entertaining! Our family loves to make things special during the holidays for family and friends. Whether it is decorating (the kids are already asking for the Christmas tree!), gift exchanges or holiday get-togethers, this easy Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange always adds a festive flair to the dinner table.

Hero Fruit Spreads

The easy cranberry sauce that tops the cream cheese uses Hero  Bitter Orange Premium Fruit Spread as a key ingredient to add a unique, tangy flavor. Hero Fruit Spreads is a leading European brand that got its start in the Swiss Village of Lenzburg, in 1886, becoming the gold standard in premium fruit spreads, preferred by professional chefs and discerning consumers world-wide for its exceptional fruit quality, texture and variety. In fact, Hero’s variety is unmatched with flavors such as Red Currant, Black Cherry and Bitter Orange. Don’t forget the traditional flavors of Raspberry, Strawberry and Blackberry too!

Hero Fruit Spreads have all natural ingredients…no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or colors and no preservatives. This makes it a top choice any time of the year, but especially during the holiday season.

Difference between Fruit Spreads and Fruit Preserves

Do you know what the difference is between fruit spread and fruit preserves? The short answer is that fruit spreads contain more fruit. The FDA requires that if a product contains 40-44% fruit, it must be labeled as fruit jam or preserves. Hero Fruit Spreads have over 50% fruit. More fruit is one of the things I love most about Hero Fruit Spreads!

A close up of bitter orange jelly

Make Ahead Appetizer

This recipe is a great make-ahead appetizer. It’s important to plan ahead because the sauce will taste the best if it is given time for the flavors to blend together in the refrigerator overnight.

You can even make the sauce several days in advance. It will keep in the refrigerator just fine, and you’ll keep extra dishes out of your kitchen on Thanksgiving morning or on the day of your holiday party.

Fresh Vs Frozen Cranberries

We call for frozen cranberries in this recipe. Can you use fresh? Yes! Cranberries freeze really well. There won’t be any difference in flavor whichever you use. We choose frozen just because they are easy to keep on hand and pull out exactly when you need them.

Cranberry Sauce with Bitter Orange

  • To make the cranberry sauce, heat 12 ounces of cranberries in a saucepan along with 1 cup of sugar. You can use less sugar if you’d like, but because the Bitter Orange fruit spread and cranberries are both tart, we find 1 cup of sugar to be the best sweetness level.
  • As you cook and stir the cranberries and sugar, you’ll notice the cranberries start to “pop” and create juice. Continue to stir until you have what looks like a cranberry sauce. There may still be a few whole cranberries and that is just fine. The texture is great in this recipe!
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Then add the Hero Bitter Orange Fruit Spread and a touch of vanilla.
  • Let the sauce come to room temperature, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

cream cheese and cranberry spread

How to Serve Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

As you can see in the image above, this recipe makes just over 2 cups of the cranberry orange sauce. It’s the perfect amount of sauce for 2 blocks (or 16 ounces) of cream cheese.

We served the two blocks on the same platter because we were serving it for quite a few people. If you’d like, you can use just half of the amount of sauce over 1 block of cream cheese and save the rest for later. If you are like our family, there are sometimes several family and friend parties over the Thanksgiving weekend. Create the recipe once and serve it up twice!

*Tip: This sauce will get a little “juicy” as it sits out at room temperature. Only prepare a plate for as much as you think you’ll use at one time. Trust me…the leftovers are just as good, but it won’t have quite the pretty presentation after the sauce sits on the cream cheese for a few hours.*

block of cream cheese with cranberry orange jam

What to serve with Cream Cheese Dip

So what do you dip in this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange? We love to choose something salty. Our favorite is butter crackers or pretzels. You can use something sweeter if you’d like such as graham crackers, vanilla wafers or shortbread.

This is also fantastic with small slices of crusty bread.

overhead view of cranberry orange dip with crackers

Spread the goodness this season with Hero Fruit Spreads! Give a jar as a gift with a loaf of homemade bread or use it in your own baking and cooking to add a touch of unique flavor to so many different dishes. Click for recipe inspiration

You can find Hero Fruit Spreads in the jam aisle of grocery stores such as ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Safeway, Walmart, Price Chopper, Giant Eagle, ACME, Ralph’s and HEB.

block of cream cheese with cranberry orange jam
block of cream cheese with cranberry orange jam

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange

5 from 2 votes
Your holiday guests will love this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Bitter Orange. And you'll love how easy it is! Serve this make-ahead holiday appetizer alongside pretzels or crackers.
Servings 20
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

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  • 12 ounces frozen cranberries (thawed)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12 ounces Hero Fruit Spreads Bitter Orange (1 jar)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (for topping, optional)


  • *Be sure to plan ahead! This cranberry sauce is best if you allow the flavors to develop in the refrigerator overnight.*
  • In a 2 quart saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the thawed cranberries and sugar. Mix often until cranberries start to "pop" and release their juice. 
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and mix in the vanilla extract and Hero Fruit Spreads Bitter Orange. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, then place the sauce in a glass bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight so the flavors can blend.
  • When you are ready to serve the cranberry cream cheese dip, place two softened blocks of cream cheese on a plate. 
  • Spoon the cranberry sauce over the cream cheese.
  • Sprinkle chopped pecans over the sauce.
  • Serve immediately with butter crackers, vanilla wafers or pretzels.
  • **This recipe makes a little over 2 cups of sauce. You can serve half of it over 1 brick of cream cheese and save the rest for later. You can use each brick of cheese on a separate plate, or you can use the same plate as we show above.
  • **We recommend only putting on a serving plate what you are planning to use because the sauce may get "juicy" as it comes to room temperature. 
  • **Refrigerate any leftovers. It won't look as pretty the next day, but will taste just as delicious!


Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 175
Keyword cranberry appetizer, cranberry sauce, cream cheese dip, party dip

cranberry cream cheese dip title image

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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