A festively colored salsa that is both tangy, tart and sweet all at the same time. This is a beautiful holiday dip that will compliment any holiday gathering. I’d seen it floating on the internet, and wondered if it would still taste good with a dairy free cream cheese, and gluten free crackers and I am very pleased to say it does! It’s very simple to make (less than 10 minutes!). This holiday appetizer is gluten and dairy free, and I’ll give a few suggestions of products. Take something to a party that will be inclusive and keep everyone safe. This dairy free cranberry salsa is also free of: wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, is vegan and has a soy free option as well!
No products are sponsored. I just link to them on Amazon so you can find them easier. All Amazon links are affiliate links.
Why I love this cranberry salsa dip
I feel like with food allergies and food restrictions it can be hard enough to cover meals, let alone appetizers. So, when I find a simple appetizer that is allergy-friendly I jump for joy.
Nothing says the holidays like cranberries, and this festive dip is such a gorgeous hue, people will be drawn to it. There are several versions of this floating on the internet (none allergy friendly though) and they vary from the sugar amounts, amount of jalapeno and one even had ginger in it. I think I found a good happy medium between all of the variations I saw.
I honestly did not know what to expect with a recipe this different, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even my picky son likes it. It’s unique which makes it very fun. I feel like a lot of time at holiday get togethers or pot lucks everything is very sweet. I feel like this tart and tangy dip would be a welcome palette cleanser and give great variety to any party spread.
What dairy free cream cheese do I use for the cranberry salsa?
Since the cranberry salsa sits on top of spread cream cheese, I knew that this ingredient would be crucial. I went with my go-to dairy free cream cheese spread which is Tofutti. Here are the ingredients for their Better Than Cream Cheese Spread from their website:
- Water, Expeller Processed Natural Oil Blend (Soybean, Palm Fruit And Olive) Maltodextrin, Soy Protein, Tofu, Non Dairy Lactic Acid, Blend Of Natural Gums (Locust Bean, Guar, Cellulose And Xanthan) Organic Sugar, Salt; Allergens: soy.
I find this dairy free cream cheese at Natural Grocers, Sprouts and Whole Foods. When I’ve had a hard time finding it, in other recipes I’ve tried Go Veggie cream cheese (also has soy).
If you can do dairy–go ahead and use regular cream cheese.
Can I make cranberry salsa ahead of time?
Yes, you can make cranberry salsa ahead of time, and in fact, I recommend it. When you first make it, the onions are quite strong (which I actually love, but I know not everyone does). I made it a day ahead to see how it would fare, and when I tried it the second day, it was considerably sweeter and more mild, because the sugar had time to do its thing! You’ll just want to store the cranberry salsa and the cream cheese separate until it’s time to serve. If your cranberry salsa has gotten a little watery in the container you kept it in (mine hardly did) then you can set it on a paper towel to absorb some extra moisture before topping the cream cheese. Or, even just blot it with the paper towel.
Should I use fresh lime juice?
Ah, here is the debate. Some people will tell you they prefer fresh lime juice, but because I’m type A, I don’t like to, because the amount of juice varies in each lime. So, I like to use bottled, so that I can make sure I have the same recipe every time I make it. Feel free to do what you prefer.
What gluten free chips should I use for the cranberry salsa?
If you do not have gluten allergies, feel free to use any type of pita chip or tortilla chip you like.
If you have gluten intolerance like my husband, or a wheat allergy like my son, here are some chips that we like:
For pita chips, the best ones I’ve found are Simple Mill’s Veggie Pita Crackers. You can also use Good Thins (but they do have a may contain warning, which doesn’t bother us, but it does some). Glutino also has a cracker. As does Schar. We also have never had any problem with most brands of tortilla chips, as those are typically just corn, oil and salt. Feel free to use whatever chips you feel comfortable with. The chips in the photo are the Simple Mills. Or, you can make homemade gluten free vegan crackers by my fellow blogger, Tessa Domestic Diva. Or, these oat crackers by the blogger Salted Plains.
Is this cranberry salsa allergy friendly?
Yes, because most of the ingredients are fresh and single use ingredients this cranberry appetizer is very allergy friendly. If you make it with a soy cream cheese, it only has one of the top-8-allergens. If you make it with a coconut based cream cheese and serve it with gluten-free crackers, then this appetizer is top-8-free!
Are there other gluten and dairy free appetizers?
Yes! Every party needs a good dip or finger food. All of the recipes on my site are gluten, dairy, egg and nut free for my son who has multiple food allergies.
If you don’t need gluten free, feel free to always sub back in regular flour 1:1. Here are some other gluten and dairy free party foods you’ll like:
- 3 Ingredient Dairy Free Ranch
- Vegan queso (nut free too!)
- Dairy free French onion dip
- Asian quinoa meatballs
- Italian pulled pork sliders
- 4 Ingredient BBQ chicken sliders
*If you’re looking for holiday party desserts, check out my 17 gluten free vegan Christmas treats list.
If you’d like to try a recipe from another blogger, check out Perchance to Cook’s Pumpkin Spice Hummus.
Do I Have a Video Showing How to Make Dairy Free Cranberry Salsa?
Yes I do! I made a Tiktok video, which is a short and sweet video giving you a general overview of how to make this recipe. Enjoy!
@allergyawesomeness Dairy free cranberry salsa dip. Tangy, tart and sweet! Such a fun combo. A gorgeous, easy and fresh appetizer for the holiday. #dairyfreeappetizer #veganappetizer #dairyfreechristmas #veganchristmas #allergyfriendly #allergyfriendlyrecipes ♬ Bird (Instrumental) – BLVKSHP
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed
- 1 bunch green onions, 4-5 (white and green parts) roughly chopped
- 1-2 jalapeños, halved and seeds removed
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 container of dairy free cream cheese (see options in post)
- Gluten free chips for dipping (see post for options)
For substitution notes, read my post above.
Check out my other Christmas treats.
*Our allergies, while severe and that get re-tested yearly, are such that we can go strictly by what's on the label. I do not call companies to see what things are derived from, or call manufacturers to see about potential cross contact. If your allergies require you to do so, please do your own homework. I cannot assure you of any ingredient's safety, only you can do that. I simply share what works for our family
**If you are going to feed this to someone with food allergies, and you yourself do not have food allergies, I HIGHLY recommend having them check every single brand and ingredient you are using, to ensure they're OK with each part of the recipe. And, to make sure you've talked to them about how to avoid cross contamination in your kitchen.
This recipe was adapted from several bloggers: The Stay At Home Chef, Oh So Delicioso and Our Best Bites.
DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT, SO YOU DON’T LOSE IT. WHILE YOU’RE THERE, CHECK OUT MY OTHER ALLERGY FRIENDLY PINTEREST BOARDS.
Hi! I’m Megan, a mom to four kids, two with multiple food allergies & one with EOE. I’m a published cookbook author that constantly tweaks recipes to make them allergy friendly–it’s an addiction. I share every recipe & tip with you, to help you eat like you did before food allergies & dietary restrictions. You can still be awesome, even with food allergies!