Holiday Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip with Fresh Rosemary

This Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip is a quick, indulgent appetizer with just the right balance of sweet and savory, creamy and light, that’s sure to make your holiday spread merry and bright!

Cranberry feta dip in white bowl with rosemary sprigs, toasted baguette slices, and small Christmas ornaments surrounding them.

Festive Holiday Appetizer

You guys, are you feeling the festive spirit yet? Because I am in the mood to cozy up and savor every moment of this magical holiday season. And today, I can’t wait to share with you this scrumptious cranberry whipped feta dip recipe that’s tailor-made to shine at all your festive gatherings.

What’s our secret sauce, you ask? For this easy recipe we’re taking a simple shortcut by using spruced-up canned whole cranberry sauce. Or maybe you have some leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving to use up? Well then you’ve got the perfect excuse to indulge in this delicious appetizer dip!

Now, let’s talk flavor – tangy cranberry sauce with a hint of orange, rosemary, and maple syrup, spread over a dreamy base of whipped feta, cream cheese, and garlic, all crowned with aromatic fresh rosemary sprigs, making it look as festive as it tastes.

Whipped feta topped with cranberry sauce on a white plate with rosemary sprigs and crostini surrounding them.

Serve it up with some toasted bread, crostini, or crackers and you’ve got a quick and easy appetizer with a fabulous blend of flavors and textures that’s both festive and indulgent.

Whether it’s the star at your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast or you’re just treating yourself to some festive indulgence, this cranberry feta dip is the perfect addition to your holiday table.

Looking for more easy crowd-pleasing appetizers? Check out our delightful burrata bruschetta with peaches and tomatoes, our sweet and savory goat cheese phyllo cups with balsamic strawberries, our creamy whipped ricotta dip with garlic and herbs, our savory truffle burrata dip, and our whipped ricotta crostini with antipasto toppings.

Cranberry sauce, feta cheese, cream cheese, rosemary, maple syrup, and more ingredients for whipped feta cranberry dip.

Ingredient Notes

These ingredient notes will help you make the most of your Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip, ensuring that each component shines in this delightful and visually captivating dish.

For the Cranberry Topping

  • Cranberry Sauce: Choose canned whole berry cranberry sauce (avoid the jelly kind) for the best flavor and texture. It’s a great shortcut for this recipe, but if you enjoy making your own, feel free to do so.
  • Maple Syrup: This liquid gold adds a touch of caramel-y sweetness that complements the tart cranberries. Look for pure maple syrup for that rich, natural flavor.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: A secret weapon to enhance the depth of flavors. It adds a delightful tang that marries beautifully with the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Fresh Rosemary: Don’t underestimate the power of fresh herbs. Fresh rosemary sprigs add a pleasing fragrant essence, creating an inviting aroma and adding a pop of festive visual elegance.
  • Orange Liqueur: While orange liqueur like Grand Marnier adds a luxurious touch, you can easily opt for freshly squeezed orange juice and/or orange zest to add that delightful citrusy zing.

For the Whipped Feta

  • Feta Cheese: Opt for a block of feta cheese and crumble it yourself. Avoid pre-crumbled feta, which often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the texture and flavor.
  • Cream Cheese: To achieve that dreamy, creamy texture, use cream cheese at room temperature. It blends smoothly with the feta, creating the perfect consistency.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic infuses the dip with a subtle hint of savory goodness. Adjust the amount to your taste, but a little goes a long way.
  • Olive Oil: High-quality extra-virgin olive oil adds a silky richness to the dip. It’s worth investing in a good bottle for that extra layer of flavor.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

A hand holding crostini with whipped feta cranberry dip and plate with dip and crostini in the background.

Variations

Feel free to get creative and mix and match these variations to create your own signature Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip!

  • This recipe is great for using up any leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving.
  • Of course if you have some fresh cranberries, all the better! Make your own homemade cranberry sauce by substituting 12 oz. (about 3 cups) fresh cranberries for the canned sauce and adjust the amount of maple syrup to a 1/2 cup total. And then just add a bit more to the cooking time to cook the fresh cranberries down, about 10-15 minutes total.
  • Grate some fresh orange or lemon zest into the dip for a citrusy twist that brightens up the flavors.
  • Sprinkle chopped toasted nuts like pecans, walnuts, or almonds on top for added texture and a nutty flavor dimension.
  • Spread the cranberry sauce over bake brie, whipped ricotta, or serve it alongside your favorite charcuterie board spread.
  • Try topping the whipped feta with a fresh cranberry relish for something a bit different.

Instructions

  1. Make the cranberry sauce. Add the cranberries to a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary sprig (image 1). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes stirring occasionally (image 2). Off heat; remove the rosemary sprig and stir in orange liqueur. Set aside and let fully cool to room temperature.
Process photos for recipe steps 1 through 4.
  1. Make the whipped feta. Crumble the feta into the bowl of a food processor (image 3). Add the cream cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed (image 4), about 1 to 2 minutes.
Process photos for recipe steps 5 through 8.
  1. Plate and serve. Spread the whipped feta onto a serving plate (image 5) then spread the cooled cranberry sauce over the top (image 6). Arrange additional fresh rosemary sprigs around the plate (image 7) if desired. Serve with toasted bread, crostini or crackers (image 8).

Recipe Tips

How to make sure your whipped feta’s texture turns out perfectly smooth, velvety, and airy every time:

  • Use room temperature ingredients: Ensure that both the feta cheese and cream cheese are at room temperature. Softened cream cheese and feta cheese are easier to blend, resulting in a smoother and creamier texture.
  • Drizzle in olive oil: With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil adds a silky richness to the dip and helps achieve a whipped texture.
  • Scrape down the sides: Periodically, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  • Whip until smooth: Continue to whip the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. The feta should be fully integrated with the cream cheese, resulting in a light and airy consistency.
  • Chill if needed: If the dip has become too soft during the whipping process, you can refrigerate it for a short time to firm it up slightly. This will make it easier to work with and achieve the ideal consistency.

Adjusting the flavors

  • Make sure to taste the sauce and add more vinegar or maple syrup to adjust the sweetness and tartness as desired.
  • The fresh rosemary can also be strong so make sure to taste the sauce and continue simmering over low heat until you get the desired amount of rosemary flavor.

 Make-ahead options

  • You can prepare the cranberry topping and refrigerate it in an airtight container. It can be made a day or two in advance. The whipped feta can also be prepared ahead of time, stored separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • When you’re ready to serve, take the components out of the fridge, let them come to room temperature for a short while, and then assemble the dip. The dip will taste best if it’s assembled relatively close to serving time, so the flavors remain fresh.
  • Liquids will start to separate from the cranberry sauce if it sits out too long so give it a good stir and wait until just before serving to plate.

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftover dip can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  • It will be a bit stiff from the refrigeration so bring it to room temperature before serving. Avoid freezing.

Festive presentation ideas

  • Make your presentation more festive by displaying some holiday decorations like ornaments, tinsel, bows, pine greens, holly, and mistletoe around your dip spread. There are so many possibilities to get creative so go for it!
Whipped feta topped with cranberry sauce on a white plate with rosemary sprigs and crostini surrounding them.

FAQs

If you’re using block or brined feta, it’s a good idea to drain it. Simply remove the block from the brine, pat it dry with a paper towel, and crumble or slice it as needed for your recipe. However, do not drain it until you are ready to use it as the brine (liquid) preserves and keeps the cheese from drying out.

Grainy whipped feta can result from using low-quality feta or pre-crumbled feta, not using a powerful enough mixer or processor, and under-mixing. To prevent graininess – use fresh block feta, mix long enough to reach a smoother consistency, and add or adjust the amount of cream cheese and olive oil.

If your whipped feta is runny, it may be due to excess moisture from adding too much olive oil or from over-mixing it. Add more feta until you reach the desired consistency. If it is still runny after whipping, try chilling it in the fridge for bit before assembling the dip.

Serving Suggestions

  • Crusty Bread: Freshly baked crusty bread or baguette slices are a classic and simple pairing for scooping up the dip.
  • Crostini: Create crostini with toasted baguette slices and a drizzle of olive oil, adding a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper for extra flavor.
  • Assorted Crackers: Choose a selection of your favorite crackers, from plain to whole wheat or multigrain or rosemary-flavored varieties.
  • Charcuterie Board: Serve the dip alongside an assortment of cured meats, cheeses, crackers, and fresh fruit for a well-rounded charcuterie platter.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Serve it with roasted vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, or squash for a tasty side dish.
  • Fruit Platter: Pair it with a fresh fruit platter that includes apples, pears, grapes, and figs for a balance of sweet and savory.
  • Savory Tarts: Use it as a filling or topping for sweet and savory tarts or puff pastry creations.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a rating in the comments below and let us know how it turned out. Your feedback is important to us. Thank you for visiting Maplevine Kitchen!

More Crowd-Pleasing Appetizers

Easy Burrata Bruschetta with Peaches and Tomatoes
Creamy Whipped Ricotta Dip with Garlic and Herbs
Whipped Ricotta Crostini with Antipasto Toppings
Whipped Truffle Burrata Recipe (Dip + Sauce + Spread)

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Holiday Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip with Fresh Rosemary

This Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip is the perfect shortcut to a merry and bright holiday spread. Sweet-tart cranberry sauce with a hint of orange liqueur and maple syrup meets dreamy whipped feta, cream cheese, and garlic, all crowned with fresh rosemary sprigs. It's a quick, indulgent appetizer with a fabulous blend of flavors and textures, tailor-made for your festive celebrations!
By: AllieAllie Cleveland
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 252 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 14 ounces canned whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 handful fresh rosemary sprigs (1 sprig for the sauce plus more for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Triple Sec, etc.)
  • 8 ounces feta cheese (drained if packaged in brine)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Add the cranberries to a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and 1 sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off heat; remove the rosemary sprig and stir in the orange liqueur. Set aside and let fully cool to room temperature.
  • Crumble the feta into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cream cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Spread the whipped feta onto a serving plate then spread the cooled cranberry sauce over the top (you might not need all of it). Arrange additional fresh rosemary sprigs around the plate if desired. Serve immediately with toasted bread, crostini or crackers.

Video

Recipe Notes

*Scroll up through the post to see step-by-step instructional photos, helpful tips, and serving suggestion ideas.
Variations
  • This recipe is great for using up any leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving.
  • Of course if you have some fresh cranberries, all the better! Make your own homemade sauce by substituting 12 oz. (about 3 cups) fresh cranberries for the canned sauce and adjust the amount of maple syrup to a 1/2 cup total. And then just add a bit more to the cooking time to cook the fresh cranberries down, about 10-15 minutes total.
Leftovers and storage
  • Leftover dip can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  • It will be a bit stiff from the refrigeration so bring it to room temperature before serving. 
Festive presentation ideas
  • Make your presentation more festive by displaying some holiday decorations like ornaments, tinsel, bows, pine greens, holly, and mistletoe around your dip spread. There are so many possibilities to get creative so go for it!

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.9g | Protein: 3.1g | Fat: 20.2g | Saturated Fat: 9.9g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 134mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 5.7g

*Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Maplevine Kitchen makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Keyword cold dip, crackers, crostini, entertaining, holiday appetizer, party appetizer, quick and easy
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!

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