Cream Cheese with Pepper Jelly

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Cream cheese with pepper jelly served on crispy butter crackers is the easiest holiday appetizer ever. Serve this garnished with fresh rosemary for a perfect nibble for your next get together.

A block of cream cheese on a plate has pepper jelly spooned over the top with a sprig of fresh rosemary. A plate of crackers is in the background.

That bright red pepper jelly spooned over stark white cream cheese is such an elegant and easy appetizer to keep on hand for the holiday season.

Looking for a homemade gift to add to a gift basket?

Tuck a jar of the red jelly and some fancy crackers in with a fun cheese spreader and a print-out of the recipe card below. Or better yet, rewrite the recipe on a pretty recipe card in your very own handwriting!

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Why This is the Best Recipe

With just two main ingredients and practically no time to assemble, I think this is the best cream cheese with pepper jelly recipe because:

  1. Last-Minute Entertaining: You can keep the ingredients in your fridge and pantry and be ready to serve this holiday snack in minutes.
  2. Creamy with a Kick: Red pepper jelly definitely has some heat but isn't overly "spicy". Pair it with a cool and creamy brick of cream cheese on a sweet butter cracker, and it is a very munchable snack for a get together.
  3. So Festive and Pretty: With no effort at all, you can have a darling little appetizer to serve on a pretty plate that will make any cocktail table look more festive.


A jar of pepper jelly sits next to a brick of cream cheese and a box of crackers. A fresh sprig of rosemary sits behind.

This ridiculously easy appetizer only requires 2 ingredients with a few optional extras:

  1. Cream Cheese: Use a regular full-fat brick cream cheese. It spreads best, tastes best, and makes for a much prettier presentation.
  2. Red Pepper Jelly: Any brand will work but I especially love this Stonewall Kitchen red pepper jelly.

For Serving:

  • Fresh Rosemary: This makes for a very festive garnish during the holiday season.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Optional, only use if you like things extra spicy. Just sprinkle them right in with the jelly when you heat it up in the microwave.
  • Butter Crackers: The traditional option for serving but any entertaining cracker will work just fine.

Serving Suggestions

A block of cream cheese on a plate has pepper jelly spooned over the top with a sprig of fresh rosemary. A plate of crackers is in the background.

This easy appetizer works best when the cream cheese is softened and ready to spread on a cracker but honestly it doesn't take very long for the cheese to come to room temperature.

You could assemble this recipe on your serving plate and let it rest on the snack table. By the time friends are ready to dig in, the cream cheese will be ready to go!

You'll heat the red pepper jelly in the microwave just long enough to make it spoonable over the cream cheese.

Make this spread part of a charcuterie board or snack board and add a bowl of festive glazed nuts. You could also add a basket of crispy crostini to make this a more filling treat.

My sweet and sour meatballs can be kept warm in a crockpot nearby and would add another boost of sweet and savory goodness to your party.

More Easy Appetizers

Every party host needs a collection of easy appetizers to get through the holiday season. Don't miss these other delicious recipes:

๐Ÿ“– Recipe

A block of cream cheese on a plate has pepper jelly spooned over the top with a sprig of fresh rosemary. A plate of crackers is in the background.

Cream Cheese with Pepper Jelly

5 from 1 vote
This deliciously easy cream cheese appetizer takes practically no time to assemble and serve but will be a huge hit with your guests. Keep the ingredients on hand for last-minute entertaining during the holiday season.
TOTAL TIME 5 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
YIELD 8 servings


  • 1 (8 oz) brick of cream cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup red pepper jelly
  • Butter crackers for serving
  • Fresh rosemary for garnish
  • Crushed red pepper flakes optional


  • Let the cream cheese come to room temperature on the pretty plate you plan to serve this appetizer.
  • Place the hot pepper jelly in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on HIGH for 30 seconds and stir.
  • Spoon the warmed jelly over the top of the cream cheese. Garnish with the fresh rosemary and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes if you prefer it even spicier.

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The photo collage shows the finished appetizer next to a photo of the ingredients necessary to make it.

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