Cranberry Brie Bites

Cranberry Brie Bites are an elegant, tasty, fun appetizer that are always a crowd pleaser – And they can be prepped in 30 minutes!

Cranberry Brie Bites are an outrageously quick, easy, make-ahead friendly holiday appetizer that always disappear in a flash.   These little beauties taste like mini baked brie made with buttery, flaky, puff pastry stuffed with cubes of creamy, melty brie cheese, sweet, tangy pepper jelly cranberry sauce all crowned with nutty pistachios and aromatic rosemary.  They are gooey, soft and crispy, sweet and savory perfection.  These Cranberry Brie Bites are the perfect holiday appetizer and guaranteed to become a new tradition and requested fan favorite!

Holiday appetizers are one of the most enjoyable reasons for the season in my book.  From Cranberry Meatballs and Cocktails Meatballs to Cheesy Artichoke Dip Bites, French Onion Dip Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Log Cherry Cheesecake Dip and now these Cranberry Brie Bites – there is always something for everyone!

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How to Make Cranberry Brie Bites Video

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Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Brie Bites

These Cranberry Brie Bites are a mini, adorable, easy-to-work with version of my stuffed baked brie in puff pastry.  They have been on my bucket list to make for sometime and were 1000X worth the wait; I could not stop eating them! Just call them your new holiday appetizer MVP. Here’s why they’re so praise-worthy:

  • The perfect bite! What could be better than oozing, creamy brie bursting with sweet, tangy pepper jelly cranberry sauce cocooned in a buttery, soft and crunchy shell?  AKA the perfect bite of creamy, crunchy, salty, sweet and tangy that no one can resist. 
  • Transportable, hand-held heroes.   These Cranberry Brie Bites are easy to transport and serve without any extra plates or utensils and are perfectly sized for popping right into your mouth. Best of all, they taste fabulous served both warm and at room temperature.
  • Easy yet elegant.  These luxurious morsels may look fancy, but they are so easy to make!  Cut, whisk, layer and bake!   They are guaranteed to turn out perfectly every time and will blow your guests away.
  • Stress-free make-ahead.  These Cranberry Brie Bites can be assembled ahead of time and either refrigerated or frozen.  Just pop them in the oven when you’re ready to serve!
  • Easy to customize.  You can easily swap the cranberry sauce or pepper jelly for another jelly, swap the nuts and even use crescent dough instead of puff pastry.
  • Fabulously festive.  These Cranberry Brie Bites just scream merry deliciousness!  They are adorable on their own or make them part of a charcuterie board along with your favorite cheeses, meats and nuts.  No matter how you serve them, they will make a festive impression and have everyone asking you for the recipe.  

WHAT IS PUFF PASTRY?

If you haven’t worked with puff pastry before, it is a dream!  Essentially, puff pastry is layers and layers of dough and butter merged together that emerges beautifully golden, soft, crunchy and flaky once baked, creating the perfect vessels for our Cranberry Brie Bites.  It is also super versatile; I’ve used it in Chicken EmpanadasCannoli Cones, and Baked Brie.

Puff pastry comes frozen and typically takes 30 minutes to thaw on the counter, but just follow the thawing instructions on the back of the box.  I like to work with the dough with it is semi-thawed because it is easier to cut and less tacky. 

The ingredients

  • Puff pastry:  is a seriously convenient, no fail secret weapon that’s so easy to work with! Puff pastry is located in the freezer section of your grocery store.  Depending on the brand you use, the package may come with one or two sheets, so make sure you end up with two, otherwise half the recipe.  Also, take care you purchase puff pastry sheets and not the squares
  • Brie cheese: is soft, creamy, buttery, mildly nutty and melts like a dream.  You can find brie with the specialty cheeses at your local grocery store.  You will need 8 ounces brie for this recipe which is typically one wheel, unless you purchase it at Costco where it can weigh more.
  • Cranberry sauce:  sweet & tangy cranberry sauce beautifully compliments the buttery brie.  You can use store-bought or homemade cranberry sauce. If using store-bought, make sure you pick up whole cranberry sauce vs cranberry jelly as the jelly contains more pectin and is less fluid.
  • Pepper jelly: cranberry sauce on its own tastes a little flat, but add in some pepper jelly and taste the merry magic!  It’s sweet and spicy but not too spicy when combined with the cranberry sauce.  Pepper jelly is located with the other jams and jellies at your grocery store.  There is sometimes jalapeno pepper jelly or red pepper jelly – when given the option, you will want the jalapeno pepper jelly.
  • Nuts: use pecans, walnuts or pistachios.  I like pistachios because the green is especially beautiful against the cranberry sauce.
  • Spices: a pinch of cinnamon and cloves add a dimension of warm flavor.
  • Rosemary: fresh rosemary sprigs are optional but add complex notes of evergreen, citrus, lavender, pine, sage, pepper, mint, and sage.

HOW TO MAKE cranberry brie bites

  • Step 1:  Prep.  Thaw the puff pastry according to the package directions. Meanwhile, place the brie in the freezer for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch which will make it much easier to slice.  Once the brie is form, slice it half through the equator and then into 48 squares.
showing how to make cranberry brie bites by cutting brie cheese into cubes
  • Step 2:  Make cranberry sauce.  I use the term “make” very loosely.  Simply whisk together the cranberry sauce, pepper jelly cinnamon and cloves in a medium bowl; set aside.
showing how to make cranberry brie bites by whisking the cranberry sauce together in a glass bowl
  • Step 3:  Make puff pastry squares.  Roll one sheet of puff pastry out onto a well-floured surface into a 10×14-inch rectangle. Cut the pastry into 4 strips lengthwise and 6 strips crosswise to create 24 equal squares. Press the pastry squares into each well of the muffin pan, letting the excess stick up over the edges.   Repeat with second pastry. 
showing how to make cranberry brie bites by rolling out puff pastry and slicing it into 24 squares
  • Step 4:  Assemble.  Place one piece of brie in the center of each pastry square. Top each square with a heaping 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. 
a collage showing how to make cranberry brie bites by lining a mini muffin tin with puff pastry, brie cheese, cranberry sauce and nuts
  • Step 5:  Bake.    Bake for 15 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh sprigs of rosemary if desired.
top view of serving cranberry brie bites on a white platter

Can I bake both batches at once?

This recipe is made in two mini muffin tins which means you can either assemble and bake both tins at once or assemble one tin and bake and assemble the second tin while the first tin is in the oven.  To bake two pans at the same time, place one pan in the upper third of the oven and the second pan in the lower third of the oven; switch the pans halfway through baking.

How to serve cranberry brie bites

The Cranberry Brie Bites can be served fresh out of the oven or at room temperature – both are scrumptious!  Serve them alone or as part of a charcuterie board along with grapes, figs, pears and/or apple slices, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, jams, cold meats and crackers.

Recipe Variations

Cranberry Brie Bites can be transformed into all sorts of different puff pastry bites by using different fillings.  Here are some ideas:

  • Use a different jam/sauce.  Swap the cranberry sauce for raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, fig, apricot, etc. jam
  • Use all cranberry sauce. Skip the pepper jelly and increase the cranberry sauce.
  • Use canned crescent rolls.  These would also be a tasty option.
  • Use more or less pepper jelly.  Make the brie bites spicier by swapping some of the cranberry sauce for more pepper jelly or the opposite by decreasing the pepper jelly and increasing the cranberry sauce.
  • Switch nuts. Use pecans, almonds walnuts or pistachios.
  • Caramelized nuts. Use my 5-minute caramelized nuts recipe to add tantalizing sweet crunch.
  • Swap the brie.  Don’t like brie? Use cubed camembert cheese or cream cheese.
  • Herb toppings. Swap the rosemary for freshly chopped thyme or tarragon.
  • Savory brie bites. The puff pastry can be stuffed with any type of dip like my artichoke dip bites.  You can even keep the brie and top them with savory chutney, pesto, etc. 

Quick Tips for best brie bites

  • Use the correct pan.  This recipe calls for using a mini muffin pan, a regular size pan will not work.
  • Purchase the correct brie.  Look for regular brie and not “double cream brie.” The double cream brie is much runnier and can overflow the cups.
  • Do not cut off the rind of the brie cheese.  The rind is completely edible and will not be noticeable once baked.  Removing the rind will just waste time and cheese!
  • Freeze the brie.  To make brie easier to work with, pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes before you cut it into squares.  This way your knife will glide right through the brie. 
  • Look for all butter puff pastry sheets.  They will have the best flavor if you can get your hands on them.
  • Thaw the puff pastry.  Follow the instructions for thawing the puff pastry but take care it’s still cold.  Cold, semi-thawed puff pastry is easiest to work with because it’s less sticky and tacky.  If it comes to room temperature, put it back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until it feels firm but pliable enough to work with.  Note, there are some brands that don’t require thawing anymore and are also a dream!
  • Don’t unfold the pastry right away.  Wait until the pastry unfolds easily or it can tear.
  • Gently roll out the pastry.  Don’t press too hard or the pastry will compact and won’t puff as nicely.

How long do Cranberry Brie Bites Last?

Cranberry Brie Bites should be covered or transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Can you reheat Cranberry Brie Bites?

Yes!  Tent the muffin tin with foil and bake at 350 degrees F until warmed through.  If you’re enjoying leftovers, you can also microwave them for 10 seconds or so.

Can you freeze Cranberry Brie Bites?

Yes, Cranberry Brie Bites freezer very well.  Bake the brie bites according to recipe directions then allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer so they aren’t touching and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.  Store the frozen bites in a single layer in an airtight freezer-safe container or freezer bags for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, reheat directly from frozen at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.

How to Make Ahead

Cranberry Brie Bites are a winning appetizer because they can be baked and frozen (see freezer instructions) or completely assembled ahead of time and refrigerated.  To refrigerate, fully assemble the bites in the muffin pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  When ready to serve, bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

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top view of cranberry brie bites

Cranberry Brie Bites

Cranberry Brie Bites are an outrageously quick, easy, make-ahead friendly holiday appetizer that always disappear in a flash.   These little beauties taste like mini baked brie made with buttery, flaky, puff pastry stuffed with cubes of creamy, melty brie cheese, sweet, tangy pepper jelly cranberry sauce all crowned with nutty pistachios and aromatic rosemary.  They are gooey, soft and crispy, sweet and savory perfection.  These Cranberry Brie Bites are the perfect holiday appetizer and guaranteed to become
Servings: 48 bites
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 puff pastry sheets
  • 8 ounces brie cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/3 cup pepper jelly
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, walnuts, or pecans finely chopped
  • fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

Equipment

Instructions

  • Thaw the puff pastry according to package directions until it’s thawed but still cold (easier to work with if it’s not thawed completely). Meanwhile, place the brie in the freezer for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Once firm, slice the wheel of brie in half through the equator then chop into 48 pieces.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray two 24-well MINI muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the cranberry sauce, pepper jelly, cinnamon and cloves in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Roll out one sheet of puff pastry onto a well-floured surface into a 10×14-inch rectangle. Cut the pastry into 4 strips lengthwise and 6 strips crosswise to create 24 equal squares. Press the pastry squares into each well of the muffin pan, letting the excess stick up over the edges. Repeat with second pastry in the second pan.
  • Place a piece of brie in the center of each pastry square then top each brie with a heaping 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
  • To bake both pans at once, place one pan in the lower third of the oven and the second pan in the top third and switch positions halfway through baking. To bake one pan at once, place the pan in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F or until the puff pastry is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh sprigs of rosemary if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Puff pastry: is located in the freezer section of your grocery store.  Depending on the brand you use, the package may come with one or two sheets, so make sure you end up with two, otherwise half the recipe. 
  • Brie cheese: you do not need to remove the rind.
  • Pepper jelly: cranberry sauce on its own tastes a little flat, but add in some pepper jelly and taste the merry magic!  Pepper jelly is located with the other jams and jellies at your grocery store.  There is sometimes jalapeno pepper jelly or red pepper jelly – when given the option, you will want the jalapeno pepper jelly.

Make ahead and Storage Tips

  • To store: let the bites cool completely then cover or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • To reheat: tent the muffin tin(s) with foil and bake at 350 degrees F until warmed through.  If you’re enjoying leftovers, you can also microwave them for 10 seconds or so.
  • To make ahead: fully assemble the bites in the muffin pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  When ready to serve, bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F. You can also freeze baked brie bites for up to 2 months (see below).
  • To freeze: bake the brie bites according to recipe directions then allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer so they aren’t touching and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.  Store the frozen bites in a single layer in an airtight freezer-safe container or freezer bags for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, reheat directly from frozen at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through.

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2 Comments

  1. Anita says

    I made this recipe last year at holiday time and they were delicious—and popular with my family. Consider doubling the recipe. I did use the frozen mini tart shells as the stores near me were all out of puff pastry (must have been a seasonal shortage). That was even easier and tasted great!

    • Jen says

      That’s so great they were a hit! Thanks for the tip on the mini tart shells, yum!

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