These Cranberry Brie Bites are going to make a deliciously festive addition to your holiday feast! With melted brie stuffed inside puff pastry, topped with cranberry sauce, candied pecans, and sea salt, they are the easiest yet impressive appetizer of the season. Make more because they will be gone in seconds!
What is your favorite part of a holiday meal? I always look forward to a platter full of splendid appetizers. Half the fun comes from their bite-sized advantage, and the other half comes from the room for creativity.
Cheese boards, charcuterie boards, veggie trays, you name it – there are plenty of exciting options to choose from! BUT, for an impressive yet unbelievably easy appetizer, you’ll have to make these Cranberry Brie Bites.
Here you get buttery puff pastry filled with creamy Brie cheese, then topped with the seasonal favorites of cranberry sauce, candied pecans, and walnut pieces. Baked till golden crisp all around the edges, every morsel of these Brie Bites screams of merry deliciousness! Trust me, it’s going to make an impression.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Brie Bites
- Amazingly tasty! Each bite offers a mix of savory and sweet crunch that no one can resist.
- So easy yet so elegant – Oh, how festive and inviting these little bites will look on your holiday tray! Best of all, it takes little skill to make them. Fancy but easy!
- Ideal for make-ahead. That’s the best kind of appetizers because we don’t need the extra stress on the big day.
- Easy to customize – You can easily change up the nut toppings or the sauce.
You’ll Need Just 5 Ingredients
- Frozen Puff Pastry – I’ve made so many holiday appetizers and desserts by using puff pastry! From my dead simple cheese tarts to apple tarts, puff pastry can really do magic! It’s seriously convenient and fail-proof. You can find puff pastry in the freezer section at your local grocery store.
- Brie Cheese – The soft, creamy cheese has a mild nutty and buttery flavor. Once baked, it melts beautifully against the golden puff pastry cups.
- Cranberry Sauce – The sweet & tangy cranberry sauce complements the Brie cheese flavor. I used my Homemade Cranberry Sauce, but you could also use store-bought apricot jam, strawberry sauce, blackberry jam, fig jam, or chutney.
- Candied Pecans or Walnuts – A little touch like the candied pecans and crushed walnuts add a sweet tantalizing crunch to the brie bites.
- Flake Sea Salt – A sprinkle of flake sea salt intensifies the flavor.
- (Optional) Fresh Thyme – Not just for the look, but fresh thyme adds a nice fragrance. You can sub with rosemary too.
Tips on Working with Frozen Puff Pastry
- Thaw puff pastry, cover with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours, or just set it on the counter for 20-30 minutes (depending on the room temperature).
- Don’t unfold the pastry right away while frozen; wait a bit longer until the pastry unfolds easily.
- Gently roll out the pastry and avoid pressing hard, or it will not puff as nicely.
- Puff pastry works best when cold so it doesn’t stick and melt into your hands. 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.
- Chill the prepared pastry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce & Substitutions
In this recipe, I used my homemade Easy Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce. It’s our family’s favorite and really easy to make, so I make this sauce frequently as long as fresh cranberries last in the store. You can also make a big batch and keep it in the fridge (for 2 weeks) or freezer (for 3 months).
Substitutions – You can use your own cranberry sauce recipe, or substitute cranberry sauce with fig jam, apricot jam, blackberry jam, chutney, or any sauces/jams you have in your mind.
Can I Make Them Ahead and How to Store Them?
Do I get a YES when I say you can make these pastries ahead of time? There are two ways to do this:
- Once you assemble the brie bites in the muffin pan, cover it with plastic, and leave them in the refrigerator unbaked for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, just pop the pan in the oven and bake.
- Assemble and bake the brie bites as the recipe instructed. Let cool, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and leave them in the freezer until harden. Then store the frozen pieces in an airtight container or ziplock in a single layer. They will be good for 2 months.
To reheat – Just place the brie bites back in the muffin pan and bake 350ºF (177ºC) for about 10-15 minutes, or until nicely warm.
I can’t tell you how much my family enjoys these Cranberry Brie Bites. So be sure to make more. They will likely steal the show!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Cranberry Brie Bites
- 4 oz Brie cheese (½ (8-oz) round Brie cheese)
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (You can substitute it with 1 (8-oz) tube crescent rolls)
- ½ cup cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup candied pecans
- ¼ cup roasted walnuts
- cooking spray
- flake sea salt
- fresh thyme (optional; you can substitute it with rosemary)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Cut the Brie cheese in half if you haven’t already and place the half in the freezer for 20 minutes (Store the other half in the fridge for another use). Placing the Brie cheese in the freezer for 20 minutes makes it easier to cut. Generously grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
- Take out one frozen puff pastry sheet and place it on a working surface sprinkled with a bit of flour. Leave it out for 10 minutes or so (depending on the room temperature) and when the puff pastry sheet is a bit softer, unfold and continue to have it thawed.
- Roll the puff pastry sheet out into a 10 x 14-inch (25 x 36-cm) rectangle.
- Cut the sheet crosswise into 6 even strips.
- Then cut the sheet lengthwise into 4 even strips. You should have 24 squares (each square will be about 2 ½ inches on each side).
- Separate the squares and press them gently into the muffin cups.
- Remove the rind only from the side edges (I keep the top and bottom). The rind is edible and barely noticeable once the Brie is baked. However, I like to remove the side edges so the corner pieces don’t have too much rind.
- Cut chilled Brie cheese into 24 pieces. It’s easier to cut the creamy Brie into cubes when it’s chilled and has a firm texture.
- Place in 1 piece of Brie and top with a teaspoon of cranberry sauce to each pastry-lined muffin cup.
- Chop candied pecans and walnuts.
- Top with a teaspoon of chopped walnuts. Chill for at least 30 minutes. The cold temperatures will firm up the pastry, which will help the butter in the dough will melt more slowly. If you are making ahead, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Bake the bites in the preheated oven until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese and cranberry sauce are bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Transfer the bites to a serving plate and garnish with sea salt and thyme (optional). Serve warm or at room temperature.
- You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you like to freeze them, let them cool completely, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and leave them in the freezer until harden. Then store the frozen pieces in an airtight container in a single layer or a ziplock bag for up to 2 months.
- Place (keep them frozen) bites in a mini muffin tin or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350ºF (177ºC) until warmed through. For frozen bites, reheat directly from frozen at 350ºF (177ºC) in the oven until warmed through.