Cranberry Brie Bites in Puff Pastry
Cranberry Brie Bites are a super easy homemade appetizer. Made with puff pastry sheets, brie, leftover whole cranberry sauce, walnuts, and a sprig of rosemary! Baked until golden and bubbly!
This has to be the best way to use up leftover whole cranberry sauce.
It’s inevitable. There’s always a bit of cranberry sauce leftover after Thanksgiving or Christmas. And there’s nothing I hate more than wasting food. I’ll usually tuck it away in the freezer to make this brie appetizer later for a holiday get-together. All you need is a wheel of brie cheese, a box of frozen puff pastry, walnuts, and leftover cranberry sauce to make this easy cranberry brie bites recipe.
This easy appetizer is simple but tastes super fancy. Each bite has a bit of buttery brie, crunch from the nuts, a hint of sweetness from the sauce, and flaky puff pastry happens to be the perfect vehicle for these flavors!
You can use canned whole cranberry sauce if you don’t have any leftovers. If I use a store-bought sauce, I like to jazz it up with a hint of maple syrup, a bite of orange zest, and some cinnamon. It’s nearly impossible to tell it’s not homemade when you add these ingredients. These flavors work really well with brie, walnuts (or pecans), and the buttery puff pastry shells.
Ingredients for Cranberry Brie Bites:
- Puff Pastry Sheets: A lot of similar recipes call for crescent roll dough but I feel the puff pastry squares make this a much more elevated appetizer. We’ll cut each sheet of puff pastry into 24 rectangles, spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and mold each cup with a piece of pastry.
- Wheel of Brie Cheese: I leave the rind on the wheel and just cut it into 48 pieces. Each piece will be able ½-ish inch in thickness, which is the perfect amount of cheese for each mini muffin tin.
- Cranberry Sauce: You can use homemade cranberry sauce or a cup of store-bought whole cranberry sauce. Keep in mind that cranberry jelly is different, so you want to use a sauce made with whole cranberries. Taste the sauce, if it needs sweetness, we’ll doctor it up with a few ingredients.
- Seasonings: I like to use a hint of ground cinnamon, a bit of orange zest, and a tablespoon of maple syrup. These flavors work beautifully with the brie. If you made cranberry sauce from scratch and use these ingredients in the sauce, you can skip these and use the sauce as is!
- Walnuts: Adds a bit of crunch to the brie bites. I use bits of walnuts but pecans also work well with cranberry and brie.
- Sprigs of Rosemary: These act as a garnish and a fresh element to the brie bites. I’m not a huge fan of fresh rosemary (makes me feel like I’m licking soap!) so I usually add these to look pretty as a garnish and pull them off before eating!
Instructions for Homemade Cranberry Brie Bites:
- Prep first. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven. I use a 24-cup mini baking tin for this recipe and prepare these in two batches. If you happen to have two 24-cup mini muffin pans, you can position a rack in the upper third and a rack in the lower third and bake these at the same time. Make sure to coat the muffin pan generously with cooking spray! They can be difficult to remove if you don’t.
- Roll out the Puff Pastry: Remove one sheet of puff pastry from the refrigerator and place it on a clean, floured surface. Gently roll out the sheet to make it even. Then make 4 cuts lengthwise and 6 cuts crosswise to make 24 rectangles. Place a piece in each muffin tin. I use a fork to make holes in the dough so that it doesn’t puff up during baking.
- Fill the cups! Add the cranberry sauce to a bowl if it’s store-bought. Add cinnamon, orange zest, and maple syrup. Stir it together and taste and adjust to your liking. If it’s tart cranberry sauce, you’ll definitely want to add a bit of maple syrup for sweetness. Cut the brie into 48 small pieces. Place a piece into each muffin pan.
- Bake: Top the brie with a teaspoon cranberry sauce, sprinkle with walnuts. Refrigerate the brie bites for 15 minutes since the puff pastry has probably come to room temperature by then. You want puff pastry to be really cold when it hits the oven. Then bake for 19-22 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden and cooked through. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the bites before the sugar in the sauce had a chance to stick to the pan.
Tips for making cranberry brie bites:
- Defrost the puff pastry ahead of time. I usually thaw the puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight before making these. There are other directions on the box on how you can thaw it quickly, but this method seems to work best for me.
- This recipe will work with crescent dough. If you happen to like crescent dough, you can easily swap it for the puff pastry sheets. Roll out the sheets of dough the same way and make the same amount of pieces. The baking time may vary a bit, so just keep a close eye on them.
- Make a variation if you don’t like cranberry sauce! You can use orange marmalade, fig preserves, raspberry jam, strawberry preserves, blackberry jam, or even currant jam if you don’t happen to have/like cranberry sauce. You can skip the zest, cinnamon, and maple syrup if you use a jam or preserve!
If you like this appetizer recipe, you might also like:
- Gruyere, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion Bites
- Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
- Cheesy Wild Rice Chicken Fritters
- Healthy Cowboy Caviar
- Garlic Baked Brie
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (thawed overnight in refrigerator)
- Flour, as needed
- 1 (8-ounce) wheel of brie cheese
- 1 ¼ cups homemade cranberry sauce (or store-bought)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (see notes)
- Zest of 1 orange (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (see notes)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
- Chopped fresh rosemary, for serving
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat over to 375ºF. Cut the brie in half and then cut each half into 24 pieces. Do your best here and divide it the best you can. Place the brie on a plate and refrigerate for now. Generously spray a 24-cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
- PUFF PASTRY: Remove one sheet of pastry from the refrigerator. Place on a clean, floured work surface. Lightly roll out the sheet to make it even. Cut into 24 pieces. You want to cut 4 lengthwise cuts. Then cut those into 6 portions each to make 24 pieces. Place each square in the mini muffin pan. Use a fork to prick holes so that the puff pastry doesn’t puff up.
- FILL: Add the cranberry sauce to a bowl. Add the ground cinnamon, orange zest, and taste. If the cranberry sauce is to your liking, you can skip the maple syrup, I like to add some, but this is optional.
- BAKE: Place a piece of brie in each cup, top with 1 heaping teaspoon of sauce, and sprinkle with walnuts. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 19-22 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden. Remove pan from oven and transfer bites within a couple of minutes or they stick to the pan as the sugar in the sauce cools. Place rosemary sprigs on bites before serving. Repeat the steps for the second batch.
- Whole Cranberry Sauce: If you use store-bought sauce, I recommend using whole cranberry sauce, not cranberry jelly.
- Cinnamon, Orange Zest + Maple Syrup: If you used a homemade cranberry sauce and used these ingredients in your sauce, you don't have to add more, these are more for doctoring up store-bought sauce.
- If you have 2 24-cup mini muffin pans you can bake both at the same time. Just place the oven racks in the upper third and lower third.