Appetizers & Snacks/ Christmas/ Party/ puff pastry/ Thanksgiving

Cranberry Brie Bites

29 November 2021 | Last Updated: 13 November 2022 By Aleksandra

These cranberry brie bites are a classic and delicious appetizer. You need only 3 ingredients to make them (cranberry sauce, brie cheese, and puff pastry) and they’ll be ready in no time! These are so good and would be perfect all year round not just for the holidays! These puff pastry bites are made in a standard-size muffin pan.

Cranberry brie bites on a wooden board.
Labeled ingredients for Spätzle.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this delicious Holiday Appetizer:

Labeled ingredients for cranberry brie bites.
  • Puff pastry – all butter puff pastry will provide the best flavor, buy it if you can find it. You could also use crescent roll dough.
  • Brie cheese – make sure to buy a regular brie cheese, either a wheel or a wedge. Don’t buy double cream brie – it’s too runny for this recipe. Instead of brie cheese, you can use: camembert, soft-ripened goat cheese, or gorgonzola (the last one has the most distinctive flavor, so that would be my last choice, it would pair better with other types of preserves, for example fig preserves).
  • Cranberry sauce (I used my homemade cranberry orange sauce for this). Instead of homemade cranberry sauce you can use store-bought whole berry cranberry sauce, cranberry preserves, or apricot/cherry/fig preserves.
  • Pecans – or walnuts/pistachios.
  • Thyme leaves – add flavor and a pop of color to the appetizer. Instead of thyme, chopped and quickly sauteed rosemary can also be used (it needs to be sauteed otherwise it would be too tough to chew).

Step by step instructions

Rolled out puff pastry sheet cut into squares.

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Your puff pastry should be about 1/8-inch (3-4 mm) thick, if it’s thicker and square roll it out on a piece of parchment paper into a 9×15 inches (23x38cm) rectangle.

Cut the puff pastry into 3-inch (7-8 cm) squares (3 rows, 5 columns).

Squares of puff pastry in a muffin tray.

STEP 2: Spray GENEROUSLY a regular-sized muffin tray with cooking/baking spray or grease it with vegetable oil.

Place each puff pastry square in the center of each muffin cup.

You could bake them in muffin paper liners but their bottoms are less crispy than baked directly in the muffin pan.

Puff pastry squares in a muffin tray with cubes of brie cheese.

STEP 3: Cut brie into 1 1/2 inch (4cm) wide and 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick slices. You don’t need to cut off the rind.

Place a piece of brie in each pastry cup.

TIP: Brie cheese should be very well-chilled – it will be easier to cut into pieces. If you forgot to chill it in the fridge you can put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Puff pastry squares in a muffin tray with cubes of brie cheese and cranberry sauce.

STEP 4: Spoon a small amount of cranberry sauce on top, about 1-2 teaspoons (don’t add too much or the pastries will be too sweet).

Baked puff pastry bites with brie and cranberry sauce are being sprinkled with pecans and thyme leaves.

STEP 5: Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake the pastries for 10-12 minutes or until they are puffed and nicely golden. The baking time may vary depending on the oven so keep an eye on them at the end of the baking time to make sure they don’t get too dark.

While the pastries are baking, chop the walnuts into smaller pieces, toast them in a dry pan until lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer them immediately to a plate, they can burn quickly in a hot pan.

Take the pastries out of the oven, transfer them from the muffin tin to a cooling rack.

Sprinkle with chopped toasted nuts and thyme leaves.

Enjoy!

NOTE: When baking this appetizer in a dark muffin pan (like the one on the photo above) I’ve found that 12 minutes at 425°F (220°C) are perfect for this recipe but when baking it in a white muffin pan, they were too pale at the bottom so I baked them for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C) and then a further 10 minutes at 320°F (160°C) (open the oven door for a couple of seconds to quickly reduce the temperature) to finish baking them. The color of a baking sheet/muffin pan really makes the difference. I like to bake puff pastry initially at a high temperature because it puffs better and then I finish it at a lower temperature to prevent burning.

Storage and make-ahead options

These pastries taste best freshly prepared but there are a couple of great make-ahead options.

How to store baked pastries: make sure they are completely cooled then put them in a closed container. You can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How to reheat them: bake them for 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C). They will be a little bit softer at the bottom in comparison to freshly-made ones but the edges that are not covered with the filling will be still quite crunchy. This is a good make-ahead option.

How to make them ahead: I don’t recommend storing assembled and unbaked pastries in the fridge – puff pastry will be soggy. You can prepare all the ingredients – roll out the pastry on a tray/board lined with a piece of parchment paper, cut it into squares, wrap it tightly in plastic foil so it won’t dry out and put in the fridge. Cut brie into slices, toast the nuts. Put everything in the fridge. Assemble and bake just before serving.

How to freeze baked pastries: let them cool completely, place them on a tray in the freezer, and freeze until solid. Transfer to a closed container or zip-lock bags. Bake straight from the freezer at 400°F (200°C) until warm. These taste really good and almost as freshly-made.

How to freeze unbaked pastries: Prepare the pastries as described in the recipe. Place the muffin tin in the freezer. You can freeze them for up to 1 month. Bake straight from the freezer, for 11-13 minutes or until puffed and golden. Their bottoms will be unfortunately a little bit soft and soggy but the edges are super crispy. I would rather recommend freezing baked pastries.

Top tips on working with puff pastry

  • Keep the puff pastry chilled. Take it out of the fridge only when you have all the other ingredients ready. It will be sticky and hard to work with when warm.
  • If at any point your puff pastry will be too soft and sticky just put it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Sprinkling the pastry with flour while rolling it out also helps.
  • All-butter puff pastry is more sticky than regular puff pastry made with shortening or palm fat (but it‘s so much tastier!).
  • If using frozen puff pastry it‘s better to thaw it in the fridge overnight instead of quickly thawing it on the counter – it can be prone to breaking.

More puff pastry appetizer recipes you may like

Here you can find all my puff pastry appetizers.

Puff pastry brie cranberry bites on a wooden board. One pastry is held in a hand.
Labeled ingredients for Spätzle.

Cranberry Brie Bites

These cranberry brie bites are a classic and delicious appetizer. You need only 3 ingredients to make them (cranberry sauce, brie cheese, and puff pastry) and they’ll be ready in no time! These are so good and would be perfect all year round not just for the holidays! Note: There are step-by-step photos showing how to make this recipe in the body of the post (scroll up). cooking spray/vegetable oil
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Cranberry brie bites on a wooden board.
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RATE THE RECIPE

(click on the stars)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 15 puff pastry bites
Calories 177kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • cooking spray/vegetable oil
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (9 1/2 ounces or 270g)
  • 3/4 cup cranberry sauce 180g
  • 8 ounces brie cheese 225g
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts
  • fresh thyme

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Spray GENEROUSLY a regular-sized muffin tray with cooking/baking spray or grease it with vegetable oil.
  • Cut brie into 1 1/2 inch (4cm) wide and 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick slices.
  • Your puff pastry should be about 1/8-inch (3-4 mm) thick, if it’s thicker and square roll it out on a piece of parchment paper into a 9×15 inches (23x38cm) rectangle.
  • Cut the puff pastry into 3-inch (7-8 cm) squares (3 rows, 5 columns).
  • Place each square in the center of each muffin cup.
  • Place a piece of brie in each pastry cup.
  • Spoon a small amount of cranberry sauce on top, about 1-2 teaspoons (don’t add too much or the pastries will be too sweet).
  • Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake the pastries for 10-12 minutes or until they are puffed and nicely golden. The baking time may vary depending on the oven so keep an eye on them at the end of the baking time to make sure they don't get too dark.
  • While the pastries are baking, chop the walnuts into smaller pieces, toast them in a dry pan until lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer them immediately to a plate, they can burn quickly in a hot pan.
  • Take the pastries out of the oven, transfer them from the muffin tin to a cooling rack.
  • Sprinkle with chopped toasted nuts and thyme leaves.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • BAKING TIME/TEMPERATURE: When baking this appetizer in a dark muffin pan (like the one on the photo above) I’ve found that 12 minutes at 425°F (220°C) are perfect for this recipe but when baking it in a white muffin pan, they were too pale at the bottom so I baked them for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C) and then a further 10 minutes at 320°F (160°C) (open the oven door for a couple of seconds to quickly reduce the temperature) to finish baking them. The color of a baking sheet/muffin pan really makes the difference. I like to bake puff pastry initially at a high temperature because it puffs better and then I finish it at a lower temperature to prevent burning.
  • Thaw your puff pastry in the fridge overnight. Make sure it’s cold before you start. Take it out of the fridge only if you have all your ingredients ready.
  • Brie cheese should also be very well-chilled – it will be easier to cut into pieces. You don’t need to cut off the rind, it’s edible and you won’t even notice it when the cheese is melted. Use regular brie cheese, not double cream brie cheese which is too runny.
  • Storage and freezing instructions can be found in the body of the post.
  • Calories = 1 puff pastry bite (1/15 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Tried this Recipe? Rate the Recipe and tell us what you think in the Comments!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sophia
    26 December 2021 at 22:26

    5 stars
    Made this as a Christmas dinner starter and everybody loved it! Very easy to make yet so delicious!

    • Reply
      Aleksandra
      27 December 2021 at 06:48

      I’m so glad you liked it, thank you for letting me know!

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