Cranberry Brie Bites — The perfect two-bite holiday appetizer recipe with melted brie cheese, sweet-tart cranberry sauce, and fresh rosemary all nestled inside a buttery soft crust! An EASY appetizer recipe with just 4 main ingredients that’s ready in 30 minutes! PERFECT for Thanksgiving celebrations, holiday and Christmas parties, or for New Year’s Eve!
Table of Contents
- Easy Brie Bites with Cranberry Sauce
- Ingredients in Brie and Cranberry Bites
- How to Make Cranberry Brie Bites with Crescent Roll Dough
- What to Serve with Crescent Roll Brie Bites
- Recipe FAQs
- Storing Cranberry Brie Bites
- Cranberry Brie Bites Recipe
- More Brie Appetizer Recipes:
Easy Brie Bites with Cranberry Sauce
When you’re in need of a very fast and easy holiday appetizer recipe that’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser, this is the one!
These little two-bite gems are made with flaky crescent roll dough, tart cranberry sauce, creamy brie cheese, and garnished with a bit of fresh rosemary to really capitalize on a wonderful holiday flavor profile.
You can also add chopped pecans or walnuts, although they’re optional.
Best of all, this is a quick brie appetizer to throw together – ready in just 30 minutes from start to finish with only a handful of ingredients. After all the other complicated and laborious holiday recipes, it’s so nice to have one that’s not!
Whether you want to serve these brie cranberry bites before your Thanksgiving meal, for Christmas parties and holiday entertaining, or make them for New Year’s Eve parties, I promise no one can resist melted cheese cushioned within warm, soft bread and cranberry sauce for the perfect bite.
Ingredients in Brie and Cranberry Bites
To make these cranberry brie cheese bites, you’ll need the following common and easy to find ingredients at your local grocery store:
- Crescent roll dough – I use Pillsbury Crescent Roll Dough but store brands or other brands are fine
- Wheel of brie cheese
- Whole cranberry sauce – store bought or homemade including Cranberry Cabernet Cranberry Sauce, Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Cranberry Currant Sauce, or Cranberry Pineapple Mango Sauce
- Pecans, walnuts, or almonds; optional
- Fresh rosemary, optional but recommended
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
Are Crescent Roll Dough and Puff Pastry the Same Thing?
This is an interesting question, and in a word, no they are not the same thing.
BUT in this recipe you can use them as if they ARE interchangeable with the notable difference is that puff pastry may take slightly longer to bake than crescent roll dough does. We’re talking maybe 5 to 8 minutes difference, though.
In case you just love baking science or were always wondering about the major differences between the two doughs, in summary this is what I can share:
Crescent Roll Dough
- Sold in a cylindrical tube (I use Pillsbury Crescent Roll Sheets for ease or Crescent Rolls)
- Must unwrap or uncoil
- Refrigerated product
- Less butter therefore slightly less flaky and more fluffy
- Leavened with yeast and rolled with only one layer of dough
- A tiny bit sweeter although overall still very neutral (and can still be used in savory applications)
Puff Pastry Dough
- Sold in a box in the freezer section (I use Pepperidge Farm)
- Flat or folded
- Frozen product (therefore must thaw it but not too much because it still needs to be very cold or it won’t ‘puff’ as well upon baking)
- More butter therefore flakier and more crispy
- Made with a paste of flour, water, and layers and layers of butter
- More neutral flavor (no sweetness at all)
The Takeaway on Which to Use
In this easy holiday appetizer recipe, either crescent roll dough OR puff pastry will work.
I find you will get more of a mouthful of ‘breading’ if you use puff pastry since it puffs more, creating the sensation that there’s more bread in every brie bite. If you love bread, no worries. I like cheese more than bread so for me, crescent rolls are better since they don’t bake up quite as full and puffy and the brie and cranberry ratio is higher.
But we are kind of splitting hairs. Use what you have on hand and is easy!
How to Make Cranberry Brie Bites with Crescent Roll Dough
I absolutely love recipes, especially appetizer recipes, that are easy and foolproof and this one is that type of recipe. They’re ready in 30 minutes total time from start to finish!
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 24-count mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
Step 2: Dust a cutting board with a bit of flour and gently unroll the crescent roll dough, press the seams together, and cut out 24 small pieces.
Step 3: Place one square of dough into each cavity of the prepared pan.
Step 4: Cut brie into a 24 pieces and place one cube of brie into each cavity.
Step 5: Top with a scant teaspoon of cranberry sauce.
Step 6: Optionally, add a pinch of nuts, and optional rosemary. There’s no need for an egg wash with this recipe although I have seen people add sea salt for an extra salty touch.
Step 7: Bake for about 10 mins, or until the crescent dough is lightly golden browned and set before allowing to cool momentarily and serving.
Tip: Watch the Baking Times
Watch the baking times though as crescent roll dough tends to bake faster (10 to 12 minutes) whereas puff pastry dough may take a bit longer (18 minutes or so).
Just bake either one until lightly golden browned and set. If you have an oven the runs hot, I also suggest rotating the pan once midway through baking to ensure even browning.
What to Serve with Crescent Roll Brie Bites
You can serve these Cranberry Brie Bites hot and fresh out of the oven.
But they will also hold well at room temp for a few hours so you can make them before guests arrive for a dinner party or holiday meal and let them sit out as a self-serve appetizer or snack.
If you’re serving this an a holiday appetizer recipe , I’ve got lots of other great recipes including the following:
Appetizers, Dips, Meatballs, and Cheese Boards
- Cranberry Baked Brie (uses similar ingredients that you’ll already have on hand)
- Baked Brie in Puff Pastry (uses similar ingredients that you’ll already have on hand)
- The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Creamy Baked Onion Dip
- Cheddar Pigs in a Blanket
- Baked Sticky Honey Garlic Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs
- Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs
- How To Make a Meat and Cheese Board
- Spanish Cheese and Charcuterie Board
- Salty and Sweet Cheese Board
- Sparkling Christmas Punch
- Santa’s Magic Potion
- Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria
- Thanksgiving (or Christmas) Punch
- Holiday Sangria
I strongly recommend using a 24-count mini muffin tin for this recipe rather than a standard sized 12-count muffin pan.
However, if you want to try to make it work, you can put double the quantity of filling (cheese + cranberries) in each of the 12 cups. Baking time will increase to probably about 18 to 20 minutes but that’s a guess and you need to watch and see for yourself! Bake until done, but not burt!
I recommend whole cranberry sauce and this can be either homemade cranberry sauce of from a can.
If you’re using canned cranberry sauce to save time, look for something that says ‘whole cranberry’ or ‘whole berry’ because otherwise it’s more like a jelly. What you do not want is the type of cranberry sauce that just kind of plops out of the can in one big blob. Nope!
Sure you can! If you have leftover cranberry sauce from holiday entertaining and meals, by all means go ahead and use it.
If you need any recommendations, I have Cranberry Cabernet Cranberry Sauce, Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Cranberry Currant Sauce, or Cranberry Pineapple Mango Sauce. All of them are fast and easy to make.
If you’re not a cranberry sauce person, or don’t have any on hand, but you do have hot pepper jelly on hand which I always do, especially around the holidays, it’s a great swap! Similar jellies like jalapeno pepper jelly also work.
Not a fan of heat? Try something like a tart cherry preserves, apricot or peach jams, orange marmalade, or raspberry jam would also be lovely.
If you wanted to grate a bit of orange rind or orange zest into the cranberry sauce, it’s a nice touch. I do that in my Cranberry Baked Brie recipe to doctor up canned cranberry sauce.
Yes you can make the bites by using puff pastry dough rather than crescent roll dough. Thaw it (but not too much, just enough so you can work with it) and then carry on with the rest of the recipe.
I find that cranberry brie bites made with puff pastry will take slightly longer to bake than crescent roll cranberry brie bites but your mileage may vary so just keep an eye on them.
I am sure you could but those are both far beyond my pay grade or desire for hours in the kitchen and so I can’t give any guidance on using them. If you know how to make your own puff pastry dough, you don’t need me!
You probably can but I haven’t tried the recipe this way. Phyllo tends to be super delicate, bakes very quickly because it’s just a single layer of dough so really watch them in the oven after you assemble them and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
The rich flavor of melted brie cheese is like no other and for this recipe, I do recommend you stick with brie. After all you can’t have brie cranberry bites without the brie!
The only substitution that’s similar that comes to mind is Gruyere cheese, although it’s pricey and not likely something you just have randomly lingering around.
If you’re a blue cheese fan, I could also see a hunk of rich blue cheese working nicely. Goat cheese would also work.
You can add chopped pecans or walnuts if you’d like, but if you have a nut allergy or just don’t like nuts, it’s fine to skip them.
Fresh rosemary is the way to go here to really lend a holiday-inspired flavor profile. It’s a very simple addition that pays you back in spades in terms of the lovely touch it adds. I don’t recommend dried rosemary and would simply omit it if you don’t have access to fresh rosemary.
As I mentioned already, these are lovely hot and fresh right out of the oven because the melty brie is so lovely but they will hold well at room temp for a few hours.
However, I don’t recommend making them in advance because the bread hardens as they cool, so does the cheese (plus you’d want to refrigerate it), and they’re not nearly as tasty when they’re not freshly made. So plan to make these the day of your party or event.
Storing Cranberry Brie Bites
Baked brie bites are best enjoyed right after you bake them. Both puff pastry and crescent roll dough hardens after that warm fresh-from-the-oven feeling has passed and this little appetizer recipe is simply best fresh. The recipe yields 24 small, bite-sized cups and I promise they’ll go fast!
If you do happen to have extras, you can store leftovers airtight in the fridge in plastic wrap for up to 3 days. Microwave them for a few seconds before consuming. I don’t recommend freezer storage. Freezing these just wouldn’t be a great move.
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Cranberry Brie Bites
- one 8-ounce tube crescent roll dough, thawed puff pastry dough may be substituted
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
- 8 ounce wheel brie cheese, divided
- ½ cup whole berry cranberry sauce, divided (homemade* or store bought)
- ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional; divided
- Sprigs fresh rosemary, cut into small pieces; optional for during baking or garnshing; divided
- Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 24-count mini muffin pan very well with cooking spray; set aside. Tip – I strongly recommend making as written and using a 24-count mini muffin pan but if all you have is a 12-count pan, it will still work. Just double the quantity of the cheese, cranberry sauce, and optional nuts/rosemary, and bake longer – about 18 minutes, but keep an eye on them as all ovens, muffn pans, etc. vary.
- Lightly dust a cutting board or clean counter top with the flour, unroll the crescent roll dough, and press the seams together. Tip – If you can find crescent roll dough sheets, that's ideal because there are no seams. However, regular crescent roll dough will work. You can use any name brand or generic brand you'd like. If you're using puff pastry dough, make sure it's thawed, but still chilled which is key to having it actually puff up nicely during baking.
- Using a sharp knife or sharp pizza wheel, cut the dough into 24 equal-sized pieces.
- Place one piece of dough in each of the sprayed muffin pan cavities; set aside.
- Evenly sliced a wheel of brie into 24 equally-sized pieces and place one piece inside each of the crescent roll dough pieces.
- Top each with a small dollop of cranberry sauce. You don't need much, about a teaspoon, give or take, for each.
- If desired, evenly sprinkle a couple nuts onto each cheese and cranberry mound.
- If you like the taste of rosemary, add a small sprig of rosemary to each mound before baking. If you're not as fond of it, then I suggest garnishing after baking for the visual appeal, and you can take it off rather than eating it. But that's tricky to do if it bakes in with the cheese.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is set and lightly golden browned. Notes – The baking time is an estimate and because all brands of dough, muffin pans, the exact size of your hunks of cheese, just how many cranberry sauce you added, your oven, your climate, etc. there will be variances in bake times. Bake until your appetizer is done and set (not raw) but also not burnt. You may need to add a couple minutes to my estimate, but start checking at 10 mintues. If you're using puff pastry dough, I find it takes longer to bake because it's thicker; I would start checkng at 15 minutes and go from there.
- Allow the brie bites to cool momentarily in the pan, remove, and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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