The fabulously festive, outrageously easy, ooh and ahhh-worthy appetizer that will lead you to wonder why you’d fuss with any other appetizer ever again: EASY Brie Bites!
Melty pieces of Brie cheese tucked inside personally-sized pieces of golden, buttery puff pastry, then topped with cranberry sauce, pecans, and a sprig of rosemary for festive color, these tasty morsels are a total show stealer.
This easy Brie bites are the low-maintenance version of my mini Cranberry Brie Bites, which are essentially like bite-sized versions of a wheel of Brie wrapped in puff pastry. They are delicious but labor intensive. So much stamping and sealing!
Today’s version? DEAD SIMPLE. Instead of making little pockets of puff pastry, you cut the pastry sheets into squares, then tuck the squares into mini muffin tins. Add your cheese and the topping of your choice (our favorite is this quick Homemade Cranberry Sauce), sprinkle with nuts, then pop them into the oven. In 18 to 20 minutes, your stunning appetizer is ready to serve.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve attended a cache of holiday parties, and I have brought some version of these tasty Brie bites to every single one of them. A new party will come along, and I’ll think “I’ll make something else this time!”…and then I find myself right back here.
Can you blame me? These brie bites wow the crowd each time I make them. They’re easy on the chef (me!), and since they can be prepped in advance, it’s easy to make them in bulk, then freeze all or a portion until party time.
How to Make Easy, DELISH Cranberry Brie Bites in Puff Pastry
- Puff Pastry. My holiday appetizer secret weapon! I love using this simple, buttery, and flaky freezer staple any chance I get this time of year (and my guests love it too). You can find puff pastry in the freezer section at your local grocery store.
- Brie Cheese. If you have never tried Brie cheese, you need to make this recipe immediately. Brie cheese is buttery, unbelievably creamy, and proves that heaven on earth does, in fact, exist.
- Cranberry Sauce. I love the combination of the sweet cranberry sauce with the nutty Brie cheese flavor. I used my Homemade Cranberry Sauce here, but you could also use any jam you like.
- Sea Salt. A pinch of good, flaky sea salt makes the other flavors pop. Don’t skip it.
- Pecans. The pecans add a nice crunch and special flare.
- Rosemary. A sprig of fresh rosemary is delicious and beautiful on each Brie bite. Plus the red and green makes them look perfect on a holiday plate.
- Place the Brie in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up, and generously coat your mini muffin pans with nonstick spray.
- Unroll the first sheet of puff pastry and roll into a rectangle. Cut the sheet lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut crosswise into 6 strips (24 total squares).
- Separate the squares, and press them into each muffin cup. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the puff pastry in a couple places.
- Dice the Brie and add one piece to each muffin cup.
- Top the Brie with the cranberry sauce, salt, and pecans.
- Place the muffin pans on top of baking sheets to catch any drips. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees F, until puffed and golden. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes. Transfer the bites to a serving plate, and garnish with fresh rosemary. Serve hot or at room temperature, and DIG IN!
Quick Tips: How to Prepare Brie for Brie Bites
- Do I Need to Cut the Rind of Brie Before Baking? No, you do not need to remove the rind before baking the Brie. It is edible and barely noticeable once the Brie is baked. If you prefer to cut the rind off, you can cut it off and use only the inside, but I find it wastes a lot of cheese.
- I recommend popping the Brie into the freezer for about 15 minutes before preparing the recipe. This will make it easier to slice into pieces for these bites; Brie is so creamy, it tends to come part otherwise (delicious for regular snacking but less convenient for a Brie appetizer).
Recipe Variations + Topping Suggestions
- Cranberry Brie Bites. Now that we’ve enjoyed a wide sampling of these baked Brie bites, I feel confident playing favorites. Our #1 is the version of the bites topped with homemade cranberry sauce.
- Raspberry Brie Bites. This was a close second, made using store-bought raspberry jam in place of the cranberry sauce. Quick and delicious!
- Fig Brie Bites. I used fig butter purchased at Trader Joe’s; fig jam would work as well. Since figs are quite sweet, I recommend dialing it down to ½ teaspoon per bite. (Are you a fan of figs like me? Be sure to check out these Mini Fig Goat Cheese Bacon Phyllo Bites.)
- Apricot Brie Bites. The next flavor of jam I want to try. Honestly, the jam possibilities are endless!
- Pepper Jelly Brie Bites. Sweet and spicy! Use pepper jelly in place of the cranberry sauce.
- Savory Brie Bites. Instead of jam, use a store-bought savory chutney. Pesto (like these Pesto Pinwheels) would be ultra tasty too.
- Switch Up the Nuts. Swap the pecans for chopped walnuts or pistachios.
Another fun option is a Brie bite variety plate: Arrange the puff pastry and Brie in the muffin tin as directed. Top some of the pieces with raspberry, some with cranberry, some with pesto, etc.. You can use a mix of nuts as well. Then, let guests sample and choose their favorites.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Place bites in a mini muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees F until warmed through. You can also serve these bites at room temperature.
- To Freeze. Bake the Brie bites as directed and let cool completely. Then arrange the bites in a single layer on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer until solid. Store the frozen bites in a single layer in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, reheat directly from frozen in a 350 degree F oven until hot.
- To Make Ahead. Fully assemble the bites in the muffin pan, and refrigerate them unbaked for up to 3 days before baking. You can also fully bake and freeze these bites for up to 2 months. See notes on this above.
Mini Muffin Pan Recommendations + A Note on Batch Size
This recipe yields 48 bites, which means that you can either:
- Bake ONE Batch (fastest option) using two, 24-cup muffin pans like this. Bake both pans at the same time, placing one pan in the upper third of the oven and one in the lower third of the oven; switch the pans’ positions once halfway through.
- Bake FOUR Batches using two, 12-cup mini muffin pans like this. Bake two pans at the same time, rotating the pans’ positions as directed above.
- And if you only have one mini muffin pan of any size you can bake these bites in as many batches as it makes sense. I own two, 12 cup pans, so I baked 24 bites (filling both pans) one day, froze the bites, then baked the second 24 bites the next day. I reheated the frozen bites just before party time. No one could tell the difference!
Enjoy the holiday festivities more and stress over what to bring to a holiday party less with these simple, sublime cranberry Brie bites!
Brie Bites with Cranberry
- 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry - thawed overnight in the refrigerator
- 8 ounces Brie cheese
- 1 cup Homemade Cranberry Sauce - or whole berry cranberry sauce or jam of choice
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt - such as Maldon or fleur de sel
- 1/2 cup finely chopped raw pecans
- 4 springs fresh rosemary - cut into 6 pieces
- Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the Brie in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. VERY generously coat 2, 24-cup mini muffin pans with nonstick spray (if you only have 1 pan or if you have 2, 12-cups pans, make the Brie bites in batches).
- Unroll 1 sheet puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface (leave the second sheet in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it). Roll into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Cut the sheet lengthwise into 4 even strips. Cut crosswise into 6 even strips. You will have 24 squares total (each square will be about 2 1/2 inches on each side). Gently separate the squares and press them into the mini muffin tins to create a puff pastry cup. With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of each puff pastry in 2 to 3 places.
- Cut the piece of Brie in half, then place 1 half back in the freezer. Dice the remaining Brie into 24 pieces (they will be between 3/4 and 1/2-inch on each side). Place one piece of Brie in the center of each mini muffin cup. Top each piece of Brie with 1 teaspoon cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then half of the chopped pecans. Place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry, second half of Brie, and the remaining salt and pecans.
- Place each muffin pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any cheese or cranberry that bubbles over. Bake the pans on the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and the corners are golden brown, switching the pans' positions on the upper and lower racks once halfway through. Let cool in the pans for 3 minutes. If any of the Brie or cranberry has bubbled out, use a fork to scoot it back into the center of the bites (no one will know!).
- Gently transfer the bites to a serving plate (I find a fork works well to transfer them). Garnish each with a small piece of fresh rosemary. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.
- TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Place bites in a mini muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees F until warmed through. You can also serve these bites at room temperature.
- TO FREEZE: Bake the Brie bites as directed and let cool completely. Then arrange the bites in a single layer on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer until solid. Store the frozen bites in a single layer in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 2 months. Reheat from frozen in a 350 degree F oven until hot.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Fully assemble the bites in the muffin pan, and refrigerate them unbaked for up to 3 days before baking. You can also fully bake and freeze these bites for up to 2 months. See notes on this above.
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