These Cranberry Brie Tarts are perfect for easy holiday entertaining. They take 20 minutes to make, and have only four ingredients. Plus, you can make the tart shells ahead of time!
Note: this post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2020 with improved photos and instructions.
Even though it's a joyful time of year, the holidays can be pretty stressful, especially if you are the one cooking. That's why it's really helpful to have a few recipes on hand that are festive, entertaining-ready, and most importantly, fuss free! And you can't get much easier than this; you only need 4 ingredients and about 20 minutes!
And, even though these tarts are super easy, they taste absolutely incredible! As mentioned, these cranberry brie tarts start with a mini pie shell that's baked first so it stays crispy even after filling. The shells are then filled with cranberry sauce and topped with a generous amount of brie that's melted gently in the oven, not for too long, just right to the point where it's nice and ooey-gooey!
Then, right before serving, the mini tarts are sprinkled with just a touch of finely chopped fresh sage. The sage is optional, but I like it because it adds a touch of green that complements the cranberry color, as well as just a hint of slightly piney, herbaceous flavor that cuts through the creaminess of the cheese.
- store-bought refrigerated pie crust: you can use homemade if you want! But, because these tarts are so small, it wouldn't make a huge difference in my opinion. Plus, the store-bought pie dough holds it shape really well, so it's very easy to roll thinly.
- canned cranberry sauce: I prefer the added texture of the whole berry kind, but the smooth kind would work too!
- brie: I really love using triple crème brie, it's just so...well, creamy! This adds an extra luxurious, soft, oozy quality that really takes these tarts over the edge into decadent! But, all cheeses are amazing in my book, so feel free to use your favorite kind of brie.
- fresh sage: this is optional really, if you don't add it you will still have an amazing appetizer. But, I think the sage gives a little special flair to the dish, and the burgundy/green color combination is really beautiful!
Love savory cranberry recipes? Try roasted brussels sprout salad with cranberries!
Step by step photos
1. Roll out pie dough to ⅛ inch thickness.
2. Cut edges off to make a square shape.
3. Cut the pie dough into squares, aiming for a size of around 2 x 2 inches for each square. I did a 5 x 5 grid, and had one extra piece leftover (since you only need 24!)
4. Press the squares into a 24 cup mini muffin tin. A shot glass works well to press the dough in! Make sure to move the glass around the bottom edges to ensure the dough is completely filling the tin without gaps.
5. Prick the bottom of the pie shells with a fork.
6. While the pie shells are baking, cut the brie into 24 squares. I like to cut the wheel in half horizontally, and then cut each half into squares as shown below. (The little corners left over are a snack for the cook!)
7. Remove the pie shells when they are nice and golden brown.
8. Top the baked pie shells with cranberry sauce.
9. Then, top with a square of brie. Bake just until the cheese just starts to melt, then sprinkle with the sage and enjoy!
Tips and tricks
Here's a couple quick tips for making these Cranberry Brie Tarts perfectly the first time:
- If your square of pie dough has rounded edges, you can use some of the dough scraps to patch the corners.
- If you cut too much off the edges of the pie dough square and now can't cut enough squares, just re-roll the scraps and cut more squares.
- Cut the fresh sage right before serving. If you try to do it early, the edges get a bit brownish and it's not quite as pretty. (It will still taste good though!)
While you can't fill the tarts ahead of time, since they will eventually get soggy in the fridge, you can definitely make the pie shells ahead of time! Just follow the directions for baking the shells as instructed in the recipe. Then once they are completely cool, place them in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to three days.
When you want to serve the tarts, place them on a baking tray (no need to try and fit them back into the mini muffin tins). Then, just fill them and melt the cheese as instructed in the recipe!
If you're not a sage fan, you can totally just leave the sage out and you will still have a wonderfully tasty appetizer! But, if you want a pop of green to finish the tart, you can also try a very small amount of finely chopped fresh thyme. Again, with either the sage or thyme, only use a very little amount because the flavor can become overwhelming very quickly.
I enjoy the convenience of using canned cranberry sauce, but if you have some homemade cranberry sauce on hand, you can definitely use it! Although, if your homemade cranberry sauce is watery (as in, more watery than a typical canned jellied type), I recommend straining some of the liquid out first so the tarts don't get too soggy.
Really love cranberries like me? Here are some other awesome recipes featuring cranberries to satisfy your cravings for all things tart and sweet!
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Mini pie shells filled with cranberry sauce and topped with oozy brie and a sprinkle of fresh sage. A 4 ingredient appetizer that's as festive as it is easy to make!
- 1 store-bought refrigerated pie dough (for 9 inch pie)
- ¾ cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
- 8 ounces brie
- 2 - 3 fresh sage leaves
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Microwave the pie dough (do not unroll first) on 30% power for 10 - 15 seconds or until the dough can be easily unrolled without cracking.
- Unroll the dough on a clean work surface. With a rolling pin, roll the pie dough out to ⅛ inch thickness. Trim the edges of the dough to form a square shape. Then, cut the dough into squares, roughly 2 x 2 inches in diameter. You will need a total of 24 squares. (See notes 1 - 2.)
- Press the squares into the cups of a 24 cup mini muffin tin, making sure the dough is pressed down into the corners of the muffin tins (see note 3). Prick the bottom of the tarts 3 times with the tines of a fork.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 5 - 7 minutes or until golden brown. While the pie shells are baking, cut the brie in half horizontally, then cut each half into 12 pieces, for a total of 24 pieces.
- Remove the baked pie shells from the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Fill each pie shell with about 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce, then top with a piece of brie. Return to the oven and bake until the brie is just melted, about 2 - 3 minutes. Watch the tarts carefully and do not overbake. The brie should be soft and just starting to melt, not overly runny.
- Remove the tarts from the oven. Allow to cool for a minute while chopping the sage leaves very finely.
- Carefully lift the tarts out of the muffin tins and place on a serving tray. Sprinkle the finely chopped sage over top of the tarts and serve. (See note 4.)
- If the corners of your pie dough square are a little rounded, you can patch them with some of the extra scraps of dough.
- I found it easiest to cut the rectangle into a 5 x 5 grid, for a total of 25 squares (one will be extra). If you cut too much off the edges of your piece of pie dough and can't make enough squares, you can re-roll the scraps and cut some more.
- A shot glass is helpful to press the pie dough into the bottom of the mini muffin tins!
- Be sparing with the sage, the flavor can become overpowering if you use too much.
Keywords: cranberry brie appetizer, cranberry brie tarts, cranberry brie tartlets, cranberry brie bites