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Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini

There’s nothing like the fearlessness of a teenager to get you out of your crostini rut. These Roasted Balsamic Cranberry Brie Appetizers are so hip and fun, they might even learn how to text.

These Roasted Balsamic Cranberry Brie Crostinis are the perfect holiday party appetizer!

A few years ago I had the privilege of teaching an informal cooking class to several young people from our neighborhood. Over a series of several weeks, we worked through essentials like pizza dough, roasting red peppers, cake baking, and pie crust. But our very first lesson was on crostini.

Crostini is one of the easiest things you can make in your kitchen. The word literally means “little toasts” and it doesn’t get much more complicated than a slather of butter and a short journey in the oven. I thought crostini would be a great way to begin our cooking classes since they’re simple, versatile, and allow for plenty of creativity. I bought a few baguettes from the store, along with a variety of meats, cheeses, and spreads.

Roasted Cranberries

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this group of teenagers. Would they think crostini was lame? Too fancy? Too boring? Were they too cool for crostini? As it turns out, they loved it. Gathered around the kitchen island, we experimented with all sorts of different combinations. One person would start with sun dried tomatoes, then another would chime in with a hearty, “Oooo! Add some mozzarella to that!” or “Wouldn’t a smear of pesto really take it over the top?”

The crostini we created that night was far better than anything I could have created on my own. The teenagers challenged each other, encouraging each other to try foods and combinations they otherwise might never have been brave enough to try. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and the creativity built on itself, leaving us with some of the most unique crostini recipes I’ve ever encountered.

Roasted Cranberries and Brie make the ultimate holiday party crostini!

Those cooking classes signaled the first time I realized I don’t simply love cooking, I love cooking with other people. There’s something magical about being gathered in the kitchen together. It spurs us to think outside the box. It brings new perspectives, new palates, and new ideas. Working with teenagers made me far braver in the kitchen. They weren’t afraid to try something different, which led to some unexpectedly delicious surprises.

In honor of the creative, brave, and daring spirits of these teenagers, I bring you this Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini. There’s nothing particularly new about cranberries and brie, but when I thought of the ingredients I gathered for that cooking class so long ago, a range of herbs popped into my mind. Basil, cilantro, rosemary, thyme. Could any of them go with cranberries? I decided to give it a try.

Like most times, the willingness to take a risk paid off. I tossed some rosemary into a mixture of cranberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar then roasted it until the cranberries were bursting with juices and sticky sweet. This then became a topping for creamy brie with a festive sprig of thyme to finish it off.

Sticky sweet Roasted Cranberries make the perfect holiday appetizer!

These are without a doubt my new favorite holiday appetizer. Their bright red and green color would be absolutely perfect for party trays, and the combinations of sticky sweet cranberries and brie offset with the piney rosemary just screams Christmas time!

When I’m looking for a spark to inspire my latest kitchen adventure, I often think back to that cooking class, and other times I’ve been playing in the kitchen with others. That face to face interaction is what Bon Appetit’s Out of the Kitchen series is all about. If you find yourself in a rut, try perusing their page, or inviting some folks over for a cooking extravaganza. You’ll be surprised how a different perspective can enliven your cooking.

Roasted Balsamic Cranberry Brie Crostini are an easy, stunning holiday party appetizer.

Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini

Prep Time 10 minsPrep Time
Cook Time 15 minsCook Time
Total Time 25 mins Total Time
Yields Yields 12 crostini


  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 a french baguette, sliced thin
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary
  • 4 ounces triple cream brie


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and olive oil. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with mixture and line them up on a baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, stir together the cranberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and rosemary. Spread these out on a rimmed baking sheet. (They get pretty sticky, so if you want to avoid scrubbing, line the pan with parchment paper).
  4. Place the cranberries in the oven. Roast for five minutes, then add the tray of baguette slices to the oven. Roast for an additional 6 minutes then remove the baguette slices, flip them over, and return to the oven for another 4-6 minutes, or until crispy and golden. At this point, the cranberries should be popped open with juices running out. Remove both the cranberries and baguette slices from the oven.
  5. Top each baguette with a slice of brie and a spoonful of cranberries. Garnish with thyme if desired. These can be served while the cranberries are still warm, or you can make the components ahead of time. The cranberries can be chilled overnight and the crostini will keep in a zip lock bag. Simply assemble and serve at room temperature when you're ready!


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Recipe by NeighborFood

Also, check out‘s “OUT OF THE KITCHEN,” an exploration of the coolest food artisans in America, from spice blenders to knife makers to cider brewers. See how they mastered their crafts—and learn how to apply their knowledge at home.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bon Appetit. The opinions and text are all mine.

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  • Joanne (eats well with others) December 2, 2014, 8:50 AM

    I could eat crostini all day every day…especially topped with cranberries and brie. And the cooking class you taught sounds SO fun! I love that you started with these so that the students could see that cooking doesn’t have to be daunting or full of a million complicated steps!

  • Liz @ FloatingKitchen December 2, 2014, 9:39 AM

    What a great story! Love love love these crostinis!

  • Nancy December 2, 2014, 1:36 PM

    What an amazing experience that must have been, Courtney. I’d have been afraid of the kids not engaging but it sounds like you all had a fantastic time together. I’m adding this to my Christmas dinner menus. The roasted cranberries sound delicious, I looooooove brie and this looks so darn festive!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood December 4, 2014, 12:31 PM

      Yeah, teenagers sort of terrify me, but they were GREAT. It was so fun to see them discover things in the kitchen and their excitement was contagious!

  • Isabelle December 27, 2014, 1:37 PM

    Amazing recipe! The combination of flavors is superb.
    Only 1 comment: I put the crostini with brie (no cranberry) in the oven for a few minutes to really melt the brie as well.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood December 30, 2014, 4:01 PM

      Thank you so much Isabelle! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Melty brie is always welcome. 🙂

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) December 20, 2015, 12:48 PM

    I made these yesterday for my holiday party. The balsamic roasted cranberries were amazing! It also made a ton!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood December 26, 2015, 12:12 PM

      Great! So glad they turned out for you! Thanks for coming back to let me know! 🙂

  • christine November 23, 2016, 10:55 PM

    Omg I made these and they are so darn good. Simple and mouthwatering! My fav

  • Lauren October 31, 2017, 3:02 PM

    Do you use dried or fresh rosemary?

    • Courtney October 31, 2017, 3:52 PM

      I use fresh. 🙂

      • Lauren November 1, 2017, 2:16 PM

        Thanks so much!

  • Esther G. November 16, 2017, 1:07 PM

    I really have to watch my sugar intake. Do you think I can make these with a sugar substitute?

  • Coleen December 2, 2017, 1:52 PM

    This sounds divine. For a shortcut do you think it might work using canned whole cranberry sauce and skipping the sugar? I would probably reduce it with the balsamic and rosemary on the stove… Thoughts?

    • Courtney December 17, 2017, 10:31 PM

      That could probably work. I don’t know if the texture would be quite the same. I’ve never really used the whole cranberry canned sauce before. As long as it’s decently thick and sweet it should be fine!

  • Debi Dossey December 16, 2017, 8:45 PM

    Not too difficult but sure is messy! They came out delicious and the best part is they look like the picture!

    • Courtney December 17, 2017, 10:22 PM

      Yay! I’m so glad they came out like the picture! I hope it was worth the mess. 🙂

  • Heather January 4, 2018, 12:11 PM

    Hi! Could I thaw some frozen whole cranberries and make this??

    • Courtney January 5, 2018, 3:51 PM

      I think that should work!

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