This fancy baked goat cheese cranberry appetizer recipe is easier to make than it looks! It is the best cranberry appetizer recipe for the holiday season!
Indulge in the perfect holiday appetizer with this easy baked goat cheese cranberry appetizer recipe. It’s a dream come true!
The first time I tasted hot, baked, and creamy goat cheese it was a pivotal moment for me.
From then on, I knew appetizer cheese meant more than basic cubes next to stale crackers.
While I still enjoy a charcuterie board and elaborate cheese trays, baked, tangy goat cheese is something I plan for, crave, and even dream about.
Baked Goat Cheese Cranberry Appetizer
Imagine sitting with loved ones, savoring this perfect party appetizer while the turkey rests on Thanksgiving.
It’s not just for one occasion; we enjoy it during Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and even my birthday in July.
It’s my party, and I’ll indulge in holiday appetizers whenever I want to.
The presentation of this easy appetizer makes it a festive appetizer for your holiday table.
So, grab some goat cheese and fresh cranberries, and let’s celebrate!
Baked Goat Cheese Cranberry Appetizer Ingredients
All you need to make this simple appetizer are 6 simple ingredients you can find at the grocery store.
- Unsalted Almonds: These almonds will add a delightful crunch to your appetizer. When toasted, they become fragrant and offer a nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the creamy goat cheese and sweet-tart cranberries.
- Balsamic Vinegar: The balsamic vinegar introduces a rich, slightly tangy complexity to the dish. It enhances the sweetness of the cranberries and complements the creamy goat cheese, creating a balance of flavors.
- Honey: Honey lends its natural sweetness to the recipe. When combined with balsamic vinegar, it forms a luscious, syrupy base for the cranberry mixture. This sweetness beautifully contrasts with the savory elements of the appetizer.
- Fresh Cranberries: Cranberries are the star of this appetizer, bringing a burst of vibrant color and a pleasantly tart flavor. When baked with honey and thyme, the cranberries turn into a sweet-tart, homemade cranberry sauce to mix with the baked goat cheese.
- Goat Cheese: Creamy and slightly tangy goat cheese serves as the heart of this appetizer. Rolled in toasted almonds, it creates a nutty and rich flavor profile. As it bakes, the goat cheese becomes warm, soft, and utterly indulgent.
- Fresh Thyme: Fresh thyme provides an earthy and herbaceous note to the cranberry mixture. It infuses the sauce with a subtle, aromatic complexity and its presence adds depth and character to the overall flavor profile of the dish.
Ingredient Addition or Substitution Suggestions
Fresh Rosemary: To add a different herbal dimension, substitute fresh rosemary for thyme.
Rosemary brings a piney and aromatic flavor that pairs well with cranberries and goat cheese.
Fresh Parsley: Add fresh parsley as a garnish to bring freshness and a slightly peppery flavor that complements the other ingredients.
Your Favorite Nut: Instead of almonds, use your favorite nut. Walnuts, crunchy pecans, or pistachios can be excellent choices to create varied textures and flavors.
Different Sweeteners: You can substitute the honey with white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar, depending on your taste preference.
Orange Juice and Orange Zest: For a citrusy twist, consider adding orange juice and orange zest to the honey mixture.
These will provide a zesty, tangy kick, balancing the sweetness of the cranberries and honey.
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How to Make This Holiday Cranberry Goat Cheese Appetizer
Toast the Almonds: Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place them in the oven to toast for about 6 minutes or until they become fragrant and lightly golden.
After this step, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the toasted almonds into a small bowl. Set them aside for later use.
Prepare the Cranberry Mixture: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey, and give it a good stir to blend the flavors.
Then add the cranberries and fresh thyme to the bowl.
Carefully mix the cranberries with a wooden spoon until they are beautifully coated with the sweet and tangy liquid.
Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes to allow the cranberries to soak in those beautiful flavors.
Prepare the Goat Cheese: Take the toasted almonds you set aside earlier and chop them on a cutting board.
Reserve half a tablespoon of the chopped almonds, and use the rest to enhance the goat cheese.
To do this, roll the goat cheese in the chopped almonds, allowing them to adhere to the soft cheese.
At the same time, use your hands to gently press the chopped almonds into the goat cheese and form it into a disc shape.
Assemble the Appetizer: Place the almond-crusted goat cheese in the center of a glass pie dish, creating a creamy and nutty centerpiece.
After that, pour the cranberry mixture around the goat cheese, ensuring it perfectly encircles it.
For an added touch, sprinkle the reserved chopped almonds and additional honey over the goat cheese, adding a layer of crunchy goodness and sweetness.
Bake and Serve: It’s time to bring all these delightful flavors together. Carefully transfer the pie dish to the oven and let it bake for approximately 30 minutes.
As it bakes, the goat cheese will become warm and creamy, and the cranberries will soften and release their sweet-tart essence.
Once the appetizer is beautifully baked, remove it from the oven.
Crostini Delight: Spread this delectable creation over slices of fresh baguette or French bread that have been lightly toasted.
The warm, creamy goat cheese and cranberry mixture make for delightful cranberry goat cheese crostini, offering a lovely combination of crispy and creamy textures.
Crackers Galore: Serve the appetizer with a diverse selection of your favorite crackers.
Opt for classics like buttery crackers, whole wheat crackers, or even gluten-free alternatives to cater to various dietary preferences.
The varied textures and flavors of the crackers will complement the creamy goat cheese and tangy cranberries.
Fresh Fruit Pairings: Enhance the presentation and flavors by pairing the goat cheese cranberry appetizer with fresh fruits like apple slices, grapes, or pear wedges.
The sweetness of the fruits harmonizes with the tartness of the cranberries and the creaminess of the goat cheese.
Greens on the Side: For a refreshing balance, accompany the cranberry goat cheese creation with fresh salad greens, such as arugula or mixed greens lightly dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
The greens add a crisp and verdant element to the dish.
Wine and Beverage Pairing: Elevate the experience with wine or beverages that complement the flavors.
A crisp white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, pairs wonderfully with the creamy goat cheese and cranberries.
Otherwise, serve it with sparkling water, iced tea, or cider for non-alcoholic options. Or make my Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa!
Add to a Charcuterie Board: Integrate the cranberry goat cheese appetizer into a charcuterie board.
Alongside cured meats, olives, artisanal cheeses, and fresh fruits, it becomes a standout feature of your charcuterie spread, impressing guests with its sweet and savory balance.
- ⅓ cup unsalted almonds
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup honey
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 10 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the almonds into a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey. Add the cranberries and thyme to the bowl and stir until they are covered by the liquid. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- On a cutting board, chop up the almonds. Set aside ½ tablespoon chopped almonds and roll the goat cheese in the remaining almonds. Use your hands to mix the almonds into the goat cheese and form the goat cheese into a disc.
- Place the goat cheese in the center of a pie plate.
- Pour the cranberry mixture around the cheese. Sprinkle the set-aside almonds on top of the goat cheese.
- Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with crackers or bread.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not be correct.