In the spirit of giving and zero food waste, I’m giving you this cranberry appetizer that uses leftover holiday cranberry sauce. Once you have your cranberries cooked, you can whip up this appetizer to enjoy with friends over the holidays during cocktail hour or a pot luck.

Cranberries contain phytonutrients (nutrients that have health benefits), antioxidant vitamins C and E, and fiber.  I almost always have some cranberry sauce leftover, so this recipe is perfect to use up a small amount of cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is so easy to make, and making your own is very inexpensive (a bag of cranberries usually costs less than $2.00). I prefer to use less sugar, and orange juice instead of water. The tart sauce is a great accompaniment to cheese and poultry, and makes a yummy sandwich or French toast topper too.

  1. Rinse the berries.
  2. Add about 1/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons of orange juice to a small pot and place over low heat.
  3. Once sugar is dissolved, add the berries to the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes, until cranberries split, stirring occasionally.

These yummy little cranberry pastry bites are SO simple, and delicious!
I made mine with plain goat cheese, and without nuts. You can also use small pieces of brie instead of goat cheese, and add chopped pecans or walnuts.

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Zero Waste Cranberry Goat Cheese Bites

These simple appetizers are a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce or jam. You can also use small bits of cheese you might have leftover during the holidays.
Servings 12 servings
Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN,


  • You’ll use a 24-cup mini muffin tin to make these.


  • 1 sheet Frozen puff pastry or a tube of crescent dough sheets
  • 3 ounces cheese goat cheese, brie or a sharp white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup leftover cranberry sauce or fruit jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped nuts optional, pecans or walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350° and grab a nonstick mini muffin tin.
  • Cut pastry sheet into 25 squares. (If using tube pastry sheets, roll out the crescent dough into a rectangle so the together seams are pressed together then cut into 24 small squares).
  • Gently push each square into the muffin tin cups and just press gently to make a little cup (corners of square stick out). Use the leftover square to fill in where needed.
  • Put about 1 teaspoon of Cranberry sauce into into each of the dough cups, then top with a teaspoon of goat cheese.
  • Sprinkle each cup with ground cinnamon and the optional chopped pecans.
  • Bake until the pastry is lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!


These freeze well. Just reheat in a toaster oven or oven set at 300 degrees F, for 5-8 minutes.