A warm and delicious baked brie is an elegant and easy appetizer to serve at any special gathering. My scrumptious recipe features brie cheese with a sweet and savory topping of balsamic caramelized onions with a whisper of fresh thyme, all wrapped up in puff pastry and baked until golden brown!
Baked Brie, a Cheesy Little Puff Pastry Package of Deliciousness
Whenever I see cheese as part of a lovely little appetizer spread, I'm a very happy gal.
I'm a lover of all sorts of cheeses, and often make a little snack out of a few slices of flavorful cheese atop of some thin, crispy crackers.
So a tasty little cheese board with fruit, or a cheeseball with toasts, or a warm and gooey baked brie are all examples of perfectly delectable little appetizers in my book.
Baked brie is a particularly wonderful recipe to prepare in the cooler months when an appetizer with a bit of warmth and coziness just sounds extra inviting. It's the perfect pick for the holidays when many of us are entertaining and looking for delectable goodies to share as a precursor to a special meal.
To make things a bit extra flavorful, I've created a baked brie recipe here that features a topping of sweet and savory balsamic caramelized onions, a sprinkle of thyme, all wrapped snuggly in a puff pastry package.
Baked until golden-brown on the outside and all gooey and warm on the inside, this baked brie appetizer with balsamic caramelized onions is my go-to, cheesy little indulgence this season!
How to Bake Brie
There are a number of ways one can prepare baked brie, which makes it an incredibly versatile appetizer to share. It's really up to personal preference, and the flavor profile one is looking for!
One could simply place a wheel of brie on parchment paper, bake until the cheese is soft and melted, and serve it just like that—it's delicious that way!
Another option is to bake the brie, then top with jam or perhaps a savory topping of some sort, and it's quite lovely that way as well.
But my own favorite way to prepare baked brie is to sort of “go all out” and top the brie with something sweet and savory, wrap it in puff pastry, then bake it to melted perfection.
I happen to really enjoy caramelized onions, especially the kind finished off with a healthy drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar to create that delicious jam-like consistency. So I use them in this baked brie recipe, along with a few sprigs of thyme as a complement to all the other wonderful layers of flavors.
The slightly acidic and sweet notes of balsamic caramelized onions, the earthy notes of thyme, and the nutty creaminess of brie cheese offers a little surprise in each bite.
Here's a peek at my baked brie recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe further down...)
- The first thing I do is prepare my caramelized onions. I typically do this a day or even two ahead of when I'd like to serve my baked brie to make things quick and easy the day of. Otherwise, I'll prepare the onions on the same day and allow them cool completely before using.
- When ready to assemble and bake off my brie, I'll roll out my store-bought puff pastry dough, spoon over top my cooled caramelized onions, then wrap the brie in the pastry.
- Once wrapped, I brush the pastry with egg wash to create some color while baking, then chill the brie for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight at this point, if making ahead) before baking for roughly 35-40 minutes, until golden-brown.
- To serve, I allow the baked brie to sit for about 10 minutes before placing onto a platter with crackers, toast or fruit, so that the cheese is melted and gooey, yet doesn't completely ooze all over the platter. 😉
Baked Brie with Balsamic Caramelized Onions
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 301 calories (per 1 ounce serving)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Olive oil
- 1 ½ medium onions, sliced thinly into semi-circles (roughly 2 ½ cups)
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- 1 (8 ounce) wheel brie cheese, cold
- 1 sheet prepared puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
- Flour, for rolling
- 1 whisked egg, for egg wash
- Crackers, sliced baguette, apples/pears, for serving on the side
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the sliced onions along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they become deeply golden-brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- Once golden, stir in the teaspoon of sugar, followed by the balsamic vinegar, and allow the mixture to bubble up and reduce, stirring to incorporate; allow the onions to cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently now, until jam-like and deeply browned; then, add the 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, stir to combine, and remove from pan and allow to cool (you should have roughly ½ cup).
- To prepare the baked brie, lightly flour your work surface, and roll out the thawed puff pastry sheet to about ⅛” thickness, a bit larger than the wheel of brie (trim the puff pastry a little bit if it's considerably too large for your brie); place the brie in the center of it, spoon over top of it the cooled, balsamic caramelized onions, then fold the puff pastry sheet over top to cover everything, creating a little “package” with pleats.
- Place the wrapped brie “package” onto a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and very gently brush some egg wash over the puff pastry (avoid allowing it to pool underneath), and place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (or even overnight), covering lightly with plastic wrap.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Once ready to bake, place the brie into the oven and bake for roughly 35-40 minutes, or until deeply golden and puffed; allow the baked brie to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to avoid it oozing out too much.
- To serve, add a couple of decorative sprigs of thyme, and surround the brie with crackers, sliced baguette, or even fruit such as apples or pears.
Tips & Tidbits for my Baked Brie with Balsamic Caramelized Onions:
- Make ahead for easy baked brie: To expedite the process the day I'd like to serve the baked brie, I'll usually caramelize my onions a day or two beforehand, allow them to cool, and keep them in the fridge until ready to use. Another option if you'd like to have your brie completely topped and wrapped, and basically ready to be baked without any hassle the day of, you can prep/cool the onions, and assemble the whole package up to the point of applying the egg wash to the puff pastry; then, loosely wrap the brie in plastic wrap (keep it on a small, parchment-lined baking sheet), and keep cold until ready to bake!
- Other options for toppings: If you're not a fan of caramelized balsamic onions, no worries! Substitute your favorite topping. You can use cherry or apricot preserves (about ¼ – ⅓ cup), fig jam, cranberry sauce, or even honey, as sweet toppings. You can use garlicky, sauteed mushrooms for a savory topping. Or, mix brown sugar with pecans or walnuts for a nutty flair. Just add any of these before wrapping in puff pastry!
- Size of brie cheese: I'm using an 8 ounce (½ pound) wheel of brie here (from Whole Foods Market), which will serve about 8 people. You can find larger wheels, of course, if you need to serve more people. Just adjust the size of your puff pastry to fit the size of your brie, as you want it completely wrapped.
- No need to cut the rind off the brie: If you prefer to cut the thin rind off of the brie before topping with the caramelized onions, feel free to, but this is completely unnecessary. The rind is totally edible, and actually helps a bit in maintaining the shape of the brie while baking.
- Patience is a virtue: While it's tempting to immediately serve the baked brie hot out of the oven, give it about 10 minutes to sit. Otherwise, the brie will ooze all over your platter too much. You want the brie be warm, melted and gently flowing out of the pastry, perfect for crackers, toasts or fruit.
Hungry for more delicious appetizers? Check out this Cheese Ball Recipe, these Stuffed Mushrooms, this Savory Pear Tart, this Roasted Cauliflower, or these Chicken Lettuce Wraps!
Hi, the thyme is purely for decoration?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Coady, thanks so much for calling my attention to an error in my recipe instructions!
The 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves listed in the ingredients is meant to go into the onions at the end of their caramelization. Sorry about the confusion! (I corrected that in my recipe steps, and you should find it there now.)
Again, thanks for letting me know. Hope you enjoy this brie! 🙂
Hi do you cut the rind off the Brie?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Laura, nope, there's no need to. Easy-peasy!
For more info on that, please see my "Tips & Tidbits" section just below the recipe, where I actually mention that along with a few other pointers that might be helpful. Hope you enjoy!
If making for a party can I bake for 30 and an extra 10 at location to fully melt freshly?
The Cozy Apron
Kaitly, I have not tried this method, so I'm not completely certain about the results; but I think you should be fine trying that. I think placing it back into the oven to reheat/re-crisp it a bit at the location should be OK. Hope you enjoy!
Is it possible to microwave it for 30 seconds or so to warm the brie back up?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Joette, I'm assuming you're talking about leftovers...yes, you could. Though my preferred method of gently reheating is to place a piece of it into the toaster oven (if you have one) on 350°, and allow for things to gently heat until warm. This way the puff pastry won't get soggy, but rather stay more flaky.
Otherwise, just use the method that works best for you. 🙂
What type of onions did you use?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Kristina, I used regular white onions, and either white onions or yellow onions are fine.
Can this be put together and frozen to be baked later?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Suzann, while this yummy baked brie can absolutely be prepped ahead of time, I would not recommend freezing this as it will ruin your brie cheese.
You could easily prep the caramelized onions (allow them to cool completely), and then top and wrap the wheel of brie in the puff pastry, and keep it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for a couple of days if you need to. But I recommend avoiding the freezer. 😉
Are there any other herbs or substitutes you'd recommend if I don't have thyme at home?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Fatima, you could use a little parsley, or even chives, in that case. Try to avoid any herbs that are too strong in flavor, since they may overpower the brie and sweet-savory onions.
Hope you enjoy!
I find no info on removing the top rind. Do you place jam, etc directly on the top or peel it off first. I see not to remove the side rind.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Arlene, I do actually address this specific question under my "Tips & Tidbits" section, found just below the recipe steps. 😉
I'd love to make this for a get together but it's not at my house I'd have to yank it out of the oven and drive 20 minutes - any suggestions for pulling this off? Thanks!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Kristi, love your question!
So here's what I think might work for this: prepare the onions ahead (the day before) so they're nice and cold from your fridge when you spoon them over the brie. Then, proceed with the recipe, wrapping things up in the cold, thawed puff pastry. You can even egg wash lightly. Since it's only a 20 minute drive, and the weather is cooler now, you should be OK to take this, unbaked, to the house, and bake it there, fresh. (If the people who's house you're going to are OK with that, of course. 😉 .)
It's really all about keeping that puff pastry as cold as you can, so maybe stick the wrapped brie in the freezer for 15 minutes before you leave the house. And if you have a cooler, pack some ice in it and place the prepped brie in there during your drive over to keep things cold, if possible. As long as things stay cold or cool, you should be good for those 20 minutes while you get there, and then bake it off fresh when you arrive.
Hope that helps...and hope you get to make this and share it! Happy cooking!
Wow, this was so wonderful and so easy! I had a massive brie wheel and cut off some and wrapped it up in the pastry. This meant it didn't look at pretty since it wasn't round, but it didn't matter... it was so yummy! I also skipped the thyme since I didn't have any and it was still wonderful. What a great and simple recipe. I will be making this again.
The Cozy Apron
Glad you enjoyed Bekah! Thanks for sharing your experience with me!