This easy cranberry brie grilled cheese is a perfect creamy, gooey sandwich - with a seasonal twist from leftover cranberry sauce! The cranberry sauce lends a hint of tart, bright flavor that pairs beautifully with rich, melted brie. A great way to repurpose those Thanksgiving leftovers!
We love repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers into new and exciting recipes - and this quick grilled cheese sandwich recipe is one of our favorite post-Thanksgiving staples!
We're using leftover cranberry sauce as a tart sandwich spread, and layering it up on toasted sourdough with some sliced brie cheese and shredded mozzarella (this is the perfect place to use any leftovers from your Thanksgiving cheese plate!) Bonus points if you add a pinch of flakey sea salt as you assemble the sandwiches for a pop of flavor!
This is a very loose recipe, so you can use whatever you have on hand. Keep reading for some of our favorite swaps, riffs, and substitutions.
Our Basic Order of Operations
- Generously butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Flip half the slices over to put the bread butter-side-down, and spread their opposite sides with leftover cranberry sauce (we like to do this on a large cutting board for easy cleanup!)
- Put brie and mozzarella cheese on top of the cranberry sauce, add a pinch of flakey salt (optional, but delicious) then top each sandwich with a remaining bread slice (butter side up).
- Cook sandwiches in a large skillet until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is nice and melty.
Riffs and Substitutions
This grilled cheese recipe is a wonderful blank canvas. Some of our favorite ways to change things up:
- Add a protein. Helloooo, leftover herb roasted turkey breast! Bacon, prosciutto, and slow cooker shredded chicken are also great in this sandwich.
- Swap the cranberry sauce. You can use just about any fruit sauce or spread for this grilled cheese. Leftovers from your Thanksgiving charcuterie board would be delicious (like apple butter or fig spread). You can even swap a bit of whole grain mustard for the cranberry sauce, or use fresh berries (à la our blackberry grilled cheese) or apple slices (à la our brie apple grilled cheese).
- Throw in some greens. Add a handful of fresh arugula, spinach, or kale to get some greens in. These sandwiches are also tasty with a few leftover maple cranberry brussels sprouts thrown in!
- Change up the cheese. We love the addition of shredded mozzarella here because it cuts the richness of the brie and gives you the dreeeeamiest Instagram-worthy-cheese-pull. But you can mix up the cheeses (white cheddar, goat cheese, gruyere, and havarti are all good!) Also amazing on this sandwich: A bit of whipped goat cheese or whipped feta.
- No bread? Grab some flour tortillas and turn this recipe into a quesadilla, or slice some leftover salted dinner rolls in half, add cranberry sauce and cheeses, then add the top halves back on and bake until they're nice and melty.
- Use salted or unsalted butter. Whatever you have on hand is fine!
These grilled cheese sandwiches pair well with creamy soups or quick side salads! Here are a few of our favorite accompaniments:
A Few FAQs
No - you can use brie and mozzarella that are straight out of the fridge! We actually prefer cold brie in this recipe: when it's cold, it's easier to cut into thin slices.
Yes! Grilled cheese is easy to make in the oven if you don't want to use the stove - it's our favorite way to prep these sandwiches for a crowd! Butter your bread slices, assemble each sandwich as directed, then lay sandwiches on a large sheet pan and bake at 400° F for 5-7 minutes (or until the tops are lightly toasted), then flip the sandwiches over with a spatula and bake another 5-7 minutes or so until browned.
We love using sourdough or homemade crusty bread here. These sandwiches are also incredible with homemade cranberry pecan bread!
Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
- Category: Sandwich
- Cuisine: American
These cranberry brie grilled cheese sandwiches are the perfect way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers!
- 8 slices sourdough or crusty bread
- ¼ cup cranberry sauce
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- (optional) ½ teaspoon flakey sea salt
- Spread butter over one side of each bread slice. Tip: We like to use a large cutting board to assemble these sandwiches since the butter can be a little messy!
- Flip half of the bread slices over, so they’re butter-side down. Spread each of these slices with a layer of cranberry sauce. Reserve the remaining slices for the top of your sandwiches.
- Layer brie and mozzarella on top of the cranberry sauce, dividing cheeses evenly between each sandwich, then add a pinch of flakey salt (optional), and top each sandwich with a remaining slice of bread (butter-side up).
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Carefully place sandwiches in the hot skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes per side until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Swap the cranberry sauce for sliced apples or pears, apple butter, or a bit of whole grain mustard. Add leftover turkey, crispy bacon, or prosciutto for some extra protein. Add fresh arugula, kale, or spinach if you’d like some greens. Use white cheddar, goat cheese, gruyere, or havarti in place of some or all of the cheeses here. Use flour tortillas or leftover rolls in place of sliced bread if you like.
Still have leftovers to get through? Check out our Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe Collection!
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 569
- Sugar: 12 g
- Sodium: 1055.8 mg
- Fat: 19 g
- Carbohydrates: 77.2 g
- Protein: 22.9 g
- Cholesterol: 50.7 mg
Keywords: thanksgiving, holiday, leftovers
Jessie @ Life As A Strawberry
This is hands down my favorite way to use leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving. So simple, but delicious!