Recipe Review

I Tried 4 Baked Brie Recipes and Found an Absolute Showstopper 

published Dec 12, 2022
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labeled photo of plates with 4 different baked brie recipes and various dippers like bread, crackers, apples
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Classic baked Brie is pretty great as is. I mean, it’s hard to find fault with melty cheese and flaky pastry! But does it blow me away with its ingenuity? No. Is it the first thing I run to at the appetizer table? Not so much. 

Instead of giving up on the somewhat sleepy dish, I began to think about how to liven it up. A quick Google search proved the work had been done for me: Countless recipes have been created with this exact premise in mind. From flavorful fillings to creative cooking methods, there are no shortage of ways to have fun with the old-school app.

With the holidays drawing closer, I figured now was the perfect time to give a few of these twists a try. Ultimately, I was looking for a baked Brie that was reminiscent of the original — gooey cheese and golden-brown pastry were non-negotiables — but with a little more oomph. What type of dough would be the best for wrapping? What flavor of filling would best complement the cheese? And most importantly, which recipe would excite me? 

Ultimately, I fell in love with every recipe I tried. Each one impressed me with its looks, creativity, and irresistible flavor. But after a lot of reflection (and a heck of a lot of cheese), I managed to declare a winner. It’s the one I couldn’t stop eating, the one I found most wow-worthy, and the one I’ll recommend to any friend in need of a crowd-pleaser. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

Meet Our Four Baked Brie Contenders

To keep the playing field fair, I only considered recipes that were wrapped in some type of pastry. (After all, true baked Brie is simply warm cheese!). From there, I looked for ones that used different types of pastries and a variety of fillings. Ultimately, I landed on four exciting recipes that each had a distinct point of view. 

Two Peas and Their Pod’s Baked Brie has a 5-star rating and ranks on the first page of Google. The Brie is drizzled with maple syrup and topped with a sugary, buttery nut mixture, placing it firmly in the “sweet” category. It’s wrapped in puff pastry and served with all sorts of dippers and snacks, from crackers and crostini to pomegranate seeds and pears. I also appreciated that Maria, one of the creators of the blog, responded to every single comment and question.

Food Network’s Baked Brie falls on the opposite end of the baked Brie spectrum, calling on savory marinated artichoke hearts, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes for the filling. The puff pastry is woven into a decorative pattern and, perhaps most interestingly of all, the whole thing is cooked in the air fryer. As a big fan of the versatile countertop appliance, I was eager to try this one out. 

Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Brie looked like everything I’d expect from Deb: rich and comforting with a touch of elegance. A simple homemade galette dough is used in place of puff pastry, and the Brie is covered in jammy balsamic red onions. Dijon mustard and fresh thyme round out the filling, and the wrapped Brie is sprinkled with sesame seeds before baking. How could it not be good? 

Tasty’s Baked Brie was the closest to the classic. The Brie is topped with raspberry preserves, but flaky phyllo dough is used in lieu of puff pastry. Would this one simple upgrade have maximum impact? I couldn’t wait to find out. 

How I Tested the Baked Brie

I made each recipe with an 8-ounce round of Président Brie. For the two recipes that called for puff pastry, I used DuFour (a favorite among Kitchn staffers). I baked them all in the same oven, on the same day, and let them cool per the specific recipe’s instructions. I served them with whatever each recipe called for, but I also made sure to try a bite of each on its own. I had two friends over to help me and my fiancé test them. 

In order to taste all of the Bries in one sitting but still serve them warm, I assembled them in advance, popped them in the fridge, and baked them off in succession (with the exception of Food Network’s, which I air-fried while another was baking). Not only was this the best way for me to compare them, it also allowed me to test out their make-ahead abilities. And honestly, I was impressed! All four proved they can be assembled and refrigerated several hours in advance — although they each needed a few extra minutes in the oven for the Brie to melt completely. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

1. The Party Favorite: Tasty’s Gooey Baked Brie in Phyllo Dough 

If you’re serving guests who enjoy traditional baked brie, they’ll go wild for this simple-yet-impressive upgrade. The layers of phyllo baked up impossibly light and flaky, and I loved the contrast between the crunchy pastry and melty cheese. While I’m not going to do away with puff pastry for good, I do think the phyllo added excitement and tasted great. Plus, all of the layers make it super forgiving — it really doesn’t matter if one sheet tears or is off-center. 

I liked that the jam’s acidity balanced out the Brie’s richness, preventing the whole thing from tasting too decadent. Even still, I’d be curious to experiment with more savory-leaning flavors, like fig or sour cherry. It’s also worth noting that the recipe doesn’t specify ingredient amounts. I found success with a stick of butter, a half cup of preserves, and an eight-ounce wheel of Brie. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

2. The Most Luxurious: Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Brie with Balsamic Red Onions

This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe through and through. It’s detailed but unfussy, impressive yet rustic, and the result is exactly as promised: a less-sweet, more nuanced baked Brie full of interesting flavors. The jammy red onions are a revelation: They cook in just 10 minutes but are slinky and glossy and flavorful. When combined with the melty cheese, it gave the whole dish French onion soup vibes. 

The homemade galette dough comes together quickly in one bowl, and bakes up buttery and flaky. Due to its circular shape, it was also easier than puff pastry to wrap around the Brie. With that said, I’m not sure it was worth the extra effort — especially if you opt for all-butter puff pastry like DuFour. During a busy holiday season when shortcuts are lifesavers, I’m not sure this is the recipe I’ll want to turn to. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

3. The Best for Wine Night: Two Peas and Their Pod’s Baked Brie 

This baked Brie was so much greater than the sum of its parts. Somehow, a simple mix of pecans, cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup combined to create the most fragrant, irresistible filling that had all of us swooning. When eaten all together, the dish tasted like nutty French toast paired with gooey Brie cheese, which I wouldn’t think I would enjoy but I absolutely did.  

I truly think everyone will go wild for this recipe. It’s perfect for book club or wine night, or starring in a dinner-sized snack platter. It’s also really easy to make! With that said, I do think it’s too sweet to serve as a pre-dinner appetizer, which is why it didn’t take home top prize. 

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

4. The Wow-Worthy Winner: Food Network’s Air Fryer Baked Brie with Pesto Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

Talk about a party trick! This golden-brown beauty emerged from the air fryer looking (almost) too pretty to eat. The decorative pattern, which was surprisingly simple to execute, gave this Brie the pizzazz I was searching for. Once sliced into, the vibrant pesto filling made the whole thing feel festive. 

The taste of this dish was equally impressive. Starting with herby marinated artichokes, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and garlicky store-bought pesto meant that every bite was jam-packed with flavor — with very little work from me. Plus, the air fryer made the pastry extra flaky and croissant-like, and melted the cheese to perfection. I also like that it freed up oven space, which I’m always grateful for during the holidays. 

If you don’t have an air fryer, this Brie is still 100% worth making. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 400°F for 35 to 40 minutes, then serve to guests.