Cranberry Crostini

Cranberry crostini

This weekend, Cookie and I hitched a ride down to Tulsa for Friendsgiving. Four hours later, we stretched our limbs outside the car as our dear old friends came outside to greet us. Hugs all around. The rest of the day was one long, happy blur full of good food and good company.

As always, Michael cooked the turkey. Emily made a giant green salad. Jordan’s pecan pie survived a trunk mishap. I brought the cranberry cornbread and eagerly stole little bits of crispy onions off the green bean casserole as I stood in line (sorry, Jes).

cranberry-orange sauce

Nate brought homemade cranberry sauce, which was leaps and bounds better than the gelatinous, ridged glob of canned cranberry sauce that I remembered from college Friendsgivings. Those were the days when Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys littered the table. This year, I still didn’t eat the turkey, but I went back for seconds of the cranberry sauce. Bright and bursting with sweet-tart cranberry flavor, it made a great jelly for my roll and livened up the mashed sweet potatoes.

whole grain crostini

As I polished off my plate, I wondered why Americans ever resort to canned cranberry sauce. It’s a travesty, especially considering that fresh cranberry sauce takes about five minutes to make. Five minutes!

I decided to highlight cranberry sauce with these crostini. Crusty whole grain bread, topped with tangy goat cheese and bold cranberry-orange sauce, makes for a stunning (and super simple) appetizer. Serve the crostini before Thanksgiving dinner or at any of your other holiday festivities this fall and winter.

Cranberry sauce

This recipe yields more cranberry sauce than you’ll likely need for the crostini. You can swirl leftover sauce into oatmeal or granola and yogurt for a filling breakfast. It would be a killer addition to a grilled cheese sandwich made with whole grain bread and brie, too.

You can use any type of bread that you’d like, of course, but I really love the nutty flavor of hearty, whole grain bread paired with sweet cranberry sauce and cheese. It’s more nutritious, too. For more information about the health benefits of whole grains, visit

Cranberry goat cheese crostinicranberry crostini and champagneCranberry crostini recipe

Cranberry Crostini
4.2 from 5 reviews
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Cranberry-orange sauce on whole grain crostini with goat cheese makes a beautiful (and quick!) appetizer.
  • 1 small loaf of artisan whole grain bread, sliced into ½-inch thick slices
  • 2+ tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 10 ounces goat cheese, preferably at room temperature (Brie, ricotta, or cream cheese would be fine substitutes)
Cranberry orange sauce
  • ½ cup+ honey
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
  • Zest of 1 orange (orange part only), divided
  1. Toast the bread: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle the slices with salt. Toast the bread in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway, until the slices are lightly golden on both sides. Set the pan aside to cool.
  2. Make the cranberry sauce: Rinse the cranberries and toss any squishy ones. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring ½ cup water, honey, cinnamon, cloves and allspice to a gentle boil. Add the cranberries and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the cranberries have popped and the sauce is starting to look, well, saucy. Remove from heat and stir in about two-thirds of the orange zest.
  3. Assemble the crostini: Top each slice of toast with a generous spread of cheese, then cranberry sauce and a light sprinkle of orange zest. Serve.
  • Cranberry sauce adapted from Shockingly Delicious and my cranberry orange steel-cut oatmeal.
  • This recipe yields around a cup of extra cranberry sauce, which would be a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. Serve leftovers on toast or stirred into oatmeal or yogurt. It should store well, refrigerated in an air-tight container, for up to 1 month.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Grains for Your Brain and I received compensation for my participation. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to serve up more recipes. Opinions are my own, always.


  1. says

    This looks amazing! I wish I had known about it for the Canadian thanksgiving, I’ll have to remember it for next year but I’ll likely be making it earlier than that! Love the colour combination!

      • says

        Thanks, Claire! I made the mistake of buying the absolute cheapest Champagne for those shots and it’s so bad I can’t drink it! Lesson learned.

        I recently used a gift card to buy Calphalon’s “no peak” waffle iron. I wouldn’t have bought it at full price, but oh man, it works great. The waffles huge so I can cook all of the batter in two batches. Plus it beeps when it’s ready. Pretty cool. Might be a good item to add to your Christmas list!

        • says

          Thanks for the tips! I’ll probably keep an eye open for a sale in January when everyone is on diets haha! I’ve already asked for a food processor and argan oil so my Christmas list is full! Hope you have a happy one.

          • says

            Good call! I would look for a waffle iron that has a lot of surface area so you can cook the waffles in fewer batches. That helps a lot. Oh and I found some argan oil by Elma & Sana for an affordable price on amazon, love it!

  2. says

    I live in Oklahoma! My daughter lives in Tulsa so I get to go there often. It’s really turned in to such a fun city. So much to do downtown, where she lives.
    Beautiful crostini. It’s so much fun mixing sweet and savory, isn’t it?!!

    • says

      I’m from Oklahoma! Tulsa is really a neat city. Maybe I’ll move there someday. I really can’t get enough of the sweet-and-savory combo these days!

  3. says

    Mmm this looks great! Your friendsgiving celebration sounds like so much fun. I love enjoying meals that everyone contributes to, just like you have. As for cranberry sauce, I agree with you – it IS a travesty that people still buy it out of the can, especially when it’s dead easy to make yourself! I’ve got a similar cranberry chutney posted on my blog that blends cranberries with ginger, stevia, orange juice and orange zest. We always have leftovers but I love using it on days after, especially on bits of baked butternut squash!

    • says

      Oh, your cranberry chutney sounds amazing! Potlucks are my favorite. My friends and I get together for a potluck almost every week. Can’t get enough of them!

  4. says

    I love that we both did Grains for your Brain posts today! And that they both featured bread. Great minds.

    Also, you’re so right about cranberry sauce. Once you go homemade, you can NEVER go back.

  5. says

    Oh gosh, hearing “pie” and “trunk mishap” in the same sentence is my worst nightmare right now! I’m transporting 3 pies for Thansksgiving, and have no other option but to put them in the trunk. Eeeeek!

  6. says

    What a fun Friendsgiving that sounds like it was! You’re right – I don’t know why we’ve gravitated to the canned cranberry variety, but I love this version – so bright and fresh. And what a tasty thought to put it in oatmeal – yum.

  7. says

    This sounds INCREDIBLE, Kate, and I find myself wondering the same thing about Americans and cranberry sauce because it’s SO simple and SO good. Definitely gonna have to try this with our leftovers, as I know my husband will FLIP over the goat cheese! Thanks for sharing!

  8. says

    I made this for Thanksgiving, loved it, got compliments, and was asked for the recipe. We did some with goat cheese and some with Brie, and it was great both ways. I think the sauce smells just like Christmas :)

  9. Christine says

    I love this combo, it’s simply amazing in so many ways! I tried a new combo this year and I am so excited about it I wanted to share. I received some Heidi’s Raspberry and Chili jam from my cousins in NM. I paired it with goat cheese and crostini. It was so good with just the right amount of kick!

  10. Haillie says

    This looks delicious!!! I am attending a holiday party next week and I am thinking this is the dish I will bring!

    Quick question, do these still taste delicious an hour or so after they are ready? If I am taking them to a party I don’t want to bring something that will only taste great right away!

    • says

      Hey Haillie! I think the crostini will still taste good. If possible, I’d suggest assembling the crostini at the party just because the toast might get a little soft as time goes on. You could bring the toasted bread, cranberry sauce and goat cheese. It would only take 5 to 10 minutes to prepare them, or less if you can find a friend to help!

  11. Nanda Primidya says

    Hello kate, im interesting in food photography, and im looking for a good lens for food, and end up in your blog.
    Awesome picts, i love the color and details, and the proops is just right.
    so you took those photographs with nikkor 35mm? im little bit hard to decide, which lens i have to purchase, 35mm or 40mm macro, so if u may please tell me how good is 35mm on food.
    Thank you very much.
    Your food look incredibly tasty !!!

    • says

      Hi Nanda, if you are using a digital format camera (not a full format camera), I would choose the 35mm. I use it for all of my food photos now.

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