Cedar Plank Grilled Brie with Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Dec 07, 2023
Cedar Plank Brie with Cranberry Sauce is one of the most flavorful (and easy) ways to make baked brie. Smoky flavor from cedar planks over direct heat on your grill and topped with a leftover cranberry sauce is a perfect appetizer for any crowd. It’s also the perfect way to continue using those seasonal cranberries (or leftover cranberry sauce from your holiday dinners).
If you want an easy way to make an appetizer that also creates a wow factor, it’s grilled cedar-planked brie. As the cedar burns it adds a pale golden brown color to the brie, an enticing smoky flavor, and the cranberry sauce over the top slowly melts adding a lovey rich tart and sweet flavor to the creamy cheese. Then when it’s done, the melted cheese just gushes over your serving plate and is a perfect combination with the sauce. Cedar Plank perfection and easy to modify flavor.
Plus the colors and presentation just screams holiday party!
Table of Contents
Ingredients + Substitutions
Brie Cheese is a mild cheese made from cows milk. It is a popular cheese and can be found in almost any grocery store and in various size wheels. It will have a rind around the entire brie wheel, which you want in order to hold it together. You may see brie listed as double or triple cream cheeses. We opt for the double cream for baked brie recipes but you can use either.
- Brie Wheel Round – You can buy them in multiple sizes. The standard small round is 8-ounces, which is perfect as an appetizer for up to 6 people. In this recipe we are using the larger 16-ounce wheel, which you can find at any grocery store or big box retailer. We use this portion for 6 – 12 people, perfect for a larger party or gathering. Be sure you use a brie round with the rind, if you use a brie wedge it will completely melt all over the plank and you’ll be sad.
- Cranberry Sauce – We use our popular red wine cranberry sauce. You can use any leftover cranberry sauce you enjoy. You can also substitute with any cranberry jam you love in the same portions.
- Nuts – We love the texture and added flavor from toasted nuts. We use hazelnuts, but feel free use any roasted nut (almonds, pecans, walnuts). Or just leave them out.
- Crackers or Bread Slices – Our favorite crackers are simple sea salt crackers. You can also use crostini or baguette slices.
If you have a cow dairy allergy we have also done this recipe with goat brie, which will be a smaller round. It works well as a substitute, but doesn’t quite melt as well.
- Cedar Planks – Use an untreated cedar plank meant for cooking. When making smaller brie rounds, you can cut your cedar planks in half to match the size of the brie and not waste an entire plank.
- Large Wide Spatula – The large spatula is easier to lift the cedar plank than long tongs as they are wider and longer.
- Large Sheet Tray – Having a large sheet tray or cookie sheet is helpful to put the plank on after it’s done grilling. That avoids the plank from burning any serving platter or cutting board.
Chef’s Note: If you use tongs, be careful because cedar planks can bend as they burn. With the weight of the cheese it could break on the grill, causing the melted cheese to drip out. We recommend using the large spatula to lift the plank, holding it from the bottom, and place onto a sheet tray or serving platter to transfer from the grill to your table.
Preparation for Grilled Brie with Cranberry Sauce
- Soak cedar plank in cold water for at least 30 minutes, no more than an hour. Don’t bother using any other liquid as the flavor won’t infuse into the wood.
- Remove the brie from the packaging. Do not remove the rind from the brie as we do in our grilled brie recipe. We want the rind to hold the cheese together as it melts.
- Toast Nuts – If the nuts aren’t already pre-roasted, then in a small pan over medium heat, toss the nuts occasionally (no oil needed) until you smell them starting to roast. No more than 5 minutes. Don’t leave the pan or they will burn. Then transfer to a cutting board and give them a rough chop.
To make this grilled brie recipe super easy we are just using our Red Wine Cranberry Sauce. It’s already full of festive flavor (such as cinnamon, orange, a touch of sugar). We always make a huge batch for Thanksgiving and end up with a lot of leftovers for the weeks to come.
The leftovers last a few weeks in the fridge, so we just use about a 1/2 cup for the baked brie. You can use any cranberry sauce you enjoy, as cranberries are abundant in the late fall season. You can also substitute with your favorite cranberry (or other) jam.
Grilling the Brie
If you are using a small wheel of brie cheese, expect to cook it entirely over direct grilling, whether a charcoal grill or gas grill. If you are using a large 12 – 16 ounce (or bigger) brie wheel, like this cedar-plank brie recipe, expect to start on direct grilling and finish over indirect heat for a total of 15-20 minutes.
- Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking, targeting 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the cooking chamber. If you run the heat too high the plank will burn faster and the cheese will melt too quickly before the sauce sets.
- Place cheese on the center of the plank. Place the cranberry sauce over the top of the brie cheese. We leave a little space on the edge of the brie free from the sauce to give some room for it to melt.
- Place plank over the direct heat on the cooking grate and close lid. Grill direct for up to 10 minutes. The soaked plank will start to combust and you’ll see smoke coming out of the grill, which is normal. That smoke gives the brie it’s flavor and a light golden brown color. Then move the brie plank to the indirect zone of the grill until it’s finished, about 10 more minutes.
Gas Grill: Light one burner on high heat. Allow the grill to get to 500 degrees (hot). Unlike charcoal, the indirect burner on a gas grill means the planks can take a higher heat. Follow the same directions.
Sometimes the planks will catch fire and have a decent size flame. To minimize this, have a food safe spray bottle with water and spray the flame to minimize it.
To avoid this, keep the lid closed to minimize airflow. It’s most likely you will see the flame when the lid is off/open.
Key Tip for Grilling Brie with Cranberry Sauce
The total time can take 5-10 minutes, for a small brie round, depending on the size of the brie. For anything over a 12-ounce wheel it can take 15-20 minutes. To account for the variation in size and time, we like to touch the sides of the brie every 5 minutes. You are touching it to feel it start to get soft.
As the cheese melts from the center to the edges, the weight of the melt will cause slight bulging and when you press it will feel slightly wiggly. That’s the time to remove it.
Wine Pairing With Brie
The primary flavors that stand out are the smoky cedar, the richness from the cheese, and bright tart flavors from the cranberry sauce. A great Oregon Pinot Noir would be delicious, or even Beaujolais. Something bright and fruity.
Other Brie Favorites
Feeling inspired? Check out some of our other favorite brie appetizer ideas.
- Jalapeño Poppers with Brie and Prosciutto – Melted brie and wrapped prosciutto really elevates your holiday charcuterie and cheese board.
- Baked Brie with Wine and Thyme – This simple dish is brie baked with wine and topped with thyme and kosher salt. One of our most popular recipes because it’s easy and packed with flavor.
- Grilled Brie with Blackberry Jam – Grilled hot and fast brie with a blackberry jam topping. Another go to sweet and savory appetizer.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can read more in our guide on how to grill with cedar planks.
We do not recommend reusing cedar planks. They are great for kindling for your fire after they have been used.
Dig into the entire brie cheese wheel, including rind, with a small knife or spoon. The added flavor from the cedar is most prominent in the rind. The rind is safe to eat.
We do not recommend this recipe with Camembert cheese, which has a much more pungent and acidic flavor profile and doesn’t pair well with the cranberry sauce.
Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.
Now on 2nd edition
Fire + Wine Cookbook
“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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Cedar Plank Brie with Cranberry Sauce Recipe
- 1 cedar plank (Untreated food safe cedar planks)
- 1 large spatula (Makes it much easier to remove the cedar plank from the grill)
- 1 16 ounce brie wheel round
- ½ cup cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, (Can substitute almonds, pecans, or walnuts, or just leave them off)
- 1 baguette, cut into slices , (Can substitute crackers)
- Soak: Place the cedar plank in a large dish filled with water. Soak the plank for at least 30 minutes and no more than 1 hour.
- Prep Grill: Prepare the grill for two-zone cooking, targeting 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the cooking chamber. If you run the heat too high the plank will burn faster and the cheese will melt too quickly before the sauce sets.
- Food Prep: Place cheese on the center of the plank. Place the cranberry sauce over the top of the brie cheese. We leave a little space on the edge of the brie free from the sauce to give some room for it to melt. Top with the roasted hazelnuts.
- Grill: Place plank over the direct heat on the cooking grate and close lid. Grill direct for up to 10 minutes. The soaked plank will start to combust and you’ll see smoke coming out of the grill, which is normal. That smoke gives the brie it’s flavor and a light golden brown color. Then move the brie plank to the indirect zone of the grill until it’s finished, about 10 more minutes.
- Serve: Place plank on a slate serving platter (can handle the heat) or let rest a couple minutes on a large sheet tray. Serve the brie on the plank to avoid breaking the edges. Serve warm with your favorite bread and crackers.
Roasting Hazelnuts (Optional)
- Pan Fry: If the nuts aren’t already pre-roasted, then in a small pan over medium heat, toss the nuts occasionally (no oil needed) until you smell them starting to roast. No more than 5 minutes. Don’t leave the pan or they will burn. Then transfer to a cutting board and give them a rough chop.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.