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Holiday Cranberry Phyllo Baskets 

These just scream Christmas, don't they?  I wanted to show you this recipe to give you plenty of time to include this in your holiday entertaining.  I love cranberry desserts at the holidays - they are so pretty, with the cranberries looking like little jewels. These phyllo baskets are simply scrumptious and you can make the components of these ahead of time, making it a breeze to assemble right before you want them.

I've had this recipe for years, way before you could buy prebaked phyllo baskets in the grocery store.  If you absolutely don't have time to make the phyllo baskets yourself, you could use the frozen kind.  I've never tried them, so I cannot tell you if they are any good.  But if you buy phyllo sheets and make your own little baskets, I guarantee they will be wonderful and crisp and light and so worth the small effort it takes to make them. And you can make the baskets way ahead of time and keep them at room temperature.  The filling and topping are practically afterthoughts, they are so easy. 

Cranberry Phyllo Baskets

for a printable recipe only, click here

makes 24

You will need a miniature muffin pan for this recipe, if you are making your own phyllo baskets.


Phyllo Baskets

  • 8 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
  • (or use premade frozen phyllo baskets) 

Cranberry Topping

  • 6 ounces fresh cranberries (1/2 bag)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons powdered confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped toasted husked hazelnuts*



For baskets: Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface. (Cover remaining sheets with damp towel to prevent drying). Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with some breadcrumbs. Repeat with 3 more sheets - do not sprinkle breadcrumbs on fourth sheet. Repeat entire process 1 more time for total of 2 stacks of 4 sheets each. Mark off twelve 3-inch squares on each stack using ruler. Cut into squares using pizza cutter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush 40 miniature muffin cups with remaining butter. Press 1 stacked phyllo square into each muffin cup, forming basket. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer baskets to a rack and cool to room temperature (can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Store at room temperature).

Place damp towel on top of phyllo dough to keep moist; spread
with melted butter, sprinkle with bread crumbs and cut into squares


For Topping: Cook cranberries, sugar and water in small medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, swirling pan occasionally. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook until berries pop, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until cool. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead).

For filling: Blend cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add zest and juice and blend.

To assemble: Divide cream cheese filling among the phyllo baskets.  Spoon a little cranberry topping over filling. Sprinkle with hazelnuts. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving). 

* To toast hazelnuts, spread whole hazelnuts on a baking pan and toast in a  425 F. oven for about 4-5 minutes. Immediately wrap them in a clean towel and roll them around in the towel vigorously - this will remove most of the skins. 

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Reader Comments (18)

Just adorable. You could also use wonton baskets baked which are also super easy to make. Let the Christmas holidays begin!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela@Spinachtiger

Thank you, these look delish, am so making these soon!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

These look like a wonderful way to use leftovers! I love finding new ways to use more traditional holiday fare!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

absolutely Christmas-y looking!!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVee

Love it! I used the same phyllo muffin pan technique for some samosa puffs. Great pictures!

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterneeli

They indeed joyfully sing Christmas - delicious and worth the working with phyllo dough!

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Gorgeous! And I'm sure yummy.

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeta

These are adorable and yes, so very Christmas! I've made a similar appetizer long, long ago and your post reminded me of what a wonderful treat they were! I've enjoyed reading your blog, you've got amazing talent!

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

these look so delicious and beautiful. I'm thinking of substituting mascarpone for the cream cheese. what do you think?

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Becky

From The Italian Dish:

Miss Becky: Yes, you could use marscapone cheese but I like the tang of the cream cheese. Personal preference!

December 4, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I made these today for our Staff Christmas party and they were very simple to make and delicious! I got rave reviews...I did use pre-baked mini 'fillo' shells but they looked darling and tasted fabulous! Thanks for a great last minute dessert!

December 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

These look so pretty - you're right - like ruby, red jewels. I remember my mom always had cranberry juice on the table for breakfast on Christmas morning after opening all our presents from Santa. * smile* I love the IDEA of cranberry desserts because of the gorgeous color - but they don't always translate to a pie, for example.

Yesterday morning I opened the frig door and saw the leftover homemade cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving dinner. I dreamed up these layered Cranberry-Almond Bars. They're not as pretty as your as you're gorgeous little phyllo cups - but they're really delish. Add the right stuff w/ cranberries as you have here and how can you go wrong? *smile*

The colors scream Christmas! I could just stare at all your photos Elaine!

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarie

What a tasty looking treat wrapped up in a cute little package!

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Texas Peach

Love these little appetizers...the tartness from the cranberries, the combination with the cream cheese and than the texture from the phyllo! Looking forward to making these!

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCristina

Found this on Pinterest and big hit! Thanks for sharing!

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie/scrapchick

Angela, just like you, I prefer to use wonton wrappers, they're easy to use and doesn't take too much time in cutting them into time, I'll use the phyllo dough .I love recipes that come in little package.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlourdes guzman

Angela, just like you, I prefer to use wonton wrappers, they're easy to use and doesn't take too much time in cutting them into time, I'll use the phyllo dough .I love recipes that come in little package.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlourdes guzman

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