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Yummy Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer

What ingredients speak fall or Thanksgiving to you? For me, one of the most iconic ingredients are cranberries. Here is a different way to use this iconic ingredient. It’s a yummy Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer.

Did you have cranberries growing up?

The only way I knew about cranberries growing up was my mom’s homemade fresh cranberry sauce. When I first saw the stuff that slivered out of a can at a friend’s house, I had no idea what it was. It bore no resemblance to the sweet/tart condiment my mom always served at Thanksgiving.

As an adult, I discovered cranberry bread and cosmopolitans (who can not have one of those delicious cocktails?) Not sure I know which one I liked best. (Ok, it was the cosmo.)

These days, using fresh cranberries is totally accepted (Do they still sell the stuff in the can?) and preferred. Fresh cranberries are healthier and have no preservatives.

I think you’ll like this way of serving fresh cranberries. Cranberries and Ricotta Crostini is pretty, reasonably healthy (We won’t count the ricotta and crostini in the calorie count.), and very easy to make as an appetizer for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Why are we talking about cranberries? Because it’s Pinterest Challenge day for October. Our sweet hostess, Cindy of County Road 407 went off the home decor/DIY reservation and picked a pretty picture of cranberries as our inspiration. We could use cranberries any way we chose.

If you are joining me from Niky of House on Silverado, then welcome to my home at Bluesky at Home. I’m so happy you are here for this October Pinterest Challenge Blog Hop. If you would like to know a bit more about me and be friends, then I’d love for you read my story. Let’s find out what we have in common.

Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini: The Background

Some of you may know that I worked in the culinary department at Sur La Table for almost five years. Then I went to culinary school at the community college in downtown Dallas for one year.

Next, I started cooking classes out of my home and other venues (Viking, Williams Sonoma, private events). I have thousands of recipes in binders and hundreds of cookbooks mostly signed and collected from my SLT days.

When Cindy had the idea for cranberries as our theme for this month’s Pinterest Challenge, the first place I looked for inspiration was my recipe collection.

There I found this recipe. I had made it once years ago and remembered that it was tasty and impressive as an appetizer.

So now let’s get started.

Making the Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini

This recipe has three parts. The first two can be made ahead of serving time:

  • ricotta mixture
  • cranberry mixture
  • toasted baguette slices – crostini

The printable recipe is below, but let me talk you through some of the steps.

DISCLOSURE: I made the cranberry and ricotta crostini for a casual dinner that I hosted last week for some girlfriends. As I got into the preparation, I forgot to take all the process pictures for you. On Saturday, I recreated the recipe prep to take more pictures for you.

I’ll share the equipment you need during the instructions and at the end of the recipe.

The Ricotta Mixture

This step can be made a day ahead, which is great if you are serving this appetizer for Thanksgiving or a party.

I didn’t use half of the ricotta mixture. I made two crostini for each person for a total of 12. You can half the ricotta mixture if you don’t need as many crostini.

Step 1 – The recipe calls for one 15-ounce container of while-milk ricotta. Don’t use skim or fat-free; it won’t taste right or have the body and texture of whole-milk.

ricotta cheese

Step 2 – Place the ricotta in a food processor. I love my Kitchen Aid Food Processor. I’ve had it for over 20 years and it never fails me.

ricotta cheese in food processor

Step 3 – Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. I love my Microplane for zesting any citrus fruit.

Step 4 – Process the ingredients until combined and smooth. You can add more olive oil if the ricotta is very thick. Taste the mixture and add more salt if needed.

Step 5 – Place the ricotta in a storage container and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the crostini.

storing the ricotta mixture

The Cranberry Mixture

The Cranberry Mixture is the pretty part of this appetizer. It also gives the dish its slightly tart taste and crunchy texture. This step can be done several hours ahead of time.

Step 1 – Wash and dry the cranberries. I use a large colander for this step. Pat the cranberries dry with a couple of pieces of paper towel.

Step 2 – With a sharp chef’s knife, roughly chop the 1 1/2 cups of cranberries. You will not use all the cranberries in the bag. You can reseal the bag and place it in the freezer.

I love my Wüstof chef knife. It’s also lasted me over 20 years. It will probably outlive me. The bamboo cutting board is my everyday one. I love it, too.

chopping cranberries

NOTE: Did you know that cranberries freeze beautifully?

Place the chopped cranberries in a medium bowl.

chopping cranberries

Step 3 – To the bowl of chopped cranberries, add the orange juice, honey, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Making the Crostini

You will use a French baguette for the crostini.

Step 1 – Slice the baguette on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices. Use a sharp bread knife.

Step 2 – Place the crostini on a parchment paper-lined half-sheet pan.

bread slices on baking pan

Step 3 – Use an olive oil spray bottle to spray the top of the bread slices. Our older daughter gave us this great tool several years ago and we use it frequently.

spraying olive oil for cranberry and ricotta crostini

Step 4 – Bake the crostini at 350˚F. for about 5 minutes until they are golden brown.

bread slices on baking pan

Assembling the Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer

Step 1 – Use a spoon or a small offset spatula to spread a generous layer of the ricotta mixture on each crostini.

cranberry and ricotta crostini assembly

Step 2 – Top the ricotta mixture with one tablespoon of the cranberry mixture.

cranberry and ricotta crostini assembly

Step 3 – Remove fresh thyme leaves from the stem for a garnish. Also, have flaky sea salt on hand. (One of my favorite brands is Maldon.) I love having fresh herbs available for cooking. Thyme is a hardy perennial herb that we use year-round.

Step 4 – Sprinkle a little of the chopped thyme leaves and a pinch of salt on each crostini.

garnishing cranberry and ricotta crostini

Step 5 – Now you’re ready to serve your Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer. Select a pretty tray or platter that shows off the pretty red color of the cranberries. I had this oblong tray that worked well.

Finally, I set the tray of crostini on the Halloween tablescape.

I reconfigured the table for six to dine after the Halloween sweet buffet tablescape of the previous week.

sweet Halloween buffet table

What Equipment Do You Need to Make this Appetizer?

Here are the basic tools that you need to make this appetizer. These are standard kitchen equipment for any cook.

The Cranberry and Crostini Appetizer Recipe

Yummy Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetize

Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer

An easy fall appetizer combining tart and crunchy cranberries with a smooth orange-flavored ricotta on crostini.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 24 yield



Ricotta Mixture

  • 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small orange zested
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Cranberry Mixture

  • cups fresh cranberries washed and dried
  • juice of one small orange
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • pinch kosher salt
  • fresh thyme leaves removed from stem for garnish
  • flaky sea salt for garnish


  • 24 baguette slices sliced ¼-½-inch-thick on the diagonal
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt for sprinkling on baguette


For the Ricotta Mixture

  • Place the ricotta cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Add the olive oil, the orange zest, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Process the ingredients until combined and smooth. Store the ricotta mixture in a sealed container. Place in the refrigerator until assembly.

For the Cranberry Mixture

  • Wash and dry the fresh cranberries.
  • Roughly chop the cranberries. Place in a medium bowl.
  • Add the orange juice, the honey, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until assembly.

For the Baguette

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan.
  • Brush or spray the top of each bread slice lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake until the tops are golden brown and the bread is crispy, about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.

To Assemble the Crostini

  • Use a spoon or a small offset spatula to spread a generous layer of the ricotta mixture on each crostini.
  • Top the ricotta mixture with one tablespoon of the cranberry mixture.
  • Remove fresh thyme leaves from the stem for a garnish. Also, have flaky sea salt on hand.
  • Sprinkle a little of the chopped thyme leaves and a pinch of salt on each crostini. Serve the crostini on a tray or platter as an appetizer or to accompany a salad.
Keyword cranberry appetizer, easy appetizer, holiday appetizer, ricotta cheese, Thanksgiving appetizer
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The list of all the participants is below. Please visit beginning with Barb of French Ethereal.

Don’t forget to PIN this recipe so you have it for your holiday festivities.

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Yummy Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetize
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  1. Carol, this appetizer looks so beautiful, delicious, and perfect for the holidays! I love that it can be partially made ahead. I can’t wait to give it try! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love whipped ricotta on crostini, and the addition of cranberries and thyme make this one so festive. Pinned for future reference.

  3. I can’t wait to use your recipe this Holiday!! Thanks for the idea and inspiration! It’s so beautiful too to share with guests or take along to a gathering!

  4. This is a fabulous make-ahead recipe that I will definitely add to my recipe box. Sounds delicious and looks so pretty too.

  5. I’ve got to get an olive oil spray bottle! What a game changer. Your cranberry ricotta crostinis look delicious and makes a beautiful appetizer. Can’t wait to try your recipe Carol! Pinning!

  6. 5 stars
    Carol, this recipe for cranberry crostini looks sooo good!!! I pin everyone’s photos and I am happy to share yours in a couple of different boards. <3 Thank you for another of your wonderful recipes! 🙂

    Happy fall hugs to you,
    Barb 🙂

  7. Carol, I could eat crostini every night lol! Your cranberry version looks and sounds amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  8. I cracked up that you didn’t know what cranberry out of a can was when you were younger! LOL. I don’t think I’d know what homemade looks like. We tease ourselves about the ridges. We can’t have a Thanksgiving without it. 😉 Your recipe today looks delicious and so festive. Perfect for the holidays. Thank you for joining in. I know you’re so busy so it means a lot. pinned