Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Puff Pastry Bites

Baked cream cheese and pepper jelly bites on a plate.

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Flaky, sweet, spicy, and so delicious, these Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Puff Pastry Bites are made with minimal ingredients for the perfect holiday or party appetizer!


  • about 16 ounces store-bought puff pastry (or ½ batch rough puff pastry, prepared)
  • All-purpose flour (for work surface)
  • Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water or cream)
  • 1 cup hot pepper jelly
  • 4 ounces brick full-fat cream cheese, cold
  • 6-10 sprigs of fresh thyme


  1. Prepare rough puff pastry or defrost frozen puff pastry. If you make it, you will only need half a batch. The remaining half can be frozen, or you can double the filling for this recipe and make about 32 bite-sized tarts.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place an oven rack in the middle part of the oven. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface (remember, you are only using half of the batch if you've made my rough puff recipe) to about ⅛-inch thickness, or about a 10-by 14-inch rectangle. Or, if you are using store-bought puff pastry, simply remove it from the package according to the instructions and lay it out on a lightly-floured surface so the puff doesn’t stick to the counter.
  4. Using a 2-3/4-inch circle cutter (or similar), stamp out the pastry. You should be able to stamp out at least 16 circles. I don't recommend re-rolling the scraps for this purpose, so place your stamps as closely together as possible and  save the scraps for something else.
  5. Now dock the pastry: Using a 2-inch cutter (or similar), make an indentation in the center of each circle of pastry, but make sure not to press all the way through. Then, take a fork and dock the middle of the pastry to prevent the dough from rising too much during baking.
  6. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet spaced evenly apart. Brush each pastry with a thin layer of egg wash.
  7. Set aside in the freezer or refrigerator while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  8. Using a bench scraper, a knife, or kitchen shears, cut up the cream cheese into ½-inch pieces. Either leave as-is, or for neater looking pastry, roll each piece of cream cheese into a ball. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  9. Place the pepper jelly in a pastry bag or a ziploc bag.
  10. Remove the puff pastry rounds from the freezer and bake them for 12 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed, but not yet golden.
  11. Working quickly, using a small cookie cutter or a small spoon, press into the center of the par-baked puff pastry, pushing down the middle if it has puffed up. Pipe about 2 teaspoons of pepper jelly into the center of each puff. Then, place a piece of cream cheese in the middle.
  12. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the cream cheese is puffed up.
  13. Remove the tarts from the oven and let them cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
  14. Pick the thyme and sprinkle the leaves over the tarts. Serve warm or at room temperature.


As a baking site, I will always say homemade puff pastry is better than store-bought. But it's also ok to use store-bought too! Different brands come in various quantities, so you may have more or fewer tarts depending on your brand and your size cutter. But the spirit of the recipe is the same no matter what.

The size of the puff pastry bites can vary, depending on the quantities you wish to bake up. If you want more, use a smaller cutter. During testing, I made as few as 12, and as many as 24 in a single recipe by using a smaller cutter. The baking time will vary slightly, though not by a lot.

These bites are best eaten on the day they are made. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer and reheated in a toaster oven.

The total time to make this recipe depends on whether or not you make your own puff pastry, so keep that in mind.

Have a question that wasn't answered here or looking for tips? The article above the recipe is always a great first place to start! This Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Bites recipe was developed with love, and I always include loads of explanations, tips, step-by-step photos and technical advice shared before the recipe.