3-Ingredient Caprese Puff Pastry Tarts: the Easy Recipe for The Perfect Appetizer!

Total time: 30 min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer that's bursting with fresh summer flavors? Then look no further than these Caprese-inspired puff pastry bites! This recipe takes the classic Caprese salad—a delicious combination of juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella or other cheese, and fragrant basil—and transforms it into an elegant and tasty finger food. Perfect for any party, potluck, or even a light summer lunch, these bite-sized treats are incredibly easy to whip up. With only three ingredients and minimal prep work, you can create a pleasant appetizer in minutes. We'll use store-bought puff pastry for a flaky, golden crust, layer it with fresh summer tomatoes, cheese, and pesto, and bake it to crispy perfection. An optional sprinkle of fresh basil adds the finishing touch, bringing all the flavors of Caprese together in one bite.

Beyond the Plate: Caprese Reimagined

These tasty appetizers are a modern twist on the classic Caprese salad, a dish believed to have originated on the picturesque Isle of Capri off the southern coast of Italy. While the exact origin story is debated, some say it was a patriotic creation by a local stoneworker in the 1920s, designed to reflect the colors of the Italian flag—red, white, and green. Others believe it was developed in the 1950s to cater to tourists seeking lighter fare. Regardless of its beginnings, the Caprese salad is a simple yet stunning combination of fresh, seasonal ingredients: sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil leaves. This recipe takes this beloved salad and elevates it into an easy finger food.


  • Choose ripe tomatoes that are juicy and flavorful, but not mushy. Avoid using tomatoes that are too cold, as they won't release their full flavor.
  • Since this recipe uses minimal ingredients, the quality of each one shines through. Use the freshest cheese you can find, and don't skimp on the pesto!
  • For the flakiest puff pastry, make sure it's thawed completely before using it. If it's too cold, it will be difficult to work with and won't puff up properly.
  • Brushing the puff pastry with a beaten egg before baking will give it a beautiful golden brown color. If you're vegan or don't want to use egg, you can brush the pastry with a bit of milk or even water.
  • While these bites are delicious straight out of the oven, letting them cool for a few minutes allows the cheese to set and makes them easier to handle.
  • Arrange the cooled bites on a platter and garnish with fresh basil leaves for a restaurant-worthy presentation.

Can I Use A Different Type Of Cheese?

You can! Any shredded mozzarella blend or even goat cheese would work well in this recipe. Feta cheese could also be crumbled on top after baking for a salty twist.

What Kind Of Tomatoes Should I Use?

Use ripe, flavorful tomatoes for the best results. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes all work well. Avoid using tomatoes that are too watery or mushy.

Do I Have To Use Pesto?

No, pesto is completely optional. You can enjoy the classic Caprese flavors or add a different spread like tapenade or sun-dried tomato pesto for a twist.

Can I Make These Appetizers Ahead Of Time?

While they are best enjoyed fresh from the oven, you can assemble them and store them in the refrigerator for up to a few hours before baking. However, the puff pastry may not be quite as crisp.

Can I Freeze These Puff Pastry Bites?

It's not recommended to freeze these appetizers assembled. The moisture from the tomatoes will make the puff pastry soggy upon thawing. However, you can freeze leftover unbaked pastries. Assemble them as directed, but then freeze them on a baking sheet before transferring them to an airtight container. Bake from frozen for a few extra minutes until golden brown and heated through.

More Appetizers To Try!

Loaded Potato Nests

3-Ingredient Savory Fritters

Venezuelan Cachapas

Tomato Burrata Bruschetta

Pizza Smashed Potatoes

How to Store Caprese Appetizers

These appetizers are best enjoyed fresh, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a day. Reheat them gently in the oven to restore their crispness.


1 roll of puff pastry
egg for egg wash

How To Make Caprese-Inspired Appetizer With Puff Pastry (3 ingredients only!)

Unfold your puff pastry sheet onto a cutting board. In one half of the dough, spread the pesto evenly into 8 equal squares over, leaving a small border for each square.

Layer cubed tomato and cheese pieces onto each puff pastry square.

Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling and cut the pieces using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Use a fork to gently crimp the edges to seal the pieces.

Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the assembled pastries. Brush the tops with egg wash for a golden brown crust.

Using a fork, poke a few holes into the tops of the pieces to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 minutes at 190°C (374°F), or until the puff pastry is golden and flaky.

After removing the pastries from the oven, let them cool slightly before transferring them to a serving dish.

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