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The Germany international's left-footed striker beat Maarten Stekelenburg eight minutes from time after Vlad Chiriches had cancelled out Ashkan Dejagah's opener Lewis Holtby's late goal condemned Fulham to a sixth consecutive defeat in Rene Meulensteen's first match since succeeding Martin Jol.
And if the north Londoners - now sixth and back in business - do finish in the top four they will look back at the France number one 's heroics here as a turning point in their season.
The goalkeeper saved from Giorgos Karagounis in the first half, and he was hopelessly exposed for Fulham's goal so cannot be blamed.
The defender was out of the side and set for a January move but now he hopes to impress new manager Rene Meulensteen The former Liverpool full-back has started just two league games for the Londoners this season, and looked to be on his way out of Craven Cottage in January after being deemed surplus to requirements by Jol .
The corner is headed clear as far as Riise, whose oft-thunderous left foot deserts him as his attempted volley dribbles harmlessly wide.
In the 20-year history of the Premier League just one side has sat bottom of the table at Christmas and avoided the drop come May: West Bromwich Albion in 2004/05.
Bolasie missed Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Norwich due to his red card at Hull and will join long-term casualties Jack Hunt and Glenn Murray on the sidelines for the clash with fellow strugglers West Ham.
Fellow Dutchman Martin Jol was dismissed by billionaire owner Shahid Khan following what was a sixth consecutive defeat as the 3-0 capitulation at West Ham left the Cottagers 18th in the Barclays Premier League.
Rene Meulensteen will take charge for the first time on Wednesday night and is also hoping Dimitar Berbatov and Brede Hangeland are fit Full-back Sascha Riether will be welcomed into the Fulham back line for tomorrow night's clash with Tottenham, as the Cottagers look to end their run of five consecutive league defeats.
With January approaching, transfer rumors are in full swing, and many of the latest reports have Clint Dempsey on his way back to the English Premier League.
Stoke have now joined the race to sign Dempsey on-loan - as Fulham, West Ham and Everton keep tabs on the front-man Fulham, West Ham and Everton are already tracking the front-man, but the Potters have now made their interest known to his American club Seattle Sounders.
The Cole men delivered for West Ham United to leave much-maligned Martin Jol looking over his shoulder at the possibility of the sack, as the Hammers notched up their first home win since the opening day of the season.
Martin Jol's chances of hanging on to his job took a serious blow as West Ham condemned struggling Fulham to their fifth straight league defeat by winning 3-0.