Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful for me for many reasons. Of course, there was the fabulous feast of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, all smothered with gravy. I spent time with family, and also did a lot of staying in with my husband. Per tradition we also got a Christmas tree and put up the decorations.

Our weekend was fueled by a lot of treats that I couldn’t seem to stop baking. Pies, cookies, rolls, toffee, and cranberry orange cinnamon rolls. Obviously my sweet tooth enjoyed all of it, but I think the cinnamon rolls were my favorite.




Growing up I despised cinnamon rolls and other sweet bready breakfast items like pancakes, waffles, and doughnuts. It seems ridiculous to me now, as I can’t get enough of them. And I’m sad that I wasted so many years not enjoying the goodness that is cinnamon, butter, and sugar rolled into baked bread.

So now I’m making up for lost time.


These particular rolls are a holiday twist on the classic recipe thanks to the addition of cranberries and orange. They’re wonderful any time of year, but would be perfect for Christmas morning. Prepare the rolls the day before, cover them with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight. Then all you have to do the next day is bake and ice them.


Not only will your family love you because you made them cinnamon rolls, but your house will smell amazing. The aroma of cranberries, orange zest, brown sugar, and butter baking along with bread is intoxicating. And even a little torturous as you wait for them to be done so you can pounce and devour.

And pounce and devour, you will. These breakfast rolls are certain to disappear quickly.


Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls
A seasonal spin on traditional cinnamon rolls, with fresh cranberries and orange zest.
Yield: One dozen rolls
For the dough:
  • 2 cup (16 fluid ounces) milk
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (123 grams) sugar
  • 5 ½ cups (655 grams ) all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons (5 grams) dry-active yeast
  • ½ teaspoons (2 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams ) baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon (5 grams) salt
For the filling:
  • 1 cup (100 grams) cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (197 grams) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ( 57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 tablespoons (8 grams) ground cinnamon
For the icing:
  • 1 cup (106 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  1. To make the dough, combine the milk, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When the mixture begins to steam and bubbles appear around the edges (do not boil), remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle the yeast over the cooled mixture and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 5 cups of the flour with the milk and yeast mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Cover with a towel, set in a warm place, and let rise for one hour. Punch down the dough and add the remaining ½ cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir, adding an additional ½ cup of flour if needed to work the dough into a ball. Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth.
  3. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 25 inches long and 12 inches wide. Brush with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the chopped cranberries, brown sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon. Starting on the long side of the dough rectangle, gently roll the dough towards you, being sure to keep the dough tight. Pinch the edges together with the roll. Use a sharp knife (I actually like to use unflavored dental floss, wrapping it around the dough and pulling it tight) to cut the dough into 1½ inch sectioned rolls.
  4. Place the rolls in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are lightly brown.
  5. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and orange juice and stir until smooth. Pour over the cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
  6. The cinnamon rolls will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. If desired, rewarm the rolls in their baking dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

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16 Responses to Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls

  1. These cinnamon rolls have stolen my heart. What a great twist on regular rolls. Cranberry and orange are just fantastic together!

  2. Priya says:

    Fantastic rolls,feel like having rite now.

  3. These look heavenly! So light and fluffy.

  4. You’re right – my family would be thrilled if I made these. The smell on Christmas morning would set the scene perfectly for the holiday.

  5. Oh dear… these look amazing. Making my guilt-free cookies I posted today look very very sad!! haha

  6. Deborah says:

    We do scones on Christmas morning, but I just might have to add these to the breakfast line up, too, because they look amazing!!

  7. Jo says:

    Looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at

  8. These are beautiful looking cinnammon rolls. This is our Christmas morning treat!

  9. Maria says:

    I made cranberry orange rolls last Christmas, they were a huge hit! Yours look divine!

  10. oh godness i want to have these right this instanT!

  11. These were delicious. I have to admit I have never attempted anything this “homemade” so I was hesitant but I figure if it wasn’t good, I just wouldn’t tell anyone about it. lol However, I was pleasantly surprised. It did take me quite awhile to make it but only because I was being really careful.

  12. Willy says:

    I think these look really good. I love how fresh they are, which of course is always better than the store bought kind. I try to make the best recipes for my family so they will not feel the need to eat junk food.

  13. Suzie says:

    Hi these look delicious! I have a question though… am I able to make these the night before and then pop them in the oven in the morning to be ready Christmas breakfast?

    • Annalise says:

      Absolutely! Get them all ready in the baking dish and put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning let them come to room temperature while your oven preheats, then bake till golden. Such a perfect Christmas morning treat.

  14. Love these…..can’t beat cranberry and orange. Mmm….

    Merry Christmas!!

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