Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Depending on where in the world you are, you may or may not be experiencing some festive or not so festive weather. It’s supposed to be 70 degrees here in New York today which is beyond weird. But then I just got off the phone with my family in Wisconsin and it’s a full-on blizzard over there. Is it bad that today I’d actually prefer the snow to the warm? Maybe I’m just feeling a tad homesick for my Wisconsin Christmas that I’ve never missed before- and this balmy weather isn’t really helping me get into the spirit over here. I know our Christmas will be quiet and lovely, it’s just all a bit weird.

Anyway- a festive breakfast like this can only help boost up the spirit in the house. Maybe it’s the smell of them baking which is amazing, (how can you go wrong with cranberry, orange and spice?) Or maybe the perfectly red swirls that come out of the oven puffy and tender? Or just the taste of biting into a sweet bun with a warm cup of coffee sitting by the tree? Anyway- these are just so delicious- and just thinking about them makes me think it’s cold and blustery outside. (In the meantime I’m gonna go put on my flip flops ;) )

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time- you know my obsession with swirly buns of all kind. I made these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls in the fall, Savory Garlic Cheddear Swirl Buns a few months before that, and Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls in the winter. Last Holiday time, these Salted Caramel Sticky Buns were our special Christmas morning breakfast and now we have these beauties. They all come from the same base recipe- my favorite 90- minute Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls which I make all the time and clearly can’t stop adapting. Maybe some Lemon Raspberry Rolls sometime soon? Chocolate Buns? Ok- give me more ideas. I am swirly bun happy!

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

The filling of these buns contain ground up fresh cranberries, lots of orange zest, brown sugar and bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. They are topped with a delicious orange cream cheese icing that is perfectly gooey and orange-y. I love slathering it on when they’re still warm so it can get even gooe-ier and find it’s way into all the nooks and crannies of the rolls. If you’re looking for a special breakfast Christmas morning- look no further! Plus- these can be made and proofed in advance so you just have to let them come to room temperature and bake in the morning!

I hope you have a lovely and wonderful week- hopefully with your family, full of love and Holiday Cheer. I’ll be bake in a few day! xoxo

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls


For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 .25 ounce package instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the icing:

  • 3 oz cream cheese, very soft
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons of orange zest


For the dough:

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in butter; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; whisk together. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk.
  3. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition. (dough will be too thick and sticky to use the mixers or whisk at this point.)
  4. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. (dough will spring back when lightly pressed.)
  5. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the filling:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the cranberries until they are in small coarse pieces but not puréed. (You could chop them very very small if you don't have a food processor.)
  2. Mix together the brown sugar and spices.

To assemble rolls:

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. (use your 9x13 baking dish as a guide.) Using a pastry brush- slather the dough with the butter.
  2. Sprinkle dough with the sugar/spice mixture and then sprinkle on the cranberries and zest. Press in lightly so it doesn't fall out when you roll it. Roll up dough starting with one of the short ends and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place in a 9x13 baking dish. Cover and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then spread them with icing. (directions below) Serve warm.

Orange Cream Cheese Icing:

  1. Whisk the cream cheese until it's smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix. Add a tablespoon of orange juice and zest and continue to whisk. If the icing seems thick, add more orange juice if needed.


Original recipe adapted from: All Recipes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


  1. OH my, these look amazing Audra! Gorgeous and I bet they tasted just as good as they look!

  2. The temperatures are crazy weird right now. I am still baking up a storm. These look fantastic. Cinnamon buns are my favorite. I am contemplating having a different version each day this week. I am sure no one would complain.

  3. I love swirl buns, too and these look like the perfect Christmas morning breakfast! Their color is simply gorgeous, and makes them look really festive!
    Also, Merry Christmas to you and your whole family! Thanks for all the amazing recipes and inspiration you give us all year long!

    xo, Elisa

  4. I bet I could use my leftover cranberry/orange relish form Thanksgiving – add a little butter – maybe a tad more sugar and it would be great

    1. I think that would work as long as the filling isn’t too liquid-y. My first batch of these ended up in the trash because I used leftover cranberry sauce and it all gooped out while rolling. :)

  5. When I saw this post in my e-mail I knew right away I will bake them today! I had an organic orange and a pack of cranberries on hand, so it was just the perfect recipe for this evening. I just ate the first one and it is delicious, even though nothing can beat cinnamon in my book! ;) Thanks, Audra!

  6. This weather has definitely been totally strange…but we’re back to frigid!! So yay Christmas!!

    These rolls are perfect for getting the holiday spirit. Can’t get enough of cranberries!

  7. How about adapting your oh so delicious recipe with Nutella fora creamy hazelnut flavor, or come fall…pumpkin. Love the stickies:). Thanks.

  8. I made these this morning and they came out absolutely perfect! The dough is a wonderfully soft sweet dough and so tender! Thanks for this recipe, which a definite keeper!!

  9. I wish I had had a little snow on Xmas this year, too. I did get orange rolls, but having cranberry in them would have put them over the top! These are divine! And such a gorgeous photo!

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