Home » Recipes » Breakfast + Brunch » Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you (thank you!). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

These Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls are perfect with a steaming cup of coffee or your favorite tea. A hint of mulling spices, the tartness of cranberries and a sweet cream cheese icing mingle perfectly for a new holiday brunch classic.

green platter with cranberry orange sweet rolls stacked

One of my favorite holiday flavor combinations is cranberry and orange. Starting with homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving all the way through to our Christmas cookie baking extravaganza, I want those sweet-tart flavors!

Seeing that sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, and sticky buns are always a favorite this time of year, I decided to have a go at it using up that last half bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge. Just like the Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies I love, these sweet rolls will definitely become part of our holiday tradition.

How to Make Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

The dough comes together easily in a stand mixer. With some elbow grease, you can also mix this by hand.

Start the Dough

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast and the zest of one whole orange. Use a fork or whisk to evenly disperse the zest and yeast.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk, sugar, 1/3 cup of butter, and salt until it reaches about 125F degrees. A candy thermometer is handy for this. Add this to the bowl of flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix it on low speed for 15-20 seconds. 
  3. Add the 2 eggs and beat on low for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula and knead on medium for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 cup at time. Knead just until each cup is incorporated and scrape down the sides in between. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but still be a little sticky.
  5. Dust a work surface with the remaining 2 Tbsp of flour and turn your dough out. Knead by hand for 3 to 5 minutes, incorporating all the flour. 
round of dough before kneading
round of dough after kneading
  1. Shape it into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Turn it over once to coat, cover with a tea towel and set in a warm, dry spot for about 1 hour. It will double in size.

TIP: If you keep your house cool or your kitchen is little drafty, try resting the covered bowl in your oven. This will protect it from drafts. You could also turn on the oven light and let the warmth of the bulb coax the rise along.

cranberry orange sweet roll dough proofing in oven

Make the Cranberry Filling

  1. While the dough rises, make the cranberry filling by combining cranberries, both sugars, spices and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Bring it to a boil, stirring often. Cook it for 15 minutes or until it has thickened into a jammy consistency. 
  3. Set it aside to cool.

Assemble + Bake the Sweet Rolls

  1. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Lightly dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll one half of the dough into a rectangle approximately 12″ x 8″.
  2. Spread half the cranberry filling all over the dough. Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a cylinder. Using floss or a sharp serrated knife, cut the dough in 1″ pieces. You should end up with 9 or 10 good pieces. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough and filling.
cranberry filling on dough being rolled up
sweet rolls being cut with string
  1. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans. Place the rolls in the pans. It’s okay if they don’t touch. Cover them with a tea towel and allow to rest on the counter for another 30-45 minutes. They will expand to fill the pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the rolls have rested, bake them for 20 minutes. Check them for doneness. The dough around the edges of the pan may turn a very light golden brown. If they are still pale, bake them for up to 5 minutes longer. Remove them to cooling racks.
sweet rolls in a pan before baking

Make the Icing

  1. Prepare the icing by combining what’s left of the stick of butter with the softened cream cheese. Beat them with a hand mixer or with a whisk until it is smooth. Add 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar and mix. Add the vanilla, 2 Tbsp of orange juice and remaining cup of confectioner’s sugar. Mix until smooth.
  2. Pour half the icing over each of the pans and use an offset spatula or back of a spoon to spread the icing over the rolls. (You could also pipe the icing on!)

TIP: If the icing is too thick, add more orange juice, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Helpful Tips for Making Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

  • If you don’t have bread flour, all-purpose flour would work just fine for this recipe.
  • The rolls can be stored at room temperature in an air tight container for 2-3 days, or in the fridge for up to one week.
  • Don’t have two round pans? Try using one 9” x 13” pan

That’s a wrap for this year! Wishing you a very Happy 2021!

close of up of cranberry orange sweet rolls

Check Out These Other Breakfast Treats…

platter full of cranberry orange sweet rolls

Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Sip + Sanity | Linda
These Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls are perfect with a steaming cup of coffee or your favorite tea. A hint of mulling spices, the tartness of cranberries and a sweet cream cheese icing mingle perfectly for a new holiday brunch classic.
Prep time.1 hour
Cook time.20 minutes
Custom time.1 hour 30 minutes
Total time.2 hours 50 minutes
Course.Breakfast
Cuisine.American
Number of servings.18
Calories per serving.220 kcal

Ingredients

Rolls

  • 4 cups (+ 2 tbsp) bread flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast, or 1 packet
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced (reserve juice for filling + icing)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Spiced Cranberry Filling

  • 6 ounce fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • teaspoon ground ginger

Icing

  • 2 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Into the bowl of stand mixer, pour 2 cups of flour, yeast and the zest of 1 orange. Use a fork or whisk to evenly disperse the ingredients throughout the flour.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk, sugar, 1/3 cup of butter, and salt until it reaches 125°F. Add this to the bowl of flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix it on low speed for 15-20 seconds.
  • Add the 2 eggs. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and beat on medium for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 cup at time. Beat just until each cup is incorporated and scrape down the sides in between. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but still be a little sticky.
  • Dust a work surface with the remaining 2 Tbsp of flour and turn your dough out. Knead by hand for 3 to 5 minutes, incorporating all the flour.
  • Shape it into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Turn it over once to coat, cover and set in a warm, dry spot for about 1 hour. It will double in size.
  • Meanwhile, make the cranberry filling by combining cranberries, both sugars, spices and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring often. Cook it for 15 minutes or until it has thickened into a jammy consistency. Set it aside to cool.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Lightly dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll one half of the dough into a rectangle approximately 12" x 8".
  • Spread half the cranberry filling all over the dough. Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a cylinder. Using floss or a sharp serrated knife, cut the dough in 1" pieces. You should end up with 9 or 10 good pieces. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough and filling.
  • Place the rolls into (2) 9" cake pans, lightly greased. Cover them and allow to rest for another 30-45 minutes. They will expand to fill the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. After the rolls have rested, baked them for 20 minutes. Check them for doneness. The dough around the edges of the pan may turn a very light golden brown. If they are still pale, bake them for up to 5 minutes longer. Remove them to cooling racks.
  • Prepare the icing by combining what's left of the stick of butter with the cream cheese. Beat them with a hand mixer or with a whisk until it is smooth. Add 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and mix. Add the vanilla, 2 Tbsp of orange juice and remaining cup of confectioner's sugar. Mix until smooth.
  • Pour half the icing over each of the pans and use an offset spatula or back of a spoon to spread the icing over the rolls.
  • Dig in now, or allow the icing to set a bit. The rolls can be stored at room temperature in an air tight container for 2-3 days, or in the fridge for up to one week.

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords.cranberries, holidays, oven, stove top, vegetarian
Did You Make This Recipe?Be sure to share a comment below!
pin image for cranberry orange sweet rolls

More to Enjoy...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. These cranberry orange sweet rolls look absolutely divine and they also look pretty easy to make, which is a huge plus! I will definitely have to try making them for my family.

  2. Cranberry and orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time. I absolutely need to make these as soon as I can. They sound totally delicious and right up my alley!