Breads & Rolls

Cranberry Orange Rolls

A cranberry orange filling all wrapped up in a soft, fluffy, buttery dough, and lathered with a zesty orange glaze. It’s the perfect holiday (okay, anytime!) roll. 

cranberry orange rolls in pan

Taking a twist on my favorite fluffy roll recipe and introducing these cranberry orange rolls – easy to make, and even easier to go back for seconds with a cranberry orange filling and a zesty orange glaze to top. 

Sweet Roll FAQ's

Can I make this overnight?

Yes! Just like my cinnamon roll recipe, these make great overnight rolls! To do so, make and form the dough as directed, but before you let them rise, cover them with a plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray, and let them rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning, preheat your oven while the rolls begin to come back to room temperature, then bake as directed.

I’m new to using yeast – any tips?

Yes! Check out my working with yeast guide for some insights and tips!

Can I cut out the first rise if I’m short on time?

Yes! I love to make the dough, let it rise, form the rolls, and then let it rise again before putting in oven – so two rises. I’ve found it makes for a lighter, fluffier roll. However, I’ve cut out the first rise before, and they’ve still been a hit, so do that if you need to and your family will still devour them. 

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! This recipe doubles and triples very well. Or you can use part of the dough from dinner rolls – see note just below!

Can I make this into a mini cinnamon roll?

Yes! Mini buns are perfect for brunches and showers, or little kids. I do so by forming my rectangle to be a longer log and shorter width. This will make your twirl tighter and smaller by the time you roll it up. You’ll have one long skinnier log instead of a shorter fat one. Cut through the log in 1″ sections, and it’ll make the perfect mini cinnamon rolls. 

You can also make this into several other shapes I mention below! Keep reading! 

close up sweet roll

How else can I use this dough recipe?

This recipe is a modification of my dinner roll and and cinnamon roll recipe. One of my favorite ways to make this dough is to double the batch (or divide it into 2 if I’m not feeding a crowd) and make half as regular dinner rolls and half as sweet rolls. Perfect for a treat after dinner, or put the sweet rolls in the fridge to rest and rise overnight so you have fresh rolls in the morning. Simplifies dinner and breakfast (or dessert) by putting your efforts into one batch!

Fun ways to form

The most classic form of this recipe is the traditional spiral sweet buns. However, I love creating different shapes with this recipe! Here are some fun designs I’ve used with this recipe:

cranberry oranges star bread
cranberry orange muffin tin sweet rolls
cranberry orange wreath bread


(A chocolate version with a step by step forming tutorial here)


(An orange version with a step by step forming tutorial here)


(I assembled it like babka, but instead of putting into a loaf pan, just wrap around into a circle)

cranberry orange rolls in pan

Cranberry Orange Rolls

Lori Vaughn
A cranberry orange filling all wrapped up in a tender brioche dough, and lathered with a zesty orange glaze. It’s the perfect holiday (okay, anytime!) roll. See recipe page to learn several fun ways to form them!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours



  • 1 cup warm whole milk (at about 110 degrees F) any other milk will do; fattier the better
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large eggs
  • 3-4 cups all purpose flour see note


  • 6 oz fresh or frozen cranberries, (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tbsp orange juice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ~2 tbsp milk or until desired consistency



  • Using a stand mixer* with a dough hook, combine the warm milk (not scalding hot, but warm to the touch), yeast, and sugar together. After a couple minutes, you should see the yeast starting to foam - that means its activating!
  • Add your first cup of flour and mix together. Once it's mostly incorporated add the salt, softened butter and eggs. Continue to mix on low.
  • Slowly add the remaining flour. In pouring your last cup, do so slowly, watching the dough. When you've added enough flour, the dough will be soft and just slightly sticky. It will also be pulling away from the bowl. Leave the mixer on for an additional 8-10 minutes to knead.
  • Take your dough hook out, and cover the bowl to let the dough rest and rise for about 45 minutes.


  • While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Combine all the filling ingredients, except the butter, in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the cranberries begin to cook down and the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Remove from the heat, then add the butter, gently mixing until incorporated. Put in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Place in fridge (or freezer to chill faster) to chill until dough is fully risen.


  • When the dough has about doubled, punch it down and place on a clean, floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick, making sure the dough is smooth and even in the corners. Spread an even layer of the cranberry filling. You may not need all of the filling, but most.
    *see tips in the notes for a clean roll
  • Tightly roll it up into a log, starting from the longest side. The log should be about 12" long.
    Cut with knife or floss into about 1 inch sections and place in a 9x13 pan that is either greased or lined with parchment paper. Leave about 1-2 inches in between so the rolls have room to rise.

Rest & Bake

  • Baking immediately: Keep the rolls in a draft free place and let them rise until they've grown and are beginning to touch the rolls beside them, usually about 20-30 minutes. While they're resting, preheat the oven to 350°F.
    Bake for 16-20 minutes. You can cover them with foil about half way through so they don't brown as much on top if your oven primarily heats from the top.
    They're done when the tops and bottoms are starting to get lightly golden and it doesn't look doughy.
    Overnight Instructions: Cover well with sprayed plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350°F and let the rolls get back to room temperature and finishing rising (usually takes about 1 - 1 1/2 hours).


  • While the rolls bake make the glaze. You can also make this glaze ahead of time and store in fridge until ready. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together until combined well. Lather over hot rolls. Enjoy!


BY HAND? If you don't have a stand mixer, you can still do this by hand by placing the ingredients in a large bowl, and when the dough gets hard to work with because of how thick it is, put on a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. 
FLOUR: The amount of flour you put in depends on so many factors, including the brand of flour and the humidity for the day. The dough should be soft and a little sticky, but not overly sticky or wet. 
FILLING: Filling and glaze will last in the fridge for a few weeks if you would like to make this in advance! Just warm up slightly to make the spreading easier at time of assembly.
Yes! You can double or triple this recipe so easily! If you're doubling it, the rolls will fit easily on a half sheet baking sheet. I also love to borrow some dough from a double batch of my dinner roll recipe so I can use some dough for dinner rolls, and some for these yummy sweet rolls. 
If your dough and filling are both soft, the assembly can get pretty messy. One tip to get a cleaner spiral and not loose filling in the process: chill your dough!!
You can chill it in the freezer after its first rise for about 10-15 minutes and/or you can roll it into a log as directed, then chill the assembled log in the freezer before cutting!
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

5 stars
The softest, best bakery style rolls I have had. I chose this recipe for a project and so happy I did. I loved how the cranberry and orange both came through with every bite. My family was gushing over them and already requesting more for the holidays. If you’re looking for that special recipe for a family get together, trust me it’s this one. I can wait to use the dough for dinner rolls and with other fillings.