Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls

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My dad came to visit last week. We gave him the grand tour of our new kitchen and spent some time baking together. It was nice having two ovens to work with, we accomplished so much more this visit:)  My dad is the expert when it comes to baking. He is famous for his cinnamon roll recipe, everyone loves them. This time we did a spin on the traditional recipe and made cranberry orange cinnamon rolls.

My dad loves raisins, so his cinnamon roll recipe always includes raisins. If someone doesn’t like them, he tells them to pick them out, but he will never omit them from the recipe. I was a little worried he wouldn’t want to swap dried cranberries for the raisins, but he was a good sport:) I made sure he knew I wasn’t trying to replace his beloved cinnamon roll recipe, I just wanted to mix things up for fun.

It was a chilly day so we used the “proof” setting on our Thermador oven and it worked wonders with our dough. It rose right up for the occasion.

My dad rolled out the dough and we spread it with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried cranberries, and orange zest mixed with sugar.

We tightly rolled up the dough into one large log and cut the rolls with a piece of thread. My dad has always cut them this way, much better than a knife.

We dipped and twisted the rolls into the orange sugar mixture to enhance the orange flavor.

After the rolls rose a second time we popped them in the oven and whipped up our orange frosting.

The rolls turned out beautifully!

We frosted the rolls and served them while they were still warm. The satin dough melts in your mouth-it is the best. The cranberries and orange flavor were delightful, especially with the sweet orange frosting.

The center bite is my favorite. Ooey, gooey, and loaded with all of the good stuff:) 

These cranberry orange rolls are perfect for the holidays. Make a batch for breakfast or brunch and invite your family and friends over. These rolls are too good not to share.

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Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls

4.60 from 10 votes



  • 1. Add yeast to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir with a spoon and set aside for about five minutes.
  • 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add shortening, sugar, and salt to hot water and beat for 30 seconds. Let cool to lukewarm temperature. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in the beaten eggs.
  • 3. Gradually stir in the remaining flour and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Knead by hand, add a little flour if the dough is still sticky. Knead until dough feels satiny and smooth.
  • 4. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
  • 5. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Divide dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangular shape. Spread dough evenly with 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Sprinkle dough with ½ cup brown sugar, ¾ cup dried cranberries, and ½ tablespoon cinnamon. Rub orange zest and granulated sugar together in small bowl. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the dough.
  • 6. Gently roll up dough into one long roll. Cut rolls, using a piece of dental floss or thread, about two inches thick. Rub the zest of one orange and half cup of sugar together in a small bowl. Dip and twist the rolls into the orange sugar mixture. Place rolls in greased 9X13 baking pans.Now follow the exact same steps with the other half of the dough.
  • 7. Place rolls in a warm spot and cover with a towel. Let rolls rise until double in bulk, about an hour. Bake rolls at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 5-7 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove pans from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  • 8. To make the frosting-in a medium bowl combine, butter, powdered sugar, milk, orange zest, and orange juice. Whisk until smooth. Frost the cranberry orange rolls generously with frosting. Serve warm.
  • *Note-these rolls are best eaten warm. To reheat-microwave each roll for about 15 seconds.
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If you like these cranberry orange cinnamon rolls, you might also like:

Orange Rolls from Two Peas and Their Pod
Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Sticky Buns from Barbara Bakes
Orange Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Coffee Cake from Back to the Cutting Board
Orange-Cinnamon Honey Sticky Buns from 17 and Baking

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Hi,
    Thanks for posting this – my Mum and I made these for my Dad today for Father’s Day, they’re so delicious!!

    We made a few tweaks and notes for next time to the recipe. We found the water content in my dough was too high – so next time I will reduce the amount of hot water I put in because it took 10 cups of flour to make it less sticky!! We struggled a bit with using thread to cut it so ended up using a sharp knife instead…I guess it takes some practice! We did everything up just after the second rising and then used clingfilm to cover the pans and put a tea towel over it then put it in the fridge overnight. This morning we baked them (adjusting the baking times accordingly). For the frosting, ours turned out to be very orange coloured ans we added a dash of vanilla extract to counterbalance the overpowering orange taste. We kept some plain and frosted some and put some baked unfrosted ones in a freeze-able container in the freezer because this yielded 30 (some small some large) rolls for us!
    This was the first time either of us made bread/pastries and I’m really pleased how they turned out – the odd sizes and shapes gave them an artisan hand-made feel!
    – Kate

  2. Made these last weekend while rain poured in buckets outside. They were incredibly delicious and easy to make! Any suggestions on cutting down the sugar or making them a bit healthier? It’s raining again today and I’d love to make more 🙂

  3. I’m three for three with recipes on this site.
    These cinnamon rolls were absolutely delicious!! They’re not sickeningly sweet either, which is nice.
    I did have to a quite a bit of flour to the dough while kneading, but after some time it came together beautifully. I was worried it wouldn’t for a while. But just keep kneading.

  4. Orange and cranberry is one of my favorite combinations! Putting this on my New Year’s Day menu. My favorite cookie recipe uses this combination.

  5. I found I had to use about 10 cups of flour total, and I am sure I followed the recipe to the tee for the dough. I did some as regular cinnamon rolls and some as orange cranberry rolls (not all of my family likes the orange cranberry combo) and oh boy, they were so yummy! I loved the flavor of the orange cranberry rolls, and wished I had made more of those, even if it meant I would eat more of them. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you!

  6. Once these are rolled (not yet cut), can I freeze these to be thawed, cut, and baked? I was thinking of giving these as a gift for my mother in law that is going through chemo. It would be easy for her to thaw and bake. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    First let me say that these are delicious!! A couple teaks that I will try next time I make them; I believe there is way too much liquid in this recipe. I had to use about ten cups of flour and then divide the dough into two containers for the first rising, so I am going to eliminate 1 cup of water. I also used half of the orange zest throughout the recipe (per a comment in these replies) and the taste was perfect. I also didn’t use orange juice in the frosting figuring that the zest would be enough for the orange flavor and I was correct.

    The flavor of the combined cranberry and orange makes for the best rolls I’ve ever tasted. Now having said that it would be helpful for people to comment once they make the recipe! Out of 118 comments I found about 3 comments from people that were having the same problem I was. If you want to comment, “I want one!” don’t; you’re not being helpful. Thank you Maria and Josh for the best rolls I’ve ever made!

  8. 5 stars
    Made these for Christmas giving. Like a lot of other reviewers I also had to add a lot more flour to get a workable dough. I used a couple of paper Christmas tree baking pans instead of a regular pan. Made them look so cute! And, they turned out so wonderfully, that I am going to start these as a Christmas tradition…and maybe a weekend tradition too! So, so good. Cranberry and orange are just the best flavor combination (next to chocolate and peanut butter).
    One question. Can the rolls be frozen before baking? The recipe makes so many! If. not, I guess I can freeze them after they’ve been baked.
    Thank you for such a great recipe.

  9. 3 stars
    Let me begin by saying that these do taste fantastic! (I used up my leftover Thanksgiving cranberry-orange relish for the inside instead of using dried cranberries.) However, be aware that there are several problems with the recipe itself. First, you can’t stir 2 cups of water with a bit of sugar and shortening in a KitchenAid mixer without making a big splashy mess. 🙂 Then, the 2 cups of water should definitely only be 1 cup, as it took me 11 cups of flour to balance out the wet ingredients. Finally, you will actually need a whole stick of butter (I’m assuming the author meant 1/2 *cup*), as the instructions tell you to spread 4 Tbsp on each half of the dough.

    If these problems were corrected in the recipe, I would certainly raise my rating to 5 stars, though, as my husband said he liked these better than regular cinnamon rolls.

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