These Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls are made with a simple sweet dough, fresh oranges and cranberries, and an easy orange glaze! Perfect for holiday brunch!
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It’s cranberry season, so naturally I’m busy in the kitchen baking up all kinds of delicious recipes with one of my favourite ingredients: fresh cranberries! These Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls are SO perfect for the holiday season and they’re sure to make any holiday brunch perfectly sweet and festive!
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to try these Best Ever Sweet and Sticky Cinnamon Buns, you’ll know that they are pretty much the best homemade cinnamon rolls you’ll ever taste. These Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls are a twist on that original recipe. They’re made with the most tender, soft sweet dough, rolled with delicious cranberries, orange juice and zest, and sugar, baked to perfection and then topped with the most delicious orange glaze. I mean, what is not to love about these!!??!
Unfortunately for me I can’t get fresh cranberries in Romania where I live, so when our family visited Austria and Germany a few weeks ago I wasted no time in stocking up on fresh cranberries there to bring back home. Thankfully they all made it home with me safe and sound and now I have a freezer drawer full of delicious cranberries!
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Another thing I picked up while we were in Austria is this gorgeous green enamelled baking pan. It’s from a brand named Reiss Emaille (pronounced eh-mahy-l) that creates handmade cookware and bakeware in beautiful colours and simple, traditional patterns. They’re one of my new favourite cookware brands!
Like this recipe? Try my Strawberry Cheesecake Sweet Rolls or these Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls!
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I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! Let me know in the comments below, what’s your favourite holiday brunch recipe? I’d love to know!
Kitchen products I recommend:
Looking for more delicious brunch recipes? Here are my favourites:
Best Ever Sweet and Sticky Cinnamon Rolls
Apple Cinnamon French Toast Casserole
Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
Easy Homemade Healthy Matcha Latte (Starbucks Copycat)
Healthy Homemade Crock Pot Hot Chocolate
Best Ever Banana Muffins
Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
Honey Lime Fruit Salad
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Watch the video below to see exactly how I make this recipe. You can find more delicious recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
For the dough:
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup butter melted (use 1/3 cup cranberry jelly in place of the butter, if desired)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups fresh cranberries a mix of whole and chopped
- zest and juice of one orange
- 1-2 tsp vegetable oil for rolling out dough
- Butter for greasing the pan
For the glaze:
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons orange juice
- Into the bowl of your stand mixer, measure out the 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour and the yeast. Mix these two together for a few seconds, just until they're combined. Add the orange zest into the flour mixture as well.
- Next, melt 1/3 cup butter in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. If you're thinking to cut a corner here and melt your butter in the microwave instead, don't do it! If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Once it's melted and starts to bubble, remove it from the heat and stir in the 1/3 cup sugar and the salt until you can see and feel the grains beginning to dissolve in the hot butter. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. You're looking for the milk and butter mixture to be about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but if it feels only slightly warm to the touch (slightly above room temperature) you're good to go.
- When your wet ingredients have reached the ideal temperature, add in an egg and break it up with a fork into the mixture.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make sure your stand mixer is fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Turn your mixer on low and watch the ingredients combine. After about a minute you should see a sticky dough starting to come together. If you need to turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, now's your chance.
- Turn up the mixer speed slightly and allow the mixture to knead the dough for about 3 minutes. The dough should be tacky to the touch, but not so sticky that it's very messy. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl easily and the bowl should appear fairly clean. If the dough appears too sticky, continue kneading and add flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough reaches that tacky texture.
- If you don't have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured work surface for 5 minutes after the wet and dry ingredients are combined. If you're at all serious about cooking and baking, a stand mixer is a great investment. I have had my KitchenAid stand mixer for 10 years and it has paid for itself a few times over I'm sure!
- Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and move it to a warm place in your kitchen to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It should have doubled in size after about 2 hours.
- Once you notice your dough has risen fully, and before you do anything with it, grease a large rectangular pan (at least 9x13 in size) with some butter.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface that's been very lightly greased with vegetable oil. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough evenly until you have a rectangle that's approximately 18 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Brush the dough with the melted butter (or cranberry jelly, if using this instead).
- Add the chopped and whole cranberries to a large bowl and stir them together with the sugar, orange zest and orange juice just until combined. Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the rectangle of dough.
- Roll up the dough from the long side until you've got one long roll. Cut the long roll in half, then in half again, and then each of those sections into 3 pieces until you have 12 rolls. Try to cut the rolls to an even thickness as this promotes even baking. You don't want some rolls to be overdone and others to be raw in the middle.
- Arrange the 12 pieces in the pan you've greased. An arrangement of 3 rows of 4 works well in a rectangular pan.
- Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and set them aside to rise. It's a good idea to preheat your oven at this time, too. Set temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the rolls have risen for 20 to 25 minutes (no longer), place them in the oven to bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until they're a nice even light golden brown colour.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the buns cool in the pan for about 20-25 minutes.
- While the buns are cooling, begin making the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and orange juice, just until a drizzle-consistency is reached. Start with the 2 tablespoons of orange juice and add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until the right consistency is reached.
- Drizzle the glaze over the buns when they're cooled almost completely.
- Sprinkle some additional cranberries and orange zest over the top, and serve.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
Made these Cranberry orange sweet rolls today for Christmas and froze them! They were quite time consuming and messy to make. The cranberry orange filling seemed like it would be too liqidy to spread on dough so I added 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and heated it to thicken it.
The taste was abolutely yummy and well worth my time!
Thanks so much for your feedback Carol!🙂
I tested 3 different cranberry orange roll recipes back to back and this one was the winner. The baked rolls are soft and buttery, and the ratio and tang of filling to bun is well balanced. The dough came together effortlessly and was easy to work with. I followed the recipe for the most part but needed more flour in the dough (510 grams in total) to get a soft, tacky consistency. The only other changes I made were to scald the milk, melt the butter in the hot milk, then cooled the mixture to 115° before whisking in the egg. I also reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup. Because I was using frozen cranberries in the filling and knew from experience that they would get juicy as they thawed I omitted the orange juice. The dough rolled easily and sliced cleanly with dental floss. There was no appreciable rise in the fridge overnight, so in the morning I let the rolls sit at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours until they were puffy, then baked them in a preheated oven in a parchment paper-lined metal pan. As soon as they came out of the oven I spooned the glaze over the tops so that it would melt down into the gaps in the spirals. I added 2 tbsp melted butter to the glaze to make it a bit richer. Rolling the dough from the short side yielded 8 large buns that were a hit with everyone.
Thanks so much for your feedback Sadie!! Glad they turned out to be a hit!🙂