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Cranberry Orange Rolls are the perfect holiday breakfast! Filled with sweet and tart cranberry jam and topped with a delicious, sweet orange icing, these perfectly gooey and tender Orange Sweet Rolls are a family favorite.

Close-up of a white baking dish with orange cranberry rolls on a bamboo cutting board with a white and blue dishtowel.

These homemade Cranberry Rolls are drizzled with the most delicious sweet orange glaze and make a great holiday brunch or breakfast treat! A great alternative to cinnamon rolls that tastes even better and looks so festive and pretty. But these rolls are not only pretty they also taste so good, my husband can’t get enough of them when I bake them.

They’re so soft and tender, just like the perfect yeasted sweet rolls should be. How many times have you tried to make gooey and soft homemade cinnamon rolls? I’ve tried many times but sadly so many recipes produce lean buns. So what’s the secret? The secret is a rich, buttery, almost sticky brioche dough.

This recipe is not a shortcut recipe but giving the dough time to rise and using quality ingredients is so worth it! You’ll be rewarded with the best rolls you’ve ever tried. Gooey, tender, soft and perfectly baked (without a yeasty aftertaste like many recipes that use a large amount of yeast and only let the dough rise for a short time).

A white baking dish with orange cranberry rolls with sweet orange glaze with a white and red polka dot spatula on them.

Tips and Tricks for Making Cranberry Orange Rolls

  • Make sure to follow the recipe! The milk should be warm, not hot, measure the flour correctly, and let the dough rise like instructed. You’ll be rewarded with the best rolls ever!
  • This recipe can be made on the day before! Perfect for busy holiday mornings. Instructions are below.
  • Instead of making cranberry sauce you can also use leftover sauce from your holiday dinner or use canned cranberry sauce to make this recipe easier. You’ll need about 2 cups.
  • Every oven is different and your choice of baking dish also affects how long the rolls need in the oven! Test if the rolls are done by sticking a small fork between the rolls and tearing off a little bit of dough. If the dough is not cooked put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Top-down shot of a white baking dish with unbaked cranberry-orange rolls in them.

How to make Orange Sweet Rolls with Cranberry Filling – FAQs

Can these rolls be made ahead?

Yes, they can be made ahead. After you’ve placed the filled rolls into the baking pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. The next day, remove the pan from the fridge and allow the rolls to come to room temperature before baking. This takes about 1 hour.

What if I don’t have a stand mixer?

You can also knead the dough by hand! This takes longer than using a stand mixer but gives you a nice workout. Start out by stirring with a spoon until everything is combined then knead it by hand. This dough is sticky so you’ll need a little bit more flour to keep it from sticking to your hands.

Close-up of a white baking dish with orange cranberry rolls. One of the rolls is missing and a cake server is lifting out another.

Tips for Working with Yeasted Dough

Milk Temperature: Make sure the milk is warm and NOT hot. The milk should be warm to the touch, about 100°F. I use a thermometer to check the temperature. If the milk is too hot (130°F or higher) the yeast will die and your baked goods won’t rise.

Typ of Yeast: I always use Instant Dry Yeast. It can be added directly to dry ingredients but I like to dissolve it in a liquid before using because this makes the yeast very active and you can see if your yeast is still good before adding all the other ingredients. If it doesn’t foam up and get bubbly after a few minutes your yeast is probably too old or your milk was too hot. Active dry yeast works similar to Instant Dry yeast it just needs a little bit more time to rise.

Rising: During rising, the yeast ferments the sugar and develops the dough. This improves the flavor and texture of the baked goods. It’s important to give the dough enough time to rise. Underproved dough will result in a yeasty aftertaste and a doughy texture.

Close-up of a cranberry orange roll with a fork. The fork has taken out a piece of the roll.

Looking for more Breakfast and Brunch recipes?

A white baking dish with orange cranberry rolls on a bamboo cutting board with a white and blue dishtowel.

Tools and Ingredients used for this recipe

Yeast: This is my favorite yeast!
Stand Mixer: My most used kitchen appliance and it’s so pretty it can sit on the counter as decoration! Kneading dough is so much easier with it.

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5 from 12 votes

Homemade Cranberry Orange Rolls

Cranberry Orange Rolls are the perfect holiday breakfast! Filled with sweet and tart cranberry jam and topped with a delicious, sweet orange icing, these perfectly gooey and tender Orange Sweet Rolls are a family favorite.
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 3/4 cup whole milk, heated to 95°F/35°C (180ml)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, (100g)
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, (530g)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, (120g)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened (180g)
  • 2 tsp orange zest

For the cranberry orange jam:

  • 4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (400g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, (200g)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, (60ml)
  • 2 tsp orange zest

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, (120g)
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment combine warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir together with a whisk then let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.
  • Meanwhile combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the eggs to the milk mixture and whisk until combined.
  • With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture. Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.
  • With the mixer running on medium, add butter, one piece at a time. Add the orange zest.
  • Continue to mix for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still wet after 10 minutes, add one or two tablespoons flour until the dough comes away from the sides.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough into a smooth ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, put it in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours.
  • Meanwhile make the cranberry jam: Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until most of the cranberries have burst open. Let cool completely.
  • Punch down the dough and roll it out into a 18x18 inch square. Spread the cooled cranberry jam on top, leaving a 1-inch border.
  • Starting with the edge nearest you, carefully roll dough into a cylinder, pinch lightly to seal seam, and cut into 12 pieces with a sharp knife.
  • Arrange rolls in a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (Or refrigerate overnight, see instructions above.)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Discard plastic wrap and bake rolls until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Then transfer pan to a wire rack.
  • Make the glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest together until smooth. Drizzle or spread over warm rolls. Serve.


Dough adapted from Cook's Country. 


Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 482IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg
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About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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  1. 5 stars
    I just made these and I didn’t change recipe at all. They turned out absolutely delicious. Will be making these again and again.
    Thank you for sharing recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was spectacular. Everyone loved it. It’s slightly different from the recipe I usually make so I was skeptical but I honestly think I prefer this recipe more, the rolls are so fluffy and light. Today I am going to try substituting with blueberries and lemon. Highly recommend this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Yum! Could you make them less crumbly by not adding as much cornstarch? Would love the dough say a little more stretchy when baked.

  4. 5 stars
    These were delicious. I had to improvise a bit. I ran out of sugar so I used part honey for cranberry jam and brown sugar for the dough. I also wanted some hint of cinnamon roll so I added a bit of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on the dough before spreading the cranberries.

    I added cream cheese to the icing as well. 🙈 I’m sure bloggers hate when you change their recipes but I couldn’t help myself… I was really craving theater classic cinnamon flavor with rolls.

    Delicious and will definitely make again!

  5. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious for a holiday breakfast treat! I love making homemade bread and rolls when I have the time and these rolls look heavenly. Thanks for the great idea!