Orange Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

Why not add a little sunshine to your morning with these orange cranberry cinnamon rolls? There is something about this time of year when I start to crave warm and comforting dishes. With the snow falling and temperatures barely making it above 20 degrees, these cinnamon rolls will always make you feel warm and toasty. This recipe is exactly what we all love about cinnamon rolls– they’re tender, gooey, and shamelessly large! Last month Andrew and I hosted our first Christmas and we made these rich cinnamon rolls for my family on Christmas morning. Every christmas morning since I can remember cinnamon rolls have made an appearance, so I knew I had to choose a great recipe to surprise my family with. Let me tell you these cinnamon rolls didn’t disappoint! 🙂 Bursting with plump cranberries and topped with a an orange icing, these cinnamon rolls are destined to become a family favorite in your kitchen too!

One Year Ago: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts 

Orange Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

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For the Cinnamon Rolls:

  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 4½ cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Zest of two oranges
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

For the Orange Sugar Topping:

  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

For the Frosting:

  • 1 (6 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, shut off.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar; add yeast and let rest 10 minutes until foamy.
  3. Add butter, eggs, flour,  remaining sugar and salt to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on medium-low until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Line 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over pan edges. Butter the parchment.
  6. To make the orange zest topping, In a small bowl rub together zest of one orange and sugar; set aside.
  7. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with ⅓ cup butter, leaving a 1/4″ margin at the long side of dough. Sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture and cranberries. Use the rolling pin to roll over the sugar/cinnamon mixture a few times. Roll up the dough tightly, under-tucking after each completed rollover. Cut into 12 rolls. Dip and twist the rolls into the orange sugar topping. Place rolls into prepared 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese, ½ cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, salt and orange zest; set aside,
  9. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20-22 minutes. Once finished baking flip the pan over to allow all of the cinnamon drippings to recoat the rolls, let sit 1-2 minutes. Turn rolls back over and spread with half of the frosting, let sit 2-3 minutes and then spread with remaining frosting.

Yields: 12 cinnamon rolls
Prep Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (includes rising time)
Bake Time: 22 Minutes

Source: Inspired and adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod and Sensational Cinnamon Rolls

If you like these cranberry orange cinnamon rolls, you might also like:

14 Responses to “Orange Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. #
    juniakk — January 12, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    yay for citrus flavored cinnamon rolls! totally submit this to my #citruslove bloghop so others can find this recipe! have a splendid day 🙂

  2. #
    Sara — January 12, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    I love love love citrus rolls… I just posted lemon sticky rolls. Can’t wait to try these!

  3. #
    ChgoJohn — January 12, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Well, of course these were a hit on Christmas morning. How could they not be? Another great recipe, Christina!

  4. #
    Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} — January 12, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    I made orange and cranberry rolls and loved the combo. I bet these taste as good as they look!

  5. #
    Amy — January 12, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

    I just made cinnamon rolls the other day, but I have to say that I love the orange variation on these! I may have to borrow that idea the next time I make them 🙂

  6. #
    livingth3sw33tlife — January 12, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

    Funny, cinnamon rolls always end up on our christmas breakfast table too!! You’re making me fall in love with your blog with all these cranberry recipes. This one takes the cake … I am truly in love with these rolls 😀 *yuuummmm*

  7. #
    Lindsey Lyman — January 12, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    {Droooooling!} Oh my goodness! You had me at orange rolls….but insert cranberry and cinnamon!!?! That is nuts! Like heaven covered in icing. I cannot wait to try these out. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. #
    Lisa — January 13, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Thank you so much for your fabulous recipes! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy visiting your blog each day. I wondered if “brown sugar” meant “light” or “dark” in the orange and cranberry rolls. I am going to try to make the cinnamon rolls this weekend!

    • Christina replied: — January 17th, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

      You can use either one. For this recipe I did use light brown sugar. I hope you enjoy them…my family loves homemade cinnamon rolls! 🙂

  9. #
    jemofthesouth — January 14, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    These look amazing!! Two of my favorite ingredients.

  10. #
    Dana@TheSundaySweet — January 16, 2012 @ 1:16 am

    I think you should wrap these up and mail them to me! Yum!!

  11. #
    Janet@FCTC — January 16, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    Oh my gosh… pure breakfast or dessert decadence with this one. Totally buzzing this!

  12. #
    Anna — January 16, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    I am a big fan of cranberry and orange combo! Those rolls are very tempting 🙂

  13. #
    Gretchen O'Donnell — January 17, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    These look fantastic…but I’m always afraid of yeast. I guess I just need to practice more…thanks for the delicious post!

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