Easy cranberry cinnamon rolls with orange glaze and sugared cranberries. A tart cranberry and spice filling in the softest ever orange brioche dough, coated in a quick glaze and topped with decorative cranberries. These overnight rolls make for the perfect sweet brunch.
This recipe can be broken into three main parts:
1. The Dough
For the dough, you will need:
- Flour - a combination of both all-purpose flour and strong bread flour works best in this recipe to give a good structure and soft finish.
- Yeast - dry active yeast. You can substitute with fresh yeast, however, this is not something I've tested yet with this recipe.
- Milk - full fat (or whole milk) warmed to about 104°F/40C. The fat and temperature are important here for the activation of the yeast.
- Sugar - superfine granulated or caster sugar.
- Ground ginger
- Eggs - these are best at room temperature for adding to the dough.
- Butter - unsalted butter softened at room temperature. You can use salted butter here, but it will leave a bit of extra saltiness to the taste of the overall recipe.
- Orange zest
2. The Cinnamon Cranberry Filling
The filling for this recipe is essentially a thick and spiced cranberry sauce. You'll need:
- Cranberries - fresh or frozen cranberries will work in this recipe. If using frozen, I recommend defrosting first.
- Orange juice - you can use store bought orange juice or fresh squeezed, just ensure that this is not juice from concentrate. If using an orange and intending to zest this for your dough, be sure to zest the orange first before squeezing the juice - this will make the zesting easier!
- Sugar - superfine granulated or caster sugar.
- Ground spices - plenty of cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
3. The Glaze and Decoration
To make the glaze for these rolls, you only need two ingredients:
- Powdered sugar - also known as icing sugar or confectioner's sugar.
- Orange juice - again this can be fresh squeezed or store bought, just not from concentrate.
- Optional - sugared cranberries for decoration. See my Cranberry Cheesecake Recipe for a detailed guide of making these.
How to Make the Dough
The dough for this recipe follows the same process as my super soft brioche cinnamon roll dough. The only difference is some added ginger and orange zest!
You need to begin by activating your yeast by sprinkling this into your warmed milk with a teaspoon of your sugar. Stir and set aside 10 minutes to become frothy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the flours, remaining sugar, salt and ginger. Once your yeast is ready, add this to the mix, immediately followed by two eggs and one egg white (reserving the yolk for an egg wash later).
With the mixer on a low setting, knead the dough together for about 15 minutes, until it is pulling itself from the sides of the bowl. Then add the softened butter a tablespoon or so at a time, continuing to knead. After adding all the butter, knead for about 15-20 minutes until your dough is again pulling itself from the sides of the bowl.
Note: this is a brioche dough and will be a bit softer/stickier than some other bread doughs. Don't worry if your dough is still sticking a bit to the bottom of the bowl even after you've kneaded for the full time!
Scrape the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight for a slow proof.
Making the Cranberry Filling
To make my quick spiced cranberry filling for these sticky rolls, you need a saucepan. Place the orange juice, water and sugar into the pan and begin to cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is simmering.
Add the cranberries and continue cooking for about 15 minutes while these break down, forming a thick sauce.
Remove from the heat and add the spices - the ginger, cinnamon and cloves - and stir to combine.
Set the sauce aside to cool thoroughly. Tip: It is best to make this at the same time as the dough (the night before filling the rolls and baking). This gives it plenty of time to cool down while the dough is going through its first proof.
Rolling and Second Proof
After the dough's first slow proof, remove this from the fridge. Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Using a floured rolling pin roll out into a rectangle, about 15" wide and 18" long.
Dollop softened butter over the surface and spread with an offset spatula or kitchen knife. Then top with your cranberry filling and spread in an even layer, leaving about an inch gap on the long edges.
Roll from the short side until you have a log of filled dough. Tip: the tighter you're able to roll, the more rolls you'll have in your final buns, but you squish so tight that you're pressing the filling out.
Cut about 1.5" off each end, to remove uneven and unfilled dough. Then divide the dough into nine pieces. Cut these using a dough cutter or, better, flavorless floss. Tip: cutting dough with floss will help preserve better rounds, because you're creating even distribution of pressure when pulling the floss through. See my Brioche Cinnamon Roll for more general cinnamon roll tips.
Place the 9 rolls in a parchment lined 8" square baking pan. Cover and allow to proof for 2 more hours at room temperature.
Baking and Serving
Preheat your oven. After 2 hours, the rolls should again be doubled in size. Glaze with the reserved egg yolk - beat this with half a tablespoon of milk and brush over the tops of the buns.
Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until risen and golden on top.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, while you whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Pour this glaze over the top and spread with an offset spatula or spoon. Add some sugared cranberries for decoration!
As with any other sticky cinnamon roll, these are best eaten fresh - still warm from the oven. Leftovers (if any exist!) can be kept for a day or two at room temperature - either well wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
These will start to stale quickly and I would not recommend making in advance.
Yes! Cranberries and cinnamon go together well - in fact cranberries go brilliantly with many warming spices, which make them a favourite in the winter when warm spice flavours are particularly popular.
This recipe is for a cranberry cinnamon roll with orange, which adds a zesty edge to the buns.
This recipe is made using fresh cranberries. You can easily substitute frozen cranberries here, but unfortunately dried cranberries don't have the juices necessary to make a good quality cranberry sauce.
You can make a traditional cinnamon roll, such as my Brioche Cinnamon Rolls and add dried cranberries along with the pecans to the filling if you're looking for options to use dried cranberries.
Looking for more cinnamon inspiration? Try:
- Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Donuts
- Cinnamon Cupcakes
- Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Pound Cake
Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients for Dough
- ¼ cup full fat milk or whole milk, warmed to 104°F (40C), plus extra for an egg wash
- 2¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour or plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
- ¾ cup bread flour or strong flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- zest of an orange
Ingredients for Cranberry Cinnamon Filling
- 7 oz fresh cranberries or frozen, defrosted
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
Ingredients for Orange Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
- 2 tablespoon orange juice without pulp (smooth)
- ¼ cup sugar coated cranberries see note
Instructions for Dough
- Begin by activating the yeast - sprinkle this over the warm water and add 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flours, remaining sugar, salt and ground ginger. Stir together.
- Add the foamy yeast to the flour mixture, immediately followed by two eggs and 1 egg white. Reserve the remaining egg yolk for glazing the buns later. (see note)
- Knead the dough on a low setting for 15 minutes, until beginning to pull itself from the sides of the bowl. (see note)
- Add the softened butter about a tablespoon at a time and then add the orange zest. Continue to knead for 15 minutes once the butter has been incorporated.
- Scrape the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place this in the refrigerator for about 8 hours (overnight).
Instructions for Cranberry Cinnamon Filling
- While kneading the dough, make your filling. Place the water, orange juice and sugar in a saucepan. Cook this over a medium heat until simmering and then add the cranberries.
- Continue cooking over a medium heat and stirring occasionally while the cranberries begin to break down and form a thickened sauce (about 15 minutes).
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and stir through the ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until ready to use for filling (ideally overnight to allow to cool thoroughly).
Instructions for Assembly and Baking
- After the first proof, remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn out onto a well-floured work surface.
- Press the dough into a rough rectangle and then roll out to be about 15" wide by 18" long.
- Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough. Then top with your cranberry cinnamon filling - spreading evenly, but leaving about an inch gap on the long sides.
- Roll the dough starting from the short side nearest you to form a log. (see note)
- Trim about 1.5" off each end of your log, then divide your dough into 9 and cut into 9 rolls. Place these in a parchment lined 8" square baking pan. Cover with a clean towel and allow to proof at room temperature for 2 hours until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan).
- Beat your reserved egg yolk with about ½ tablespoon of milk to create an egg wash. Brush this over your cinnamon rolls.
- Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for about 25 minutes until risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes while you make your glaze.
Instructions for Orange Glaze
- Whisk together your powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth.
- Once the rolls have cooled slightly, pour the glaze over them and spread to cover. Sprinkle with sugared cranberries if using and serve.