Cranberry Sauce Cinnamon Rolls

[Photographs and original illustrations: Cakespy]

These cinnamon rolls contain whole wheat flour and cranberries, but don't make the mistake of dismissing this recipe as a boring and altogether too-healthy breakfast. Because there's plenty of butter, cinnamon, and sugar to make these Cranberry Sauce Cinnamon Rolls a delicious seasonal indulgence.

The nuttiness of the whole wheat flour works beautifully with the tart-sweet cranberry sauce, which make an appearance in the dough, filling, and glaze. Mellow brown sugar continues to soften that tartness, and helps make the filling nice and gooey. As for the glaze? The cranberry sauce helps make it a pretty light pink, and the taste is unapologetically sweet and perfect. These cinnamon rolls just might become a holiday weekend tradition.

About the author: Jessie Oleson Moore is a writer, illustrator, gallery owner, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website. Her first book came out in October 2011, and her second book came out in May 2013.

Cranberry Sauce Cinnamon Rolls

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 12 cinnamon rolls
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:2 hours, 30 minutes
Special equipment:stand mixer, 9- by 13-inch pan, or two 8-inch cake pans, rolling pin, saucepan
This recipe appears in: Pantry Essentials: Canned Cranberry Sauce Cakespy: Cranberry Sauce Cinnamon Rolls


  • For the Rolls
  • 2 cups all purpose (about 8 ounces) flour
  • 3 cups (about 24 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 10 ounces) milk
  • 1/3 cup (about 2.33 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (14 or 15 ounces) cranberry sauce, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (about 3 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • For the Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups (about 12 ounces) confectioners' sugar


  1. 1

    In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or paddle attachment, combine the flour and yeast. Set to the side for the moment.

  2. 2

    In a large saucepan, combine the butter, milk, granulated sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce. Stir over medium heat until the butter is melted and the milk is warm.

  3. 3

    Add the warm milk mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low speed for just about a minute, until incorporated. Add the eggs. Continue to mix on low for about 6 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  4. 4

    Transfer the dough to an oiled or buttered large bowl, and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm spot for an hour.

  5. 5

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch pan, or two 8-inch cake pans.

  6. 6

    Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle (about 18- by 14- inches).

  7. 7

    Remove the remaining cranberry sauce from the can. Separate 2 tablespoons (you'll use that for the glaze). Now, spread all the rest (most of the can) on top of the dough.

  8. 8

    Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly on top of the cranberry sauce.

  9. 9

    Carefully roll the dough into a long roulade type log, starting on the long end.

  10. 10

    Use a large, sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Place the dough into the greased pan or pans.

  11. 11

    Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the buns are browned on top and not sticky in the center. If you're in doubt, either insert a wooden skewer to test, or remove one pan from the oven and lift one of the rolls using a small spatula. It shouldn't be sticky on the bottom.

  12. 12

    Remove from the oven. While the buns cool, make the glaze. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce, milk, and butter. Once the butter is melted, remove from heat. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar.

  13. 13

    Once the buns have cooled, add the glaze. Serve lightly warm.


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