Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls with Orange Cardamom Icing

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Enjoy the festive season with these light and fluffy Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls… with an orange cardamom icing, of course! Every bite is sweet, with a little tartness coming from the cranberries, bright and citrusy, as well as just melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s the perfect breakfast to enjoy this Christmas! A super simple cranberry orange jam, swirled in an easy to make sweet dough, and baked to golden perfection. Though, the goodness doesn’t stop there! The three ingredient orange cardamon icing REALLY adds a citrusy and subtly spiced undertone to every bite. It simply tastes just like Christmas. So. GOOD!

overhead shot of sweet rolls with cranberries around, a plate beside, christmas greenery, two slices of orange, and gold utensils beside.

About The Recipe

I’ve probably said this before, but one of the (many) things I love about the Christmas season is getting to bake lots of cinnamon rolls! For us, cinnamon rolls are synonymous with this time of year. So, since starting this blog, we always try to come up with new and exciting flavors to really celebrate the season.

This years creation? Cranberry orange!

We were inspired by all of the fresh citrus and cranberries are our local markets. It almost seemed like a waste to NOT make something, you know?

First, we made some cranberry jam with the addition of orange juice to really give the filling a true Christmas vibe. Then, from there, we mixed up a plain sweet dough, as we didn’t want to distract too much from the filling.

But, we had just a little bit of orange juice left after making the filling…which is how we came up with an orange cardamom glaze!

Personally, I feel like cardamom is a bit of an underrated spice. It adds a wonderful flavor that’s earthy, but also a little spicy, and it just blends so well with orange and cranberries.

close up of twelve cranberry sweet rolls with icing and fresh cranberries on top.

After we took these rolls out of the oven, it was almost impossible to not dig into them right away. They smell AMAZING! But, we had to wait, as delicious as sweet rolls are, they always taste better after they’ve cooled a bit.

We added to icing and it was love at first bite! I have openly admitted before that I’m not a huge citrus fan, but these sweet rolls taste like what you think Christmas would taste like. They’re bright, soft, warming, sweet, a little tart, with just the right amount of citrus and spice coming through every bite.

It simply a must-have recipe for Christmas moring!

Reasons You Will Love These Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

  • The filling is made with fresh (or frozen!) cranberries.
  • Perfectly balanced flavors.
  • Can be made in-advance.
  • A real crowd pleaser.
icing being drizzled over sweet roll from gold spoon on white plate with more sweet rolls behind, christmas greenery around, and fresh cranberries on marble surface.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

(Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

For The Filling:

  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Orange Zest
sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and fresh cranberries in glass bowl

For The Dough:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Instant Yeast
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Whole Milk
  • Large Egg
milk, sugar, egg, flour, salt, yeast, and butter on marble counter

For The Icing:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Ground Cardamom
  • Fresh Orange Juice
powdered sugar, orange juice, and ground cardamom in glass bowls.

How To Make Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

Step 1: Make the filling

Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat until cranberries soften, about 8-10 minutes. Use a potato masher to crush cranberries. Continue to cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Make the dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

dry ingredients stirred in mixer

In a small sauce pan, heat butter and milk until butter melts. Let the mixture cool to 120°-130° F.

Pour over flour mixture and mix at low speed until ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute.

Add the egg. Mix on low until completely combined, about 1-2 minutes. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

Step 3: Prove

Place dough in a covered container that has been sprayed with cooking spray, or use a proofing box set to 78° F. Allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Step 4: Roll out dough and fill

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle.

Spread dough with cranberry sauce, taking it all the way to the edges.

Step 5: Roll and cut

Starting with the long side, roll up jelly roll-style. Slice into 1½ inch rolls.

Step 6: Prove and bake

Place rolls in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until rolls swell noticeably, about 1-1½ hours.

Bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

baked cranberry sweet rolls in casserole on marble surface.

Step 7: Make the icing

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, ground cardamom, and orange juice until smooth.

Drizzle over cooled rolls.

cranberry sweet rolls in rectangular casserole with cranberries around, a plate of orange slices, and christmas greenery around.

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls FAQ’s

Can more than 12 rolls be made? Absolutely! There is a double and triple button in the recipe card below.

How can I tell when the dough is properly kneaded? A properly kneaded dough should be smooth and shiny. The bowl of the mixer should also be clean and the dough should lift out of the mixer in one piece, rather than ripping into two pieces.

My dough isn’t rising in the times stated in the recipe card! The recipe card/post states the times it took our dough to rise. We live in Texas. So, it tends to be a bit warmer here and doughs generally take less time to rise. I promise there’s nothing wrong with the dough! Just let it do it’s thing, but if you really need it done, try placing near a warm oven. The warmth from being near the oven will help it rise faster. Just don’t put the dough in the oven!

My dough didn’t rise at all. Is your yeast in-date? If not, then you need to get new yeast and try again. If it is, did you check the temperature of the butter/milk mixture? When the mixture is over 120-130 degrees, it’ll kill your yeast! Be sure to have a thermometer on hand.

Can these rolls be made ahead of time? Absolutely! That’s one of our favorite things about this recipe. You can bake these rolls ahead of time and store in the freezer. It’s always best to make the icing fresh, but it can be made the day before you need it. Just store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.

plate of two sweet rolls on white plate with greenery around and cranberries around on marble surface.

How To Store

The best way to store these rolls is unglazed and in the freezer! They will keep for up to 3 months. This way, you can easily reheat them in the oven for almost-like fresh baked sweet roll! Just be sure to get them out of the freezer a few hours prior to reheating and remember to cover them with foil.

If the rolls already have icing on top, no worries! You can store in the fridge or freezer. In the fridge, they’ll keep about 3-5 days. In the freezer, about a month or so. Just allow to come to room temperature or place one sweet roll in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute on high heat (keep in mind that, this way, the icing will melt!).

Looking for more recipes like this? Here are a few you may like: Cranberry Orange Scones, Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls, Triple Berry Croissant Bake, Apricot Cherry Babka

sweet rolls in white casserole with roll on plate beside with white flowers, cranberries, greenery, and orange utensils around on marble surface.

Expert Tips

  • 3 cups of cranberries is one 12 ounce bag.
  • Overcooked the sauce? No problem! You can add a few Tablespoons of orange juice or water to loosen it.
  • Check your yeast and make sure it’s in-date.
  • If milk mixture does accidentally boil, don’t worry! You haven’t hurt it. It just takes longer to cool down this way. Just give it time to cool to 120-130 degrees before pouring it into the dry ingredients.
  • Don’t have a big enough lidded container to allow the dough to rise? You can put the dough in a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap!
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the filling across the dough.
  • If you want the dough/rolls to proof faster, place them near something warm like the oven! Just don’t put the dough in the oven.

When you make this Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls with Orange Cardamom Icing, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

overhead shot of sweet rolls with cranberries around, a plate beside, christmas greenery, two slices of orange, and gold utensils beside.

Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls with Orange Cardamom Icing

Traci
Soft, fluffy, perfectly sweet, citrusy, and oh so festive. These Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls with Orange Cardamom Icing are the perfect bake to enjoy on Christmas morning!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Proofing Time 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 25 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 332 kcal

Ingredients
 

Cranberry Sauce

  • 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest

Rolls

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Orange Cardamom Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice

Instructions

Cranberry Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat until cranberries soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Use a potato masher to crush cranberries.
  • Continue to cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool.

Rolls

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat butter and milk until butter melts.
  • Cool to 120°-130° F.
  • Pour over flour mixture.
  • Mix at low speed until ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute.
  • Add egg.
  • Mix on low until completely combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Increase speed to medium high.
  • Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Place dough in a covered container that has been sprayed with cooking spray, or use a proofing box set to 78° F.
  • Allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.
  • Spray a casserole or ¼ sheet pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
  • Roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle.
  • Spread dough with cranberry sauce, taking it all the way to the edges.
  • Starting with the long side, roll up jelly roll-style.
  • Slice into 1½ inch rolls.
  • Place rolls in prepared pan.
  • Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Allow to rise until rolls swell noticeably, about 1-1½ hours.
  • While rolls are proofing, heat oven to 350 °F.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Cover with foil.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • Uncover.
  • Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Orange Cardamom Icing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
  • Drizzle over cooled rolls.

Notes

  • 3 cups of cranberries is one 12 ounce bag.
  • Overcooked the sauce? No problem! You can add a few Tablespoons of orange juice or water to loosen it.
  • Check your yeast and make sure it’s in-date.
  • If milk mixture does accidentally boil, don’t worry! You haven’t hurt it. It just takes longer to cool down this way. Just give it time to cool to 120-130 degrees before pouring it into the dry ingredients.
  • Don’t have a big enough lidded container to allow the dough to rise? You can put the dough in a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap!
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the filling across the dough.
  • If you want the dough/rolls to proof faster, place them near something warm like the oven! Just don’t put the dough in the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1RollCalories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 6gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 172mgPotassium: 126mgFiber: 2gSugar: 31gVitamin A: 316IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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