Cranberry-Orange Rolls

At our house, we’re movie people.  I grew up with a father who loves movies.  He could identify any film score and could spout off 20 random facts about pretty much any actor.  One of our family traditions was going to the movies on Christmas Day.  After the present opening, and a delicious family brunch, we almost always went to see a movie on Christmas afternoon or evening.  My husband’s family even owned a video store growing up, so alas, he’s a movie guy too.  Times have changed since I was a kid though, and these days I prefer to download a good flick on iTunes and enjoy from my cozy sofa in front of a roaring fire in my pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate in hand.  Literally my favorite type of night.

Movie Night

So of course I was all in for the opportunity to share a movie-inspired recipe sponsored by one of the films featured in this year’s 12 Days of Fox Christmas.

My husband and I instantly downloaded The Family Stone from iTunes after our kiddos went to bed the other night and enjoyed a holiday movie night by the light of the tree.  Have you guys seen that one?  Sarah Jessica Parker plays an uptight girlfriend who heads home with her boyfriend to spend Christmas with his family, and they all hate her!  I kind of love movies about dysfunctional family drama because they make me feel better about my own, haha!  There’s a lot of screen time in this film around the kitchen, and I love that, too.

The Family Stone Cooking

The Stone family shares one of my family Christmas traditions: brunch.  My favorite meal.  Orange is a classic Christmas flavor, and I wanted to give my traditional orange rolls a holiday twist with bright, fresh cranberries.  The result was perfection; these taste as good as they look!  To make them perfect for a holiday morning, I’ve included make-ahead instructions, where you can either refrigerate or freeze the rolls before baking and pull them out the morning you’d like to serve them to finish rising and bake them fresh.

Cranberry Orange Rolls from Our Best Bites

I start by making a traditional orange roll filling with butter, sugar, and lots of fresh orange zest.

Orange Butter

And for the burst of fresh cranberry flavor, I pulse fresh cranberries in my food processor, with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.

Cranberries in Food Processor

I process it until it looks almost like jam, but still has lots of chunks in it.

Processed Cranberries

And because I don’t want too much liquid in there, I just set the mixture over a sieve while I prepare my dough.

Draining Cranberries

I’m using the same dough I use for my Everyday Cinnamon Rolls.  The secret to getting this dough perfect is leaving it very soft and resisting the urge to add extra flour!

Cinnamon Roll Dough

After it’s rolled out, spread on your orange filling, and then your cranberry.  You can certainly spread out the cranberry completely and evenly if you like.  I did this cross-hatch pattern because I like having little pockets of plain orange roll filling and then bursts of cranberry filling.

Cranberry Orange Roll Dough

Use thread or dental floss to slice your rolls.  At this point, before they rise at all, you can pop them in your pan and then into the fridge overnight.  That way you can have these all prepped on the 24th and just bring them out Christmas morning to rise and bake!

Cut Cranberry Orange Rolls

They will get all plump and beautiful, and bake up golden brown.

Risen Cranberry Orange Rolls

When they are hot out of the oven, you’ll brush the icing on right away so it can melt into all of the cracks and crevices.

Baked Cranberry Orange Rolls

I’ve also included two versions of icing.  You can make the traditional version, with melted butter, orange juice, and powdered sugar- our you can add back in some of that cranberry juice we drained off for a pretty pink version.

Cranberry Icing

You can’t go wrong either way.  These are so amazing all soft and warm and make the perfect addition to a holiday table.

Pan of Cranberry Orange Rolls

When you break into the centers you get a beautiful bright cranberry-red, and the slight tartness of the berries works perfectly with the sweet orange filling. It’s a match made in heaven!

Inside of Cranberry Orange Roll


I hope you get a chance to try these, and definitely hide one to warm up and eat later while you watch one of your favorite Fox Christmas movies at home this holiday season!   Visit iTunes to download The Family Stone, or another great Fox Christmas movie.  There are so many great ones to choose from like Home, Jingle All the Way, Miracle on 34th Street, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and so many more! And with Digital HD you’ll be able to watch it instantly with your loved ones this holiday season.The Family Stone


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Cranberry-Orange Rolls


Traditional orange rolls studded with sweet fresh cranberries and a dreamy orange glaze. Make right away, or pop in the fridge overnight to bake fresh in the morning!


Orange Filling

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest

Cranberry Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 34 cups flour, divided
  • 1 packet instant or “rapid rise” yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg

Orange Glaze

  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest


  1. Prepare Orange filling by mixing butter, sugar, and orange zest. Set aside. Prepare cranberry layer by pulsing cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in food processor until finely chopped with a jam-like appearance. Place mixture in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to drain out a bit of moisture while you prepare the dough.
  2. Prepare Dough: Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while the beater (paddle attachment for those using a stand mixer) is running. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. (Switch to the dough hook now) Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 12×14 inches. Spread orange filling evenly over dough and then dollop cranberry filling.
  5. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Use thread or dental floss to cut rolls into 12 smaller rolls or 8 larger ones. Place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size. In the mean time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. When rolls have finished rising bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. While they’re cooking, prepare icing by mixing all ingredients together, add more or less orange juice until desired consistency is reached (you could also use the drained cranberry juice). Spread icing on while rolls are hot.


  • Make Ahead Instructions: After rolling and cutting rolls, place in pan and then cover with plastic wrap and place immediately in fridge. Remove pan in the am and set at room temperature to rise until double in size (about 2-3 hours). You may also place in freezer instead of fridge. When ready to bake, take rolls directly from freezer and let sit at room temp, 3-4 hours, until double in size. Bake as directed.

Psst..don’t forget, if you want to make an easy photo book for Christmas, you have until Sunday to use my code BESTBITES and save 20%, books start at just 8 bucks.  Follow me on Instagram, I’ll be giving several away this weekend!  –> @sara_ourbestbites

And if you haven’t seen THIS, you must check it out, too.  My family is loving ours- definitely something most families could use!



  1. I just sent you a msg to Facebook but I am trying here as well. I want to make these for Valentine’s day and cannot get fresh cranberries, and I do not have frozen. What to do? Any good substitutes, raspberries? Would they work with the orange? HELP!

  2. I made these on Christmas morning, and they were fantastic!! So much easier than some other sweet rolls I’ve made before too. I’ll definitely be making these again with a variety of flavors! 🙂

  3. I made these on 2 Jan 2016. I really enjoyed making them and found the recipe really easy to follow and they are delicious. I will be making this version and others in the future, so thank you very much for sharing this lovely recipe.

  4. The Family Stone is one of my husband’s favourite Christmas movies – he’s always said that kitchen is his dream kitchen! (Really we’d both like the whole house!) These rolls look delicious – I love cranberry!

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