These fresh cranberry and orange cinnamon rolls are a perfect and easy breakfast – whether you are celebrating a holiday or just looking for a special breakfast, these cinnamon rolls are delicious!
There are moments in life when you need easy AND good and you need to turn to a shortcut. That is where these cinnamon rolls come in. Pre-packaged refrigerated cinnamon rolls get a quick flavor boost from cranberry sauce and orange zest.
Thankfully, when life makes it more difficult to make everything from scratch, there are easy ways that we can still eat great food with a minimal amount of work.
How to make cinnamon rolls with cranberries and orange
These easy sweet rolls are a perfect way to “hack” your favorite refrigerated cinnamon rolls. You need 5 minutes of extra work in order to enjoy these semi-homemade autumn treats. For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below.
- Start by unrolling the cinnamon rolls in a sheet (make sure you put down some parchment paper first, it gets messy!).
2. Spread a good layer of cranberry sauce over the cinnamon layer.
Note: If you have ready-made real cranberry sauce (not that homogenous goo from a can, mind you) you can use that, or you can whip up your own really fast. I blitzed some cranberries and fresh squeezed orange juice in my food processor really quick and called it good – you still get the spreadability of a sauce, but you also still have some bigger chunks of cranberries for bursts of flavor.
3. Carefully roll the dough back up.
4. Separate the rolls out, place them in a greased baking pan, and then bake according to the package directions.
5. Take the frosting packets that came with the cinnamon rolls and squeeze them into a bowl. Mix in some fresh orange zest to further add to the fresh sweet-tart flavor. It takes seriously 5 minutes of extra work, but sooo worth it!
How kids can help you make these
Involving your kids in the kitchen to help you make these rolls is a great idea! These rolls are so simple! Here is how they can help:
- Kids aged 1-3 can help you mix the icing and spread the icing over the baked and slightly cooled rolls.
- Kids aged 4-7 can help you zest the oranges, make the cranberry sauce with a food processor if needed, unroll and re-roll the sweet rolls, and spread the cranberry sauce.
- Kids aged 8-10+ can help you do everything above.
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Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
- 2 packages refrigerated cinnamon rolls
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 orange – the zest and the juice
- 2 TBSP sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a food processor, blitz the cranberries, the juice from the orange, and the 2 Tablespoons of sugar until mostly chopped. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth, some chunks are good, you just don't want tons of big pieces..
- Line your counter with parchment paper.
- Unroll the cinnamon rolls from both packages, triying to keep the individual rolls together as much as possible, and spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the dough.
- Carefully re-roll the cinnamon rolls. If big chunks of the cinnamon roll mixture are left behind on the parchment paper, just smear them back onto the dough.
- Separate the dough into individual rolls and place them in the baking sheet.
- Bake according to the package directions (350F for about 18 minutes) or until the rolls are golden brown. Do not over bake.
- Allow the rolls to cool on a wire rack until almost room temperature – you don't want them too warm or the frosting will melt off.
- Open the packages of frosting that came with the refrigerated cinnamon rolls and squeeze the frosting into a small bowl.
- Stir in the orange zest. If you want the frosting to be a little thinner for spreading, you can add 1 TBSP of orange juice (highly recommend because its a good choice) or milk.
- Drizzle and spread the orange frosting over the warm cinnamon rolls.