This is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast to impress your whole family! The cinnamon roll dough is soft and the filling is sweet and gooey. The brown sugar caramelizes as it bakes, so the bottom gets a delectable caramel crunch. And the cranberries braided into the cinnamon roll wreath give a pop of tart flavor.
You can make this scrumptious treat any time of the year. But cranberries are more common in grocery stores in Fall and Winter, since they are harvested between mid-September and mid-November.
This recipe strings cranberries on some thread (like a cranberry garland) then braids them right into the cinnamon roll wreath for an impressive look!
If you love a little tart pop of flavor to balance all the sweet, buttery, caramelized goodness, then this cranberry cinnamon roll wreath is perfect for you!
Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning are a cherished tradition in my family. Ever since I was a kid, we enjoy my Dad's delicious cinnamon rolls, fresh and warm out of the oven, before tearing into our presents!
This cinnamon roll dough is soft and pillowing. And the filling is buttery and gooey. The brown sugar between each of the many layers of the dough caramelizes as it bakes, so the bottom gets a delectable crunch. Top it all with a simple sweet glaze with an added punch of flavor from fresh lemon juice!
Pro Tip: The dough will stretch a bit while you braid it. Allow yourself plenty of work space and extra string on the strand of cranberries, as you'll probably need to add some as the dough stretches.
- Active dry yeast
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter
- All purpose flour
- Fresh cranberries
- Ground cinnamon
- Brown sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon juice
How to Make a Cinnamon Roll Wreath
Make the Cinnamon Roll Dough
- Mix the active dry yeast into the warm milk and let it sit for 10 minutes, until it becomes frothy.
3. Whisk in granulated sugar, softened butter, eggs, and salt.
4. Add the flour and mix the dough until there is no longer dry flour visible.
5. Knead the dough by hand for about minutes, until the dough is smooth and springs back to it's original shape when you indent it with your finger. Shape the dough into a ball.
6. Put the dough ball in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest and rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until it doubles in size.
Thread the String of Cranberries
7. Using a sewing needle and thread, carefully thread the fresh cranberries lengthwise onto the string.
Make the Filling and Spread it on the Dough
8. As the dough nears the end of its rising period, prepare the filling. Mix the softened butter, ground cinnamon, and brown sugar until it forms a thick paste
9. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 inches by 24 inches.
10. Evenly spread out the filling onto the dough rectangle, getting it all the way to the edges.
11. Gently roll the dough starting at one of the long edges, to form a giant swirly log.
Cut and Braid the Dough
12. Using a sharp knife, make two cuts down the entire length of the cinnamon roll log, to separate it into three very long strips. Using your knife or your fingers, gently roll the strips of dough so the cut-side (the cinnamon filling) faces up.
13. Measure your string of cranberries along the length of one of the strands of dough. Add or remove cranberries from the thread as needed, in order to make it the same length as the dough. Leave a bit of extra string above the top of the dough and tape the string to your work surface, to prevent it from moving.
14. Gently press the three strands together at the top and braid them together, keeping the string of cranberries with the middle strand of dough as you braid it.
Shape, Rest, and Bake the Wreath
15. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bring the two ends of the dough braid together, to form a circle.
16. Remove the string from the cranberries by removing the tape from the work surface and tugging the string through all the cranberries.
17. Cover the dough wreath loosely in plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.
18. Bake at 350°F for about 20 to 25 minutes, until it is golden brown. Allow the cinnamon roll wreath to cool for at least 20 minutes.
Drizzle on the Icing
19. Take the cinnamon roll wreath out of the oven and while it cools, prepare the icing. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, lemon juice and one tablespoon of milk. Add another tablespoon milk, if needed, until it is a drizzle-able consistency.
20. Drizzle the icing onto the cinnamon roll wreath. Then slice & enjoy!!
Cinnamon Roll Buns
You could make this into normal cinnamon rolls, instead of a wreath.
After you roll out the dough and spread the filling, spread out about ¼ cup cranberries on top of of the filling. Then roll the dough into a giant log and slice it into 12 even sections. Then bake your cranberry cinnamon rolls in a greased 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
Cinnamon Roll Wreath without the Braid
After rolling the filled dough into a log, shape into ring without slicing and braiding the dough. Then cut the dough into 12 even sections, with your cuts going almost all the way through the dough. Rotate the sections so the swirl is facing up, then bake on a baking sheet.
Store leftover baked cinnamon roll in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
You can also freeze your cooled cinnamon roll wreath by wrapping it tightly in plastic cling wrap, then in aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature overnight.
Reheat leftovers in the microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds to warm and soften it.
More Recipes Featuring Baking Spices
Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Wreath
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 1¼ cups milk
- 2¼ teaspoon active dry yeast (one packet)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt or fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (one stick)
- 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup brown sugar (packed into the measuring cup)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice or water
- 1 to 2 tablespoon milk
Make the Dough
- Warm the milk, either on the stove top or in the microwave at 30 seconds intervals, until it's between 105? and 115?.
- Mix the active dry yeast packet into the warm milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until it becomes frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix to combine the milk and yeast mixture, salt, eggs, and softened butter.
- Add the flour, and mix with a large spoon. Continue mixing the dough with a large spoon until it forms a sticky dough, and there’s no dry flour visible.
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Tip the dough onto your work surface, and knead by hand for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and springs back to it's original shape when you indent it with your finger. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Lightly grease a clean mixing bowl with olive oil, melted butter, or cooking spray.Put the dough ball in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest and rise in a warm place (like an empty oven with the light turned on) for about 2 hours, until it doubles in size.
Thread the Cranberries
- Using a sewing needle and thread, carefully thread the fresh cranberries. Don't cut the string yet, because you may need to add or remove berries to match the length of the dough. Set aside.
Prepare the Filling
- Mix the softened butter with the ground cinnamon and brown sugar until it forms a thick paste. Set aside.
Shape the Cinnamon Roll Wreath
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour, and roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 inches by 24 inches.
- Evenly spread the filling onto the dough rectangle, getting it all the way to the edges.Gently roll the dough starting at one of the long edges, to form a giant swirly log.
- Using a sharp knife, make two cuts down the entire length of the cinnamon roll log, to separate it into three very long strips. Gently roll the strips of dough so the cut-side faces up.
- Place your string of cranberries along the length of the middle strand of dough. Add or remove cranberries from the thread as needed, in order to make it the same length as the dough. Leave a few inches of extra string above the top of the dough and tape the string to your work surface, to prevent it from moving.
- Gently press the three strands together at the top. Braid the three strands, keeping the string of cranberries on top of the middle strand of dough as you braid it. The braid shouldn't be so loose that you see gaps between the strands, but it shouldn't be so tight that you pull and risk tearing the dough.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the braid to the prepared baking sheet. Bring the two ends of the braid together, forming one large circle.
- Gently remove the string from the cranberries by removing the tape from the work surface and tugging the string through all the cranberries. You may need to cut the string at a couple different points along the cranberry line to be able to gently pull it out without disturbing the dough.
- Cover the dough wreath loosely in plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.
Bake the Cinnamon Roll Wreath
- Preheat the oven to 350?.Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until it is golden brown.Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before add the glaze and serving.
Prepare & Add the Glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the milk. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add another tablespoon milk.
- Drizzle the icing onto the cinnamon roll wreath. Then slice and enjoy!!