Cranberry Breakfast Buns, or “This is Not a Cinnamon Roll” Roll

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Cranberry Breakfast Buns from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These cranberry breakfast buns are a pretty amazing way to take your favorite cinnamon bun recipe to another level.

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season I love to stock up on fresh cranberries. They freeze beautifully, and I can cook and bake with cranberries all year long. I’ve even used homemade cranberry sauce to flavor steaks. One of my very favorite recipes for fresh cranberries is this cranberry crackle tart. So good.

Cranberry Breakfast Buns from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The dough for these buns is really interesting, in that it contains yeast, baking soda, and baking powder. That really doesn’t make much sense to me, but I went with it anyway. As it turned out, these rolls are delicious.

The dough for these buns is super wet and and batter-like, a little bit frustrating to roll. Fortunately, it is also very forgiving, especially if you are not a perfectionist about having perfectly cylindrical swirly buns.  Because, again, these rolls are amazing.

Cranberry Breakfast Buns from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This month, the Bread Baking Babes were challenged to make “This is Not a Cinnamon Roll” Roll from Karen of Bake My Day. We were instructed to fill our rolls with anything sweet or savory… anything but cinnamon!

I dug out a couple of bags of cranberries from my freezer and pulsed them in my mini food processor a couple of times, mixed them with a bit of orange juice and sugar, and spread them across the rolled out dough. The resulting buns are so good. They actually stay very tasty and fresh for up to three days.

Note: The glaze is very thin, and disappears into the rolls. This only adds to their goodness.

Dear cinnamon. I’m sorry. You have met your match.

Cranberry Breakfast Buns from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Cranberry Breakfast Buns


For the dough:

2 cups room temperature milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

95 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)

520 grams (4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour

65 grams (1/2 cup) unbleached all purpose flour, set aside to add later

1/2 heaping tsp baking powder

1/2 scant tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

195 grams (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries

2 tablespoons orange juice

100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch or Instant Clearjel, optional, to thicken the mixture

Pulse the cranberries briefly in a food processor  to break them up but not completely. Drain any excess juice in a strainer (I skipped this step as my cranberries were not too watery). Mix the cranberries in a bowl with the orange juice and sugar. Stir in the optional thickener. 

For the glaze:

100 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the ingredients together until combined. 


  1. Add the milk, oil, sugar, and yeast to a large bowl. 
  2. Add 4 cups of the flour to the bowl and mix with a dough whisk or spatula until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.
  3. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the rest of the flour. Stir until combined. Cover again and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to three days. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray two 9 by 9 inch or 8 by 8 inch square cake pans with spray oil. A sheet cake pan would work too. 
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and sprinkle flour on top of the dough. 
  6. Pat, roll (with a floured rolling pin), and stretch the dough out into a large and thin rectangle, about twice to three times as long as it is wide. Whatever technique works for you to achieve a large rectangle of dough. 
  7. Spread the cranberry filling evenly over the dough. 
  8. Using a bench knife or a dough scraper, fold the dough into a long cylinder, as you would for a cinnamon roll. The dough might stick to the work surface, which is why the bench scraper is important. 
  9. Cut the dough log/cylinder into 18 equal disks/pieces and place them, cut side up/down in the two cake pans in a 3 x 3 pattern. 
  10. Let rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. 
  11. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden, and the rolls reach an internal temperature of about 190 degrees F. 
  12. Spoon the glaze over the rolls while they are still warm. Let cool in the pan. 
Links to the rest of the Bread Baking Babes’ version of this recipe are/will be listed below. If you would like to bake along with the babes as a Buddy, check out Karen’s post. 
The Babes who baked along:

  • Feeding My Enthusiasms, who used honey, lemon, and lavendar 
  • Bake My Day, who used cream cheese, lemon zest, and vanilla, and made a second batch (her favorite) with spring onions, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar syrup
  • Bread Experience, who used garlic, rosemary, and cheese, along with spelt
  • My Kitchen in Half Cups, who used butternut squash, bacon, apple, spinach, garlic, and walnuts 
  • A Messy Kitchen, who made them three ways, raspberry ricotta, caramel apple fritter, and maple bacon gingersnap
  • Blog from OUR Kitchen, who used apricots
  • Judy’s Gross Eats, who used spinach, parmesan, and feta, and lots of other savory flavors
  • Notitie van Lien, who used tropical fruit, pistachios, toasted coconut, all in a coconut pastry cream

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