Harvest Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls


Be sure you tune in to Paula Deen’s Best Dishes on November 5th to see me if you can! Click here to visit the event section on the Southern Plate Family Facebook Page , check out some exclusive photos from the filming, and RSVP (please) if you plan on tuning in! I’ll also be on Great Day Houston live next Tuesday morning (Oct 25) if you’re in the Houston, Texas viewing area!

Today is my daughter’s 7th birthday. She woke up so excited, rushing out of her room to see her door decorated with crepe paper streamers and the balloons all in the den floor. We started doing that when Brady (who is now twelve) was just a toddler and it seemed a great tradition to stick to so now each year, when our kids go to bed, we set to taping streams of crepe paper up on their door frames and Ricky sets to blowing up balloons.

I don’t have the air in me to blow up balloons anymore, I guess I use all my wind talking.

Brady and Katy Rose enjoying birthday biscuits, another family tradition.

I’m gonna tell you what, it sure is good for the soul to see the excitement of a child. The wonder they feel, the joy and exuberance at every little thing, but especially on big days like this.

I was on a plane last week and as it took off I got to thinking about the first time my daughter was on a plane and how, when it took off, she threw her hands up in the air and shouted “WEEEEEE!!!!” as it rose into the air. Not a soul on that plane complained, her joy and excitement were so contagious that it was just met with smile and chuckles.

As my plane left the Huntsville airport I didn’t throw my hands up in the air, but I sure did think about it, and my heart cried out “WEEEEEEE!” as I set off, thinking of the day as an adventure just as Katy Rose had taught me to do.

They keep us lighthearted, don’t they? We sure do need that. It’s easy to get bogged down with deadlines and schedules and I know my kids are exactly what I need to keep my focus on the truly important. Like today, when Katy Rose is turning 7.

Happy Birthday Katy Rose and Happy Katy’s Birthday to her brother, Bradybug.

I sure do love you.

Now lets make some cinnamon rolls. These puppies are to die for and they are so very easy. They are a deluxe version of my original cinnamon roll recipe, click here for that one.

Today, we’ll be using my favorite shortcut of frozen bread dough (but the original recipe has my homemade dough recipe if you’d like to make it from scratch). I figure someone made this frozen dough from scratch already though, so that works for me!


You’ll need: A loaf of frozen bread dough (I’m using Rhodes), cinnamon, an orange, butter, brown sugar, pecans, and dried cranberries (also known as craisins).

You can also use raisins in this or even dried cherries if you like. If you have any of those on hand, go with what you have :).

Note: I’m going to give you the recipe for making one pan of these but during this tutorial I was making two pans so if you think some of the ingredients look like a lot more than the recipe calls for that is why. Why make one pan when you can make two and have more to share!


Place your pecans on a baking sheet and place them in a 350 oven for 5-6 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. You just want them lightly toasted.

Toasting pecans really brings out their flavor. I’ve grown to appreciate this extra step! When I was in Charleston we showcased a German Chocolate Cake from Southern Living and I took a bite of it on air. As soon as the segment ended I turned to the stylist and said “You toasted those pecans!!! That was amazing!” It changed the taste of the entire cake for me.



Now I love dried cranberries but raisins and dried cherries would work really well in this also. Before I add mine into a recipe I like to plump them a bit.

To plump your cranberries, simple place dried berries in a bowl and cover them in hot water. Let them sit for about five minutes or so and then drain them.


I love this little bowl. I gotta admit that I have coveted it most of my life. It belonged to my mother and I’ve kept my eye out for one of my own for a few years now.

Some months back, when I was at Mama’s house, I mentioned how hard it is to find one like hers. She went to the kitchen, got the two bowls she had in this pattern, wrapped them up in a dish towel, and put them in a sack and handed it to me! “Just take good care of ’em and you can have ’em.”

“Yes Ma’am!”

If y’all see Mama tell her you saw her bowls and they looked very happy and well cared for in their new home…

Line a countertop with a silicone mat or some waxed paper. 

Spread some flour over that to help prevent your dough from sticking.

I used to roll out a bit of waxed paper on my countertop to roll my dough out on but about a year or so ago I found this little mat on sale and picked it up. It’s awfully handy for cookies, rolls, etc. When I’m done I just wash it off really well and fold it to store until the next time I need it. Makes counter cleanup a breeze, but waxed paper will still work just as well.


Make sure your bread is thawed completely and place it on your floured surface.


Coat your rolling pin with a little flour (just rub it on there with your hands) and roll that puppy out into a rectangle -esque object.

Kinda like a rectangle, but no one is taking off points for style or precision here.

If your dough struggles with you, what I often do is roll it out a little bit, let it sit for a few minutes, then roll it out again. This will let it relax some and it will be easier. Either way, rolling it out will take a little muscle. But you can do it. Because …..

“Always remember, you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” ~Winnie The Pooh quote

I doubt the author was thinking about making cinnamon rolls when he said that but it’s always nice to find a quote is versatile, don’t ya think?



Spread your dough with about half a stick of butter.

“About” is the key word here. Again, no points are taken off for precision. If you’re making these cinnamon rolls for anyone other than yourself, I can guarantee you won’t get complaints. If you do get complaints, take the cinnamon roll back :)



Stir your brown sugar and your cinnamon together until well blended (or until you get tired of stirring).



And zest that orange.

Now most folks would use a zester for this but mine is around here somewhere and this little handheld grater is so much easier anyway. If you use a grater just be sure you grate only the orange part and try not to get down into the white part because supposedly, that part is bitter :) I’ve never tried it myself so I’m gonna say “supposedly” here. I think orange zest is kind a bitter but in recipes like this, it is kinda heavenly too.


Now sprinkle your brown sugar and cinnamon over the butter and then top with pecans, orange zest, and cranberries.

Isn’t this beautiful?


~clears throat and speaks louder~ I said, Isn’t this beautiful????

Of course it is ~grins~. We really need smellovision technology. Plumped cranberries, toasted pecans, orange zest for that hint of citrus, brown sugar, and cinnamon...just in case you needed a recap. ~breathes it all in~



Now we gotta roll this puppy up. The trick to rolling it up, as I’ve learned, is to kinda squeeze it together as you roll. Roll, squeeze, roll, squeeze, roll, squeeze.



This is gonna really help keep your filling in while it bakes and also while you cut it and put the slices into your pan. You can kinda see here where I’ve pressed it together as I rolled it up.


Here is my final cinnamon roll log like thingiemabobber whosiewhatsit.

Yup, that’s it! Now we’re ready to cut it.



A lot of people tell you to cut your cinnamon rolls with dental floss and this or that but I have never seen the reason to go to all of that trouble…


I just grab a serrated knife (I am actually using a steak knife here) and go at it in a light sawing motion.

If you prefer to use dental floss or some other method, knock yourself out. But if you ever ask one of your friends to ask me the “right” way to do it, come whisper in my ear real quick that you do it that way so I can tell them I do it that way too and make you look good



Spray your pan with cooking spray.

I’m using disposable aluminum pans because I actually took both of these to my kid’s school. Okay, I might have snuck a few out for us first…

I do a LOT of baking for Southern Plate and sometimes I bake to get myself comfortable with Southern Living recipes that I’ll be doing on tv and such, so more often than not when I bake something, I have immediate plans to take it somewhere because we just can’t eat all of it!


Place your slices in the pan, spread out a bit like this so they have room to rise. Cover them and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

If you don’t have a “warm” place, sometimes I just turn my oven on and let it preheat for a few minutes, then turn it off and open the door for a minute or two to make sure it is warm, but not hot. If it is “hot” it will start cooking your rolls and they won’t rise like they should, so make sure it is just warm.

Then place your covered rolls in the oven for an hour or so until they double.


Now we’re ready to bake these puppies!

I bake them at 400 for about fifteen minutes, or until done.


Once you remove them from the oven, This is the point where you would freeze them.

If you like, you can cook them until they’re done but not quite as brown as this and then brown them more in the reheating. If you freeze them before they are cooked, it will kill the yeast. They won’t rise the second time and if they are already risen but not baked, the yeast will still die and they’ll lose volume and be smallish, hardish things. Trust me, I know from personal trial and error. I called Rhode’s bread dough company and they gave me these exact instructions that I’m passing on to you for the best way to freeze these :).


To freeze: Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in foil (really well) and place in freezer. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator (overnight is great) and remove foil. Cover loosely with more foil and place in 200 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Ice and serve.


Make your icing according to the recipe below (you can visit my original cinnamon roll tutorial if you’d like step by step photos of the icing) and spread it over your warm cinnamon rolls.

It helps if you use a cute little piggy spatula, like the one Angela Lewis bought me!


Now remember when I told you to kinda squeeze the dough together as you rolled it up?

I’ve seen a lot of instructions lately on the internet saying that you should turn your cinnamon rolls upside down after cooking them so that all of the good stuff goes back up in the cinnamon roll, but I find that when I kinda squeeze my dough together like I showed you…all the good stuff stays in the cinnamon roll. Here is my pan, perfectly clean on the bottom where I took out two cinnamon rolls.

My husband ate those two just so I could show you this picture. He’s so supportive :)

 Hope you get to make these Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls soon. They sure are good!

Have a wonderful weekend!



Harvest Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls
  • Note: This recipe makes one pan of Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 loaf frozen white bread dough (such as Rhode's)
  • ¼ Cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tablespoon ground cinnamon *Can do less to taste
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (can use raisins or dried cherries)
  • ½ cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest (or more to taste)
  • 3 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ Cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1-1/2 Cups confectioner's sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla (optional, I usually just leave it out)
  1. Place loaf of dough on plate and let sit at room temperature until thawed. Once thawed, roll out onto floured surface to a size of about nine inches by sixteen inches.
  2. Spread ¼ C margarine or butter over dough.
  3. Place cranberries in a bowl and cover with hot water, let sit for five minutes to plump, then drain well.
  4. In small bowl mix together brown sugar and 3 T cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of cinnamon roll, stopping about ½ an inch away from the sides so it will seal (see photos). Sprinkle pecans, cranberries, and orange zest over brown sugar mixture.
  5. Carefully roll up cinnamon roll into a log, squeezing lightly as you do to seal it. Slice into one inch slices with serrated knife.
  6. Place in greased 9x13 inch pan and cover with cling wrap. Place in warm spot and allow to rise until doubled in size. Remove cling wrap and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until done.
  7. Icing: Mix all ingredients together and beat with electric mixer until creamy. Spread over cinnamon rolls.
  8. To Freeze: Prepare Cinnamon rolls up through step six (through the baking process). Once baked, allow to cool and then wrap well with foil. Freeze. Best if used within a month or two. To reheat frozen rolls, allow to thaw and then cover loosely with foil and place in 200 degree oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven and top with cream cheese icing.

” It’s better to be kind, than to be right.”

Submitted by Diana L who found it on a fortune cookie about five years ago.


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  1. Angela Lewis says

    I want some of those rolls! Christy, would you believe that I didn’t even notice that spatula until I read my name! Saw the picture and just skipped right over it. Let’s get together soon. I want to come see that “suprise” that I saw in the pic. of the kids. Love you!

  2. Sandy Brown says

    I can’t wait to try these…I have no idea what Angela is talking about the “surprise” is about….but do you have a new booth and table set in your kitchen? I love it!!!!! Did you have it made and where did you find the table?? You thought you had snuck one in on us and nobody would notice, or maybe everybody else knew about it and I’m the last to realize it….:) LOL Thanks for all your recipes your the best!!

  3. Debbie Strum says

    And I thought for SURE it was a hutch! Looks great! What happened to your nice diningroom table? BTW…thanks for the recipe. I’ll have to wait until I can find me a ‘piggy’ spatula, though. ~snickers~ That is so cute.

  4. says

    Happy Birthday to your daughter! They grow so fast, don’t they?
    Congratulations to you for being on with Paula Deen. I do intend on watching. I can’t wait to see you both
    I also can’t wait to try this recipe. Sounds so good!
    Have a great day.

  5. Nancy says

    Sweet…and fun… You need get a diner Juke Box with those 45’s to flip through and press the buttons. My brother and sister and I had to agree on the song(s). I am dating myself but so enjoyed those when I was “umm” younger. Enjoy the “retro” in your kitchen which is the heart of the home.

  6. Mary says

    I really do miss using Rhodes frozen bread dough! When I first used it, it came three loaves to a package. I’m not a baker by nature, but around holidays, those three loaves were used up. Now, it comes with a gazillion loaves, and so I just stopped buying it. I don’t have room in my freezer to dedicate to storing frozen bread dough that I may not use for many months. If you talk to Rhodes again, Christy, tell them to bring back the 3 loaf package?

      • Mary says

        I think there are 5, maybe 6. I’ll check at my Kroger’s and try to get back to you. Not really a gazillion — sorry for the exaggeration — just too many for a non-baker to deal with. I always used two and ended up with the third one sitting there watching me, wondering why I didn’t DO something with it.

  7. Jackie Clifton says

    Just curious, but how come the yeast doesn’t die when the Rhode’s people freeze it to start with? Isn’t it frozen when you buy it? Love this recipe, orange and cinnamon smell just like Christmas to me!

  8. says

    Christy, you have my spatula! Do you have the little skillet and turner that matches it? I love anything piggy and can’t believe all I get. The Neelys from Food Network, and from Memphis!, also collect pig things. She has a pig shaped BBQ grill. Remember, I told you it was from me being a cop before like your Dad. Even have a pig computer speaker!

  9. Janet B says

    Happy Birthday Katie Rose! The rolls look delicious; I love the cranberry and orange, and I thin I’ll make them for Thanksgiving and Christmas (and any other time my children show up)!

  10. says

    Aw, Happy Birthday to Katy Rose! I can’t believe she’s 7 already. They grow up so fast! And those cinnamon rolls look incredible. We’re purists and don’t like “things” in our baked goods but those just look too good. If nothing else, maybe I’ll try just sprinkling orange zest on mine next time :)

  11. Su says

    I tried making your other cinnamon rolls before but they didn’t turn out. Not sure what happened there, but they were teeny tiny little things. It would be so much easier if I could use frozen bread dough, but alas, no such luck here!

  12. Lori Rognlie says

    I don’t care for icing of any kind on my cinnamon rolls. I grew up with a Grandma that was the Cinnamon Roll Queen of her county. She said that if they put icing on them, they are hiding something. I agree! I use the best cinnamon (Vietnamese) and it has heavenly flavor. Why would you want to cover that up with too sweet icing!

      • Laura Martos says

        It’s commonly found labeled as “Saigon Cinnamon” and it is absolutely delicious. Much more aromatic and flavorful. I buy it in bulk from a baking supplies store! It’s that amazing.

        • SweetCarol says

          The best Cinnamon, I understand, is the only real cinnamon and it is Ceylon Cinnamon. You can get at Whole Foods and order on line. It is not as strong a smell but is a bit sweeter. Other cinnamon has something in it that is a bood thinner similar to warfarin. The Ceylon is true cinnamon and doesn’t contain the stuff that thins the blood. There is a Vietmanese cinnamon, and it may be called Saigon but I undestand that the Ceylong is better for people. Check it out on line.

  13. Kathy Westberry says

    I absolutely LOVE cinnamon rolls and I’m definitely going to try this! I love the bowl too! I love to buy vintage bowls – just singles – whatever I can find at the thrift stores. If only they could talk!

  14. Sheri A says

    I made your cinnamon rolls today and had a problem I hope you can help me with. I used bread dough. I baked for 14 minutes as I did not want to burn them. My oven was smoking though because the brown sugar leached out of several of the cinnamon rolls scorching the pan and causing the oven to smoke. What did I do wrong? I want to make these again but most of the rolls were burnt on the bottom..please help! I would love to make these correctly on Christmas morning. Thank you Christy

    • SweetCarol says

      Use the parchment/foil paper with the foil side down. That way it is on the parchment side. I think it might help them a bit. And you might need to squeeze the rolls when you roll them up, or turn them upside down so not as much gets out. Good luck.

  15. Katy says

    THANK YOU for these recipes. I’m European and I’m married to an American. So…I’ll just say that our foods are pretty different from yours. Your blog is one of the ones that helps me cook the ‘American’ way for my hubs.

  16. Janet says

    Happy birthday Katy Rose! I look forward to making these rolls one day soon. They sound delicious, and I love cranberries and orange. Thank you for all your hard work and wonderful recipes.

  17. Carole says

    Happy Birthday, Katy Rose!
    When I set my bread dough to rise, I cover the pans with waxed paper and then put an afghan on top to keep it warm. It’s what my mom and grandmom did, and that’s good enough reason for me!

  18. Teresa says

    These were delicious! I “plumped” my raisins and craisins with a bit of Jameson’s Irish whiskey and it really gave them a bit of a kick. They made a nice and different dessert for our tailgate!

  19. Mari C. says

    I found this recipe a few days ago and couldn’t wait to make these……they are DELICIOUS! I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’m so excited for the hubs to try them in the morning. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Terry Smith says

    A little insider information from an ex Publix baker, the Publix pizza dough works great for this. It is the exact same dough used for the White Mountain, Italian, French Bread and the great Sub Rolls used in the Publix Deli. Just buy it and rest on counter for a few minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. If it puffs a little bit….no problem.
    Also you can take this pizza dough and flatten it on the counter and cut it into 2in chunks (size not important here) with a pizza cutter and add cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and one egg and toss it into a greased loaf pan. Let rise in a warm place until is an inch above the pan and bake at 350 until nice and brown.

  21. Stormey says

    I am making these for thanksgiving day… I was wondering if I should substitute anything for the craisens… not a big fan, or just leave it with the pecans. and how soon should I make these rolls?


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