These old-fashioned harvest stuffed cinnamon rolls are so easy to make. The soft dough is stuffed full of a delicious and flavorful combination that includes brown sugar, cranberries, toasted pecans, and orange zest.
Everyone loves cinnamon rolls, right? Well, let me introduce you to this old-fashioned cinnamon roll recipe. They are a deluxe version of my original cinnamon roll recipe, but today we’ll be using my favorite shortcut of frozen bread dough. So, what’s baked inside these scrumptious cinnamon rolls to make them so irresistibly delicious?
Well, it’s a unique and flavorful stuffing combination of brown sugar, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and orange zest. It’s sweet, zesty, and nutty all at once (talk about a taste explosion). But wait, there’s more. If that wasn’t enough flavor, we also top the soft and sweet dough with cream cheese frosting, because you can’t have cinnamon rolls without icing! This recipe, along with my shortcuts to make it extra easy, is sure to become one of your fall favorites!
Ready to make some cinnamon rolls? Let’s go!
- A loaf of frozen bread dough that has been thawed (I’m using Rhodes).
- Brown sugar
- Dried cranberries (also known as craisins)
How to Make Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls
Place your pecans on a baking sheet.
Place them in a 350 oven for 5 to 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!
Before I add the dried cranberries to a recipe I like to plump them a bit.
To plump your cranberries for these stuffed cinnamon rolls, simply place the dried berries in a bowl and cover them in hot water. Let them sit for about five minutes or so and then drain them.
Making the Cinnamon Roll Dough
Line a countertop with a silicone mat or some waxed paper.
Spread some flour over that to help prevent your dough from sticking.
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.
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.
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!
Making the Stuffing
Stir the 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 a little handheld grater works just as well as long as you have a soft touch. 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.
Now sprinkle your brown sugar and cinnamon over the butter and then top with the toasted pecans, orange zest, and cranberries.
Isn’t this beautiful?
Now we gotta roll this puppy up. The trick to rolling it up 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. 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.
Spray your pan with cooking spray.
Place your cinnamon roll 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 double 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 as 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.
I bake these cinnamon rolls at 400 for about 15 minutes or until done.
Making the Cream Cheese Icing
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.
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 as I showed you, all the good stuff stays in the cinnamon roll.
My husband ate those two just so I could show you this picture. He’s so supportive :).
Hope you get to make this stuffed cinnamon rolls recipe soon. They sure are good!
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. I recommend quickly reheating in the air fryer to make them nice and warm once more.
Once you remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven, this is the point where you would freeze. 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.
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. So to freeze: Allow them to cool completely, wrap them well in foil (really well), and place them in the freezer. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator (overnight is great) and remove the foil. Cover loosely with more foil and place in a 200-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Ice and serve.
- Instead of dried cranberries, you can also use raisins or even dried cherries if you like.
- Here are some alternative stuffing suggestions:
- Add a teaspoon of ground cardamon to the existing stuffing.
- Crush up a sleeve of Oreo cookies. Serve with a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream for the most delicious dessert!
- Spread strawberry jam before you roll up the dough and then serve with fresh strawberries.
- Opt for chopped dark chocolate pieces and pistachios.
- Try cereal stuffed cinnamon rolls by mixing 1 cup of Cinnamon Pebbles with the existing brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
You may also like these scrumptious cinnamon-spiced recipes:
- 1 loaf frozen white bread dough such as Rhode's
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon or to taste
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries can use raisins or dried cherries
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon orange zest or more to taste
- 3 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract optional
- Place the loaf of dough on a plate and let it sit at room temperature until thawed. Once thawed, roll out onto a floured surface to a size of about nine inches by sixteen inches.1 loaf frozen white bread dough
- Spread 1/4 cup of butter over the dough.1/4 cup softened butter
- Place the cranberries in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them sit for five minutes to plump and then drain well.1/2 cup dried cranberries
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the cinnamon roll, stopping about 1/2 an inch away from the sides so it will seal (see photos). Sprinkle pecans, cranberries, and orange zest over the brown sugar mixture.1 cup packed brown sugar, 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup toasted pecans, 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Carefully roll up the cinnamon roll into a log, squeezing lightly as you do to seal it. Slice it into one-inch slices with a serrated knife.
- Place in a greased 9x13-inch pan and cover with cling wrap. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise until double in size. Then remove the cling wrap and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until done.
- To make the icing, mix all of the ingredients together and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Spread over the cinnamon rolls.3 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
- 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 a 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.