Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls

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Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls | Good Cheap Eats

There’s nothing to get you ready for a holiday like making the meal three and a half weeks in advance. Just call me Martha for baking a full turkey dinner while there are still bags of Halloween candy stashed all over my house.

But, you see, unlike Martha, preparing a turkey dinner gets me all hot and bothered. It’s rare these last few years of food blogging that I have been able to cook a meal and pull off a photo shoot and keep my head on straight.

A Thanksgiving Menu

Since I wanted to share some new recipes with you, I did a dry run of our turkey day, finding some nice compromises to traditional dishes as well as foolproofing some old standbys. That said, I’m super excited about this menu. I’ll be sharing them with you over the next couple weeks, ending with a printable meal plan and grocery list if you want to recreate this yourself for Thanksgiving or some other special feast.

Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls | Good Cheap Eats

Today we start with the bread basket and these yummy dinner rolls. My people jumped on these Whole Wheat Cranberry faster than a bear runs for honey. There were none left. I think I got one.

Yes, Virginia, we’ll be making a double batch soon and stashing it in the freezer. They really were good.

One of the things that I loved about them was that they didn’t taste “wheaty”. I think this is thanks to the white whole wheat flour. It’s a whole grain, but doesn’t have that strong wheat flavor that some whole wheat flours have.

I like the addition of the dried cranberries. Not everyone likes cranberry sauce, so this is a great way to bring the tart berry to the table. And if — IF — there are leftover rolls, they’d be great made into sandwiches with the turkey leftovers. Yum! I can’t wait to make these again.

Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls | Good Cheap Eats

I baked the dozen rolls in two 9-inch cake pans. See the cute blossom shapes? You could also let them rise in a 9×13 pan. My feeling is go with the oven space you have available on Thanksgiving, particularly if you’re going to bake these the day of. A fun twist would be to bake them in jars, like Aimee did a few years ago.

These rolls are definitely best served the day of baking, hot from the oven and slathered with butter, but you can make them the day before and store them in an airtight container. Bake them a few weeks in advance and store them, well-wrapped, in the freezer. Thaw them on the counter, wrapped. You can warm them in the oven (350 for about 5 minutes) before serving if you like.

To round out the bread basket, consider a mixture of different breads and rolls, like these:

Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls | Good Cheap Eats


0 from 0 votes
Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls
Prep Time
2 hrs
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rolls, whole wheat, whole wheat cranberry rolls
Servings: 12
Calories: 224 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup salted butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange (zest of 1 orange)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • milk for brushing
  1. Combine the milk, egg, butter, honey, flours, gluten, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, and yeast in the pan of your bread machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Set on the dough cycle and start the machine. After a few minutes of kneading, add the cranberries. Scrape down the sides of the pan, and make sure a dough ball forms.
  2. (If making the dough by hand: Place the milk, butter, and honey in a medium saucepot and warm slightly. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the yeast. Stir and allow the yeast to proof for 5 minutes. Add the egg, flours, gluten, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, zest and yeast. Stir to combine well. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead. Continue kneading for 5 minutes, adding in the cranberries gradually, to create a smooth, elastic dough, adding more of the all-purpose flour as necessary. Transfer to a greased bowl and turn the dough ball to coat. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.)
  3. Spray two 9-inch cake pans or one 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. When the machine beeps or the dough has doubled in bulk, remove the dough from the pan and divide it into twelve equal parts. Form each portion into a tight round and place in the prepared pans. Allow the rolls to rise 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  5. Brush the tops of the rolls with milk and bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack before serving.
  6. To make this in advance: The baked and cooled rolls can be placed in a ziptop freezer bag and stored in the freezer. Thaw them on the counter before serving. Rolls can be reheated in a 350° oven for five minutes to warm.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 1 roll from the recipe (makes 12). Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days.

Nutrition Facts
Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 224 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 26mg9%
Sodium 244mg11%
Potassium 96mg3%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

What do YOU fill the Thanksgiving bread basket with?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Cecee says

    Silly question but do you have to use the white wheat flour? Can you use regular AP flour or whole wheat flour?

    • Not a silly question. Never say that! I think that you could do either of the options you suggest. If you go with all AP flour, the dough will be wetter, so you may need to add more flour.

      • Charyse says

        What adjustments would you recommend for all white whole wheat?

        • You might need to add a tablespoon or two of water. Just go with the feel. Do you know what I mean?

          • CeCee says

            FINALLY just made this with all white whole wheat flour. No adjustments were needed for me. I live at a high altitude. Just wanted to let you know

  2. sarah says

    These look great! I love cranberries so much. I cant wait to try them.

  3. Laura says

    These rolls look absolutely delicious! We already had Thanksgiving in Canada and I overbought fresh cranberries so I have a surplus of them in the freezer. Do you have any suggestions about how to use them in this recipe instead of the dried ones? By the way, your blogs and book have been the stepping stone to my new perspective on food and health, so I would like to thank you for all the information you put out there and the way you do it – you have absolutely changed my life! Sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true. Thank you!

    • Thank you sooooooooo much for your kind words. Wow! I’m honored. Thank you.

      As for the fresh cranberries, I’ve only ever used them in quick breads and muffins. The breads cook a long time, but muffins don’t…. so I am not really sure what would happen. If you try it, let us know. And stay tuned for the AMAZING homemade cranberry sauce I made. yum!

  4. Lori H says

    Do you think I could freeze the dough balls (after first rise, before 2nd rise?). These looks so good – I would love to have a stash of them in the freezer.

  5. Deb says

    I always make homemade butter crescent rolls, but these might be a nice change. We are having Thanksgiving on Sunday for small group (potluck style) and then again on the real Thanksgiving.

  6. these sound so good 🙂

  7. Heidi R. says

    Thank you for this recipe – they turned out so great! My husband and 2-year-old absolutely loved them (well, so did I but that’s less hard to achieve…) I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago which resulted in me getting your book for my birthday and a lot of easy nights thanks to more intentional and varied freezer cooking. Thank you for sharing and being so inspirational!

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