Cranberry-Orange Pinwheel Cookies

A soft pinwheel cookie with a burst of festive color from the cranberry and pecan filling.

Light and flavorful cranberry-orange pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel

Light and flavorful cranberry-orange pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel

You might remember these from last year. They’re a tradition in this house. An absolute must. When I asked The Mr recently what his top 5 favorite cookies were, these were on the list. Of course he couldn’t even give me a list of 5 but that’s not the point. I’ve been making them for Christmas easily the last 6 years or more.

I like making these for the aromas. The orange zest and cranberries give off wonderful fragrances. How something smells is just as important as how it looks and tastes, to me anyway. And these smell incredible. They also have a nice light taste. You can eat cookie after cookie without having a heavy feeling in your stomach like certain other desserts can cause.

Light and flavorful cranberry-orange pinwheel cookie recipe from @bakedbyrachel

These require more work than the average cookie but the end result is worth it. Be sure to check out my tips below for an easier time making these.

Yield: Roughly 4 dozen cookies

Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Total Time: 24+ hours

Cranberry-Orange Pinwheel Cookies

A soft pinwheel cookie that has a burst of festive color from the cranberry and pecan filling.


1C fresh cranberries
1C pecans
1/4C light brown sugar
1C unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp orange zest
3C all purpose flour


In a food processor; add cranberries, pecans and brown sugar. Blend well until only small pieces remain. Set aside or cover and chill until needed.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add baking powder, salt, eggs and orange zest. Beat only low/medium for roughly 1 minute. Contents may be lumpy. Add flour by the spoonfuls, mixing on medium speed until ingredients have been mixed well. Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Divide dough in half. Place one half between two sheets of wax paper. Roll into a large rectangle roughly 1/4" thick. Remove top layer of wax paper. Evenly spread out half of the cranberry filling over dough to 1/2" from all sides.

Begin rolling from one of the short ends. Dough may stick at first. Gently guide dough by pulling up on wax paper. Pinch to seal ends. Transfer rolled dough log to a clean sheet of waxed paper. Roll and tape shut. Place between two large drinking glasses. This will help prevent flat bottom logs.

Chill at least 24 hours. After several hours, gently roll log to check for any flat spots.

When ready to bake. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice 1/4" thick slices. Space 1-2" apart on a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are just turning golden. Let cookies rest on tray for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Store in a covered container for up to a week. Remaining dough may be frozen. Label well with any instructions such as type of dough, baking temp, time, etc.

**For more 'how to' photos go here.

Recipe source: BHG cookbook 12th edition

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233 Responses to “Cranberry-Orange Pinwheel Cookies”

  1. #
    Mark — November 5, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Width & length of dough rectangle not specified in directions for Cranberry-Orange Pinwheel Cookies.

    • #
      Rachel — November 7, 2016 at 7:13 am

      It is specified to create a large rectangle that is roughly 1/4-inch thick.

  2. #
    Pam — December 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    These are delicious. Did not chill the 24 hours & they were perfect.

    • #
      Rachel — December 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

      So glad to hear this, Pam! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. #
    Sharon Witherite — January 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Made 3 batches of these past two weeks, love them! Added to favorite cookies list. Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — January 4, 2017 at 7:10 am

      So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed them so much, Sharon! :)

  4. #
    Elaine — November 4, 2017 at 1:06 am

    I know you use fresh cranberries but will it work if I use dried cranberries and maybe soak them in orange juice first? Also, if frozen cranberries are used, will they need to be thawed out first?

    • #
      Rachel — November 4, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      I would recommend following the recipe as is and using fresh cranberries. If you have frozen, do thaw them for best results.

  5. #
    Brittany — November 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    When you suggest storing the logs in two large glasses, is the log vertical or horizontal in the two glasses?

    • #
      Rachel — November 14, 2017 at 7:11 am

      They should be stored laying down. This will help prevent a flat edge on your cookies.

  6. #
    Sandy R. — November 28, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    You do a very good job with your explanations and instructions. Your cookies look wonderful and I can’t wait to make them. I love your recipes and I will revisit your blog.
    Thank you so very much,

    • #
      Rachel — November 29, 2017 at 7:07 am

      Thank you so much Sandy!

  7. #
    Rebecca — November 30, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Could the pecans be omitted? If so would you up the amount of cranberries?

    • #
      Rachel — December 1, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Absolutely. I’d definitely recommend increasing the cranberries if omitting the pecans, for a thicker filling. Between 3/4 and 1 cup should work. Enjoy! :)

  8. #
    Ralph Bachman — December 14, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Followed your recipe all the way except that I doubled the Cranberry/Pecan filling and that was the right idea since it filled both roll-up’s perfectly.
    These will now become a staple for cookies each year. Light and Not to Sweet.
    Also, strongly recommend after rolled to refrigerate overnight or for a long period.

    • #
      Rachel — December 17, 2018 at 6:36 am

      So glad you enjoyed them, Ralph. Thanks for sharing!

  9. #
    Christina Gaebel — October 24, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Can you freeze the logs and bake at a later date?
    So pretty!

    • #
      Rachel — November 5, 2019 at 7:26 am


  10. #
    Mary Hudson — December 3, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Rachel, I’ve always had a hard time guesstimating rolling out cookies to a specific depth. Would you care to venture a guess on the rectangle dimensions”please?

    • #
      Rachel — December 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

      Roughly somewhere in the 9×16″ range. It doesn’t have to be exact though. Good luck! :)

  11. #
    Bethyn Merrick-Nguyen — December 4, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Once frozen, does the dough need to be thawed before baking? And if so, how long in the fridge? Thank you!

    • #
      Rachel — December 4, 2019 at 7:54 am

      For best result with slicing and baking, thaw the dough overnight in the fridge. Good luck!

  12. #
    Rebecca Lopez — December 9, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Can these be baked then frozen?

    • #
      Rachel — December 10, 2019 at 5:46 am

      They should freeze nicely!

  13. #
    Lindsay Feiten — December 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Are the pecans necessary? Or can you use another type of nut?

    • #
      Rachel — December 16, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      You can absolutely skip the pecans or swap in a different nut. If you omit completely, you may want to increase the cranberry amount a bit so there is enough filling. Good luck! :)

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