Baking/ Cookies/ Desserts/ Holidays

Cranberry Orange Swirl Cookies

November 27, 2020

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Cranberry Orange Swirl Cookies are a tasty sugar cookie that are perfect for the holidays. Made with fresh cranberries and orange zest in the cookie dough and in the filling, these cookies are bursting with flavor.

Cranberry pinwheel cookies piled on a plate.

I started baking these cookies several years ago and they make it on my baking list every holiday season. There are so many things to love about these cookies!

  • First, they look great and often get oohs and aahs!
  • There is orange peel added in the dough and in the filling. Talk about flavor!
  • You can make the dough and freeze it and then bake when you need fresh cookies!
  • Finally, these may look complicated, but they are fairly easy to make!
Cranberry orange cookies on a white plate.

Are you ready for holiday baking? For me, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is baking season.  I love to bake and I love to bake holiday cookies!!! 

Key ingredients

A complete list of ingredients and measurements can be found below. Just scroll to the bottom!

  • Cranberries – For these cookies, I use fresh cranberries. You could also use frozen cranberries.
  • Orange – You’ll need a t least two medium sized oranges for the zest. There is zest in the dough and in the filling
  • All purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar

Instructions

A complete list of instructions is available below! Just scroll to the bottom!

  • Make dough by first combining butter and sugar.
  • Mix in vanilla, eggs and orange peel
  • Add flour, salt and baking powder and combine
  • Divide dough in two and shape each half into a flat round.
  • Cover each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour
Cookie dough formed into two disks and wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • Just before you are ready to roll out the cookie dough, place cranberries, sugar and remaining orange peel in food processor. Process until finely chopped
  • Roll out one disk at a time into a rectangle
  • Spoon half the cranberry mixture on the rolled cookie dough
  • Roll dough up forming a log – roll beginning with long edge so the log is longer rather than wide
  • Wrap each log with plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet
  • Refrigerate for at least two hours
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Remove logs from refrigerator and unwrap
  • Slice each log into 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices
  • Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes

Make ahead before baking

You can completely prepare these cookie ahead of time and bake just when you’re ready for freshly baked cookies

Store in refrigerator

Store rolled and wrapped cookie dough logs in the refrigerator for up to three days before baking. Make certain dough is on a flat surface while being refrigerated.

Store in freezer

Once the cookie dough is filled and rolled, it can be stored in the freezer. Double wrap logs with plastic wrap. Place on a baking sheet or a flat surface and place in freezer for up to four weeks.

To bake, pull dough from freezer 12 hours ahead of time. Place dough in refrigerator to thaw. Dough need to thaw, but still be well chilled before cutting. Slice and bake according to directions.

Cookie dough logs wrapped in plastic wrap.

My tips for baking these cookies

  • Plan ahead – these cookies need to be fully chilled twice. The dough will be too sticky without proper chilling
  • Prepare the cranberry filling just before using. If you make too early, the cranberries mixture will become too juicy. If this happens, try to strain off the excess liquid prior to adding to dough.
  • No need to pinch the seam of the logs. Just roll into plastic wrap and chill. The dough will hold its shape once fully chilled.
  • Bake in a preheated oven
  • Store baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to five days.
  • Cookies can be frozen once baked and cooled.
Cranberry filled cookies on a counter with a plateful of cookies in the background.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Check out all my holiday recipes!

Cranberry pinwheel cookies piled on a plate.

Cranberry Orange Swirl Cookies

Kathy
Sugar cookies filled with fresh cranberries and orange peel
4.82 from 43 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 42 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 50 cookies
Calories 88 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel (fresh)
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Filling

  • 1 cup cranberries (fresh)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange peel (fresh)

Instructions
 

For the Dough

  • In a mixing bowl add butter and sugar and mix until fluffy.
  • Mix in vanilla, eggs, and orange peel.
  • Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix.
  • When dough is well mixed, remove from bowl and form into two rounds. 
  • Wrap each round in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. 
    Cookie dough formed into two disks and wrapped in plastic wrap.

For the Filling

  • In a food processor add cranberries, sugar and orange peel. Process until finely chopped. 
    Finely chopped cranberries in a food processor.

Rolling the Dough

  • Working with one disc of dough at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 10 x 14″ rectangle. 
  • Add half the filling mixture on top of the dough leaving a 1/2″ border.
    Rolled out cookie dough topped with chopped cranberries.
  • Carefully roll dough into a log.
  • Place log on a piece of plastic wrap wrap tightly. Place log on a baking sheet. 
    Two logs of rolled cookie dough on a baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining dough and filling. 
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Slicing and Baking

  • Remove logs from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. 
  • Slice dough into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
    Sliced swirled cookies on a white surface.
  • Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. 
    Rolled cookie dough filled with cranberries on a baking sheet.
  • Remove from baking sheet and cool on a baking rack. 

Notes

  • Plan ahead – these cookies need to be fully chilled twice. The dough will be too sticky without proper chilling
  • Prepare the cranberry filling just before using. If you make too early, the cranberries mixture will become too juicy. If this happens, try to strain off the excess liquid prior to adding to dough.
  • No need to pinch the seam of the logs. Just roll into plastic wrap and chill. The dough will hold its shape once fully chilled.
  • Bake in a preheated oven
  • Store baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to five days.
  • Cookies can be frozen once baked and cooled.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 88kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 44mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 115IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cranberry cookies, cranberry orange cookies, Holiday cookies, pinwheel cookies
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

This post was originally published in December 2016.

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119 Comments

  • Reply
    Lea
    January 3, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    5 stars
    Just made these and they are wonderful ! Even my picky 8year old granddaughter loves them. They are a big hit !

    • Reply
      Kathy
      January 3, 2021 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you! And hooray to find something a picky eater loves 🙂

  • Reply
    Rosemarie
    December 23, 2020 at 10:25 am

    5 stars
    Absolutely love the ease of these cookies and the flavour – Amazing! A keeper..

    • Reply
      Kathy
      December 23, 2020 at 10:51 am

      Thanks, Rosemarie! 🙂

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