These Festive Cranberry Walnut Pinwheels Cookies are my most loved and asked-for Christmas cookie recipe! Buttery pie dough wrapped around a rich, sugared cranberry and walnut filling, drizzled in honey; these easy cookies are fun to make, and even more fun to eat!
Easy Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
Friends, this is one very impressive, and also very easy-to-make holiday dessert. An ah-mazing take on dessert pinwheels filled with cranberries and nuts! These festive, flavorful cookies are the perfect welcome treat for guests, plus they look great on a cookie tray. It’s probably my most requested recipe come Christmastime!
When it comes to blogging, I don’t have many occasions to repeat recipes. And yet, by popular demand, I find myself making these special Christmas cookies every year. They’re THAT good. Full of sweet and tangy cranberries and crunchy walnuts, drizzled with honey for good measure. Basically, the definition of a holiday flavor explosion – and our family can’t get enough!
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need to make these awesome, perfect pinwheel cookies:
- Dried cranberries: Chopped.
- Walnuts: Chopped.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar, or brown sugar for a more caramelized flavor.
- Orange Zest: For a burst of fruity citrus that pairs perfectly with walnuts and cranberries.
- Refrigerated Pie Crusts: Pillsbury Pie Crust or your brand of choice. This pinwheel recipe is possibly the only time that I opt for store bought pie crust – in my experience, homemade pie dough results in cookies that are far too crumbly!
- Butter: Melted.
- Egg: For the egg wash to coat the crusts.
- Honey: To drizzle over the pinwheels after baking.
How to Make Cranberry Walnut Pinwheel Cookies
My Cranberry Walnut Pinwheels are incredibly easy to make. They come together in minutes, and they’re kid-friendly. If you have little hands that want to help, by all means, this is the recipe for them! Here’s how to make these easy holiday pinwheel cookies:
Mix the Filling: Combine the cranberries, walnuts, sugar, and zest for the filling.
Prepare the Pie Crusts: Lightly flour your work surface and then roll out the pie crusts into two squares. Afterwards, give each pie crust a generous brushing with the melted butter.
Fill & Roll: Sprinkle the filling evenly over the first pie crust, leaving a bit of a gap at one edge. Next, carefully roll the crust into a log, pinching the clean edge tightly against the roll to seal. You can dip your finger in water and brush the edge a bit to help it stick if needed. Repeat the filling and rolling with the second pie crust.
Brush with Egg: Mix the egg wash and then lightly brush each log with the egg mixture.
Cut: Use a sharp knife and cut each log into ½ inch slices, or roughly 10 pinwheels.
Bake: Bake the pinwheels cut-side-up on a lined baking sheet, until golden brown. Arrange the pinwheels on a wire rack and then top each cookie with a drizzle of honey. Let them continue to cool completely, then serve!
Tips for Success
Thanks to feedback from some marvelous readers, along with some gained experience, here are extra tips for flawless pinwheel cookies:
- When Cutting the Pinwheel Dough: If you notice that the dough is becoming too soft, pop the logs in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so before slicing.
- Don’t Overfill: Make sure to use just enough filling to achieve an even layer, and then roll the dough tightly to close all the gaps.
- Cut to the Correct Size: If the pinwheel slices are too wide when placed on the baking sheet, there is a higher risk of the pie crusts coming apart while baking. Aim for ½ inch slices!
I used cranberries and walnuts for this recipe, but you can use whatever filling your heart desires! Not a fan of craisins? Sub in raisins! Feeling extra festive? Add in a pinch of cinnamon or mixed spice! And so forth.
Here are some other pinwheel cookie filling variations I’ve been dreaming of:
- Blueberry, lemon, and pecan
- Hazelnut, chocolate chips, and apricot
- Macadamia, coconut, and dried pineapple
- Crushed candy cane and white chocolate chips
You can also add in jams or preserves, or mix up any of these variations with different nuts of your choice.
How to Store Homemade Pinwheel Cookies
Pinwheel cookies can be stored up to 1 week in an airtight container or resealable bag at room temperature.
Can I Freeze These?
You can freeze these cookies before baking. Wrap the logs of rolled cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap (with an extra layer of aluminum foil to protect from freezer burn!). Store the rolls in the freezer for up to 2 months, and leave them to thaw overnight in the fridge before slicing and baking.
More Holiday Cookies to Try
- Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
- Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies
- Rocky Road White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Sugar Cookies
- Black and White Meringue Cookies
- Chai Spiced Snowdrop Cookies Recipe
Cranberry and Walnut Pinwheels
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts, (I use Pillsbury Pie Crust)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 whole egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the cranberries, walnuts, sugar, and zest in a mixing bowl; mix until thoroughly combined.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out the pie crusts into two squares.
- Generously brush the pie crusts with the melted butter.
- Spread the cranberry filling on top of the pie crusts. DO NOT overfill – that will make it harder to roll and cut.
- Roll each pie crust into a log.
- Pinch the edges to seal.
- Combine the egg and water in a small bowl and beat until well blended.
- Brush each log with the egg mixture.
- Carefully cut each log into 10 slices. NOTE: If you're having issues with slicing the log because the dough is too soft, put it in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.
- Place the slices, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Place pinwheels on a cooling rack.
- Spread a teaspoon, or more, of the honey on each pinwheel.
- Let cool before serving.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.