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Cranberry and Walnut Pinwheels

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!

Ingredients for Christmas pinwheel cookies: cranberries, walnuts, butter, refrigerated pie crusts, sugar and honey.

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.
Freshly rolled pinwheel cookies made with a filling of cranberries and walnuts rolled in pie crusts.

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.

Baked Cranberry Walnut Pinwheel cookies drizzled with honey.

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!
Top view of festive cranberry walnut pinwheel christmas cookies.

Variation Ideas

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.

Baked Cranberry Walnut Pinwheel cookies drizzled with honey.

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

Top view of festive cranberry walnut pinwheel christmas cookies.

Cranberry and Walnut Pinwheels

Katerina | Diethood
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!
4 from 9 votes
Servings : 20
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 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
  • honey

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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. Adapted from Pillsbury.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 167 kcal | Carbohydrates: 19 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 9 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 11 mg | Sodium: 83 mg | Potassium: 47 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 9 g | Vitamin A: 45 IU | Vitamin C: 0.1 mg | Calcium: 11 mg | Iron: 0.7 mg | Net Carbs: 18 g

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.

Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy christmas cookies, holiday cookie recipe, pinwheel cookies
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91 comments on “Cranberry and Walnut Pinwheels”

  1. Can I make these pinwheels the night before? I am taking them to a Thanksgiving dinner at work tomorrow

    1. I have not tested this recipe with phyllo dough. I am sure it can be done, but the process will be a bit different because phyllo sheets have to be brushed with butter before stacking them together.

  2. I’m going to try the freezer trick before slicing, but was wondering if that means I should put the egg wash on after I take them out of the freezer?

  3. Do you use dried cranberries (like craisins) or fresh? Your recipe says dried, but all of your pictures show fresh. TIA

  4. Bonjour,
    qu’est ce que les croûtes à tarte réfrigérées?
    Peut on les remplace par la pâte à pizza ?
    Merci de votre réponse.

    1. Claire, je parle française très mal mais je pense que vous dit on Pate Brisee. Je acheter pre fait a le supermarché. J’espère que vous comprenez. Joyeux Noel!

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