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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74 comments on “Cranberry and Walnut Pinwheels”

  1. Avatar photo
    Connie Kittrell

    I couldn’t find any puff pastry. Would phyllo dough work? Would cooking time be different? How many layers do you think if I use the phyllo dough? I’m not good at conversions.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      I have not tested these with phyllo, but I can tell you that they will be very flaky if you do make them with phyllo. Make sure to brush every layer with butter before adding it on top of the next… I think about 5 sheets should be okay.

  2. After reading comments about the rolls coming apart while cooking, I may have a couple of hints.

    Resist an urge to be too generous with the filling and roll up tightly enough to close gaps as a loose roll will fall apart.

    Do Not Overlook STEP #8. When filling leave a clear 1/2″ border of dough at the final edge. You’ll pinch this clean edge to the roll to create a seam that will hold the roll together from end to end (you can brush the edge with a little bit of wet finger first to help it stick together).

    Try to make slices 1/2″ apart. If sections are too wide when laid on their side, a pie crust dough may come apart in the oven since it isn’t a ‘rising’ type of dough.

    Happy baking! Kids love cooking these and there are never any left!

  3. Avatar photo
    Brenda Stern

    I made these at Christmas but most came out of shape but everyone still loved them and so easy to make. Today made them again after reading everyone’s reviews. I refrigerated them for about 10 minutes before cutting & cut straight down with a straight blade knife, they turn out perfect. Will diffently make again evdn for entertaining.

      1. Did you use sweetened cranberries, like craisins or unsweetened cranberries because can’t seem to find unsweeten cranberries

        1. Katerina - Diethood
          Katerina Petrovska

          I have used both, dried unsweetened, and dried sweetened. My sweet tooth’s vote was for the sweetened (craisins). 😁

  4. Yes, they look so delicious, but the dough didn’t hold it’s shape like in the picture. Look more like a flower instead of a pinwheel! I even put the log in the freezer for 15 minutes for easy slicing. Can you tell me what went wrong?

  5. I made these yesterday and they were sooo good! I didn’t use all of the butter (bad me) so as I was cutting them, they were unrolling a bit.
    Also, I cut mine straight down, not sawing it, and that worked much better.
    I’ll be making this recipe again.
    Val

      1. Can’t wait to make these. I’ve read some of the comments about freezing for a while for easy cutting. Also to add cheeses, I think chocolate would be nice also. Maybe tomorrow I’ll make them.

    1. I wish I could attach a picture of how bad these turned out. They completely fell apart while baking and were not salvageable. I 100% followed the directions and was incredibly disappointed. I was so excited to make these, but it was a disaster.

      1. Liz,

        So dis mine. Glad I tried them ahead of my party!
        😔
        Linda🦋
        Maybe I will chill them Before cooking next time.

    2. Avatar photo
      Hara N Maderich

      I spread softened cream cheese instead of butter, sprinkled some sugar on the tops and used dental floss to cut them. Perfection!

      1. Totally making this! If you use the hazelnut, choc chip and apricot combo – would you skip sugar and honey? Would it be too sweet?

        1. Katerina - Diethood
          Katerina Petrovska

          Hi!
          I’d still use the honey 😃but not as much – use just enough to have it all stick together.

          1. Avatar photo
            Elaine Clemmons

            I gently press the mixture into the dough before rolling up. I helps the rolling go easier and helps keep them from falling apart. I have a question though. If you only get tan half inch slices from each square, are you making a 5″ square?

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