These Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies loaded with walnuts are a big hit every Christmas, consistently topping the list of most requested recipes! They’re made with a buttery pie dough that’s filled with a sweet and tangy mix of cranberries and walnuts, then finished with a drizzle of honey. Easy and fun to make, they’re even better to eat!
Christmas Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies Recipe
Hey cookie lovers! We’re taking a slight and sweet detour today, straight to the land of cranberries and crunchy walnuts. Welcome to the world of Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies – your new favorite treat that’s as easy to make as it is delicious! This is one very impressive, and also very easy-to-make holiday dessert. An amazing 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! I don’t have many occasions to repeat recipes and yet, by popular demand, I find myself making these Christmasy pinwheel cookies every year. Full of sweet and tangy cranberries and crunchy walnuts, drizzled with honey for good measure, they are basically the definition of holiday flavors – and our family can’t get enough!
Why We Love These Pinwheel Cookies
- Easy to Prep: They are as simple to make as they are delicious – no need for intricate steps or complicated ingredients.
- Tasty: The contrast of crunchy nuts and soft, chewy dough is one amazing combo of textures and flavors!
- Kid-Friendly: My kids love making these with them, and of course, eating them.
- Festive: The mix of cranberries and walnuts captures the holiday spirit.
- Pretty: The cookies’ beautiful spiral and vibrant colors make them a visual feast.
Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies Ingredients
- 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 Pinwheel Cookies
My Cranberry 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! 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 nuts of your choice.
How to Store Homemade Cookies
- Pinwheel cookies can be stored up to 1 week in an airtight container or resealable bag at room temperature.
- 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 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 Pinwheel Cookies
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts, I use Pillsbury Pie Crust
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the cranberries, walnuts, sugar, and orange zest in a mixing bowl; mix until thoroughly combined.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into two squares. Generously brush the pie dough with the melted butter.
- Spread the cranberry filling over the top of the pie dough. Do not overfill – that will make it harder to roll and cut.
- Roll each pie dough into a log and pinch the edges to seal.
- Combine the egg and water in a small bowl and beat until well blended. Brush the logs with the egg mixture.
- Carefully cut each log into 10 slices. 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.
- Remove from the oven; place the pinwheel cookies on a cooling rack and drizzle a teaspoon or more of the honey over each pinwheel.
- Let cool before serving.
- Cutting the Dough: If the dough gets too soft, chill the logs in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
- Filling: Use just enough filling to cover the dough evenly; roll tightly to eliminate gaps.
- Slicing Size: Keep slices at about ½ inch or slightly bigger to prevent the crusts from unraveling during baking.
- Mix It Up with other fillings, jams, preserves, or a mix of different nuts.
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.