Cranberry Sauce Rolls: The Best Buns for Leftover Turkey

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Sneak Preview: These Cranberry Sauce Rolls are flavored with jellied cranberry sauce and dried cranberries. Perfect as slider buns for leftover turkey or ham.

Cranberry-Lemon Dinner Rolls --two pans

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Satisfy the tradition of having cranberries on your Thanksgiving menu with these delicious Cranberry Dinner Rolls. Or maybe Thanksgiving is over and you have some leftover Cranberry Sauce. It’s the only excuse you need to make these rolls.

Although this recipe is written to be mixed in a bread machine, don’t fret if you don’t have one. Directions for making these rolls by hand or with a stand mixer are in the notes at the end of the recipe.

Recipe Inspiration

Jellied cranberry sauce, the smooth and sweet kind you buy in a can from the grocery store, was a tradition in my husband’s family. He talks about it every Thanksgiving and likes to see it on our table.

His favorite part?

Admiring the little ring-like indentations left in the sauce by the shape of the can. For some mysterious reason, he is intrigued by the look of it.

When served, it must be sliced uniformly so that the slices fall over on each other like the New York City Rockettes when they dance to the Little Drummer Boy at Christmas.

Cranberry-Lemon Dinner Rolls split on a plate

Turns out this cranberry sauce does amazing things for dinner rolls. Adding dried and sweetened cranberries to the dough will intensify the flavor.

This bread machine recipe makes tasty slider buns for leftover turkey or ham sandwiches. Add cheese and/or mustard to your sandwich if you want to be like the “condiment family.” (That’s our nickname.)

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Leftover rolls are a breakfast treat with a little bit of jelly. Lemon curd is my favorite.

Cranberry-Lemon yeast rolls dough on floured board
The bread dough right after it has been removed from the bread machine after the DOUGH cycle completes.

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Ingredients and substitutions:

  • CRANBERRY SAUCE: Canned cranberry sauce is the easiest way to go. I’ve only tested this recipe with the smooth variety.
  • MILK: Whole milk is always best in bread because of the higher fat content. When I don’t have whole milk on hand, I substitute a tablespoon or two of cream for part of the milk.
  • EGG: All of my bread recipes are tested with “large” eggs. If you use a different size, don’t forget to adjust your other liquid.
  • SALT: It doesn’t matter so much the kind of salt you use (I prefer Kosher salt), but don’t leave it out.
  • BUTTER: Some people substitute hydrogenated shortening or margarine for the butter but I would find a different recipe if I didn’t have butter.
  • LEMONS: Fresh lemon rind gives the best flavor. Be careful not to grate into the white part of the lemon skin. The lemon flavor can be omitted if you like.
  • FLOUR: My first choice is all-purpose unbleached flour. Bread flour would also work but makes the rolls slightly chewier. All-purpose bleached flour will suffice if that’s all you have.
  • YEAST: Bread machine or instant yeast is the easiest option. If you only have active dry yeast, you must dissolve it first. Let is sit in the warm milk for about 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve. You should see bubbles start to develop. Add to the other ingredients.
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES: These are optional. Substitute raisins, dried cherries, or dates if you prefer.

Using a Bread Machine To Make Dinner Rolls:

If you are new to my blog, you may not know that I use my bread machine in a rather unorthodox way. I almost never use it to bake bread. The DOUGH cycle is my favorite way to mix, knead, and provide a warm place for the first rising of the dough.

If you are a bread machine beginner, be sure to read 6 Secrets for Bread Machine Beginners to get started on the right foot. For nearly all my bread recipes, you will only use the DOUGH cycle.

After the dough cycle completes and the dough has doubled its original size,  remove the dough to a floured surface. (If your kitchen is cold, the dough may need to sit in a warm place for a while longer to rise until it doubles.)

Video for “An Easy Way to Make Balls from Bread Dough:”

Looking for easy clean-up?

Use a silicone baking mat as your “surface” when shaping bread. When you’re done, clean-up is as easy as throwing the mat into the dishwasher.

formed dinner rolls in baking pan before rising

What is the best pan for baking yeast rolls?

Gold Teflon-coated cake pans are perfect for baking homemade dinner rolls. Mine came from Williams-Sonoma. They will help your rolls brown perfectly on the bottom.

If you don’t have any gold pans, at least use dark pans as opposed to light-colored pans for the best golden brown color on the rolls. If you don’t have two 8 or 9-inch cake pans, you could use a 9 x 13-inch pan instead. Avoid foil pans.

dinner rolls proofing while covered with a cheap shower cap

A trick for covering the rolls while they rise…

Use cheap shower caps (like the kind you get at a hotel) to cover your rolls while they rise just before baking. You could use a tea towel, but these caps are just the right size and hold in the moisture better. They’re light enough to stand up which gives the rolls plenty of room to grow without sticking to the plastic.

What would you like to read next?

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at Hope to see you again soon! Paula

Cranberry-Lemon Dinner Rolls (A Bread Machine Recipe) perfect for Thanksgiving

Cranberry Sauce Rolls–A Bread Machine Recipe

A light and fluffy dinner roll with lemon and cranberry flavors that go perfectly with turkey or ham; a delicious way to put cranberries on your Thanksgiving menu
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Bread
Servings 16 rolls


  • 1 cup jellied cranberry sauce - room temperature (296 gr)
  • ¼ cup whole milk or half and half - lukewarm (57 gr)
  • 1 egg - 50 gr
  • 1 teaspoon salt - 6 gr
  • ¼ cup butter - softened (57 gr)
  • Grated rind from two medium lemons
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour - 360 gr
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast - 6 gr
  • 1 cup dried cranberries - 130 gr


  • Add all ingredients to the bread machine pan in the order given.
  • Select the DOUGH cycle and push the start button.
  • Check the dough at least twice during the mixing and kneading phase by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Look again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. For most recipes, the dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When the machine beeps to indicate the best time for additions, add dried cranberries to the dough.
  • When the dough cycle completes, remove dough from the bread machine and place it on a floured surface. (I prefer to use a silicone baking mat so I can throw it into the dishwasher when I’m done.)
  • Divide dough into two equal pieces. Then divide each of those dough balls into 8 equal-sized portions and shape them into balls.
  • Place balls into two 8-inch cake pans as pictured above.
  • Cover rolls with a tea towel or shower caps and let rolls rise for approximately 45 minutes or until almost double in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • Bake rolls approximately 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.
  • After removing rolls from the oven, let them sit in the pan for about 5-8 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. If you leave the hot rolls in the pan, they will become soggy on the bottom.



  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. This will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast. Dissolving it first is optional. It tends to rise slower in the beginning but will catch up eventually.


Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Sauce Rolls–A Bread Machine Recipe
Serving Size
1 roll
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipecranberry saucedinner rollsholidayThanksgiving leftoversyeast bread
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Recipe Rating


  1. Paula, it is the same at my house. My husband and son love this canned cranberry sauce, but I never ate it again after making my first batch of homemade cranberry sauce. So easy, and so much better. So this is timely. If there are leftovers, I will definitely make these buns, or maybe I will just buy some for that purpose. Thanks!

    1. Becky,
      I couldn’t agree more about homemade cranberry sauce. However, I would prefer to eat the requisite cranberries in these rolls. 😉

  2. Beth Pope says:

    Ok – these sound so yummy-I will figure out how to make them without a bread machine. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    Beth P

    1. Hey Beth,

      Great to hear from you. Do you have a Kitchen Aid mixer? If so, just dump all the ingredients into the bowl in the order listed. Use the dough hook. Turn on slowly at first to mix things up. Turn up the speed a bit and knead for several minutes. This is where you will have to use your experience to know when it has been kneaded long enough. If too dry and dough thumps around like a heavy ball, add liquid–1 tablespoon at a time. If dough is too wet, and it won’t turn into a ball after 10 minutes of kneading but looks very sticky, add flour–1 tablespoon at a time. The goal is for the to dough stick to the side, then pull away. When sufficiently kneaded and dough is elastic, cover dough and set in a warm place to double in size. Follow the directions I give for the bread machine from there. The cool thing with a bread machine is that you can dump the ingredients in the machine and walk away once you are satisfied the moisture is right. When you come back and dough cycle is finished, it is time to make into rolls. So easy, especially for beginners.

      Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving with all your grands!

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe. We loved it!

  4. carol green says:

    I made these in a stand mixer + they are delish! Thank you.

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for coming back to say so. Even though I spend a lot of time talking about bread machines, stand mixers can do the same job just as well.