These orange rolls, are soft, tender, and fluffy sweet rolls, with both orange juice and zest throughout, in the dough, filling, and icing on top making them so fresh and citrusy!
Growing up we often had Pillsbury cinnamon rolls or orange rolls for breakfast every Sunday morning. It was a special and delicious (and easy) breakfast, and I loved it. These orange sweet rolls take a bit longer to make then those canned cinnamon rolls (about 2.5 hours in total) but the results are well worth it.
These orange rolls, are so tender, soft, and fluffy and bursting with a delicious orange flavor in every bite.
The orange rolls have orange juice or orange zest in every part of them. The sweet roll dough has orange juice, and orange zest. The filling of the rolls has orange zest. And the icing has orange juice and zest in them
How to make Orange Rolls?
You’ll start by making your sweet roll dough. I like using a stand mixer to do all the work for me, but you can mix it by hand too (You’ll just need some arm muscles 😉 ). Mix together the yeast with the warm milk, and let it sit for a couple minutes. Add in the orange juice, orange zest, sugar, butter, and eggs.
Then add in the flour and salt. Just add 3.5 cups of flour to start, and add more a couple tablespoons at a time as needed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Then knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover that with a towel. Place it in a warm place and let it rise till doubled in size, about an hour, but it may take longer if it’s cold in your kitchen. (You can check if it’s done by poking a finger into the dough, you want it to slightly spring back, slowly, and leave a slight indent in the dough – if it springs back all the way it’s not done yet)
Once the dough is risen, roll it out into a rectangle shaped piece, about 14×20 in size. Spread softened butter evenly over the top of the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon, sugar and orange zest mixture over the dough. Then roll it up into a long roll.
I like to cut about an inch of the edges of my rolls, because those are always smaller. Discard them, or do what you want with them. Then from the remaining roll, cut out 12 even roll slices. Place them into a greased 9×13 baking pan, and cover the pan with a towel. Preheat the oven and let the rolls rise a bit for 20-30 minutes while the oven preheats.
Bake the rolls until the tops are nicely light golden brown, and the rolls are cooked through. Then let the pan cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Make the icing by combing all the ingredients. Spread the icing evenly over the rolls and enjoy!
Can I make Orange Rolls in Advanced?
Prepare the cinnamon rolls through step 6 of making the Orange Filling, where you have rolled up the rolls, cut them out and placed them in the pan. Instead of letting them rise additionally right away, place the pan in the fridge. Then the next morning let the rolls come to room temperature, then rise for about 20 minutes until doubled in size in the pan. Then bake as directed before in step 8.
How to store Orange Rolls?
Cover the pan and store any leftover orange rolls at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. Zap them in the microwave for a few seconds to get them warm again if desired.
Can I freeze orange rolls?
The baked orange rolls can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. Freeze them in a freezer safe bag, or covered tightly with foil. Thaw them overnight in the fridge, and warm in the microwave before enjoying. Freeze the baked rolls separate from the icing. Top the warmed rolls with icing when you’re ready to serve them.
Tips for making Orange Rolls:
- I like to use my stand mixer to make these rolls, but if you don’t have one you can use a hand mixer, or mix the dough by hand. You’ll just need to knead the dough for 5 minutes with your hands after mixing, so it may be a bit of a workout on your hands and arms if you’re going that route.
- The amount of flour you use for this can change a bit depending on how you measure, and even how much humidity is in the air. It’s best to go by how the dough feels. You want it soft and workable, and a bit sticky, but not too sticky that it sticks to your hands, or the side of the bowl as you mix it.
- I like the flavor of the orange and cinnamon together in my orange roll filling. You can leave the cinnamon out if you want, but the orange/cinnamon combination makes these super delicious, and super Christmassy.
- If the top of your rolls start to get too dark as they bake, but the middle isn’t yet finished – you can cover the pan loosely with foil to keep the tops from getting darker, but keep the middles cooking.
- You can skip adding the orange zest to your icing if you prefer a smooth icing texture, and look, though it does add an extra orangey flavor to the icing.
These Orange Rolls are perfectly soft and fluffy sweet rolls, they’re like a traditional cinnamon roll with a citrussy orange twist, and are so fresh and delicious.
They’re so good to eat any time of the year, but especially delicious for Christmas morning!
More Sweet Roll Recipes:
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Berry Sweet Rolls
- Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls
- Pecan Sticky Buns
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Orange Sweet Rolls
For the Dough:
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (active, or instant - 1 package of yeast)
- 1/2 cup milk (warm)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- zest from 1 orange
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter (softened)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 3/4 cups flour
For the Orange Filling:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- zest from 1/2 orange
For the Orange Icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 TBS orange juice
- zest from 1/2 orange
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Dissolve the yeast in a large bowl with warm milk. Mix together and then allow to rest for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the orange juice, zest, sugar, butter, and eggs. Stir until combined.
- Add in the flour (start with 3 1/2 cups of flour) and salt, and mix it together, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (The dough should still be soft, but not too sticky that it sticks to the bowl or your hands). Add a bit more flour if necessary to get the right consistency.
- Once the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl on its own, knead it for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a new greased bowl, or grease the bowl you have been using. Cover it with a towel, and let the dough rest to rise until it has doubled in size. About 1 hour.
- Lightly flour the counter top and roll out the dough until it is about 14x20 inch rectangle.
For the Orange Filling:
- Spread butter evenly over the rolled out dough
- In a small bowl combine cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar and orange zest.
- Sprinkle the orange sugar mixture over the surface of the dough, covering evenly.
- Carefully roll the dough on top of itself. Roll from the long top edge to the long bottom edge.
- Cut the long roll into 12 even sized slices, about 1 1/2 inches each. Use a sharp knife or thread or unflavored floss to cut the slices evenly. (I often cut about 1 inch of each edge of the roll off since those pieces are usually not as big of rolls, then cut my 12 even slices after that)
- Place the rolls in to a greased 9x13 baking sheet.
- Cover the pan with a towel and let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nearly doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit, while they are rising a bit more
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are just lightly golden brown, and the rolls are cooked throughout. (If the tops start to get too dark before the rolls are baked through, tent the top of the pan with foil)
- Allow the rolls to cool slightly, about 10 minutes, before frosting.
For the Orange Icing:
- Combine the icing ingredients in medium sized bowl, add more powdered sugar or more orange juice until frosting reaches desired consistency.
- Apply frosting generously to the top of your rolls.
- Serve rolls immediately, while still warm, or cool and store them till needed.
These orange sweet rolls were first posted on March 5, 2013. The photos and text were updated for clarity on December 20, 2020.