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Orange Rolls are tender, fluffy, and topped with a cream cheese icing. Similar to cinnamon rolls but loaded with fresh orange flavor. They’re the perfect addition to any breakfast or brunch. You can even prepare them the night before and bake in the morning.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- Fluffy and Tender – The easy yeasted dough gives super fluffy results!
- Orange Flavor – Using both orange zest and juice adds the best fresh orange flavor.
- Cream Cheese Glaze – As if the orange sweet rolls aren’t amazing enough on their own, they are smothered in a cream cheese icing too!
Ingredients For Orange Rolls
The ingredient list is loaded with pantry staples, but the key is to use fresh oranges for the zest and juice to get the best flavor!
- Salted Butter – For the dough, filling, and icing. Feel free to use unsalted, but salted is fine here.
- Instant Yeast – Unlike regular yeast, instant yeast doesn’t have to be “bloomed” so it’s a nice little time saver.
- Orange Zest and Orange Juice – Fresh squeezed is best! First zest your orange, then juice it.
- Lukewarm Water – Use tap water on the hot setting, and let it sit for a moment before adding. If you have a digital thermometer, you can stick it in the water and watch for it to register around 105℉.
- Ground Cinnamon – These are modeled after Cinnamon Rolls after all, and the cinnamon is a nice spicy balance to the sweetness.
- Cream Cheese – Make sure it’s softened to room temperature for the icing. Cream cheese icing isn’t quite as sweet, and it’s nice and rich. I love it with the orange flavor of these rolls.
- Other Ingredients – Sugar, salt, egg, flour, powdered sugar.
How To Make Orange Sweet Rolls
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
The best thing about making orange cinnamon rolls is that you can prep them the night before and then bake in the morning.
Mix Dough – Switch to the dough hook and add in yeast, orange juice, water, and orange zest. Mix until combined and make sure to scrape the bowl as needed. Mix until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft and tacky, but not sticky.
First Dough Rise – Transfer the dough ball to a lightly oiled ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
Assemble Rolls – Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish and mix together the filling in a small bowl. Punch down the dough and roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread softened butter, then press the sugar mixture into the butter and roll up the dough (starting at the long edge).
Slice Roll Into Pieces – Once rolled up, slice into 12 slices and place in the baking dish. Instead of using a knife, I use unflavored dental floss to easily slice through – it’s easier than cutting with a knife!
Second Dough Rise – Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place for another 30-45 minutes until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
Bake Rolls – Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes until just starting to turn light brown.
Icing – Beat the icing ingredients together until fluffy, adding 1 -2 tablespoons of orange juice until you get a nice consistency. Let the rolls cool for about 30 minutes, then spread on the frosting. Garnish with orange zest if desired (it looks really pretty and gives people an idea of the flavor).
A sweet roll is a sweet, yeast-leavened baked good. There are many varieties of sweet rolls with different flavors and toppings. The dough for sweet rolls has higher levels of sugar and fat vs. bread dough.
Sweet rolls, like orange or cinnamon rolls, should be baked at a medium temperature, usually around 350℉. If the oven is too hot then the rolls can brown too quickly before they are fully baked on the inside.
- Make Ahead – Make the rolls through step 4, but instead of letting them rise on the counter, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight, or for up to 18 hours. Set out on the counter for about an hour to bring to room temperature, then continue with steps 5 and 6.
- Storage – Store leftovers in a covered container on the counter for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to a week.
- Freezing – Rolls can be baked and then frozen without the icing for up to 3 months. Just defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating and frosting.
- Reheating – You can reheat them in a 350℉ oven for 5-10 minutes to warm.
- String to Cut Rolls – Use floss or string to easily and evenly cut the rolls. Pass the string under the log of dough, stop where you want to cut, and then bring the ends together and cross them, pulling the string tight. Make sure to use unflavored floss.
- Room Temperature Butter and Cream Cheese – It’s important to use both room temperature butter and cream cheese when making the icing. I recommend letting them soften by sitting out at room temperature. If you use the microwave, be sure to only microwave in small increments of time so you don’t melt them.
- Smaller Batch – If you don’t need the full 9×13 inch pan of rolls, you can halve the recipe and use an 8×8 inch pan.
More Sweet Breakfast Recipes
- Cranberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
- Baked Strawberry Doughnuts
- Pumpkin Waffles
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Cranberry Coffee Cake
Orange Sweet Rolls
For the dough:
- ½ cup salted butter softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg room temperature
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour add additional flour as needed
- 1 package instant yeast (2 ¼ teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup water 100-110℉
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the icing:
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 – 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream (beat) the butter, sugar and salt together until fluffy. Mix in the egg, scraping sides of bowl with silicone spatula.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add in 2 cups of flour, the yeast, orange juice, water, and 1 tablespoon of zest. Mix until combined, scraping bowl as needed.
- Gradually add in 1 ½ cups flour until a soft dough forms, scraping bowl as needed. Mix on medium for 5 minutes, or hand knead on floured surface for 5 minutes, adding in remaining flour if needed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth and elastic. You want the dough to be soft and tacky, but not sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, orange zest and cinnamon for the filling. Set aside.
- Punch down the dough and roll into a roughly 10-inchx16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the 3 tablespoons of softened butter evenly, edge to edge. Cover with an even layer of the sugar mixture, leaving a half-inch edge on one long side. Press sugar mixture into the butter.
- Starting at the long edge with the sugar, start rolling up the dough tightly into a log toward the edge with no sugar. Slice off a ½ inch from each end and discard. Then cut the log into 12 even slices using unflavored dental floss, or a serrated knife. Place rolls cut sides up in the prepared baking dish.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let them rise in a warm place for another 30-45 minutes until puffy. While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 350℉.
- Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes until just starting to turn light brown. Cool for 30 minutes and frost. Enjoy.
- Make frosting by beating together the softened cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla, adding 1 -2 tablespoons of orange juice until you get a nice frosting consistency, set aside.
- Use unflavored dental floss or baking twine to easily and evenly cut the rolls. Pass the string under the log of dough, stop where you want to cut, and then bring the ends together and cross them, pulling the string tight.
- Make Ahead – Prepare up to step 9, and place the covered baking dish in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 18 hours. Set out on the counter for about an hour before you want to bake them, then continue as directed.
- Baked orange rolls will stay fresh for a couple of days in a covered container on the counter. Or you can refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Fully baked rolls can be frozen without icing for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight then bake at 350℉ for 10 minutes to warm them. Top with frosting.