These Best Ever Orange Sweet Rolls are insanely delicious, super simple and SO bright and zesty with fresh orange flavor! Such a fun and zippy twist on a sweet roll!
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and ate a ton of yummy food!
I definitely ate a ton of yummy food and had a great holiday season as well. Sad it is over, but now we’re moving on to what will hopefully be a better year for us all!
To kick things off, I had to publish this recipe ASAP because I got a LOT of requests for it in the last few months. Now, I have to admit – we did not have orange rolls growing up. I lived and breathed by cinnamon rolls exclusively and my family was the same. In fact, cinnamon rolls are my ultimate weakness to this day! But I was curious what the hype was about regarding orange rolls, and I am glad I investigated! These rolls are awesome!
Orange Rolls start like cinnamon rolls since they have the same type of soft, yeasted dough. You’ll make your dough – yeast, milk, butter, a little sugar, some salt, and flour – and let it proof and rise for a bit. Then the filling is where things branch off from typical cinnamon roll because we’re making these with granulated sugar and fresh orange zest.
The trick for this is to whisk the orange zest into the granulated sugar before you sprinkle it on the buttered yeast dough. This helps open up and release some of the oils in the orange zest which imparts amazing, fresh, citrusy flavor. It totally makes your sugar mixture even more citrusy and aromatic.
Roll it up, cut it into spirals, and let the spirals hang out and rise one last time before baking. This recipe can even be made overnight! For overnight rolls, simply make the rolls up until you’re ready for a second rise (and you’ve already cut them into spirals and placed the spirals into a greased pan. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let come to room temperature in the morning, then allow them time to rise a second time before baking. Depending on your kitchen’s climate, this could take at least 2 hours.
Bake up the rolls and prepare for your house to smell INCREDIBLE. Then, frost them with a simple orange-y cream cheese icing that consists of cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, orange juice and zest. Super simple and so bright and fresh! I love biting into the rolls and getting that zippy pop of caramelized sugar and orange zest.
Buttery, sugary, citrusy and sweet, these Best Ever Orange Sweet Rolls will soon become your family’s favorite, I promise!
Best Ever Incredible Orange Sweet Rolls
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 package) rapid rise yeast
- 1 cup warm whole milk about 110°-115°F
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4-6 cups all-purpose flour see Note, but may not need all the flour*
For the Filling:
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 Tbsp fresh orange zest from about 2-3 medium/large oranges
- 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
For the Icing:
- 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 2-3 Tbsp orange juice
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and the milk and whisk to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add in the sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, and 2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix with the dough hook attachment. Mixture will be very sticky. Gradually add in more flour, about 1/2 cup at a time and mixing on low speed until dough is ready. Dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl easily and springs back lightly when touched with minimal residue on your fingers. Mixture will not be super sticky. Remember, when making bread, the flour measurements are a suggestion because bread making differs from home to home and region to region. Note that you may need only 4 cups of flour while someone else may need the full 6. Work in 1/2 cup increments until the ideal dough has been achieved.
- Knead the dough by hand on a clean, flat work surface for 4 minutes, then place the dough ball into a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and orange zest for the filling, until fragrant and well combined. Set aside. Meanwhile, punch down the dough and turn it out onto a clean, flat work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Roll into a large rectangular shape - anywhere around 11x8 or 13x9 should work with the long side facing you.
- Spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough and top with the orange zest sugar mixture in an even layer. Starting with the longest side facing you, begin tightly rolling the dough away from you into a spiraled log. Pinch the ends to seal. Using a serrated knife or dental floss, cut off the ends and then cut the remaining log into 12 equal pieces. Place the spirals into a greased 13x9" baking dish. Cover with a dish towel and let rise once more for about 1 hour. Halfway through rising time, preheat your oven to 350° F. If making these the night before, cover with plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight. The morning you plan to serve, let the rolls come to room temperature on the counter (about 1 hour), then give them time to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour before baking.
- Bake the rolls for 18-22 minutes or until light golden brown and bubbly. While rolls bake, make your icing! In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, orange zest, orange juice and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and glossy. Spread the icing evenly over the rolls in the pan. Serve immediately.
I know you guys are going to become obsessed with these soft, chewy and fluffy rolls just like I am!
Have a super sweet day!
Veronica LaChance says
These are the BOMB! I let them rise, once rolled, for double the time. They came out perfectly fluffy.
I don’t know what happened here, but mine were hard as a rock and didn’t grow at all when proved! I’m wondering if the issue was with the yeast activation. I was having problems with the milk reaching the right temperature and it boiled over on my stove top several times. I’m so disappointed!
These rolls were Wonderful. Loved the ease of kneading and rolling out the dough. I’ve been making sweet/cinnamon rolls for over 40 years and these were probably the Best!
I made these yesterday. My initial reaction was ‘cinnamon buns are better’ but then they really grew on me and now I love them.
Plus your method of ‘slowly add flour until the dough acts right’ rather than just doing the measured amount may have just changed my life. I think I’m basically all the bread I’ve made before I’ve added too much flour. Thank you so much!