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The BEST Orange Sweet Rolls

The BEST orange sweet rolls topped with a delicious orange buttercream frosting. Super soft, fluffy, and full of fresh orange flavor. This recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch!

Orange rolls on a pan.
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Frosted Orange Yeast Rolls

While I love traditional cinnamon rolls and this easier cinnamon roll casserole, I have to say that these homemade orange rolls are currently my favorite! The fresh orange juice and zest add the perfect flavor and the rich orange buttercream really takes them over the top. I seriously can’t get enough!

Orange sweet rolls are a beloved Christmas tradition. My mom serves them every year for breakfast and we all go crazy over them. They are the perfect Christmas treat. Let’s not even get started on the orange buttercream frosting. I could eat that straight from the bowl!

It took me about 3 tries to get this recipe perfected and I finally nailed it. They are soft, and fluffy and taste as if they came straight from a bakery! The orange frosting is filled with amazing orange flavor and makes these sweet rolls PERFECT! I cannot wait to make them again and again. I served these bad boys up and they were gone within minutes!

Sweet Orange Rolls Ingredients

These sweet rolls are special to make with pantry staple ingredients. It is an easy way to make orange rolls that are light and fluffy. Everyone will be raving about these homemade rolls!

Three oranges sitting on a counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Warm water: You need your water at 110 degrees Fahrenheit to help activate the yeast.
  • Active dry yeast: This will help create the dough and encourage it to rise quickly.
  • Sugar: Added in for sweetness!
  • Butter: Melt or use softened butter ahead of time to moisten the dough.
  • Warm milk: Makes the dough rich and full of flavor!
  • Egg: Binds the ingredients together and gives the structure of the roll.
  • Salt: This adds flavor and gives the dough an extra boost.
  • Flour: The base of the dough that gives texture. You will also use this for a lightly floured surface when rolling out the dough.

How to Make Orange Rolls

Create the best orange cinnamon rolls with these step-by-step instructions. First proof the yeast, let it rise, roll it out, and slice it into round rolls. It is a simple process that makes for a special breakfast or treats!

The process of making orange rolls in a six step photo collage.
  • Proof the yeast. Add warm water, yeast, and sugar to a small bowl and let sit until bubbly.
  • Mix and knead. Whisk together butter, milk, sugar, egg, and salt in a large bowl, then add in the yeast mixture and stir. Add 2 cups of flour and stir until smooth. Then add the remaining flour (1/2 cup at a time). Knead for 5 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is still too sticky.
  • Let rise. Once the dough is soft, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot. Allow doubling in size.
  • Roll. Mix together filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. When the dough has doubled, roll it out on a floured surface and form a 15×20″ rectangle. Then use your silicone brush to spread the filling. Roll the dough up horizontally and then cut into 1-inch pieces with dental floss (slide floss under the dough and then pull it up).
  • Rise again. Butter a large sheet pan and then place the rolls on the pan, about 1 inch apart. Let rolls sit for another hour or until rolls have doubled in size.
  • Bake. Bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Once cooled, top with orange frosting.

Orange Buttercream Frosting

This orange buttercream is what dreams are made of. The orange extract adds the perfect amount of flavor and the orange zest makes these rolls PERFECT! You could also use a classic cinnamon roll frosting (with cream cheese) if you prefer. Both taste delicious, although the orange frosting is my favorite!

  1. Add. Place all the frosting ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Beat. Mix together until fluffy. To reach desired consistency, add more milk or powdered sugar if needed.
  3. Spread. Using a spatula frost on top of cooled rolls with a spatula. The more frosting, the better!

Alternatively, you can make an orange glaze instead. Simply whisk together the following ingredients: 2 cups powdered sugar, juice from 1 orange, and 1-2 Tablespoons milk.

Orange rolls frosted and on a pan.

Baking Tips

Here are some helpful tips to help make these sweet rolls even better! Take these ideas to help with yeast and your dough consistency, and even learn about the rising hack too. These are great ways while you are baking!

  • Yeast. I use a 1/4-ounce packet of active dry yeast. You could also just measure about 2 1/4 teaspoons from a jar. Make sure it’s fresh and hasn’t expired, or else it won’t get nice and foamy/bubbly like it should when you proof the yeast.
  • Dough consistency. Once the dough has reached a consistency that is too hard to stir, I knead it with my hands for about 5 minutes. You want the dough to be soft but not too sticky. Almost like playdough, but not quite as hard. Add a little flour at a time until you get the right consistency!
  • Rising hack. If the dough isn’t rising, I like to turn my oven to 200°F and add a small pan of water to the oven rack. Once it preheats, then I turn it off and set my dough bowl in the oven to finish rising.
Orange rolls on a baking sheet.

Recipe FAQs

Are orange rolls the same as cinnamon rolls?

They are both similar to each other. An orange roll has an orange-infused flavor whereas cinnamon rolls are more cinnamon and sugar combined with a cream cheese frosting. Both are sweet and savory desserts or breakfasts!

Where did orange rolls come from?

Orange rolls were baked by a home baker from Homewood which is a suburb of Birmingham. She developed her own recipe for sweet rolls in 1979 and would serve them at her garden club potluck.

Where did sweet rolls come from?

Sweet rolls have been around since ancient times. They are not new recipes. They are thought to have originated in Sweden. They are usually made around October 4th as a national holiday in some countries.

Up close photo of an orange roll.

Make Ahead + Freezing

These sweet orange rolls are perfect for freezing, making ahead, or storing leftovers. They are always a favorite during holidays, as breakfast Saturday morning, or a sweet treat after dinner.

  • Making the night before: You can make these up to 12 hours in advance. Simply roll them out and place them on a baking sheet. Let sit for 30 minutes to rise and then cover tightly with foil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Refrigerate overnight. Then in the morning, remove from the fridge and let rise for about 1-2 hours before baking. Then bake as directed.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the rolls after they have been baked and cooled. Simply place in a freezer container, then set out to thaw overnight. You can also freeze the rolled dough. Simply place the rolls on the baking sheet and then cover them tightly with foil. Then freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, allow to thaw to room temperature and rise for about 4 to 5 hours. I usually let them rise in the oven for the last hour. Once they have risen, bake according to directions.

5 star review

These are fabulous! I prepared these exactly as directed but only par-baked them (like brown & serve rolls), gathered up the orange buttercream frosting ingredients and took them the next morning to my son’s home in NY for Christmas Day brunch. I popped them in their oven to finish baking and then mixed the buttercream and frosted them. They were warm and oozing with deliciousness! Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

– Andrea

Love the taste of orange? Then try these orange muffins, glazed orange scones and serve them with a glass of Orange Julius!

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orange rolls

Orange Sweet Rolls

5 from 27 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
The BEST orange sweet rolls topped with a delicious orange buttercream frosting. Super soft, fluffy and full of fresh orange flavor. This recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch!
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rise: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12

Video

Ingredients 

For the Dough:

  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ ounce package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (more or less as needed)

For the Filling:

  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the Frosting:

  • ½ cup salted butter (softened)
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • zest from one orange
  • 1-2 teaspoons orange extract (taste as you add; or can use orange juice)
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add warm water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes until bubbly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together butter, milk, sugar, egg and salt. Add yeast mixture when ready and stir until combined. Add two cups of flour and stir until smooth. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more flour. 
  • Once dough is nice and soft, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm spot. 
  • Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll out on a floured surface. You want to form a rectangle approximately 15×20 inches. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Mix together filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Spread filling onto the dough with a brush and then roll the dough up horizontally. I did not use all of the filling.
  • Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces with floss or a large knife. Place dough rolls onto a buttered baking dish, about 1 inch apart. Let rolls sit for another hour or until rolls have doubled in size.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Beat together the frosting ingredients in a large bowl and then spread on top of the rolls. You can add more milk or powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency. Then spread over top and enjoy!

Notes

Rising tip: Turn the oven to 200°F. Then turn off the oven and let the dough rise in the oven. 
Making the night before: You can make these up to 12 hours ahead of time. Simply roll them out and place on a baking sheet. Let sit for 30 minutes to rise and then cover tightly with foil that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Refrigerate overnight. Then in the morning remove from the fridge and let rise about 1-2 hours before baking. Then bake as directed.
Freezing sweet rolls: You can freeze the rolls after they have been baked and cooled. Simply place in a freezer container, then set out to thaw overnight. You can also freeze the rolled dough. Simply place the rolls on the baking sheet and then cover tightly with foil. Then freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to bake allow to thaw and rise for about 4 to 5 hours. I usually let them rise in the oven for the last hour. Once they have risen, bake according to directions. 
Orange glaze: Alternatively, you can make an orange glaze instead of frosting. Whisk together the following ingredients. 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk, more as needed

Nutrition

Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 755IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2.1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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