The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls

The BEST Glazed Orange Rolls — These homemade orange rolls are filled with a buttery orange filling and are topped with a simple orange glaze. They can be prepped the night before, if needed. 

Glazed Orange Rolls in baking dish

Sweet Orange Rolls Recipe

These orange rolls have been on my mental to-make list for over two years. I finally made them, and they were so worth the wait. They’re the best sweet rolls I’ve ever had or made.

I wanted to make sure to get the dough just right. Buttery, soft, light, and fluffy is the only kind of sweet roll I want, and these deliver.

I used my favorite cinnamon roll dough as the jumping off place, but downsized the recipe between 25 to 33 percent. I wanted a slightly smaller batch because honestly the smaller the batch of fatty, fluffy, frosted carbs just laying around, the better. I also cut the rolls smaller, making 20 in a 9×13-inch pan rather than the standard 12, for some built-in portion control. Unless you go back for seconds or thirds. That may have happened.

The dough is buttermilk-based, and although I’ve made non-buttermilk sweet rolls before, for the softest, lightest, and most tender rolls, I swear by buttermilk. Between the eggs, butter, and buttermilk, the dough rises beautifully and it’s my new favorite dough base.

Glazed Orange Roll on white plate

For the filling I used storebought orange marmalade, but if you have homemade, even better. I love the tiny bits of orange rind that are almost imperceptible in the finished rolls, but there’s just enough to add subtle texture.

The glaze is an orange juice-based confectioners’ sugar glaze, with orange zest stirred in for an extra pop of orange flavor. I also made the glaze using lemon juice when I was testing the recipe and if you’re a lemon fan, it’s a fun twist. The glaze is poured on as soon as the rolls come out of the oven. It soaks into the nooks and crannies and adds more moisture and softness to the already moist, soft orange cinnamon rolls.

Some glaze will drip through onto the bottom of the baking pan, so make sure to spoon it up and don’t waste of drop of that liquid gold.

These orange rolls are so soft, moist, tender, wonderfully sweet, and just irresistibly good. They’re one of the best things that has ever come out of my kitchen. Try them and you’ll be a believer, too. I promise. People here may have fought over who got the last one.

pan of Glazed Orange Cinnamon Rolls

What’s in These Orange Rolls? 

To make this orange cinnamon roll recipe, you’ll need: 

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Instant or dry yeast
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs

For the orange filling, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Orange marmelade 
  • Light brown sugar

And for the orange glaze, you’ll need: 

  • Orange juice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Salt 
  • Milk or cream
  • Orange zest 

pouring glaze over pan of orange rolls

How to Make Orange Rolls

To make this sweet roll recipe, you first need to make the yeast dough. Once the dough comes together, let it rise for roughly 2 hours in a greased bowl, or until it’s doubled in size. 

One the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a large rectangle. Spread the butter evenly over the dough, followed by the orange marmalade and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Gently roll up the orange roll dough and slice it into 20 even pieces. 

Place the orange rolls into your prepared baking pan and let them rise for another hour, or until doubled in size. Once risen, bake the orange cinnamon rolls until they’re golden on top. 

As soon as the orange rolls come out of the oven, whisk together the orange glaze and evenly drizzle it over the rolls. These beauties are best enjoyed immediately. 

pan of Glazed Orange Rolls

Can I Prep These Sweet Rolls the Night Before? 

Yes, there’s an option to make the orange cinnamon rolls as overnight rolls. Start the dough at night, roll and shape it, and don’t let the dough rise. Then refrigerate the coiled rolls until you’re ready to bake the next morning. Before baking, let the rolls rise at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

This way you don’t have to get up at 5am to have these ready with your first cup of coffee! 

Can I Freeze Orange Rolls? 

Yes, these sweet rolls can be made and baked to completion, and then frozen for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat the frozen rolls, set them on your counter to thaw and glaze them immediately prior to serving.

If you want to make these orange rolls in bulk in advance, I recommend baking these from start to finish and then freezing, rather than trying to freeze unbaked dough.

 

Glazed Orange cinnamon Roll on white plate

Tips for Making Orange Rolls From Scratch

Because this is more of a special occasion breakfast, I recommend buying the exact ingredients I call for in the recipe and not making any substitutions. Real buttermilk makes a big difference in these orange rolls, as does real butter and sugar. 

When slicing the orange cinnamon rolls, I highly suggest using dental floss instead of a knife to do the job. Floss doesn’t compress the rolls like a knife does, and it makes the process go more smoothly. 

And if you have leftover orange rolls, you’ll want to keep them on your counter. If you store these in the fridge, they’ll dry out quickly. 

The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls - The softest, lightest, and most irresistible rolls ever! Try them and you'll be a believer, too!

The Best Glazed Orange Rolls

The Best Glazed Orange Rolls

These homemade orange rolls are filled with a buttery orange filling and are topped with a simple orange glaze. They can be prepped the night before, if needed. 

Yield: 20 rolls
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rise Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
  • pinch salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked

Filling

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick), very soft – let it sit out while dough rises
  • about 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

Orange Glaze

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (orange extract may be substituted)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste (helps balance the sweetness)
  • about 3 tablespoons milk or cream, or as needed for consistency
  • 3 teaspoons orange zest, divided

Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or use a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon and your hands), add 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt; set aside.
  2. In 2-cup glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, and the butter and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Add buttermilk to melted butter and warm to temperature, about 45 seconds on high power in the microwave. (Based on the type of yeast used, milk temperatures will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for warmer temperatures than most, 120 to 130F; other brands and yeast call for much lower temperatures, about 95 to 105F. Heat the mixture according to manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is highly recommended, but if you’re not, make sure the milk is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don’t kill the yeast.) If the milk separates or gets a little funny looking after being warmed, whisk it to smooth it out.
  4. Add butter-buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, crack and lightly whisk the eggs, and then add eggs to mixing bowl.
  6. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to knead dough for about 5 to 7 minutes (about 7 to 10 minutes by hand using a wooden spoon and then switching to your hands). 3 cups of flour and 5 minutes is perfect for me, but if after 5 minutes your dough is very sloppy, wet, and won’t come together, add up to 1/4 cup flour, or as needed until it does come together. However, the more flour added, the denser and heavier the rolls will be; wetter dough is preferred to overly dry. If dough is dry or crumbly, drizzle in buttermilk until it comes together.
  7. Remove dough from the mixing bowl, spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl, and flip it over once so it’s lightly oiled on both top and bottom.
  8. Cover bowl with plasticwrap and place it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or doubled in size. I keep my bowl inside a powered-off oven that I preheated for 1 minute to 400F, then it’s powered off. Do not, repeat do not, keep the oven on. The pre-heated, warm oven creates a nice 85F-ish environment, ideal for yeast. If your rising spot is cold, rising will likely take longer than 2 1/2 hours.
  9. While dough rises, line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Roll Out the Dough & Fill

  1. After dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Turn dough out onto a Silpat or floured countertop.
  2. With a rolling pin, roll it out to about 26-by-13-inches. Use the 13-inch side of the 9-x13 pan to eyeball it, no need use a ruler.
  3. Using a knife, evenly spread butter over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch bare margin.
  4. Add about 3/4 cup marmalade, more as needed, and smooth it with a knife. It should be a thin-ish layer; too much and you risk it leaking, but not enough and the rolls aren’t orangey enough; use your judgment. The butter and marmalade get smeared together, which is okay.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the top, and lightly pat it down with your fingertips to help it adhere.

Slice the Dough

  1. Starting with a long edge (the 26-inch side), roll the dough into a tightly wound log, with the seam side down.
  2. Using a knife, make small hash marks so there will be 20 evenly sized rolls (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide; or make bigger rolls and yield 12 to 16). Hash marks create less guesswork once you start slicing and things get messier and harder to eyeball where to slice; the hash marks are nice place-markers.
  3. Use plain, unwaxed dental floss to slice the rolls. I highly recommend slicing the rolls with floss, not knives. Floss does not squish or compact the log like knives do.
  4. Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, 5 rows of 4 rolls across. Cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. (See note below)*

Bake the Orange Rolls

    1. Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and cooked through (ovens, dough, and climates vary and so will baking duration, but 1 to 2 minutes matters in this recipe). Watch rolls like a hawk and don’t overbake or they won’t taste nearly as good.

Make the Orange Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl, add the orange juice, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, optional salt, and whisk to combine; mixture will be thick.
  2. Drizzle in the milk as needed until mixture can be whisked smooth and is to desired consistency.
  3. Whisk in 2 teaspoons zest; set aside remainder.
  4. Evenly pour glaze over rolls.
  5. Evenly sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon zest.
  6. Serve immediately. Rolls are best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days; reheat in micro for about 5 seconds to re-soften or as desired. I am comfortable keeping glazed rolls at room temp and do not recommend storing them in the fridge because they will dry out.

Notes

*To make the orange rolls the night before: Don’t let rolls rise after they’ve been sliced and placed in covered pan. Place pan in refrigerator for up to 16 hours. Before baking, let the rolls rise at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour. Then move onto the section labeled "Bake the Orange Rolls."

To freeze these rolls: Rolls can be made and baked to completion, and then frozen for up to 6 months; unthaw and glaze immediately prior to serving. I recommend baking them from start to finish and then freezing, rather than trying to freeze unbaked dough, if you want to make in bulk in advance.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 42mg Sodium: 93mg Carbohydrates: 50g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 28g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g

More Cinnamon Roll Recipes: 

Overnight Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls — To date, these are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. They’re soft and fluffy and taste better than the kind you get at the mall.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bake — The cinnamon rolls have the soft and gooey factor of a Cinnabon but with rich pumpkin flavor and plenty of icing! 

Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze — Soft, glazed rolls filled with sweet strawberry jam! 

Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze averiecooks.com

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll Bake — This cinnamon roll recipe with apples and caramel sauce is easy, ready in 30 minutes, and you don’t even have to make scratch cinnamon roll dough.

1-Hour Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Make soft, light, fluffy cinnamon rolls from scratch in 1 hour! 

One-Hour Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting - It's possible to make soft, light, fluffy cinnamon rolls from scratch in 1 hour! Get the recipe at averiecooks.com

Nutella Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze – A can of crescent rolls never tasted so good as when they’re stuffed with Nutella and rolled up. Ready from start to finish in 15 minutes! 

The BEST Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls — These truly are the best pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Soft, light, fluffy and there’s just enough pumpkin flavor to notice, but not so much that it overwhelms the inherent beauty of classic cinnamon rolls.

130 comments on “The Best Glazed Orange Sweet Rolls”

  1. This looks really fantastic! I wish I could have that for lunch today…

  2. Cinnamon rolls are such a classic but I like seeing fruity variations–especially this time of year. The orange zest is such a nice touch. These look marvelous..and any fluffy frosted carb is dangerous here too!

    • I’m glad you can relate :) Paula, this is one of those total keeper recipes. I know you’ve made tons of my stuff over the years, if you ever have reason to make rolls, here you go!

  3. Man that glaze looks heavenly! I’ve never made homemade sweet rolls and I have to admit all the steps are off-putting to me, BUT I know it would be worth the effort. Someday I’ll tackle ’em. I think this would be a great recipe to try as I love orange-flavored sweets.

  4. Mmm. I haven’t tried any variations on traditional sweet rolls. That may have to change. :) I agree with you, I’ve tried them with and without buttermilk and with is better. If I’m going to the work of making them, I want them to be the best they can be!

  5. That glaze poured over the warm rolls looks glorious. I love orange marmalade it reminds me of my grandma who used to mix it with softened butter and make an orange butter for my toast when I visited..so great.

  6. Orange rolls have been on my baking to do list too and now they jumped the line. These look too good!

    I have been missing your comments on my blog. I hope you are doing well.

    • Doing great – I can hardly keep up with my own blog most days! :) I hope you get around to making orange rolls. I know you like citrus and I think you’ll be happy you tried them, whatever recipe you end up going with!

  7. These sound amazing! I love orange sweet rolls :-D

  8. Stunning! Just had some great Sweet Orange Jam, so there are a welcome treat!

  9. Oh wow. These just look heavenly! I’ve been really into orange lately, and I am just dying to try these!! Pinned :)

  10. I just made cinnamon rolls for next week but I never thought to use buttermilk. What a genius move. I so need to try that. I love what it does to pretty much everything else. And orange? I’m literally drooling. #citrusforever

    • I know you’re such a huge citrus lover. I could see you make lemon rolls one day LOL. And Dorothy, the buttermilk, it’s really a game changer. I have all kinds of roll recipes, on blog, books, etc and the dough base I always went back to was my Cinn Roll Dough base and now this one will be next, b/c it’s slightly a smaller batch and I’m all about that, as we’ve discussed :) Can’t wait to see your rolls!

  11. You’ve never made a cinnamon roll that didn’t look buttery, carby, and utterly gorgeous and delicious. This orange flavored version was totally worth the wait! The nice thing about serious food blogging is you will eventually get to most things on your list. Even if it takes two years! ;)

    • you will eventually get to most things on your list. Even if it takes two years! ;) <--- HOW TRUE that is. From orange rolls to creme brulee, one by one, I'm checking all those recipes off the list!

  12. Wish I had a pan of these for breakfast!!

  13. Wow this looks delicious! The orange is a wonderful break from the classic cinnamon rolls, and does seem lighter ^.^

  14. Gorgeous, Averie! I love your cinnamon roll recipe beyond words, so I can only imagine how delicious this orange twist on it is. It looks amazing.

  15. Love how fluffy and sweet these are! I need to make sweet rolls with the Platinum yeast. I love it in bread recipes and just know it’s going to make some amazing rolls! Pinned!

  16. Ermagaaaaawd Averie! These photos are absolutely luscious. So incredibly beautiful. I love the action shot where you’re pouring the glaze from the bowl. Heck, you can pour that glaze straight into my mouth cause it looks good enough to drink. I’m always collecting orange roll recipes but I haven’t gotten around to making any of them. These look so pillowy soft – your recipe has shot to the top of my must-bake list!

    • Thanks for the compliments and thanks for noticing that one-handed pour/camera shot – whew, wanted to make sure I captured that! You only have one chance with that one! And glad you can related to pouring glaze right down the hatchet- you and me both :)

  17. you have outdone yourself with these buns. so amazing! orange buns are a huge hit in my family.

  18. So gorgeous, I can practically taste these through the screen. Pinned!

  19. My mouth is watering. Seriously I almost cannot take it! I love that you built in “portion control” so that I feel less guilty about eating 6 {um strike that, I meant 2}
    Pinned! So fabulous!

  20. They look so yummy oh my God!

  21. Boy oh boy do those look like a tasty treat :) Great job!

  22. Averie, I’m pretty much salivating over here right now! I wish I could have one of these!!! They look so soft and fluffy and I love that they are not over baked. Pinned.

  23. Wow Averie! These look fantastic! Will have to try. I just love making sweet rolls at home.

  24. I love them already. I normally spread jelly on my sweet rolls while eating them. Never thought to add an orange glaze. Can’t wait to start on the next batch.

  25. And I found powdered buttermilk this morning at my new grocery store! Hooray!

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