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Sweet Zesty Orange Rolls

7 Reviews

You are going to love how fluffy, soft and citrus-y these orange rolls are! Each bite is tender – like the fluffiest bakery roll you’ve ever tasted. Wonderful!

You all love your orange rolls! We get requests for them all the time, but I never know if people want more of an orange dinner roll or an orange sweet roll. So now we have all our bases covered!

This recipe is a sweet zesty orange roll, which is basically like a cinnamon roll but instead of cinnamon and sugar in the middle, we put all sorts of yummy tangy orange-y sweet goodness.

A pan of baked, glazed orange rolls. They are golden brown with an orange glaze filled with bits of orange zest.

We posted our orange roll recipe a few years ago and they are more like a dinner roll. They use our potato roll dough as the base which is the best dinner roll ever. The orange roll version is phenomenal!

So now you have a dinner roll version and this sweet roll version! You’re welcome!

If you want more sweet roll recipes, we have several options for you to try:

What Ingredients Do I Need for Orange Rolls?

This recipe is broken up into two ingredients lists. One is for the rolls and the other is for the filling and frosting. It starts with a basic yeast dough and ends with a sweet and tangy glaze you’ll be licking from your fingers.


  • Whole Milk (sometimes I scald it and sometimes I don’t depending on time, up to you)
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Yeast (instant)
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Flour

Filling and Frosting

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Butter
  • Orange Zest
  • Orange Juice
  • Vanilla
The recipe card below has all the measurements for the ingredients.
An orange roll on a white dessert plate. The roll is frosted with an orange glaze.

How to Make Orange Rolls

If you have made any sort of yeast bread before, then this will be nothing new. Here are the basic steps. You can find all the details below in the recipe card.

  • Activate the yeast in the milk with a little sugar.
  • Mix the proofed yeast mixture, sugar, butter, salt, egg and some flour in a stand mixer.
  • Add more flour until dough balls around the hook and doesn’t stick to the sides.
  • Let the dough rise until doubled.
  • Make the filling by beating all the ingredients together.
  • Once dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out into a rectangle.
  • Cover with half of the filling and roll the dough.
  • Cut the rolled dough into 1 1/2-inch slices.
  • Place them in a baking dish and let them rise until doubled.
  • Bake and then frost while they are still warm.
The orange rolls should be beautifully golden and the little flecks of orange zest in the frosting make the most beautiful orange glaze. Enjoy!!

An orange roll being lifted from a pan of freshly baked orange rolls. The rolls are frosted with an orange glaze.

Can These Rolls Be Made the Night Before?

This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. Follow the instructions up through step 6, but before letting them rise the second time, place them in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, pull them out and let them come to room temperature and rise the second time. Then bake them as directed.

How Do You Keep Orange Rolls Fresh?

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and store at room temperature. These rolls can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.

A baking pan filled with orange rolls ready to be baked. They are rolled like a cinnamon roll and have bits of orange zest.

Can You Freeze Orange Rolls?

You can freeze the rolls, baked but not frosted. When you are ready to eat them, you can thaw them and then warm them for just a few minutes in the oven, and ice them while warm.

You can also freeze the rolls completely iced and finished. Just allow them to cool and stick them in the freezer uncovered for a couple of hours. Then cover them with plastic wrap and foil.

Both methods will be good in the freezer for up to 1 month.

How Do You Reheat Orange Rolls?

Cover with foil and place rolls in a 400 degree oven.

Heat for 15 minutes, or reheat in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds.

If the rolls have been frozen, let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat as stated above.

A close up, top view of a pan of orange rolls. They are topped with orange frosting.

Does Sweet Bread Dough Have To Rise Twice?

In order to get the desired texture, bread dough should be given a second time to rise.

Are Orange Rolls Dessert?

These orange sweet rolls are a great breakfast, roll to eat with dinner, or dessert. I’m happy to eat them any time day or night!

What is the Difference Between Instant Yeast and Active Dry Yeast?

Active dry yeast and instant (or rapid-rise) yeast are the two most common yeasts available to us as home bakers.

The two yeasts can be used interchangeably in recipes, but active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using while instant yeast can be mixed right into the dough.

I almost always use instant yeast. For more information, check out our post all about yeast.

An orange roll on a white plate. The roll is soft and fluffy and frosted with an orange glaze with bits of orange zest.

Orange rolls are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Sunday brunch, Sunday dinner, or Wednesday dinner for that matter…okay, okay they are good any time of day, any day of the week and any time of year! They are so soft, fluffy, sweet and tangy!

More Sweet Breakfast Options:

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An orange roll being lifted from a pan of freshly baked orange rolls. The rolls are frosted with an orange glaze.

Orange Sweet Rolls

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12



  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast instant
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Egg large, whisked
  • 3-3 1/2 Cups Flour

Filling and Frosting

  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Zest finely grated
  • 4 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


  • Stir the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar into the milk. Allow to proof, or get bubbly for 5 minutes. In a mixer, add the remaining sugar, butter, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, mix until smooth. Switch attachment to the dough hook and add about 1 - 1 1/2 cups more flour. Knead for about 3 minutes or until it comes together around the dough hook. 
  • Place the dough in a bowl that has been greased with a little oil, then it flip over so both sides are oiled. Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Make the filling while the dough rises.
  • To make the filling, beat all ingredients together until creamy. Set aside.
  • Punch down dough. Remove the dough and roll into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread with half the orange filling.
  • Roll up the dough beginning at the wider side. Pinch to seal the seam. Using dental floss (or knife) cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch slices (12 rolls).
  • Place into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise till doubled, about 40 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Bake till golden, about 20-25 minutes. Frost with remaining filling while warm.


These rolls can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Nutrition Facts
Orange Sweet Rolls
Amount Per Serving (1 roll)
Calories 376 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 382mg17%
Potassium 104mg3%
Carbohydrates 66g22%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 37g41%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 331IU7%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 35mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A pan of baked, glazed orange rolls. They are golden brown with an orange glaze filled with bits of orange zest.


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Healthy Habits That Help Me!

About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • Made these twice and both times they were incredible. My only thing was they stuck to the pan. May use parchment next time. What do you think?

    • Reply
    • Hi Talia! Parchment would work great!

      • Reply
  • Can you make the dough ahead and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake?

    • Reply
    • Hi Kate! You can make the rolls (up through the middle of step 6) and then keep them in the refrigerator. Pull them out and let them do their second rise (which will take around an hour, maybe a little more) and then bake as stated in the instructions. Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • In my opinion the milk NEEDS to be scalded for the yeast to activate. I didn’t and it completely ruined the recipe. Mad that this was kind of a waste of time.

    • Reply
    • Hi Quinn! Scalding the milk is preferred but not absolutely necessary, especially if you are using instant yeast. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out for you!

      • Reply
  • What temperature should the milk be at when you add the yeast to it?

    • Reply
    • Hi Emily! Sometimes I scald the milk and sometimes I don’t just depending on how much time I have. If you scald it, then you want it around 180 degrees F. When I don’t scald the milk, I just pull it straight from the fridge. You could let it sit out for a half hour or so to come to room temperature. It’s really whatever you have time for.

      • Reply
  • I love your recipes, any tips for using natural yeast/sourdough starter in this recipe instead of the instant yeast?

    • Reply
    • Hi Brittany! Thank you so much for the support! I haven’t ever tried a natural yeast on these. I’m so sorry. I’d hate to lead you astray having never tried it.

      • Reply
  • I made these! They turned out wonderful! My first yeast bread recipe that turned out! YaY

    • Reply
    • Now that is something to celebrate! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

      • Reply

Healthy Habits That Help Me!