Some call them sweet rolls, but Luke is not a sweets boy. Yes, my 2-year-old Luke doesn't care much for sweets. So I call them orange cinnamon rolls.
Have you ever had a Pillsbury Orange Sweet Roll before? You know, the kind that comes in a can? I gladly admit that I LOVE those little things. My mother-in-law always made them on holidays. The smell alone got me out of bed – light citrus paired with the fragrance of gooey cinnamon buns. They are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or just as a sweet snack.
I often bake these in the evening for breakfast the next day. They definitely taste better fresh, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. Especially Jack who ate two right away and was asking for thirds.
They can also be made ahead of time – either as overnight rolls (see recipe notes below) or you can freeze the baked rolls. Just warm up and drizzle with the orange glaze when you’re ready to serve them.
You will love how soft, and fluffy these are! You will NEVER turn to the store-bought version again. There is simply nothing like a fresh sweet roll made from scratch!
Supplies Needed to Make Homemade Cinnamon Rolls:
- Rolling Pin
- Sharp Knife
- Mixing bowls
- Stirring spoons
- Parchment Paper
- 9 x 13 Pyrex dish
- Handheld mixer
Different ways to customize for you?
- You can add some cranberry jam to the cinnamon mixture for a different taste other than citrus orange.
- I love Lemon so instead of oranges, I have even made it with lemons instead.
Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 pkg dry yeast (2 and ¼ tsp)
- ½ c warm water
- fresh orange zest from 1 medium orange
- ½ c orange juice
- ¼ c granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 3 - 3 ½ c all-purpose flour level cups
- ½ c granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ c unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 c confectioners sugar can add more for a thicker glaze
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- fresh orange zest from 1 orange
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make the Dough
- Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water for about 1-2 minutes.
- Then add orange zest, orange juice, sugar, salt, egg, butter, and 1.5 cups of flour.
- Beat everything together on low with a handheld mixer, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle – about 1.5 – 2 more cups.You are looking for a dough that is not sticky and will spring back when poked with a finger.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 5-6 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 10×15 inch rectangle that is no more than 6mm thick. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.
For the Filling
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Spread the dough rectangle with softened butter and sprinkle generously with all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving room on the sides.
- Tightly roll up the dough and cut into 16 even rolls (1 inch in width each) with a very sharp knife.
- Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up.
- Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Cover the rolls with aluminum foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until they are lightly golden in color. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes.
Glaze your Buns
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle over rolls before serving. Add more orange juice to thin out, if needed.