These sweet orange cinnamon rolls are the most delicious addition to your breakfast with their soft and fluffy texture and jammy orange marmalade topping. Similar to a traditional cinnamon roll but with the refreshing sweetness from fresh orange.

A close-up of freshly baked orange cinnamon rolls in a green ceramic dish.
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Most people see Cinnabon and start salivating. I see it and have memories of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. My mom and I were on our way down to visit Villanova on one of many college campus trips. On the way, we stopped at a rest stop where the 17 year old version of me who didn’t think about things like calories decided to get a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon.

About an hour after that decision we arrived at the admissions office only for me to sprint to the bathroom with the worst stomachache of my life and spend the next two hours holed up in excruciating pain in a public stall while I missed our scheduled tour.

I eventually recovered enough to make it on the last tour of the day, but even if I had loved that campus with all my being, there is no way you could’ve paid me to attend after that episode.

Thankfully, unlike a bad drinking experience where you swear of a certain alcohol for years, I still love cinnamon rolls and these orange cinnamon rolls are a wonderful variation that have become an absolute favorite.

Most recipes I share have a healthier twist to them by using alternative ingredients or some other tweak. Here’s my disclaimer for this orange sweet roll recipe, there is nothing ‘healthier’ about it. If you want a soft, fluffy yeasted cinnamon roll that tastes like pure bliss, this is the recipe for you. I’ve tried to make healthier versions of cinnamon rolls before — like these cranberry cherry cinnamon rolls — and while they still taste good, they’re just nothing like the real deal.

So if you’re craving a bakery style, ooey-gooey pull-apart cinnamon roll like a can of Pillsbury rolls from your childhood, read on and make this recipe.

Close-up image of freshly baked orange sweet rolls with a golden-brown crust in a green baking dish.

Why You’ll Love This Orange Roll Recipe

  • Delicious Orange Flavors: The refreshing citrus from the orange marmalade and zest adds a unique twist. These rolls are traditional while having a special little something that sets them apart from other recipes.
  • Perfect Balance of Sweetness: The combination of brown sugar and orange juice provides a sweet yet tangy flavor. The rolls aren’t overwhelmingly sugary but they’re definitely a sweet.
  • Soft and Gooey Texture: The dough, enriched with butter and milk, bakes into perfectly soft and gooey rolls that melt in your mouth with every bite.
  • Easy to Customize: This basic recipe offers great potential for customization. You could use another type of citrus or add spices to vary it up.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: The vibrant citrus flavor and the appealing presentation make these orange cinnamon rolls an impressive treat for breakfast or brunch. They’re great for a potluck or after church event.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Whole Milk: Provides a rich and creamy base for the dough and helps with that soft, gooey texture we love in sweet rolls.
  • Oil: Adds moisture and keeps the dough soft without adding any strong flavors.
  • Active Dry Yeast: Essential for making the dough rise, giving the rolls their fluffy texture. Make sure your yeast is fresh for the best results.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The main structure of the dough. All-purpose flour works perfectly to create a tender and light roll. You could also use half white whole wheat flour for a slightly more wholesome treat.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Help the dough rise and give it a light, airy texture. These leavening agents are a must to make sure the rolls bake up perfectly every time.
  • Salt: Just a pinch enhances the flavors of the other ingredients, balancing the sweetness and bringing out the citrus notes.
  • Melted Butter: Used in both the filling and the icing. Unsalted butter is preferred to control the salt content.
  • Orange Marmalade: The key ingredient that infuses the filling with the signature orange flavors and a burst of citrus tanginess.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness to the filling. Its molasses content complements the orange zest beautifully.
  • Orange Zest and Orange Juice: These ingredients provide the refreshing citrus flavor in the icing, cutting through the sweetness and adding a zesty punch. Use fresh squeeze orange juice, not from a carton.
  • Powdered Sugar: Used in the icing to add sweetness and create a smooth, pourable consistency that coats each roll and seeps into each crevice.
An orange glazed cinnamon roll is placed on a white plate with an orange rim, set on a light wooden surface.

How To Make The Rolls

If you’ve ever made cinnamon rolls from scratch before you probably know it can be a bit time consuming. Some recipes even require an overnight rise. So as far as cinnamon roll recipes go, this one is pretty quick and straight-forward.

Make the Dough

  • Prepare the Yeast Mixture: In a large sauce pan you’ll combine and warm the milk, sugar and oil together until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pot from the heat, then sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit.
  • Mix the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the most of the flour with the yeast mixture. Stir until incorporated, then cover and let it rise until doubled in size.
  • Knead and Roll Out: Add the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll the dough into a large rectangle.

Assemble the Filling

  • Spread the Filling: Drizzle melted butter over the rolled-out dough. Spread orange marmalade evenly over the butter.
  • Add the Sweetness: Sprinkle brown sugar over the marmalade, then sprinkle a dash of salt on top.
  • Roll and Slice: Roll the dough tightly into a log and pinch the seams to seal. Slice the log into individual rolls.

Bake the Rolls

  • Prepare the Baking Dish: Butter a baking dish and place the rolls inside. Let them rise again until they puff up.
  • Bake: Preheat the oven and bake the rolls until they turn golden brown.

Top with Icing

  • Mix the Icing: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract, melted butter and a bit of milk to reach a smooth consistency.
  • Finish: Pour the icing over the warm rolls, letting it seep into all the nooks and crannies. Serve the rolls immediately and enjoy!

A full breakdown of the orange sweet roll recipe can be found below.

A baking dish filled with multiple orange rolls arranged in a circular pattern. One roll is missing, revealing the base of the dish.

My Pro Tips

Recipe Tips

  • Ensure all your ingredients, especially butter and cream cheese if making cream cheese frosting, are at room temperature. This helps them incorporate more smoothly and evenly into the dough and icing.
  •  Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area. Proper rising is crucial for achieving fluffy and soft homemade orange rolls.
  • Use a sharp knife or dental floss to slice the dough log into rolls. This ensures even baking and presentation.
  • Keep an eye on the rolls while they bake. They should be golden brown on top but still soft in the center. Overbaking can make them dry.
  • Pour the icing or sweet orange glaze over the rolls while they are still warm. This allows it to seep into all the nooks and crannies, making each bite deliciously moist.

Variations

  • For a lighter icing option — make a sweet orange glaze by combining powdered sugar, orange juice, and a bit of vanilla extract. Drizzle this over the warm rolls for a fresh and simple finish.
  • Add finely chopped pecans or walnuts to the filling. The nuts offer a nice extra crunch and pair well with the brown sugar and orange marmalade.
  • Replace the standard icing with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Simply mix room temperature cream cheese with powdered sugar, orange zest, and a splash of orange juice for a rich and creamy topping. If you love a traditional cinnamon roll, you’ll like this variation.
  • Sprinkle a bit of ground cardamom or nutmeg over the filling before rolling up the dough. These spices complement the citrus flavors beautifully.
A close-up of a cinnamon roll with orange jam icing on a white plate with an orange rim. A fork is cutting into the cinnamon roll.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you Store Leftovers?

Wrap leftover rolls tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. To enjoy them later, you can either eat them cold or reheat them. If you want to freeze the rolls, place them in an airtight container. When ready to eat, thaw the rolls in the fridge overnight and then warm them up in the oven or microwave.

Can These Be Made Into Overnight Homemade Orange Rolls?

Yes, prepare the rolls up to the point of the final rise. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Let them come to room temperature and rise slightly before baking in the morning.

What kind of baking dish is best?

A 9″x9″ pan or a 9″ circular baking pan works best for these rolls though any oven-safe baking dish will work as long as the rolls are nice and snug together.

More Orangey Baked Goods To Try

These orange muffins are like a burst of sunshine with each bite. Their orange glaze is similar to the icing on the cinnamon rolls.

I can’t think of a better brunch addition than these citrus honey biscuits. With flavors of both orange and lemon, they’re bright and refreshing while still perfect with a slather of butter.

Our orange cardamom cake is one of my favorite desserts. Don’t let its simple appearance fool you, this cake is bursting with aromatic spices and refreshing orange flavor.

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5 from 6 votes

Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 1 hour 43 minutes
A close-up of freshly baked orange cinnamon rolls in a green ceramic dish.
These orange cinnamon rolls are a perfect blend of soft, fluffy dough, tangy orange marmalade, and gooey icing. Ideal for breakfast or brunch, they're easy to make and sure to impress.

Ingredients 

Dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Icing:

  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions 

DOUGH:

  • In large sauce pan over medium heat, warm the milk, sugar and oil, stirring together until sugar has dissolved. Remove from stove. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl add 2 cups of flour and pour the milk/yeast mixture over the top. Stir together to incorporate. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
  • Stir in remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Roll out into a 30×10 inch rectangle.

FILLING:

  • Drizzle melted butter over the surface of the dough. Spread orange marmalade over the butter.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar over the marmalade. Sprinkle a dash of salt on top.
  • Roll dough and filling in a tight log. Pinch seams of dough closed. Slice dough log into rolls.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a baking dish and place rolls into the dish. Once all are securely in the dish, allow to rise an additional 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool on counter.

ICING:

  • In bowl, whisk together icing ingredients and pour over the top of the warm sweet rolls.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Original recipe source: Ree Drummond

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 312mgPotassium: 83mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 222IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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42 Comments

  1. I think I like orange rolls even better than cinnamon rolls…and can only imagine they’re over the top when it’s a PW recipe! I can’t even imagine 48 of these rolls sitting in my house. Seriously dangerous…and delicious :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion about this recipe. I looked at the original in Megans blog and found that the dough already has sugar in it,plus the one cup in the filling and another cup for icing. Not to mention marmalade sugar. I am with you on sugar and butter thoughts, sure they make everything taste amazing, but many times I have cut sugar and butter ingredients in half, I never even missed them. I have a sweet tooth but too much sweet is kinda sickening.

  3. YUM – my big sister makes these regularly and tempts me with them when I go there. She’s taught me to just go ahead and make ’em all and your freezer is well-stocked for surprise guests! Gorgeous photos!

  4. omg, thankfully that cinnabon experience did not scar you from trying other types of cinnamon rolls haha…yours looks REALLY perfect and fluffy. haha put my cinnamon rolls to shame!! love how light (as in color) yours looks too, like puffy clouds!

  5. I like the “potential for revamp” sentence. It sounds corporate-y. I’m stealing it to use around the office.

  6. This is going to sound twisted, but I kinda wish I got debilitating stomach aches after eating cinnamon rolls so that I wouldn’t think to go near them. Love your girls’s choice for PWW – they do look delicious and good golly I can’t believe you ended up with that many rolls after quartering the recipe…the whole recipe must have been intended for a wedding or a banquet, holy crap! The orange does sound refreshing and delicious!

  7. You take the most gorgeous pictures!! I would love to see a lightened up version of these – eating too much butter and sugar doesn’t keep me feeling my best. I’m excited to see what you have in store! Beautiful post!

  8. I don’t think anyone can blame you for cutting back on some of the butter and sugar, nobody needs that much of either in one meal!

  9. Your story about Cinnabon. Omg. I worked next to a Cinnabon at the mall in h.s. And a Mrs. Field’s. Guess what I did almost every employee break! But like you, I was 17 and played sports every day nonstop.

    Recipes being excessive and just over the top. Welcome to Milkbar/Christina Tosi. I am all about butter and sugar but even I feel it’s just being used to be used many times.

    Next your site/page…nice tweaks, love them! You have little icons for the food sites, and all your ads look so nice and your monthly faves and all that stuff…so pretty. I want to put up monthly featured recipes but want to be able to self-manage it. Did you do it yourself or a little Kat help?

    1. Kat helped create the buttons but I installed them. I’ve learned enough linking code stuff to be dangerous ;)