PW Wednesdays: Orange Sweet Rolls

These orange sweet rolls are from the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. They’re like a cinnamon roll but better and perfect for breakfast.

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 the many college campus trips that summer. To get to Villanova from New York you take the NJ Turnpike. A lovely traffic free highway with clean, healthy rest stop options.  Or not. But that didn’t matter then. I was 17, played sports 6 days a week and ate whatever I wanted including a Cinnabon roll at the rest stop.

PW Wednesdays: Orange sweet rolls

I went through this phase from about 5th grade through somewhere in college (it was a long one) where I’d get these insane stomach aches every few months. They’d come out of nowhere, I could never figure out the cause, they were completely debilitating and resulted in me spending hours in the bathroom going through what I can only describe as waves of pain that make me feel confident I will die if I ever go through childbirth.

Guess what happened about an hour after that Cinnabon?

I spent 2 hours in the admissions office bathroom at Villanova while my mother had to explain what was going on to everyone in the office. We missed two tours and even if I had loved that campus with all my being, there is no way you could’ve paid me to attend there after that episode.

Thankfully, I somehow grew out of the stomach aches in the last ten years and these are not a Cinnabon roll because I can’t look at or smell those without thinking of that day.

PW Wednesdays: Orange sweet rolls

I sound like a broken record on these PW Wednesday posts but this recipe is over the top. From the 48 rolls it makes to the copious amounts of butter, sugar and oil it uses. At least it’s expected at this point. I actually went into this recipe with the full intention of making it how it was written (besides quartering it because I have beach plans this weekend and I’m not sure my bathing suits would even fit if there were 48 rolls hanging around these parts) so I could review it accurately. The dough was made exactly as stated (in a very weird method that you’ll have to check out Megan’s post for) but then I got to the rolling part. Guess what goes inside these babies? Ding, ding, ding! Butter and sugar. I even melted the stated amount of butter and had the full amount of sugar in a measuring cup but when I got half way through each and realized the dough was completely coated, I just couldn’t physically allow myself to continue. It’s like every recipe is just excessive. There’s just no need for the amounts that are written. So I failed at my attempt to keep them true to the recipe but I did not use any substitutions. I lessened amounts when I felt they were excessive in the filling and the icing, but I didn’t make any healthy swaps.

That being said, these are delicious.

PW Wednesdays: Orange sweet rolls

Like, that soft, gooey, chewy, yeasty cinnamon roll delicious except without cinnamon and with orange instead. The orange is nice because it cuts the insane sweetness of these. It almost makes you feel like they’re not as bad for you because the orange is so refreshing but the all too recent memories of butter and sugar snap you back to reality quite quickly.

This is actually a recipe (unlike most of the others) that I can see myself using in the future. Not as written (no, no) but as inspiration to make these over in a somewhat healthier way. It’s a pretty basic ingredient list and preparation method and I’d love to play around with it to see what I can do.


Delicious? Yes.

Guilt inducing? Double yes.

Potential for revamp? High.

If something more nutritionally sound comes of them in the future, you’ll all be the first to know.


For the recipe head on over to Megan’s post.

For the other girls’ take on these check out:

Rachel – Baked by Rachel

Julie – Table for Two

For all previous PW Wednesday posts see below.

Fried chicken tacos

Mushroom swiss sliders

Carnitas pizza

Breakfast pizza

White chicken enchiladas

Billie’s Italian cream cake


  1. Pingback: PW Wednesday’s: Orange Rolls » Table for Two

  2. Ashley - baker by nature

    That first picture is utterly gorgeous, Gina!! You made this look incredible – so tempting!

  3. Joanna @ Midwestern Bite

    I’m with Ashley, that’s a beautiful picture! The addition of orange automatically makes it “healthy” right? Right. I’ve never made homemade sweet rolls before. I might have to just for the photo shoot ;)

  4. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

    Ahhhyou poor thing about Cinnabon! I love cinnamon rolls, but even as a kid I could not eat a whole one from cinnabon. My favorite part was the glaze. One of my only memories of my grandmother was her making homemade cinnamon rolls and using dental floss to cut them. I do love cinnamon rolls, and I like the orange ones the best!! These would be dangerous hanging around my house!

  5. Cait's Plate

    LOVE the photos!

    And ugh – that’s the worst. I once had a similar thing with cucumbers and just the smell alone made me cringe for a really long time.

  6. sally @ sallys baking addiction

    Gina, I’ve NEVER had a cinnabon in my life. The smell is obviously tempting but I feel like it would give me a huge tummy ache. The thick frosting and overly sweet roll would have me on a seriously insane sugar high only to come crashing down and left feeling lethargic. Homemade always wins in my book. Your orange sweet rolls look just perfect. I have bene loving following your PW Weds posts. Orange sweet rolls are a timeless classic in my house. :)

  7. Pingback: Country Cleaver » PW Wednesday – Orange Sweet Rolls

  8. Amanda

    Your story about that intense stomach ache and thinking you would die during childbirth is the EXACT thought I had a few weeks ago when I randomly got terrible stomach pain. I was out walking the dogs and seriously considered curling up in the fetal position on the sidewalk, and then I swore off ever having kids. haha I have no idea what was wrong with my stomach, but it went away a couple of hours later.

    I’ve never tried Cinnabon, but I have had those cinnamon rolls at Ikea. I’m not sure which is worse.

  9. Minerva

    I used to get those achy stomach wave pains too! I would wake up in the middle of the night and just pace around watching infomercials until I could relax back to sleep. It was so annoying!

  10. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    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. Running to the Kitchen Post author

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

  11. Kathryn

    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!

  12. Jacqueline

    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!

  13. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    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!

  14. Julie @ Table for Two

    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!

  15. Anna @ hiddenponies

    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!

  16. Margarita

    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.

  17. Baking Serendipity

    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 :)

  18. Pingback: Orange Sweet Rolls | Baked by Rachel

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