Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls

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Looking for a sweet treat for breakfast that will keep the kids (and adults) coming back for more?

We absolutely love homemade pastries. Especially for breakfast including Cinnamon Rolls and Grandma’s Kolaches. But these orange sweet rolls bring back such wonderful childhood memories, and are so delicious!

A spatula holding up a homemade orange sweet roll over a pan filled with other rolls.


These rolls are really not difficult to prepare.

Give yourself enough time to let the dough rise, twice, and the rest is a snap.


The dough for these rolls is incredibly flavorful and slightly denser than standard cinnamon rolls.

The sour cream adds a wonderful taste and texture.

EXPERT TIP: It’s very important to not add the warmed milk and melted butter to the flour/yeast mixture if either is too hot. Let the butter cool until just warmed, about 90° to 100° F. If they are too hot, they will kill the yeast when added, which will result in heavy, dense rolls. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Be patient!

A ball of dough sitting a ceramic bowl.

After the dough has doubled in size, roll it out to 10″x 14″ rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

Use a small spatula (or butter knife) to spread the softened butter all over the rolled out dough.

Roll the dough from the long side, jellyroll style. Slice into 2-inch slices.

A hand spreading softened butter on a rectangle of pastry dough.
Two hands rolling dough for homemade orange sweet rolls.
A hand using a large chef's knife to slice sweet rolls from rolled dough.


Proofing is the process of yeast fermenting the dough, which causes it to rise.

Factors such as yeast freshness, altitude, and room temperature can cause proofing time to vary for every home baker. Just remember, homemade orange sweet rolls take patience!

After placing the rolls in the pan, you’ll need to allow the rolls to proof (or rise) for another hour.

EXPERT TIP: The initial proofing can be done the night before. Instead of placing the dough in a warm, draft-free area, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

A hand placing an uncooked orange sweet roll into a circular pan.

Once it’s time to bake the rolls, you’re getting close.

As the rolls bake, they will expand even further and the smell is amazing.

EXPERT TIP: We love using a 9-inch diameter cake pan (with 2-inch sides), but a square 8″x 8″ baking pan will work, too.

A circular metal pan holding freshly baked orange sweet rolls.


While the rolls are baking, it’s time to whip up the glaze.

Fresh orange juice, mixed with 2 cups of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and 2 tablespoons of orange zest is all that’s needed. Mix together until a glaze is formed.

EXPERT TIP: Allow the rolls to cool for about 10 minutes before glazing. If you glaze too soon, the heat from the freshly baked rolls will liquefy the glaze.

A hand using a small spatula to spread orange icing over baked sweet rolls.

These homemade orange rolls are truly something special.

It may seem like there is a lot of sugar, which, well, there is. But the sugar melts into the butter and dough and is perfection.

A metal pan holding homemade orange sweet rolls with two rolls missing.

These rolls were our favorites as kids.

Never did we imagine we could improve on the store-bought packaged variety.

Well, we were wrong. Just look at this:

A individual orange sweet roll on a blue plate with a fork cutting it in half.

Ready to make the kids and the rest of the family really excited for the best rolls in the world? Go for it!

And when you make them, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and hashtag #howtofeedaloon!

A individual orange sweet roll on a blue plate with a fork cutting it in half.

Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls

These Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls are everything you think they should be...and more. Heavenly and delicious.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast / Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Baking recipes, Breakfast rolls, Homemade sweet rolls recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Proofing: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 684kcal


  • 9" diameter cake pan, or 8"x 8" baking dish



  • 3⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • tsp rapid rise dry yeast 1 package, active dry yeast will work, too
  • ½ cup whole milk warmed to approx. 100° F
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter melted, and then cooled to approx. 100° F
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • cup sugar
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten


  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • cup sugar
  • 2 tbs orange zest


  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar aka powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh orange juice



  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough attachment, mix together the flour and the yeast.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the warmed milk and melted butter (that's cooled slightly) to flour/yeast mixture. Next add in the sour cream, sugar, salt, and egg.
  • Beat at medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 5 minutes (Dough should pull away from sides of the bowl, but still stick to the bottom).
  • Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place the dough in prepared bowl, turning to coat top.
  • Cover, and let rise in a warm draft-free place until the dough has about doubled in size, approximately 1 to 2 hours (seen note).


  • Spray a 9-inch round pan (2 inches in height works well) with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Lightly punch down the prepared dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14"x10" rectangle.
  • Spread the softened butter (6 tablespoons) evenly over dough.
  • In a small bowl, stir together sugar (⅔ cup) and zest (2 tablespoons) then sprinkle over butter.
  • Starting on one long side, roll dough into a log.
  • Slice into 9 to 10 rolls.
  • Place rolls in prepared pan.
  • Cover, and let rise in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in sized, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Bake, uncovered, until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 to 15 minutes.


  • In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 1 teaspoon zest, confectioners' sugar, and orange juice until smooth.
  • Drizzle and smear icing over warm rolls.



If using active dry yeast in place of rapid rise, simply allow the dough to rise a little longer.  There are multiple factors that will cause the time for the dough to rise to vary from time to time.  It may only take 1 hour for the dough to double in size, but it could take up to 3 hours.
IMPORTANT: Don't add really hot milk and melted butter to the flour/yeast mixture.  If you do, it will kill the yeast and the dough won't rise.  We recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature.  Neither the milk or the melted butter should be over 100° to 105° F.
The dough can be prepared the night before.  Instead of letting it rise in a warm, draft-free area, simply cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
If you don't have a zester or micro-plane, you can rub the skin of the oranges against the small blades on the side of a box cutter. 


Calories: 684kcal | Carbohydrates: 134g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 817mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 74g | Vitamin A: 915IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in May 2017, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe, tips, new photography, and a fabulous new video in March 2020!