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!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE ORANGE SWEET 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.
MAKE THE DOUGH FROM SCRATCH
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!
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.
PROOFING THE DOUGH TWICE IS CRITICAL
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.
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.
HOMEMADE ORANGE SWEET ROLLS GLAZE
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.
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.
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:
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!
Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls
- 9" diameter cake pan, or 8"x 8" baking dish
FOR THE DOUGH
- 3⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2¼ 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
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
FOR THE SWEET ROLLS
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tbs orange zest
FOR THE ICING
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar aka powdered sugar
- 4 tbsp fresh orange juice
MAKE THE DOUGH
- 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).
PREPARE THE SWEET ROLLS
- 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.
MAKE THE ICING AND FINISH THE ROLLS
- 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.
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!