Grandma’s Orange Rolls

  • By KJ

Glazed Orange Rolls are the ultimate cheerful, baked treat.

Soft, pillowy dough is speckled with orange zest and rolled up with a zesty cinnamon sugar mixture – just like Grandma’s Orange Rolls.

Drizzle a gooey vanilla, fresh orange juice glaze over the warm rolls and watch it seep into every spiral.

Enjoy these delightful orange rolls fresh out of the oven for some pure joy. Or, reheat these citrus-infused goodies in the microwave for a treat when you need a pick-me-up. 🍊

Glazed orange rolls in a baking dish.

Grandma’s Orange Rolls

Glazed Orange Rolls are the ultimate cheerful, baked treat. 

Soft, pillowy dough is speckled with orange zest and rolled up with a zesty cinnamon sugar mixture – just like Grandma’s Orange Rolls. 

Drizzle a gooey vanilla, fresh orange juice glaze over the warm rolls and watch it seep into every spiral. 

Enjoy these delightful orange rolls fresh out of the oven for some pure joy. Or, reheat these citrus-infused goodies in the microwave for a treat when you need a pick-me-up. 🍊

Glazed orange rolls in a baking dish.

Why KJ Loves

Grandma’s Orange Rolls

Grandma's Orange Rolls

Growing up, we would spend the weekend at my grandparent’s and my Grandma would always be baking something up in the kitchen. As a kid, my choice was always chocolate chip cinnamon rolls and I would get bummed when the orange rolls came out of the oven. But now, as an adult, the orange rolls are where it’s at! Grandma knew what she was doing!

Orange roll dough in a bowl ready to rise.

Grandma’s Classic Roll Recipe

I can still remember the scent of these orange rolls wafting out of my Grandma’s oven… 

As a kid, I always voted for cinnamon rolls with chocolate chips in them. But now, I can really appreciate the sweet zest of a classic orange roll. 

Orange rolls might initially seem challenging, but with a bit of time and care, the results are absolutely heavenly. You can do it! 

Let’s break it down.

Orange roll dough rolled out with the buttery sugar filling being spread over the top.

Orange Rolls Ingredients

Active dry yeast

This is what makes the orange cinnamon rolls fluff up to perfection! I prefer using active dry yeast over instant dry yeast. Unless you’re pretty confident in your yeast-baking abilities, I’d recommend sticking with the roll recipe so you get the best results.

Warm water

The right temperature is important for activating the yeast — ideally between 105° and 115°F. Any warmer and you’ll kill the yeast (😵). Colder, and your yeast won’t activate (which = flat rolls).

Classic dough ingredients

Sugar, butter, milk, eggs, flour, and salt make my grandma’s roll dough come together.

Orange zest

This is the aromatic, citrusy secret to delicious orange rolls. You’ll use the zest in the dough and filling. I recommend zesting the fresh orange before you juice it, to make zesting easier.

Cinnamon roll filling

Butter, cinnamon, and sugar give these rolls the classic warm, sweet spice.

Fresh orange juice

Freshly squeezed orange juice is the key to a decadent orange glaze.

Other glaze ingredients

Vanilla extract is whisked with powdered sugar, milk, and the orange juice to make a bright, irresistible orange roll glaze.

Orange roll dough cut into strips ready to be rolled up.

How To Make Grandma’s Orange Rolls

1

Prepare the orange roll dough.

Whisk the yeast with a bit of lukewarm water to activate it, ensuring the temperature is between 105° and 115°F. (A thermometer can be handy here.) 

Fold the activated yeast with the orange zest, melted butter, milk, sugar, eggs, flour, and a pinch of salt. Carefully shape the mixture into a smooth orange dough ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 

Place it in a cozy spot to rise for a few hours (think: a sun-drenched windowsill, above a warm oven, or near a fireplace)

2

Roll out the dough.

To roll out the dough, make sure your work surface is covered in flour to prevent sticking. Lightly flour your rolling pin as well. A kitchen counter or marble slab is ideal for this task.

With gentle, even pressure, roll the dough into a large rectangle, just a little thinner than 1/2 inch in thickness.

Evenly distribute the orange zest-infused sugar-butter mixture over the flattened dough.

3

Roll up the dough.

Begin rolling the dough tightly from one end to form a log, securing the sweet, citrusy layers inside.

4

Cut into sections.

When it’s time to slice the rolls, use a very sharp knife. 

If you prefer, you can also use dental floss…but a meat carving knife is my tool of choice.

5

Bake to perfection.

If you like your orange rolls tightly snuggled together, place them close to each other on a greased 9×13 baking dish. 

If you prefer them a little more firm on the edges, space them apart on a greased cookie sheet.

6

Add the orange glaze.

As soon as the rolls are baked, drench them with a vanilla-orange juice glaze. Watch as it beautifully coats each spiral, and try not to burn your mouth devouring them right away.

These orange rolls are best served warm. But, even after a couple of days, a quick 30-second zap in the microwave revives them for a quick, gooey treat. 

Orange you glad you made these rolls?

7

Wash the dishes. How sad.

Orange roll dough being rolled up into cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Roll FAQs

Can I use bottled orange juice instead of fresh?

If you need to use bottled orange juice, you can. But fresh orange juice is really the key to the classic orange roll flavor.

Where’s the best place for the orange roll dough to rise?

Think warm. Any place where it can get a little sunlight or extra heat, like by a window or fireplace.

What’s the best way to slice orange rolls?

This may be a little controversial, but I think a knife is your best bet. The key is to use a very sharp knife (a dull one will squish the dough).

What kind of pan should I use?

You can bake these classic orange rolls in a 9×13 pan if you like the gooey rolls to stick closer together. If you prefer more of an “individual” orange roll feel, bake them separated from each other on a baking sheet.

Do these taste good leftover?

Oh yeah. Even after a few days, they’re great heated up in the microwave for a few seconds! 

Do the orange rolls have to rise twice?

Yes! Grandma knew a little something about the benefits of patience. The second rise is important because it lets the rolls rest and stay nice and fluffy before you bake them. I usually preheat my oven while they rise for the second time. 

How do you get fillings to stay in orange rolls?

If you use room-temperature butter for the filling, you can avoid the filling leaking out before you bake the rolls.

Rolled up orange rolls ready for the oven.

On a roll…

If you want to try some other spiral-y, gooey rolls, check out Almond-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls, Espresso-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls, Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls, or Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls (my childhood preference!).

Glazed orange rolls in a baking dish.
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Glazed orange rolls in a baking dish.

Grandma’s Orange Rolls


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  • Author: KJ & Company - Kate Poskochil
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9-12 cinnamon rolls 1x

Description

Glazed Orange Rolls are the ultimate cheerful, baked treat. 

Soft, pillowy dough is speckled with orange zest and rolled up with a zesty cinnamon sugar mixture – just like Grandma’s Orange Rolls. 

Drizzle a gooey vanilla, fresh orange juice glaze over the warm rolls and watch it seep into every spiral. 

Enjoy these delightful orange rolls fresh out of the oven for some pure joy. Or, reheat these citrus-infused goodies in the microwave for a treat when you need a pick-me-up. 🍊


Ingredients

Scale

For the dough:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 orange zested)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 orange zested)

For the orange glaze:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

For the dough:

  1. In a small bowl, gently whisk together the yeast with the warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and milk. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon orange zest until smooth. Whisk in the yeast mixture. Add in the flour and salt and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it into the wet mixture until a dough forms. Gently form it into a loose ball.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm area, such as the sunlight, a warm oven top or in front of a fireplace, and allow it to rise for 2 hours. After the dough has risen, gently roll it out onto a floured surface into a large rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick.

For the filling:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add in the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon and mix on low-medium speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Mix in the orange zest. Evenly spread the filing mixture on top of the rolled out dough, leaving about 1/2 inch exposed on all the sides.

To prepare the cinnamon rolls:

  1. Starting at one end of the rectangle of dough, gently, but firmly, roll the dough into a log. Use a very sharp knife, cut the log into 1 1/2 inch slices. Gently place the sliced cinnamon rolls into a greased 9×13 pan, swirl side up. Or onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to have individual cinnamon rolls.
  2. Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the centers are set.

For the orange glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract until a smooth, glossy glaze forms. After the cinnamon rolls have come out of the oven and cooled slightly, evenly pour the glaze over the tops of the cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

Notes

  • These cinnamon rolls are best served warm! Even if you make them in advance or if they are a couple days old, pop your cinnamon roll into the microwave for about 30 seconds and it will be perfect
  • Instead of rolling the dough into a log and cutting it from there into rolls, you can cut the rolled out dough into 1 1/2 inch strips and individually roll up each roll instead.
  • Cut the rolls smaller to get closer to 12 rolls instead of 9.
  • Nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 497
  • Sugar: 47.4g
  • Sodium: 281mg
  • Fat: 17.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 81g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Protein: 6.8g
  • Cholesterol: 74mg
An orange roll on a plate being eaten.

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