If you think making homemade orange rolls are out of your reach, then you might want to reconsider. For most of the preparation time, the dough will be rising while you do something else.

However, for successful rolls, it is necessary to read and follow the instructions carefully. One important step is to have the dough the correct consistency. It should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl when you start to knead it. If you knead by hand it cannot be too sticky to handle.

How to Measure the Flour

  • Before you measure the flour, fluff it a little with a whisk. This will keep it from packing in the measuring cup so you don’t add too much flour.
  • Use a spoon to fill the measuring cup with flour. Resist scooping the flour with the measuring cup because this can pack too much flour in the cup.
  • Don’t fill the measuring cup over your mixing bowl so you don’t drop extra flour into the bowl.
  • Fill the measuring cup to heaping. Then run a knife over the top of the cup to level the flour so that it is exactly even with the top of the measuring cup.
  • If the dough is too sticky to handle, add up to 2 additional tablespoons of flour but no more. Two tablespoons should be enough if you carefully measured the flour.

Working with Yeast

  • Yeast is not just an ingredient for advanced bakers because it is easy to work with.
  • This recipe calls for instant yeast which is also called rapid-rise or quick-rise yeast.
  • Always use yeast before its expiration date. Old yeast may not rise.
  • Opened yeast should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Opened yeast can also be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for several months.
  • New unopened yeast should be stored in a dry cool location.

To make smaller orange rolls, roll the prepared dough starting with the long edge (as shown above). Because you roll the dough into a rectangle, there is a long edge and a short edge. If you roll up the dough with the short edge, you can cut larger but fewer rolls.

You can use a string, dental floss, or a serrated knife to cut the rolls. I think dental floss gives the cleanest cut but either method will work.

Place the string around the rolled-up dough and pull both ends of the string to cut. Cut each piece the same size. Usually, the ends of the rolled dough will not have the same amount of filling as the rest of the roll so I like to cut off the ends.

The rolls shown above were cut with dental floss and have a very clean cut.

Bake the rolls to a golden brown but don’t overbake them so that they stay very soft.

This recipe makes plenty of icing for the rolls. Use as little or as much as you like. Garnish with a slice of orange and a little extra orange zest sprinkled on.

These rolls are best if eaten right after they are baked. However, they keep well in the refrigerator and can be heated for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave.

Print Recipe
Orange Rolls
Homemade orange rolls with orange cream cheese icing.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Rolls and Filling
  1. In a microwave bowl, heat the milk for 45 seconds on high to 105-110 degrees F. A drop of milk at this temperature will feel warm on the inside of your wrist, or check with a food thermometer. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle on the yeast.
  2. Then add the sugar, eggs, and butter. Whisk together. Then add the flour and salt and stir until a stiff dough forms.
  3. Using a dough hook, knead for 7 to 8 minutes. The dough should pull away from the bowl as it kneads. If the dough is too sticky and sticks to the bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour and continue kneading.
  4. After kneading, move the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise for 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll into a rectangular size approximately 16 x 10 inches.
  6. Spread the butter onto the dough.
  7. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and orange zest and sprinkle over the butter.
  8. Carefully roll up the 16-inch side of the dough into a tight roll. Then use a string or dental floss to cut off the uneven ends of the roll. Then cut 15 evenly-sized pieces and place them in an 11-inch round pan or equivalent size. Do not tightly pack the rolls so they have room to rise.
  9. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake uncovered buns for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the rolls cool for a few minutes before adding the icing.
Orange Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add the orange zest, extracts, and orange juice. Mix together.
  2. Then add the sugar and beat well. Spread icing onto the rolls.
Recipe Notes

The dough can be kneaded by hand for 8 minutes in place of a mixer.

Place a towel in the dryer and heat for about 5 minutes.  Then place the warm towel over the covered dough to help it rise.

The quickest and easiest way to grate the orange skin (zest) is with a Microplane or other fine grater.

To make rolls the day before:  Cut the rolls and place them in a pan but do not let them rise.  Cover and place them in the refrigerator. The next day, remove them from the refrigerator and let them sit out for 1½ - 3 hours to come to room temperature and double in size. Then uncover and bake.

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