Zesty orange cinnamon rolls inspired by Pillsbury Orange Rolls. This super soft orange brioche dough is rolled with a brown sugar, cinnamon and orange juice filling, topped with a two ingredient orange glaze and sprinkled with more orange zest to pack the perfect citrusy punch! No need for extra flavorings or extracts - these are all fresh and all natural.
For the Orange Dough
- Milk - full fat or whole milk, warmed to 104°F (40C).
- Dry active yeast
- Sugar - superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar.
- Flour - all purpose flour or plain flour.
- Bread flour - use some strong white bread flour along with the all purpose flour to help the bread structure.
- Eggs - large eggs.
- Butter - unsalted butter softened at room temperature. You can use salted butter in this recipe, but this will add extra saltiness to the overall dough. If you use salted butter regularly in baking, this may not be too noticeable, but you may want to reduce the added salt by half.
- Orange zest - fresh orange zest is a great flavoring and will pack a good tangy punch of orange in the dough!
For the Filling
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature.
- Light brown sugar - firmly packed.
- Orange juice - either fresh squeezed or store bought will work in this recipe, but avoid using juice from concentrate. Juices from concentrate will have added water (and often preservatives) that may impact the way it reacts in recipes.
- Ground cinnamon
How to Make the BEST Orange Rolls
These orange rolls are super soft, buttery and zesty! They follow the same fundamental process as my basic Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, with the addition of orange zest to really build the orange flavour in these buns.
I won't go through the whole process here - you can find the step by step instructions in the recipe below and also a more detailed guide in my Brioche Cinnamon Roll recipe. Instead, I'll focus on my key top tips for this orange brioche dough:
- Brioche dough is super soft and full of butter. This means it will stay pretty sticky throughout the kneading process. Don't worry too much if it doesn't pull itself cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. It should be pulling on itself and forming a cohesive dough, but it might still be sticking a bit and particularly to the base of the bowl, even after the roughly 30 minutes of kneading time in this recipe.
- Don't add the butter too soon - make sure you give the dough a good long knead (about 15 minutes on a slow setting) before starting to incorporate the butter.
- Once the butter is added, don't rush the process - keep kneading for another 15 minutes, again on a slow setting. You can increase the speed a little on your stand mixer (to a medium low setting) and you might notice it pulling itself away a bit more readily.
- Add the zest with the last of the butter - this will ensure it mixes in well.
- Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, this may also help the dough to knead more cleanly together. But, still, it will stay pretty sticky!
- Grease your bowl with butter or a flavorless oil. I like to use butter, to keep a consistency with the butter in the bread, but a flavorless oil will work too! You can also use olive oil, but it will have a slight flavoring to it. Olive oil compliments orange though, so you may find you like this combo!
Orange Cinnamon Filling
My filling here is not just a sugar cinnamon, but also has a bit of orange juice too! This adds a little extra punch straight into the centre of the rolls. To make this filling, all you need to do is cream together the cinnamon, sugar, softened butter and the orange juice. I do this by mashing the ingredients together with a spatula - no need to use a beater or anything more complicated!
Tip: I like to make mine in the morning, since it is super quick to mash the butter and sugar together. You can make the filling in advance, but the butter needs to be soft in order to be spreadable. If you make in advance (the day before), cover and refrigerate, but then remove from the fridge early to let it return to a more spreadable consistency.
Rolling the Dough
Turn the dough out from the first proof onto a floured work surface. Gently press this into a rectangle and then roll with a floured rolling pin until you have a large rectangle, about 12" wide by 15" long. Spread the butter mixture over the surface and then roll up from the bottom to the top.
Use a bit of flavorless dental floss or a thin kitchen twine to cut the dough. This will keep the rolls together best and help them hold their round shape. First, trim the ends off to remove any uneven or unfilled dough. Then divide into 9 rolls.
Place these in a parchment lined baking pan and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Proof for two hours at room temperature, before glazing with a quick egg wash and baking till golden!
Easy Orange Cinnamon Roll Frosting
The perfect way to top off your orange cinnamon rolls is with an easy two ingredient orange cinnamon roll glaze! All you need for this simple frosting is:
- Powdered sugar - or icing sugar. Sift this if it is particularly lumpy, but normally you won't need to sift for this glaze as the liquid will break down the powder.
- Orange juice - either store bought or fresh squeezed. Just ensure that the juice isn't from concentrate.
Once your rolls are baked, stir your powdered sugar and orange juice together. This will form a good thick glaze. Pour and spread the frosting over the still warm rolls.
Troubleshooting: I find the consistency of cinnamon roll frostings a bit of a personal preference. If you want yours thicker, add more powdered sugar. I usually adjust powdered sugar by a tablespoon at a time to avoid over-adding. Similarly, if your frosting seems too thick, add a bit more juice. With juice (or liquids in general), add about a teaspoon at a time, to avoid over-thinning. Liquid goes a long way in powdered sugar!
Absolutely! Orange and cinnamon go great together as a flavor combo.
This recipe is for cinnamon rolls filled with orange zest and a quick two ingredient orange roll frosting that really accentuates the citrus flavors. They're the perfect overnight orange rolls for a brunch time treat.
Well cinnamon roll frostings in general are a bit of a personal preference. You can certainly make a cream cheese frosting or a quick vanilla glaze with these. I prefer to go all out with the orange-ness and make a two ingredient orange frosting for these super soft and fluffy orange cinnamon rolls.
If you'd rather make a cream cheese glaze, check out my frosting recipe for my Brioche Cinnamon Rolls.
These orange rolls are really best eaten fresh. They're a great make-ahead brunch in that the majority of the work kneading the dough can be done the day before. Then, as with any classic cinnamon roll, these will be at their best fresh from the oven - this is when they are at peak softness!
You can eat the leftovers of these rolls for a couple of days, covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature. They will start to stale pretty quickly (especially if left out and uncovered), but they stay sticky and delicious!
Are you a citrus lover? Try one of these zesty recipes:
- Blood Orange Curd
- Candied Citrus Slices
- Orange Cookies
- Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
- Blood Orange Tartlets
Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- 8" square baking tray
Ingredients for Orange Brioche Dough
- ¼ cup full fat milk or whole milk, warmed to 104°F (40C)
- 2¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ¾ cup strong white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature and cut into roughly ½" cubes
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
Ingredients for Orange Cinnamon Filling
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ½ cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 tablespoon orange juice fresh squeezed or store bought, not from concentrate
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Ingredients for Orange Frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar or icing sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 2 tablespoon orange juice fresh squeezed or store bought, not from concentrate
- orange zest optional for extra flavor and decoration
Instructions for the Orange Brioche Dough
- Begin by sprinkling the dry active yeast and a teaspoon of sugar over the warmed milk. Give this a stir and set aside for 10 minutes until very foamy. (see note)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, bread flour, remaining sugar and salt.
- Once the yeast is ready, add this to the flour, immediately followed by 2 of the eggs and 1 egg white (reserving the egg yolk for an egg wash later). Begin kneading on a low speed until a dough forms and continue kneading for 15 minutes until the dough is beginning to pull itself from the sides of the bowl. (see note)
- Add the softened butter bit by bit, continuing to knead. Once the butter in incorporated, add the orange zest. Knead for 15 minutes on low speed, until the dough is again beginning to pull itself from the sides of the bowl, though it will still be sticky.
- Scrape the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set this in the refrigerator for a slow proof of about 8 hours (or overnight).
Instructions for Orange Cinnamon Filling
- In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon and orange juice.
- When the dough is finished it's first proof, remove from the refrigerator and turn it out on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12" wide by 18" long.
- Spread the cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough and roll into a log from the bottom to the top.
- Using a piece of flavorless dental floss of a thin kitchen twine, trim the ends of the dough to remove any unfilled and uneven roll. Then divide the dough into 9 rolls.
- Place the 9 rolls into a parchment lined square baking pan and cover with a clean kitchen towel to proof at room temperature for 2 hours (until doubled in size).
- When nearly finished the second proof, preheat your oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and make a quick egg wash by whisking the reserved egg yolk with a splash of milk.
- Brush the egg wash over the buns and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes while you whisk together the orange frosting.
- For the frosting simply mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Spread this over the warm rolls, sprinkle with additional zest if using and serve.