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Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Sweet and zesty orange cinnamon rolls are infused with citrus flavors. They are sure to be a hit with your family!

I love to create twists to the classic Cinnamon Rolls, by adding various ingredients to create new flavors! These Orange Cinnamon Rolls are a new favorite, but we also love Tropical Cinnamon Rolls and Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls.

frosted orange cinnamon rolls

Citrus-Filled Cinnamon Rolls

Ever since this past fall, I’ve been wanting to make orange sweet rolls. There was something about them that intrigued me and I definitely wanted to see what they were all about.

This Sunday I had some free time so I gave them a try! When it came down to the recipe I decided to use as much orange flavor as possible while still trying to incorporate a traditional filling into the rolls.

Turns out that was a great idea! The cinnamon flavor was subtle but really complimented the sweet and citrusy flavor of the marmalade inside.

To finish them off I topped the rolls with a zesty cream cheese frosting which melted nicely over them. They were fluffy, full of citrus flavor and dripping with a gooey creamy frosting- absolutely delicious! These will definitely go into my “must make again soon” pile!

Metal bowl of dough for orange cinnamon rolls

How to make Orange Cinnamon Rolls

YEAST MIXTURE. In a glass 2-cup measuring cup, warm milk in the microwave for 45 seconds on high. Sprinkle in yeast and 2 tbsp. of sugar (subtract it from the ½ c. of sugar listed above) and mix gently. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes or until bubbly and foamy.

REMAINING INGREDIENTS. Meanwhile, combine remaining sugar, butter, eggs, salt, extract and zest into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for 15 seconds or until mixture is just combined. Once yeast/milk mixture is bubbly, with mixing speed on low, alternate liquid and flour (use 4½ c. and then add the extra ½ c. if needed) until combined.

KNEAD. Switch to the hook attachment and “knead” dough on the lowest speed for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and firm. Remove dough from bowl and place into a large lightly greased metal or glass bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1½ hours.

SPREAD. Once dough has risen, roll out into a large rectangle. Spread butter on top, then marmalade. In a small mixing bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and orange zest. Sprinkle on top of butter/marmalade mixture.

ROLL + SLICE. Roll the dough lengthwise into a large log. Using dental floss cut in half, then continue by cutting each section in half and repeating (I do it this way to get even cuts and an even amount of rolls).

RISE. Place rolls into a large 9×13 pan or two 9″ pie pans (you will want to use baking spray to prevent them from sticking to the bottoms and sides) leaving at least an inch around each roll. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 more minutes.

BAKE. Once rolls have risen, place in the oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

zesty butter inside orange cinnamon rolls

cinnamon roll frosting

FROSTING. While rolls bake, prepare the glaze by combining all ingredients in a large bowl and mixing until smooth.

SERVE. Remove rolls from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before pouring the frosting over top. Spread the frosting evenly. Allow to sit for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

cinnamon spread in the center of orange cinnamon rolls

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips before you get started:

  •  Zesting Tools: A cheese grater with the side with the smallest holes, or a vegetable peeler can be used  instead of a zester. Whichever one you use, make sure to use a light touch so you’re only grating the outermost layer of the orange and not the pith (the more bitter white area underneath).
  • Zest, Then Juice: Make sure to zest oranges before juicing them.
  • Yeast: This recipe calls for active dry yeast. If you are using instant yeast instead you will want to use about 25% less and add it directly to the dry ingredients without proofing it first. 
  • Rising Tip: If your kitchen is a little chilly, you may have some difficulty with your dough rising properly. We suggest boiling some water and pouring it into a bowl and placing it on the bottom rack of your oven, placing the dough on the rack above it, then closing the door to the oven.
  • Glaze: If your glaze is a little too thick you can thin it out by adding a bit more milk.
slicing up orange cinnamon rolls

Variations

  • Finely chopped walnuts or pecans can be added to the filling for a little extra crunchiness to your rolls.
  • Top with orange glaze instead of frosting. 
  • Sprinkle with orange flavored sugar.
rising orange cinnamon rolls

Make Ahead

To make your mornings even easier you can prepare these the night before, put them in a pan tightly covered with plastic wrap and store them in the fridge.

The next day, warm them in an oven that has been heated to 200 degrees then turned OFF for about 30 -60 minutes to rise, and then bake them as directed.

Pan of unfrosted orange cinnamon rolls

How to Store

STORE any leftovers in a tightly covered container at room temperature for 2 days. FREEZE them in freezer safe bags, and keep them for about a month. Let them thaw at room temperature and rewarm in the oven or microwave.

These orange cinnamon rolls are best served warm. I heat mine for 30-40 seconds in the microwave the following day so that they’re tender and hot in the centers. 

It is simple to FREEZE orange cinnamon roll dough before they’ve risen. At this point, wrap the container tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Keep them in the freezer for 3 months. When ready to enjoy them let them thaw and rise before baking like normal.

Serving up a giant orange cinnamon roll

More recipes using oranges:

Orange Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Sweet and zesty orange cinnamon rolls are infused with fall-esque flavors. They are sure to be a hit with your family!
5 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Rolls
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Rise and Cool: 2 hrs 25 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs
Servings: 18 rolls
Calories: 307kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Rolls
  • 4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 Tbsp butter - room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • zest of 1 orange
Marmalade Brown Sugar Filling
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (¾ stick) butter - room temperature
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of half an orange
Zesty Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp cream cheese - room temperature
  • 4-5 Tbsp whole milk - or more for desired consistency
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • zest of half an orange

Instructions

  • In a glass 2-cup measuring cup, warm milk in the microwave for 45 seconds on high. Sprinkle in yeast and 2 tbsp. of sugar (subtract it from the ½ c. of sugar listed in the rolls section above) and mix gently. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes or until bubbly and foamy.
  • Meanwhile, combine remaining sugar, butter, eggs, salt, extract and zest into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for 15 seconds or until mixture is just combined. Once yeast/milk mixture is bubbly, with mixing speed on low, alternate liquid and flour (use 4½ c. and then add the extra ½ c. if needed) until combined.
  • Switch to the hook attachment and “knead” dough on the lowest speed for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and firm. Remove dough from bowl and place into a large lightly greased metal or glass bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1½ hours.
  • Once dough has risen, roll out into a large rectangle. Spread butter on top, then marmalade. In a small mixing bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and orange zest. Sprinkle on top of butter/marmalade mixture. Roll the dough lengthwise into a large log. Using plain dental floss cut in half, then continue by cutting each section in half and repeating (I do it this way to get even cuts and an even amount of rolls).
  • Place rolls into a large 9×13 pan or two 9″ pie pans (you will want to use baking spray to prevent them from sticking to the bottoms and sides) leaving at least an inch around each roll. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 more minutes.
  • Once rolls have risen, place in the oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  • While rolls bake, prepare the glaze by combining all ingredients in a large bowl and mixing until smooth.
  • Remove rolls from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before pouring the frosting over top. Spread the frosting evenly. Allow to sit for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

NOTES

Makes approximately 18 rolls- depending on how big you cut them.
Nutrition Facts
Orange Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
307
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
7
g
44
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Cholesterol
 
47
mg
16
%
Sodium
 
238
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
101
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
47
g
16
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
21
g
23
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
373
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
45
mg
5
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Adapted from the Food Network, Paula Deen’s Cinnamon Rolls 

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Comments:

  1. These sound amazing! I love the idea of filling them with orange marmalade and with the cream cheese frosting as well – yum!!

  2. Excellent – dripping with goodness, every bite…… Our home even smelled yummy
    Instructions very clear Thank You and then some, for sharing –
    Hzl