Orange Dinner Rolls

These orange dinner rolls are flavored with fresh orange zest and a hint of sugar. They’re shaped like crescent rolls and brushed with orange juice glaze.

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Orange dinner rolls on a piece of parchment paper with a butter knife.

Zesty Dinner Rolls

I’m so excited to be sharing today’s recipe with you! This is one that means so much to me, for so many reasons!

A few months ago I was trying to come up with a “traditional” Thanksgiving recipe that our family serves. Of course, most of our recipes are pretty standard. I’m sure you’ve made (and ate) most of them yourself. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.

And then I remembered how my mom always made orange rolls for holiday dinners. I loved them! She always used her trusty bread machine to make cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. They were the best! 

So I made my own version and let me tell you, they are divine. The dough is brioche-like. Buttery, flaky, eggy. The rolls are rolled with butter, sugar and lots of fresh orange zest. They are neither subtle or overwhelming. Perfect for serving with just about anything- turkey, ham, chicken, pork, lamb, or beef.

A person setting a plate of orange dinner rolls down on a table.

Ingredient Tips and Shortcuts

Ingredients:

  • How many oranges to get the right amount of juice? You only need 1 orange to get a sufficient amount of juice
  • Can you use buttermilk instead? You can use buttermilk to make the rolls soft and fluffy. 
  • Can you add powdered sugar to the glaze? To make the glaze more sugary and thicker you can whisk in some powdered sugar. This will add more body to the glaze and it will be more of a dessert glaze.

Shortcuts:

  • Use pre-made crescent roll dough but spread your own filling on the dough before you roll them up.
  • Use orange marmalade for the filling

A sheet full of dinner rolls with orange zest

How to Make Them

DOUGH. Instead of using a bread machine I used my KitchenAid to mix and knead the dough. It definitely cut down on time and effort. If you don’t own one feel free to do it by hand, it just requires a little more elbow grease! 

RISE. Once the dough comes together, you’ll let it rise for about an hour to an hour and a half. It all depends on the temperature of your kitchen. If you live in a warm, humid climate, it may only take an hour. If you live somewhere dry and cool it make take the full hour and a half.

How to proof orange dinner rolls in cooler climates

You may also need to warm up your oven to 100 degrees, turn it off and let it rise in there. I do this anytime I work with yeast during fall and winter.

Homemade orange rolls with fresh orange halves.

Orange Roll Filling

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.

For the filling you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Orange zest
  • Orange extract or orange blossom water (though these are optional)

Simply soften the butter and mix it with the sugar, orange zest and orange extract or orange blossom water. I found Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract at Sur La Table. It gave the roll nice little boost of flavor without being super noticeable. 

FILL, CUT, AND ROLL. Spread it over the rolled out dough, then cut with a pizza cutter into wedges and tightly roll into crescents.

RISE. Place tip side down onto a well-greased cookie sheet and let rise until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes on a warm day to 1 hour on a cooler day.

An overhead view of orange dinner rolls and bowl of butter.

Bake and Serve

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter and freshly squeezed orange juice. 

These rolls are best served fresh from the oven. You can either cut them in half lengthwise or untwist them and enjoy them that way. Whatever way to decided to eat them, make sure to add an extra pat of butter for good measure. Always more butter, always!

A plate with a white and blue plaid napkin and a pile of orange dinner rolls.

 

What’s one unique recipe that your family serves at Thanksgiving? Leave a comment below and let me know!

LOOKING FOR MORE DELICIOUS ROLL RECIPES? TRY THESE:

 

Orange dinner rolls.

Orange Dinner Rolls

These orange dinner rolls are flavored with fresh orange zest and a hint of sugar. They’re shaped like crescent rolls and brushed with orange juice glaze.
4.84 from 6 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Breads & Muffins
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Additional Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 18 rolls
Calories: 219kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the dough:
  • 3/4 c. whole milk - warm (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk - room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 3 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
  • 8 tbsp. 1 stick butter, room temperature
For the filling:
  • 4 tbsp. 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Zest of 3 medium oranges
  • 1/4 tsp. orange extract or 1/2 tsp. orange blossom water - optional
For the glaze:
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add milk, sugar, egg and egg yolk. Sprinkle the yeast over top and allow it to sit until foamy, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add flour and salt, mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low for 1 minute. Add 8 tablespoons of softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead until the dough forms a soft, sticky ball, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a large, well-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours (if you live in a warm, humid climate you can do this at room temperature, however, if your kitchen is cool, you may want to let your oven heat to 100 degrees, turn it off and let it rise in there).
  • Punch dough to deflate, then place onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a large 16-inch circle.
  • In a medium bowl combine the soft butter, sugar, orange zest, and extract or water if using. Mix until smooth and creamy. Using a pastry brush or an offset spatula, spread over the surface of the circle of dough.
  • Using a pizza wheel or pastry wheel, cut 18 triangles or wedges. Roll each into a crescent shape starting at the outer edge and rolling inward towards the tip.
  • Place onto a well-greased baking sheet, with the tip tucked under (if it's not under good enough it may unroll as it rises). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size (again, you may want to do this in the oven if your kitchen is cool).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • When the rolls have risen, remove plastic wrap and place in the oven to bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown on the tops. Remove from the oven and brush with the melted butter and orange juice. Remove from the pan and serve while warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

  1. These rolls are fantastic! I made them for Thanksgiving and they were such a hit I made another batch last weekend, putting some in the freezer. And I’m making another batch for an early family Christmas dinner next weekend. I put a confectioners’ sugar and orange juice glaze on them when they’re still warm.

  2. 5 stars
    These are perfect for our dinner tonight! I can’t wait to make these for Easter too! So excited to give these a try!