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Orange Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Updated: Apr 6

We all enjoy the cinnamon scent, drizzle of delicious icing and freshly baked dough from the oven. What if I told you these homemade orange cinnamon rolls are just as good as the canned ones! Yes, seriously!

This recipe has the perfect balance of sweetness, warmth and citrus! Trust me, these are better than the canned cinnamon rolls in your grocery store.

These cinnamon rolls not only are topped with a buttery orange icing, but also orange zest and juice within the dough and cinnamon spread. So you'll be getting an orange flavor in every bite. The orange mixes with the brown sugar cinnamon so perfectly, this might become your new favorite - it's my family's favorite breakfast treat.

Tools You'll Need

Here are some kitchen tools I like to suggest for making these cinnamon rolls. These are the exact products I use every time:

  • Electric Mixer with a dough hook or a Bowl and Silicone Spatula

  • 9x9 pan

  • thread, fishing line or serrated knife - for cutting your cinnamon roll dough.

  • Rolling Pin

You'll notice that these super fluffy and delicious rolls use bread flour! Using bread flour gives them that ultimate fluffy texture you won't be able to achieve as well with let's say all-purpose flour. This is the trick to keeping them soft and decadent. My family constantly asks for these in the mornings on the weekends and how could I not say no! They are so delightful with that citrus orange flavor and cinnamon, it's the perfect combination on those early mornings.

Due to the critical importance of the cinnamon roll dough, you will want to keep true to the recipe to produce the best cinnamon rolls you'll ever have! With a little patience with the dough, you will be creating these delicious rolls no problem.

Recipe Questions

Why did the centers pop out after baking?

This happens either due to the tight space between your rolls or they were rolled too tight. Don't worry! Take a spoon or butter knife and you can shift the centers back down without any evidence. Shh, the secret is between you and me.

Can I use All-Purpose Flour instead?

Absolutely! The use of bread flour in this recipe is due to the fact it gives these cinnamon rolls a very pillowy and fluffy texture. If all you have is all-purpose, these will still come out just as delicious.

Why did my dough come out sticky?

This could be due to the measurements weren't exact, but don't worry! Just add a tablespoon of flour in at a time and knead until it is no longer sticking, but still tacky to the touch.

Can I make these dairy free?

Absolutely! You can replace the milk with almond or another substitute and use vegan butter instead.

Prep Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 18-20 minutes

Servings: 9 cinnamon rolls


For The Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active or quick yeast

  • 1 egg, 1 egg yolk (room temperature)

  • 3 cups (460 g) bread flour

  • 1/4 cup (55 g) granulated sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoons (4 g) salt

  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) orange zest

  • 1/2 cup (122 g) warmed whole milk

  • 1/2 cup (90 g) orange juice

  • 1/4 cup (57 g or half a stick) unsalted butter (melted)

For The Filling

  • 2/3 cup (140 g) light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup (57 g or half a stick) unsalted butter (softened)

  • 1 tablespoon ( 7 g) cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon ( 6 g) orange zest

For The Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • orange food coloring (optional)


1. Start by warming your milk in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or on the stovetop on medium low. Should feel warmer than room temperature but not hot, around 110 degrees F. If it seems too hot, or you cannot stick your finger in it, let it cool a bit before proceeding.

2. Add your milk into the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix your egg, egg yolk, melted butter, and orange juice, then add to your milk.

3. Add in your sugar, orange zest and salt into your mixing bowl. Then gently stir until fully combined.

4. Then add in your flour and mix on low with a dough hook attachment. Switch to medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is cohesive and formed a ball. It should be slightly tacky, however should not stick to the bowl. If it's sticking, add a tablespoon of bread flour at a time. If you would like to knead by hand, flour your surface and knead the dough together for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer your dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area and let rise until it has doubled in size, this can take anywhere from 1 - 2 hours. While it rests, make your filling by mixing softened (almost melted) butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl then set aside.

6. Once the dough has doubled, flour your surface well, and roll your dough out into a rectangle that is roughly 9x15 inches (doesn't have to be exact here) and then spread your filling onto the dough in an even layer using a spoon or spatula. It should cover nearly all of the dough leaving about a 1/4 inch on each side.

7. Tightly roll your dough starting from the 9" side and once rolled, put the seam side face down so the edges seal together. Cut about 1/2 to 1 inch off each end, as those won't have as much filling as the rest!

8. Cut your cinnamon roll log into 9 roughly equal portions. I like to use fishing line or floss, but a serrated knife also works here. If using the line or floss, place under the dough and raise the ends up over top the dough, cross over and then pull tightly. Doing so gives you clean and even slices.

9. Pregest oven for 350 degrees F, and place your 9 pieces in a well-greased 9x9 inch pan (square or circle), cover with plastic wrap again and let it rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm area or I like to place beside my oven while it preheats.

10. While your cinnamon rolls bake, start by making your frosting by mixing your orange juice, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a small bowl. If you have any powdered sugar lumps, I like to use a emersion blender or you may use a spoon or spatula and press the lumps out. Optional, you may add a drop of orange food coloring.

11. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the rolls become just slightly golden brown, any longer, they will not be pillowy and soft on the inside. So we want to underbake slightly here! Once golden brown, let them cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then frost.

Recipe Notes

Making in Advance

If you would like to make these ahead of time and bake the following morning, follow the above steps and after placing your cinnamon rolls in your pan, securely cover it with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, take out the cinnamon rolls and leave on the counter to come to room temperature for about an hour for a second rise. Then bake as directed.

Yeast Proofing

Depending on your yeast, if you have active dry yeast, you will want to make sure to let it sit on top of your warmed milk for about 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. You will know it's ready when the yeast becomes bubbling or frothy looking.

Thicker Cinnamon Roll Icing

Some prefer a thicker icing, and here's how to do it! Using the same measurements as above, make sure to use heavy cream. Once your icing ingredients are all added, use a hand or stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until it becomes thicker in consistency. You may add a bit more powdered suger if needed to reach desired consistency.


Any leftovers, store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days or place in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you would like some, take them out to bring to a low room temperature for 10 -15 minutes and microwave to reheat.

Have you tried this recipe? Tag me on Social Media!

Use #sweeteatsbyrachel and mention @sweeteatsbyrachel on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

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May 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Hi . Thank you so much for this recipe. Regarding the vanilla, do you mean vanilla essence?

Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
May 24
Replying to

Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste would work here, yes!


May 12
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love these!!! Perfect for my husband’s love of orange rolls but able to make at home!

Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
May 16
Replying to

It’s my family’s favorite! Glad you and your husband enjoyed them!

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