Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls.

Copycat Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls. Gooey, fluffy, and dripping with orange glaze.

Fluffy, gooey cinnamon rolls with sweet orange glaze. Copycat Pillsbury recipe! These are amazing.

I planned for the first recipe of 2013 to be a healthier item… sorry, but I changed my mind.

Today’s rolls are a sequel to my Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls.  The two dough recipes are completely different, but they are both fruity little spin-offs of your standard cinnamon bun.  I am so in love with both fluffy, doughy, yeasty sweet roll recipes.

And I know you will be too.  Do not fear yeast!

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Have you ever had a Pillsbury Orange Sweet Roll before?  You know, the kind that come in a can?  I gladly admit that I LOVE those little things.  My mom always made them for us on busy weekend mornings.  The smell alone got me out of bed – light citrus paired with the nostalgic fragrance of gooey cinnamon buns.

Needless to say, down the stairs I ran with a grumbling tummy.

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today I bring you a homemade version of the zingy little breakfast rolls. I used the dough from my grandmother’s pecan rolls, which I’ll be sharing soon. The rolls are surprisingly SO easy to make.  I’ve only recently started playing around with yeasted roll/bread recipes. I’ve feared yeast in the past and now I am kicking myself for waiting so long to bake with it!

I know a lot of my readers have 2013 resolutions to begin playing around with yeast and this is a wonderful recipe to conquer that fear.

Start with a packet of dry instant yeast and 1/2 cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl.  I strongly urge you to use Red Star Platinum yeast. The original recipe asks for the water to be 105-115F degrees. I did not take its temperature – just lukewarm water will do here.  Save yourself that step!

Let the yeast dissolve in the warm water for a minute. Give it a quick stir, then add most of the remaining dough ingredients: fresh orange zest, some orange juice, sugar, salt, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons butter, and HALF of the flour called for in the recipe: 1.5 cups.  Beat the mixture on low, scraping down the sides as needed.  I used a hand-held mixer (rather than stand mixer) because I had much more control over the beating process.  A mixer (any kind) is definitely needed to break up all the butter and beat everything to the proper consistency.

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Turn off that mixer and put it away.  Add the rest of the flour to the dough and stir with a wooden spoon.  Mix it up and add more flour (little by little) until the dough is easy to handle by hand.  You are looking for a dough that is not sticky. Poke it with your finger – if the dough springs back, it is ready to go.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  This is the fun part!  Knead the dough by hand for about 5-6 minutes.  The dough should be very smooth and elastic – bouncing back as you pull on it.  This dough is some good stuff. ;)

Waiting time.  Roll the dough into a ball and place into a clean bowl – I butter the insides with butter or spray with cooking spray to alleviate any dough sticking to the sides.  Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and place in a warm spot.  I made these rolls on a particularly chilly evening – so I heated the oven to 200F degrees and turned it off. I placed the bowl inside as the oven was still warm.  It took about 1.5 hours for the yeast ball to double in size.  While we waiting, we watched episodes of How I Met Your Mother – obsessed with this show!

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ok, grab your rolling pin and ruler.  I am very precise when rolling out these rolls and my Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls.  You need to make sure that the rolls are thick enough and that you have enough of them.  For these reasons, it’s important to measure the dough with a ruler as you are rolling it.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15×9″ rectangle.  Spread with 1 Tablespoon of butter.  It may not seem like enough butter, but it is.  Spread it all over the dough with a knife and sprinkle with a mix of cinnamon and sugar.  I obviously used more cinnamon/sugar than what the original recipe calls for.  I typically have a heavy hand when using cinnamon in recipes. Love the stuff. :)

You may have thought that orange is somehow incorporated into the filling.  Nope.  Rather, orange is worked into the dough recipe itself and then again in the glaze.  The filling is just a typical cinnamon roll filling.

Tightly (very tightly!) roll the dough up. Using your sharpest knife, cut into 15 slices – about 1 inch wide in thickness. Stuff the rolls into a large baking pan, 5 lengthwise and 3 across. Leave some space between them (if you can), so they have room to expand.  Cover your baking pan and store in a warm place once again for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Time to bake! And fill your house with that glorious zesty sweet roll fragrance. The rolls only take about 25-30 minutes in the oven at 375F degrees.  Be sure to cover your rolls with foil – it didn’t state this in the original recipe, but this is crucial to prevent the tops of your rolls from getting too brown.

You and your family are going to want to rise, dine, and shine when you smell these babies in the oven. WOW.  The smell of these baking put the “good” into “good morning.” (<– I’m so cheesy!)

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

When you are ready to serve the rolls, drizzle with a simple orange sweet glaze.  A mix of powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract comes together easily and puts the finishing touch on your new favorite breakfast roll.

I baked these in the evening for breakfast the next day.  They definitely taste better fresh, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. :)  They can also be made ahead of time – the rolls freeze very well (without glaze!).  Just warm up and drizzle with the orange glaze when you’re ready to serve them.

You will love how doughy, soft, and fluffy these are!  Each bite is tender – like the fluffiest bakery roll you’ve ever tasted.  You will NEVER turn to the store-bought version again. There is simply NOTHING like a fresh sweet roll made from scratch.

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with sweet orange glaze. | Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

With one taste of the warm and sticky rolls fresh from the oven, I truly wondered why I waited so long to make these!  I like to unravel the doughy cinnamon layers as I eat them. :)

New spin-off recipes from today’s sweet rolls are already swirling through my head.  Make a batch of these for breakfast or brunch and invite your friends and family over.  Or not.  There really doesn’t need to be any occasion to make these!


Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls

A homemade copycat recipe for Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls. Topped with a sweet orange glaze and filled with cinnamon sugar.

Yield: 15 rolls

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3.5 hours or overnight



  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • fresh orange zest from 1 medium sized orange
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 - 3.5 cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened to room temperature


  • 1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • fresh orange zest from 1 medium oranges
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make The Dough: Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water for about 1 minute. No need to use a thermometer for the water's temperature, but to be precise: about 105-115F degrees. Stir the yeast/water around. Then add orange zest, orange juice, sugar, salt, egg, butter, and 1.5 cups of flour. Beat everything together on low with a handheld mixer, scraping down the sides as needed. (A mixer is definitely needed to break up all the butter and beat everything to the proper consistency.) With a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough easy to handle - about 1.5 - 2 more cups. You are looking for a dough that is not sticky and will spring back when poked with a finger.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 5-6 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
  3. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper,leaving room on the sides. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling in, roll into a 15x9 inch rectangle. I used a ruler for accuracy. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.
  4. For The Filling: in a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Spread the dough rectangle with softened butter and sprinkle generously with all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Tightly roll up the dough and cut into 16 even rolls (1 inch in width each) with a very sharp knife. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes - 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Cover the rolls with aluminum foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until they are lightly golden in color. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes.
  6. Make The Glaze: In a small bowl, mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle over rolls before serving.

Sally Says:

Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 4.  Cover the rolls and let sit at room temperature overnight before beginning step 5.   Baked rolls can be frozen up to 1 month and warmed up to enjoy at a later date.  Glaze right before serving.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.




I like to call this sweet roll perwait for it… fection. ;)

Fluffy, gooey cinnamon rolls with sweet orange glaze. Copycat Pillsbury recipe! These are amazing.


I know you’ll enjoy these related recipes as well.

Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls

Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls-11


Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Easy Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch-9


132 Responses to “Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls.”

  1. #
    Angel T.posted January 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Sally, I’m planning on making these tomorrow…do you think it would be okay to substitute lemon for the orange? My mum forgot to buy oranges…!


    • Sallyreplied on January 2nd, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Yes! Lemon would be so good, Angel!


  2. #
    Lauraposted January 4, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Hi Sally, I tried these rolls two days ago and they didn’t rise! I wasn’t sure if it was the yeast problem or something else I did, or the weather :D. Are active dry yeast the same as instant ones?

    I tried your cinnamon rolls recipe before, and they were very successful! So I was disappointed this didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. But the orange glaze was fantastic. :)


    • Sallyreplied on January 4th, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Hey Laura! It definitely sounds like your yeast was dead. That’s the reason for my sweet rolls not rising. Instant yeast is a little stronger than active dry. I generally find it easier to work with. Active dry yeast works just as well as instant yeast, but it sounds like yours may have been dead.


  3. #
    Aurelposted January 23, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Hey sally! Do you think it would be weird if i make the glaze into a chocolate orange glaze? Or chocolate glaze? It sorta comes up to my mind


    • Sallyreplied on January 23rd, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Not at all! I think that sounds delicious. I love chocolate and orange.


  4. #
    *H.B.posted January 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Hey Sally,

    These sound fantastic! I’ve read through the comments and some of the failed attempts at making ahead. If I’m making them now and want to bake them tomorrow morning will you run through the steps? (Do I let them rise then refrigerate overnight? leave them out on the counter uncooked and covered in plastic wrap overnight, then bake?)



    • Sallyreplied on January 27th, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Hi! I’ve had luck each time I make these overnight by leaving on the counter at room temperature until the morning, then bake.


      • *H.B.replied on January 28th, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        Thanks so much, these were fantastic!! Everyone loved them. My 3 yo and 20 mo old also had fun helping me knead the dough and roll it out. The mess was well worth the fun they had participating.

        My first batch I divided so we could go ahead and eat a few. I underestimated how much they would rise. Will definitely give them LOTS of room next time and a little more time in the warm oven (preheated to 200 then turned off worked great). They just kept getting bigger! The ones I was baking the next morning I left on the counter, covered and they did not fall at all. Also, I buy my yeast at Costco so it was just the regular Red Star Active Yeast and that was fine too.

  5. #
    KJposted March 27, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Hey Sally!! Thank you for this fantastic recipe!!!! I used this recipe to make a giant cinnamon roll cake (also referred to your other recipe) for my mom’s birthday. She absolutely LOVES oranges and this is such a great recipe!

    But guess what – I made it even more orangey – I added orange extract in the dough, orange zest in the filling, and even made my own candied orange peels to include in the filling. The result? A super gooey orangey cinnamony giant bread roll cake ….. It is heaven combined with the orange glaze. Thank you thank you thank you!


  6. #
    Aaliyahposted July 10, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Sally, how much Active Dry yeast will I need for this recipe?


    • Sallyreplied on July 10th, 2014 at 10:05 am

      2 and 1/4 teaspoons.


  7. #
    Toniposted July 21, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Sally! Thank the heavens for this recipe, I have too many ponkans on hand at home. Do you using the ponkans will work too, in place of the orange?


    • Sallyreplied on July 21st, 2014 at 8:32 am



  8. #
    Beccaposted November 6, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I made these for my husband over the weekend and they were so good! I recently started my own food blog. I shared this recipe with my few followers. I’d love for you to check it out.


  9. #
    Mistyposted December 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Just a small tip I learned: when cutting the rolls before baking, use unflavored dental floss or thread for a clean cut. Dough will also rise better


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