Copycat Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls. Gooey, fluffy, and dripping with orange glaze.
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!
Baking with Yeast Guide
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.
Today I bring you a homemade version of the zingy little breakfast rolls. The rolls are surprisingly SO easy to make. 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.
They’re dripping with sweet orange glaze!
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 – either as overnight rolls (see recipe notes) or you can freeze the baked rolls. 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.
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!
Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! ♥Print
Homemade Orange Sweet Rolls
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes (or overnight)
- Yield: 15 rolls
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Copycat Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls. Gooey, fluffy, and dripping with orange glaze.
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- fresh orange zest from 1 medium orange
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 – 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (or more for a thicker glaze)
- 3 Tablespoons orange juice
- fresh orange zest from 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 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°F (41°C)-115°F (46°C). 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.
- 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.
- Line the bottom of a 9×13 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 10×15 inch rectangle. I used a ruler for accuracy. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). 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.
- Make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle over rolls before serving. Add more orange juice to thin out, if needed.
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare through step 4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and let rise, about 1 hour.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: let the rolls rise through step 5. Then, bake the rolls for only about 10 minutes at 375°F (191°C). Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. Take the rolls out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator a few hours before serving. Then, finish baking them.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer or Handheld Mixer | 9×13 Pan | Parchment Paper
- Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Keywords: orange sweet rolls
Reader Comments & Reviews
Disappointed in this recipe. I followed it to the T & it was a sticky mess & even when I tried to roll it up on a floured surface it tour to pieces. I even add more flour then I need to the mix to try & thicken it with no luck. First recipe on here that I wasn’t a fan of
Too hot to eat yet but they look fantastic and smell great! Followed recipe almost to a T (added more filling- double using 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white) and using cream cheese in the frosting once I make it just for thick and creamy preference. Did the overnight option which worked well. Lined bottom with parchment and a very light spray of butter pam. After removing from fridge this morning I placed it on a microwaved heat pad that was just warm-not hot and threw a warm towel on top over plastic to let sit for an hour. Looked good -just a little puffy but not huge. Removed plastic and lightly covered with foil for the bake which I thought was odd but did it anyway. My fear of sticking to the foil did happen but only with one roll as I had the foil on very lightly. This kept the rolls soft and puffy so lesson learned as I hate the hard bread crust texture of some cinnamon rolls. Cooling now awaiting frosting. Can’t wait! Glad I had a few oranges heading downhill that needed to be used or I never would’ve found this recipe.
Made this for breakfast today and was a hit! Hadn’t bought the name-brand rolls like this for years due to processed food and my boys missed them. Needless to say, there was great joy in our home today! They are easy to prepare and delicious. Only criticism was that they needed more icing, but then don’t most things?! 🙂
Hi Sally! I was wondering if you had a suggestion for how to add sourdough starter to these? Can’t wait to make these for Christmas morning. Thanks!!
Hi Misha, we haven’t tried any of our sweet roll recipes with a sourdough starter. Let us know if you give it a try!
Thank you Sally! Finally w/your help, I’ve used yeast & not messed up! These taste just like the Pillsbury–just better & w/healthier ingredients. Do you think it would work, if I substituted milk for the orange juice & olive oil for the butter in the dough, & swapped garlic & asiago (or Mozz) for the cinnamon/sugar in the filling, that I could make savory rolls? There was a restaurant close to me called The Pizza Cookery & I’d like to make their pizza rolls, but I keep sucking at any bread recipe I make…except this one. Thank you for answering.
Hi Heidi, we’re so glad these sweet rolls were a success for you! We haven’t tried those exact changes ourselves, but they should work. Or, you might enjoy these savory bread recipes instead! Garlic Knots, Garlic Pull Apart Bread, or Pizza Rolls.
Thank you Lexi & Sally! I made them again w/fresh garlic in place of zest & milk in place of orange juice in the dough & garlic powder in place of cinnamon & 1 tsp sugar in place of 1/4 cup in the filling (+ 1/2 cup Mozz). I kept a bit of sugar for the filling to caramelize & stick. I used butter (not EVOO) & omitted the frosting :o)– Results: the 2nd time something I made w/yeast wasn’t trashed! My husband doesn’t like bread/rolls (Sacre Bleu!) but he liked these. They tasted like tender Hawaiian rolls w/a hint of garlic. That’s how good Sally is. Next time I’ll add fresh garlic in the filling also, salted butter in place of unsalted & more Mozz! Hooray!
My husband loves these. He doesn’t like a lot of sweet foods, nor breads (he has a condition which calls for high amounts of protein and sodium), but as I bake things that aren’t too sweet, he has gotten to like a few items. These I will make once or twice a month (with less sugar in the dough and a very small amount of glaze) and they go down a treat. When he is in too much pain to eat much but needs something to lift his sugar levels and take with medicine, these are a go-to. It helps these are citrus, which is his favourite flavour profile!
After making these once, I can easily go from 3 to 5 stars the next time I bake them. The dough is phenomenal to work with. I used fresh squeezed orange juice and added extra zest. The recipe says to cut 16 one inch rolls from a 15″ log and use a 9X13 inch pan. I cut 15 rolls and made 3 rows of 5 which fit perfectly in my pan. Next time I will be adding orange zest to the filling before rolling and cutting for an extra layer of flavor. I baked them until the tops were golden brown as stated in the recipe. I regret not going with my instincts and pulling them from the oven at the minimum baking time when they were barely turning color, as golden on top meant burnt on the bottom and somewhat denser than I prefer in the center. Looking at the photos I see they are quite dark on the bottom. They are edible, but knowing what I now know from my first attempt, my next batch will definitely be a perfect 5 star batch of rolls! I hope this helps others to achieve a 5 star rating on their first go at baking these orange lovelies.
Hi! Bummer that they got burned. But isn’t the purpose of the rating to rate the recipe? Seems a bit unfair for you to ding the recipe for your own overbaking.
I only have blood oranges on hand. Do you think their juice and zest would work in this recipe?
We don’t see why not!
Hi Sally! Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for baking this recipe at high altitude? It look so wonderful and would love to make it for Christmas morning!!
Hi Teaba, I wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html
These were way better than the Pillsbury version. They absolutely exceeded our expectations. So delicious!! We loved them. We’ll definitely be having these again…and again!
Roommates ate half the pan within minutes of it coming out of the oven
This recipe is amazing. Just the right amount of orange and the dough was super soft and easy to work with.
Sometime after the 1980s, Pillsbury switched from a dough that produced flaky layers to one more like their regular cinnamon rolls. Any thoughts on how the lamination would be achieved for the earlier version of these? I don’t think it was full on puff pastry.
Hi Rex, I’m unsure of what their original dough was like. Do you think it was similar to a Danish pastry dough?
I just made these last weekend and they WERE SO DELICIOUS. They were so soft and so fluffy and they got SO BIG throughout each rise.
I substituted white whole wheat flour and they tasted incredible AND I used instant yeast instead of dry active. Perfect! they turned out absolutely perfect.
I’ve made this twice now and it’s great! The orange flavor comes through and it has a traditional cinnamon roll texture. It can also be used with a sticky roll topping – I tried this the last time (swapping walnuts for the usual pecans to pair with the orange) and really enjoyed the results.
Hello! I’ve made these several times and they truly are fabulous!!! However, sometimes they don’t rise as well as others, or they’ll rise but then fall. I’ve tried to figure out what’s happening but can’t quite piece it together (my yeast is good). Could you share some specifics on the rising and baking? Such as:
Do you cover with plastic wrap, foil or a towel when rising?
The plastic wrap gives a really good rise by being air tight, but when I remove it to bake that seems to contribute to the falling
I typically cover with plastic wrap. It could be that you are letting the rolls rise too much, which could then cause them to deflate. That would be my guess!
Hi Sally! I’m looking at making these using the overnight instructions, but I need a little clarification first. When you say follow the instructions through step 4, does that include letting them rise in a warm place for 30 minute to an hour (so the initial rise, the rise as rolls, rising in the refrigerator overnight, then a 4th rise in the morning)? Or do you skip that 2nd ride, resulting in only 3 rises? Thanks! I really don’t want to screw these up, because they look delicious!
Kaleen, I just added those recently and I just dropped that rising part down to step 5. So, do not let the cut rolls rise then place in the refrigerator. Cut the rolls, place into the pan and then into the refrigerator. Sorry about that!
made these yesterday. Fun to make and taste wonderful. Tastes just like the canned kind!! I’m gonna try other kinds!! I will probably add more orange next time- such as a small bit of orange oil to intensify the orange
I now have made the Easy Cinnamon Rolls (a few times already) and just made the Orange Sweet Rolls for Thanksgiving…Out of this world delicious! Your recipe for both are well written and easy to follow…and the orange zest in the Sweet Rolls and orange zest in the Glaze….Fabulous! I added some Cream cheese to the glaze to make it abit more creamy. Next week I will make the Raspberry Sweet Rolls…wish me luck! Thank you for the great recipes Sally!
Hi, I am excited to make these! All seems pretty straight forward, but as this is my first time using active yeast, I am curious about the “warm place” where it is supposed to sit. My apartment is very “room temp.” Should I turn on the oven and set the bowl on the stove above? Or perhaps inside the oven at a lower temperature? Thanks!
You can preheat the oven to 200, turn it off, then place the rising dough inside the warm oven as it cools down.
I made these last night and everything went perfectly until I cooked them. By the time they middle ones were light brown, the bottoms were dark brown. Taste (other than bottoms was superb). We solved by very carefully cutting the bottoms off while they were still all together. However my question is, what should I have done differently?
Are you baking them in a dark metal pan or glass? I prefer to use glass when I bake cinnamon rolls. I find dark metal burns my cinnamon rolls. You can also try slightly reducing the oven temperature. Try 350 degrees for around 28 minutes.
Made these over the weekend and they turned out great!! Thanks for the wonderful recipe and easy instructions!
Hi Sally! I was just wondering whether the orange juice in these rolls is natural, fresh orange juice, or the store bought kind? Do you need to squeeze the juice from the orange? Thanks!
Hey Laura! I alway use the store-bought kind. However, I know a few readers use freshly squeezed. Either would be find!
Hey Sally! I just made these for a special Saturday morning breakfast and of course, I loved them! They dough is sooooo soft and fluffy. Plus, I loved how unexpectedly easy they were to make! I also made the pumpkin chocolate chip granola bars, and I am totally IN LOVE with them! The pumpkin was on sale in my grocery store so I just had to make them :D. I sort of went on a baking spree as you can see; I hadn’t baked all week because I’ve been so busy with school. Thanks sally! Hope you are having a great and relaxing weekend!