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A couple of things before I get to these mind-blowingly awesome frosted orange rolls.

1.) I have mentioned before that my best friend since jr. high is getting married this summer. This past weekend was one of her bridal showers and so, in the spirit of bridesmaidy-best friendliness, I turned my tiny kitchen into a cookie-making factory.

I even caved and turned on the air conditioning so that my frosting would actually have more than a snowball’s chance in hell at setting.

Get it?  They’re bra and underwear sets. I cannot take full credit for this idea – I saw it on Foodbuzz once and it stuck in my head. Here’s what you do: take a heart, cut it in half horizontally. Aaaaaand…that’s it. Though you can’t really tell it from my super fantastic iPhone photos, I decorated half of them with white frosting and the other half with light blue frosting. I used the cookie and buttercream frosting recipe from my Valentine’s Day cookies, but they could certainly be done using any cut-out cookie recipe. Also, using a royal icing would likely give you a more professional look, but dang if I don’t really love that buttercream frosting, so that’s what I chose to go with. All in all, after four hours of baking and frosting and generally praying they turned out well, I thought they were pretty cute!

2.) Yesterday I was bopping along on Foodbuzz, doing my normal “check out what everyone else is doing” thing, when, all of a sudden, I realized that I recognized one of the pictures at the top of the Baking Buzz page! Wait a second…is that…that’s my pie!

Commence falling out of my chair in surprise.

I can’t even imagine how I would react if one of my recipes was ever in the Top 9. I’d probably have a stroke on the spot.

And now, for the real purpose of this post: Frosted Orange Rolls.

This is my grandmother’s recipe, and is one that she inherited from her mother. This is one of those roll recipes that uses one dough to make about 3 or 4 different kinds of rolls.

I remember being a little girl and having the cinnamon roll version of these on Sunday mornings after spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on a Saturday night. No cinnamon roll has ever really lived up to Grandma’s soft, pillowy rolls. And let me tell you why: this dough requires absolutely no kneading.

That’s right, no kneading. The elimination of that step means that the dough stays incredibly soft and pliable, making for the absolute softest sweet roll you’ve ever eaten.

Now, just because there is no kneading does not mean that there is not rising and waiting time involved. Trust me, this is not a recipe that you want to mess with before church on Sunday morning, no matter how early you think you may want to get up.

Luckily, Grandma has found a way around that, too: She makes a pan of these ahead of time, frosts them, cuts them apart and freezes them. When she needs them, she just takes out as many as she needs, microwaves each one for about 30 seconds, and serves them up.

Honestly, it wasn’t until very recently that we even knew that was what she did – you could never tell that they hadn’t been pulled fresh out of the oven!

Instead of opting for the cinnamon/sticky roll version of these (it will come in time, I promise you), this time I chose to make the dough into frosted orange rolls. They’re like cinnamon rolls, only the cinnamon-sugar filling has been replaced with a lightly orange-flavored icing. And then they are frosted. WITH. MORE. ORANGE. ICING.

Holy moly. I die.

Even though they do require some time and a little bit of effort, these rolls are so worth it. And you will definitely thank me when you wake up on a random weekend morning and remember that you have orange rolls in your freezer, ready to be reheated and eaten as the best breakfast ever.

And with Easter fast approaching, don’t you think your family deserves a special breakfast?

Yep. I thought so.

Frosted Orange Rolls

Frosted Orange Rolls

Yield: 18 rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup shortening, melted

For the orange icing:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt. Stir in 3 cups of the flour. Mixture will be runny. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
  2. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and shortening. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour. Dough will still be wet - this is ok, don't be tempted to add any more flour! Let rise until double, about an hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, cream butter for icing. Add orange zest, juice and powdered sugar and beat until well incorporated.
  4. After second rise, dump dough on a well-floured surface and divide in half. With a floured rolling pin, roll each half into a large rectangle, about 18 inches long. Spread each rectangle with 1/3 of the icing. Roll up into a log from the long side. Cut each roll into 9 sections (about 2 inches each). Place cut rolls into a greased 9x13-inch pan*. Let rise until doubled.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. After the final rise, bake rolls for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before frosting with the remaining icing. If freezing, allow to cool completely before cutting apart and placing in zip-top bags - you can fit about 9 rolls in a gallon-sized zip-top bag.
  7. To reheat, remove individual rolls from the freezer and reheat in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds per roll (length of time in the microwave will vary based on the strength of your microwave and the size of the roll).

Notes

*While I was (barely) able to fit all of my rolls into a 9x13-inch pan, it was a tight fit and they took significantly longer to bake. If your pan seems to be getting full, I would suggest baking these in two slightly smaller pans or an 11x14-inch pan.

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36 Comments

  1. thanks for sharing your recipe…i love cinnamon rolls, tried to make several times but i can’t get the right softness of my dough…i always ended up asking my supervisor at work to make some for me…orange glaze sounds delicious, can’t wait to try your recipe! thanks!

    1. Please let me know what you think! In spite of all of the risings, this dough really isn’t too hard to pull together and is just so pillowy soft. Also…you could totally do a cinnamon filling and top them with the orange icing, for the ultimate cinnamon roll/orange roll combo…

      1. Are the rolls supposed to come out like a biscuits texture? Mine did, I was thinking they be more like a cinnamon roll texture ,Maybe i did spmething wrong,

  2. Oh how fun! I’m hosting a bridal shower, too! I’m doing cupcake fondue! Tons of mini cupcakes and two different glazes and bowls upon bowls of sprinkles, crushed cookies & candy!

    I love these rolls. Haven’t had them since I was a kid. Need to change that asap!

  3. These look sooooo good. I shamefully admit that I’ve always loved the Pillsbury Orange Rolls. So I can only imagine how much more I’d love them home made 😀

  4. I would place the rolls in two eight inch round pans. Then you can freeze one after baking. I prepare rolls filled with butter, a little sugar, fresh blueberries and blueberry preserves like this. In my glaze, I use milk and fresh lemon juice. I can’t wait to bake the orange rolls.

  5. I made these yesterday and shared with my neighbors. My 85 yo neighbor said they were the Best thing I’ve ever made. My daughter swears I did not bake them but bought them from a bakery – ‘they are too good to be homemade.’ These were Delicious, a big hit and I will be sharing your recipe with everyone I know! THANK YOU!

  6. I made these today, they turned out perfect. I am so glad you told us not to be tempted to add flour, or I am sure I would have. I have them in the freezer for Easter. They truly are pillow soft.

  7. These look good. My husband loves to cook so I wrote this recipe down for him and going to get everything he needs to make them. Thank you for sharing all your good recipes with us

  8. I made your copycat Texas Rhoadhouse roles a couple weeks ago and though they aren’t quite like Texas Rhoadhouse, they were DELICIOUS! I came back to your website today to find another bread to make (bc you did NOT let me down last time) and came across these. OH. MY. GOSH! These are SO SO GOOD (and I’m kind of a good snob). Bless your grandma’s heart for having this recipe and passing it on to you. And bless YOUR heart for sharing!! Thanks!

  9. Well, tried to read thru the posts on this, and may have missed it, but do you use all purpose flour or self rising? These look delicious!

  10. A sincere Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your willingness to share this treasure of a recipe with us!!
    It will definitely become one my sons and their families request!
    Maybe a Christmas Eve tradition as our love language is defined FOOD! ❤️

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