Orange Vanilla Cinnamon Rolls

Maksen loves these. The last two years for his birthday, he has requested orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

I feel like I have perfected my regular cinnamon rolls, but I couldn’t ever get the orange flavor to SHINE through the strong flavor of the cinnamon. I think I finally have gotten it right, and these are the best ones I have ever made.

Though they can take quite a bit to make, as you have to rise them twice, I promise it is worth every single second that it takes to make these!




  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt


  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 large orange, zested


  • 1/2 pound powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice +more for thinning
  • 1/2 large orange, zested


  1. Make the dough: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, oil, and sugar. Set over medium heat.
  2. Heat until bubbles form, then turn off the heat. Set the mixture aside to cool to a little warmer than lukewarm.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk mixture and let sit for 1 minute.
  4. Add 4 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, it will be very sticky. Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Set the dough aside in a warm, draft-free place for an hour.
  5. Remove the towel. The mixture should have doubled in size; if not, allow it to rise a little while longer. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a very large rectangle.
  7. Prepare the filling: In a large measuring cup, stir the melted butter with the sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest. Spoon the filling over the middle of the dough, leaving about an inch around the outside without any filling.
  8. Starting at the large end, roll the dough toward yourself uniformly and as tightly as possible. When you reach the end, fold the edges together, and crimp the dough together.
  9. Cut off the ends, then continue to cut out the rolls. I prefer to use unflavored dental floss to cut the rolls. This prevents the rolls from smashing under the weight of the knife.
  10. Spray a casserole or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and place the rolls inside the casserole dish leaving a little bit of space between the rolls. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 350ºF. When the second rising time has finished, place the dish in the oven and bake for 30-32 minutes, or until completely done in the centers of the rolls.
  12. In the meantime, make the icing. Sift the sugar into a large mixing bowl and mix in the milk, melted butter, vanilla, fresh orange juice, and orange zest. Whisk until smooth, using some more orange juice if the icing needs thinning.
  13. When baking time has finished, remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and pour the icing all of the tops and edges. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow icing to ooze down into the cracks.
  14. Orange vanilla cinnamon rolls should be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. The next day, the rolls are delicious if heated slightly.

Orange Vanilla Cinnamon Rolls

In a medium saucepan, combine some whole milk, vegetable oil, and granulated sugar. Over medium heat, allow the mixture to heat until bubbles form. Turn off the heat and set aside until the mixture is slightly warmer than lukewarm.

Sprinkle a package of active dry yeast over the top and let sit for exactly one minute to activate it.

Scoop out 4 cups of all-purpose flour and place into the milk mixture.


And stir to combine. The mixture will be super sticky.


Place a clean kitchen towel over the top and set in a warm, draft-free place for one hour.

The mixture should have doubled in size. If not, allow some more time for it to continue to rise.


Add 1/2 cup more all-purpose flour, some baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Stir to combine the remaining ingredients.

Throw out the dough onto a lightly floured counter.


And shape it into a rectangle. This makes it easier to control the shape when you are rolling it out.


Roll it out into a very large rectangle.


Make the filling: In a large measuring cup, combine some melted butter, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest.

Spread over the surface of the dough, leaving the edges clear about an inch around.


Uniformly roll the dough toward you, trying to keep it tight and in line.


Stop right before the last roll and fold the dough in the opposite direction. Pinch the seams together.


Using a knife, cut off the ends of the dough where it is rough and does not have any filling.


Using unflavored dental floss, slice the dough into rolls. I prefer this method because it does not smash the top of the rolls, like it does when you use a knife.


Place the sliced rolls in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.


Cover with a towel and place in a warm place for an additional 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.


Once rising time has concluded, bake in preheated oven for 30-32 minutes or until the centers of the rolls are done.


Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift some powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Add in some milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, fresh orange juice, and some more orange zest.

Whisk until combined and use some more orange juice if needed to thin the icing out.


Scoop the icing over the top of the cinnamon rolls.


Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the icing to ooze down into the cracks of the cinnamon rolls.


And serve! Keep cinnamon rolls covered with foil, at room temperature, for 2 days.



3 thoughts on “Orange Vanilla Cinnamon Rolls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.