These fluffy, light, and moist cinnamon rolls get a hit of freshness via orange zest and a sweet topping in the form of a simple powdered sugar glaze (if you prefer cream cheese frosting, that tastes great too). The dough itself is conservatively sweetened so the icing doesn’t come off as cloying. Add a little natural food coloring of your choice to make these rolls a charming breakfast for any occasion.

For more, check out our Bacon-Maple Sticky BunsMonkey Bread, and Orange-Cardamom Cinnamon Rolls. Our Easy Cinnamon Rolls are made from a surprising shortcut ingredient. And this Vegan Cinnamon Roll recipe tastes as good as the real thing.

  • Yield: 12 rolls
  • Total: 4 hrs 30 mins 
  • Active: 30 mins

Ingredients (20)

For the dough:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted, plus more to grease the pan
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
  • Pinch of fine salt

For the glaze:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To make the dough:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the yolks, the whole egg, sugar, measured butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest (set aside the remaining orange zest for the icing). Add 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt; mix briefly, until the flour is evenly moistened.
  2. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour—the mixture will come together to form a shaggy-looking dough. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and moist but not too sticky, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Oil a large mixing bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl, then flip the dough over to ensure it’s evenly coated with oil (this will keep it from drying out as it rises). Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, from 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.

To make the filling and shape the rolls:

  1. In a medium bowl using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and pinch of salt until it’s evenly mixed. Set aside at room temperature.
  2. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a rectangle measuring 15 inches by 11 inches. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all the way around. Starting at one of the shorter sides, roll the dough into a log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up tight. With the seam side down, use a sharp knife to cut the log into 12 equal slices.
  3. Spray a 7-inch by 11-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the rolls in the dish cut side up (there will be almost no space between the rolls). Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free corner of your kitchen until it’s almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes (if your kitchen is cool, it may take longer).

To bake and glaze:

  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 375°F. Bake until the tops of the rolls are golden, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. With an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
  3. When the rolls are done, remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a rack to cool. Turn the rolls right side up. Cool about 10 minutes.
  4. Spread the glaze on the rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.