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Orange roll on a plate with a fork.

Christmas Morning Orange Rolls

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 16 reviews
  • Author: Joy the Baker
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 rols 1x
  • Category: baking, breakfast, brunch, holiday,


Tender and stretchy yeasted rolls scented with orange zest and warming spice and topped with an orange cream cheese glaze.



For the Dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed to just warmer than body temperature about 105110 degrees F.
  • 1-package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 1/3 cups (574 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into large chunks
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten to combine

For the Filling:

  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of two oranges (about 2 ½ tablespoons)
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the Glaze:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons, 56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of one orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste


  1. To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk. Add a pinch of sugar from the 1/3 cup sugar and allow the yeast to activate. After 5 minutes, the yeast mixture should be foamy and fluffy.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add remaining sugar, flour, nutmeg, and salt. Stir with a spatula to combine. Add the butter chunks, beaten eggs and finally the yeasty milk mixture. Stir again with a spatula to combine into a shaggy dough.
  3. Place the mixer on medium speed and allow to knead for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and return to medium speed to knead for another 5 minutes. The dough should mostly come into a cohesive ball that gathers around the dough hook. The bottom of the dough may stick to the bowl. If the dough seems too sticky to do this, add a few more tablespoons of flour.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand a few turns just to ensure the dough is smooth and bouncy. Lightly grease a bowl (you can absolutely use the bowl you mixed the dough in), place the dough in the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. To make the filling, in a small bowl combine orange zest, sugar, and spices. Rub together with your fingers until evenly combined and fragrant.
  6. To make the glaze, place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Make sure that the cream cheese is very well softened and if not, microwave it for a few seconds to make sure it’s supremely softened. Use a spatula to spread the cream cheese around the bowl, making it super pliable. Add the softened butter and stir until no lumps from either the cream cheese or butter remain.
  7. Add the orange zest, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste and slowly work to combine. Drizzle in orange juice and stir until smooth. Cover and set aside.
  8. When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and press gently. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 14×20-inch rectangle, with the longest side facing you.
  9. Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle generously with orange sugar. Starting from the long side nearest you, roll into a tight coil ending seam side down. Slide a piece of plain dental floss under the middle of the dough and bring the ends of the floss up and around the log and pull together to cut the dough cleanly. Use the same technique to divide each half log into six equal pieces, about 1 ½-inches thick, for 12 rolls total. Arrange rolls in a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  10. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature and proof slightly for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place a rack in the upper third or center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and puffed and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. While still warm, top with half of the glaze mixture. Allow to soak in. Cool the rolls even further, 15-20 minutes, and glaze once again. Serve warm and enjoy! Rolls are best the day they are made but last up to 3 days. For best results the day after baking, toast in a toaster oven before serving.