Easy Orange Rolls


Do you have those moments in your life that, no matter if they happened twenty, thirty, or fifty years ago, they can be called upon at a moment’s notice and replayed in your mind as if they were only yesterday? Last week while I was filming on the set of Beat The Chefs, I had one of those moments when I walked outside of the studio and looked up at the moon.

I was on the tail end of a two week filming session consisting of twelve+ hour days working with some of the most wonderful people you could ever encounter. I’m blessed on many levels but most importantly, I’m blessed because I have the wisdom to realize and see my blessings around me. That is a key factor that a lot of people miss.

But I missed my family something fierce, so much so that my heart was just in a constant state of aching.

I looked up at the moon and went back in time.

It was a night just like that one, a moon just like the one I was seeing. My great grandmother  had called me out to join her in the driveway. “Come ‘ere Christy” she said. “I want you to look up at this moon.” I stepped out onto the smooth cool concrete in my bare feet and looked up at her. Her face was weathered from a lifetime of hard work and caring for her family. There was that usual hint of a smile around the corners of her mouth and that little twinkle in her eyes that made you feel she knew something you didn’t. Her countenance was made all the more beautiful by hair the color of the moon’s glow and wrinkles from smiles dating back to 1902.

I followed her gaze up to the tilted crescent moon. “That’s my favorite moon” she said. “When it’s a layin’ on it’s back like that it looks like it’s restin’ “. Her lips curled up into a smile as she looked down to make sure I was looking up as she spoke. “Always did like to step out and look at the moon when it was like that.”

Lela had lived a hard life, with years of working in the cotton fields and many times having to provide for her four kids on her own. Long hard days had given her strength that even advanced age couldn’t take away, and here she was, looking up and admiring the resting moon. I could just imagine how much it meant to her, when her back was nigh on breaking from picking cotton, to be able to find solace in knowing that even the moon got to rest sometimes.

The sky in Alabama is darker than it is in Los Angeles. The sky all those years ago was deep as pitch and the moon and stars were so bright they lit your path wherever you wanted to go, providing far more light than street lamps along city streets. Lela was wearing her dark blue house coat, just like the one of hers that I have neatly folded and tucked away in a box of treasures, that still has her smell of rose scented lotion and vita moist face cream. She smiled up at the moon in a way that made me think she was stepping back to another moment, just like I do when I think of that night and find myself standing under the carport with her and stepping to the edge to gaze up at the moon at her insistence that I do so.

I like it when it’s resting like that too, Lela. And thank you for giving me a little of home as I looked at it again through your eyes. We’re never as far from home as we think we are.

~takes a deep breath~

So today, I’m home. Back where I belong. With that in mind, it’s time to get cooking again, something I have been doing all weekend. Oh how I missed having my kitchen! Today’s recipe is a small and dainty orange roll. They are somewhat like cinnamon rolls in their concept but not much like them at all in taste. Alabama has a few places that are known for their orange rolls, served alongside your lunch plate or placed upon  your table in baskets, and I’ve never even tried any of those. Yes, I am probably the only person in Alabama who has never eaten at All Steak in Cullman – but I never did say I was well traveled. Given the chance to go or stay, I generally choose stay whenever possible :) It’s not that I’m a homebody, it’s just that I realize how blessed I am to have my home and everyone in it and I need a few lifetimes in order to enjoy it fully.

Here is my simple take on orange rolls and I hope you get to try them soon because they are surprisingly low fuss and supremely divine!

You’ll need: Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, butter, one orange, sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and one loaf of frozen bread dough.

I get my dough at the grocery store in the freezer section. Rhode’s bread dough sells packages of three frozen loafs like this and Kroger has their brand that usually comes in packages of four or five loafs. You need to set this out on a plate, cover, and allow it to thaw completely.

Okay now we need to zest our orange. Whatever kind of orange you have is just fine so don’t worry about that.

I can’t find my zester, though, and I hate digging through the abyss that is my kitchen drawers so I just grabbed this grater thingiemawhosit and it’ll work just fine.

Some folks might tell you not to do this so if they do, just don’t show them this post. I’m a big girl so I can make these executive decisions :)

Bada! Orange zest. About a tablespoon.

Now get a heaping tablespoon of orange juice concentrate.

Add all of that in a mixing bowl with your softened butter.

And mix it until it is well combined like this.

Now take your thawed bread dough and place it on a well floured surface.

It is important that you thaw it.

Roll that out a bit.

Like this.

I would estimate that this is about seventeen inches long and six or seven inches tall.

Here is a great tip to rolling out dough:

It will be hard to roll out and take some muscle so I roll it out as best I can and then let it sit for five minutes. This relaxes the dough. After five minutes, finish rolling it out to the size you want it to be and it will be much easier.

 Spread the dough with your orange butter but leave about 1/2 of an inch around the sides.

Sprinkle it with your sugar.

We’re only using 2-3 tablespoons of white sugar here because it doesn’t take much.

Now, to make our small little orange rolls, take a pizza cutter and cut right down the center of your dough to divide it into two looooonnnnnng skinny rectangles.

Starting on the inside, roll 1/2 of your dough up into a log and squeeze it together lightly to help it hold.

Repeat with the other one.

Time to cut! I cut each log into 12 equal sized pieces.

I don’t use the end pieces but if you want to use them, just place them in a separate small baking dish.

Grease a 24 cup mini muffin tin. Yes, mine is well used but I’m just keeping it real here :)

Place one slice into each muffin cup.

Like this.

Cover with waxed paper or a cloth towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Like this.

Now bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until just lightly browned.

Remove your hot rolls from the oven.

Like this.

Time to mix up our WONDERMOUS glaze!

I like to use orange juice concentrate because it gives you that POP of orange flavor that I love so much.

All you need is about a cup of confectioner’s sugar and two to three tablespoons of orange juice concentrate.

Stir that up until it’s nice and smooth.


You know you wanna taste it.

 Brush the glaze over your warm orange rolls.

Can you look at this grin and not smile? I sure can’t!




Orange Rolls
  • 1 loaf frozen bread dough, completely thawed
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2-3 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Place dough on floured surface and roll out to a 17 x 6 inch rectangle (This is approximate, you can eyeball it- see post for helpful tips to make rolling it out easier).
  2. In a mixing bowl, place softened butter, orange zest, and 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate. Mix with electric mixer until well blended.
  3. Spread orange butter over dough, leaving about ½ an inch all around on the outsides. Sprinkle with white sugar. Cut down the middle lengthwise with a pizza cutter (See photos in tutorial for visual).
  4. Beginning in the center, roll each side up into a log and press with hands to seal. Cut each log into 12 slices.
  5. Place slices in greased 24 cup mini muffin tin and cover. Allow to rise in warm place until doubled, 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. Bake in 350 oven for twenty minutes, or until lightly browned.
  1. ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  3. Stir together glaze ingredients until smooth and creamy. Brush over hot rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Enjoy!
Remaining orange juice can be placed in a zipper seal bag and frozen until the next time you make orange rolls.


I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

~Abraham Lincoln


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  1. Cassie Wilkins says

    OMGosh!! Just made these 2 nights ago, Hubby had 4 when he got off work at midnight. These are sooooo easy and soooo good! They are wonderful with our morning coffee. Thanks, Christy for another wonderful recipe. I sent this to my daughter in Texas also. I know she will love these! I am going to make these for our camping trip and just keep them in fridge and bake just before we need them, I put them in round cake pans and had 2 batches from 1 recipe. Love love loved it!

  2. Jen says

    You are truly one if the best, Christy! I love how you show pictures and give step by step instructions. You make it look so easy! I have definitely found my favorite go to website for recipes I may be looking for. And best if all you are from my home state. Thank you for your hard work!

  3. Elizabeth O'Donnell says

    Okay! I made these this morning. I am a huge fan of the orange rolls at the All Steak in Cullman, and I know what I will do differently to make your recipe more like those are. Next time I will grate the rind off 2 large oranges. And double the sugar used in the middle where you sugar the butter, rind,orange juice concentrate step. Also I will bake them in paper cups. This is to keep the “goodie” as we call it here, near the rolls, (when you reheat them you turn them upside down on the plate zap them a few seconds and it will run back down into the roll) I probably will not glaze them but if I do it will be lightly. I may also just cook them in a regular sized muffin pan, so the cupcake papers will fit better. These are yummy, but with those changes they will be more like those I think! Thanks again and I appreciate your recipes so much. I only posted this to anyone looking to make orange rolls that are more like those from the All Steak in Cullman Al. I have made MANY of your recipes, and all have been extremely good.

    • Angela Jackson says

      I grew up eating at the All Steak in Cullman. Every time we go back, we go downtown and order several dozen of them (one dozen is just to get us through the ride back to the house) the others are for everyone at the house. Their rolls are the best I have ever eaten. I can’t wait to try this recipe – my daughter has been asking me for years to make them for her and she is coming for a visit next weekend.

  4. Lynda says

    Christy, I have followed you for some time now. I have your cookbook – THANKS! – and subscribe to Taste of the South for your articles. I was browsing your website and came across this recipe. It immediately made me think of my mother, who passed away 4 months ago. She LOVED orange rolls! I’m going to make these in her memory and have a cup of coffee and reminisce… Thanks again!

  5. Becky says

    These look so good Christy! I plan on trying these when I get to town to get some frozen bread. I also just wanted to say that your daughter is the cutest thing. You can tell by that big smile that she is one loved little girl.

    Oh, Nd I just received my autographed copy of your magazine. Amazing!!!

  6. says

    Hey Christy! Just ran across this recipe and boy do they look good! I can cook or bake just about anything but I am so intimidated by YEAST! Yup! I fail every single time- it’s the rising part that gets me. Especially in the summer ~ where do you find a warm place? A friend suggested a slightly warm oven and that didn’t turn out too well either.So what is the secret to dough rising in the summer with an air conditioned home?
    Also, thank you for the weekly inspirationals, they really do touch me!

  7. Sheryl M says

    I love your beginning of this blog about being grateful for what we have.
    I also love the sound of the orange rolls. I can’t wait to try them.
    Thank you.
    Oh and I am reading the Southern Plate Classics magazine and can’t decide what to try first. I think it is going to be the lasagna with chicken and spinach and alfredo sauce.

  8. Donna Hullett says

    I was reading your SHORTCUT BUTTER ROLLS and it made me think of the ORANGE ROLS at All Steak in Cullman, Al. ( funny someone mentioned All Steak). So I was wondering about transforming the SBR’s to an Orange glazed SBR’s? So I looked up an orange glaze on your site and sure enough found it with a roll recipe. I still would like to do the SBR’S recipe and the orange glaze. Not being a really good baker, which your recipes are helping, I thought I would see if you or anyone else had advice on this idea ?


  9. Catherine says

    Thanks Christy, for your wonderful recollections of times past. The ones in our lives and the time shared make us who we are. I too prefer to stay than go. I love my kitchen and preparing food for my loved ones in it! Your orange rolls are awesome! They sure didn’t last long!
    Thanks for sharing your stories as well as recipes! Yours is my go to site~ :)

  10. Mary Jo T says

    I tried the orange rolls at All Steak in Cullmam amd I’m probably the only prtson in Alabama that didn’t like them! 😀 However, I do plan on trying your recipe for them. I have been trying to find a recipe for them that I might like and would be better than the ones at All Steak. Maybe yours will be the one!!!

  11. Lou Ann says

    I was so excited when I found this site, especially when I saw this recipe! My roommate at Walker College and I drove from Jasper to AllSteak on more than one occasion to get orange rolls back in the seventies! Haven’t had anything like them since, so I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks for your beautiful and inspirational site. God bless!

  12. Ruth Nesbitt says

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your recipes and stories with us! Your Pear Preserves are EXACTLY like my Grandmother made!!! I make them and send to my brothers and their families because they were too young to watch Mom and my Grandmother make them! My grandparents and dad were from Murphy, NC but moved to Gastonia, NC to work in the cotton mills. My parents lived with them when I was born and my grandmother babysat while everyone worked.

    They had a cow, a garden and hogs so I was raised understanding farms. After work my grandfather would hold me on his lap in his old rocking chair beside the pot-bellied coal heater and tell me stories about how he was going back to the mountains.. He put potatoes in the hot coals to bake and froze candy bars in the freezer where they stored the vegetables and meat.. I thought that he was the most amazing man in the world!!

    When my grandfather retired they moved back to Murphy to a small farm. I had 2 brothers by that time and we made many trips up 74 and around the mountain roads to see Mommy and Earn as we called them.. My dad would help plow with a mule and haul wood off the mountain. Mom would help make jelly, kraut, butter and prepare vegetables for canning or freezing. When my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, they moved back to Gastonia to live with my parents until they died.

    Interstate 40 makes the trip much shorter now but not as colorful as the trip thru Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, Cherokee and Chimney Rock. I have cousins who are still there and a part of me will always remember and love that area!!!

    • Gloria says

      I grew up is Mount Holly, NC so “trips up 74 and around the mountain roads” brought back so many good memories. My children and grandchildren just don’t know what they are missing by using 40 to make the trip “quicker”. Thanks Christy for so many good recipes, but I love your stories best! One of my aunts (we always called them ants, but it was not bad) kept pickles onions on her kitchen table.

  13. Beverly says

    How blessed you were to know your great grandmother! One of my grandmothers died almost 2 years before I was born (she died very young) and the other one was not a very warm, loving person. All my great grandparents were gone by the time I was born. But I did have one wonderful grandfather who loved his grandchildren, so I was fortunate.
    These rolls look soooo good! I am going to the grocery store tomorrow and I will make sure to put the ingredients that I don’t have handy on my list!
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and your memories.

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