Cardamom Orange Rolls

a fresh baked dish of orange cardamom sweet buns for breakfast.

Nobody can resist homemade breakfast sweet rolls and these easy to make Cardamom Orange Rolls are the best! Made with a soft yeast dough rolled with a delectable cardamom orange filling and drenched with sweet, sticky orange glaze, these outrageous pastries are perfect for special weekend breakfast or brunch and you’ll definitely want them for the holidays.

Rolling the dough out into a circle.
Roll the dough into a circle that’s about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.

Not like other orange rolls

There’s lots of orange sweet roll recipes out there, but this one is unique. I’ve adapted the recipe from a dog-eared page in my copy of The Foster’s Market Cookbook.

These sweet buns use a soft, airy, easy-to-work-with yeast dough that I use to make these awesome dinner rolls as well as these amazing sweet rolls.

I usually make a full recipe of the refrigerator rolls and split the dough in half to use one for a batch of soft dinner rolls and the other half to make these sweet, lightly spiced cardamom orange rolls. It’s the best of both worlds.

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assembling the filling for the orange sweet rolls.
Brush the dough with melted butter, and sprinkle with the orange cardamom filling.

Sweet roll dough

This dough is such an easy and versatile one, it’ll be your go-to recipe from here on.

  • You can make the dough up to a week in advance – just keep it refrigerated.
  • You can assemble the sweet rolls the night before and bake them the next day.
  • No stand mixer is needed to make the dough for the cardamom orange rolls.
  • They’re soft, flaky, yeasty and irresistible.


  • ½ Recipe Refrigerator Rolls – this is the same sweet roll dough I use for my Cinnamon Raisin Rolls.
  • Butter – I prefer using unsalted butter.
  • Sugar – white sugar is best for these orange sweet rolls.
  • Cardamom – a an aromatic and floral spice.
  • Orange Zest – be careful to get just the outer orange and not the bitter white pith.
  • Sour Cream – for the glaze.
  • Orange Juice – squeezed from the oranges you just zested.
  • Kosher Salt – I prefer Diamond Crystal kosher salt as they are less dense and salty by volume than Morton’s.
cutting the dough into triangles.
Spread the filling into an even layer and use the pizza wheel to slice the dough into 12 pie wedges.

How to make orange rolls:

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and punch down.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, orange zest and cardamom and set aside.
  3. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle between ¼” to ½” thick.
  4. Brush the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
  5. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 12 equal pie shaped wedges.
  6. Roll up each wedge like a crescent roll, starting at the edge and ending with the pointy tip.
  7. Transfer the rolls to a prepared pie plate, arranging them in a circle like a pinwheel.
  8. Cover with a tea towel and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake in a 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Brush with the orange glaze recipe.

Using pizza cutters for more than just pizza isn’t anything new, but I find them particularly useful when working with dough. Unlike a knife which can stretch and pull, the pizza cutter is a seamless extension of your hand that can be fluidly rolled in any direction. I use it to form my raspberry almond braid to spectacular results.

rolling the dough into crescents.
Roll each of the wedges into crescent rolls.

Aside from having a very different look than most other orange sweet rolls out there, these breakfast pastries are also have a softer, perfumed spice than those that are loaded with cinnamon. The cardamom is a floral spice that pairs perfectly with the orange zest in the gooey sugar filling.

What’s the best pan to cook the orange rolls in?

To get the signature look, I prefer a 9″ glass pie plate.

  1. Because these buns are rolled into a crescent shape instead of a traditional round pinwheels, they take on a really beautiful visual in the pie plate.
  2. Nestle the orange crescent shaped rolls into the pan in a pinwheel formation (see sketch below).
  3. If there’s one or two extras, just fit them into the center of the plate.
  4. The sweet buns need an extra 30 minutes to puff and rise before baking.
a line drawing of a pinwheel to show how to fit the buns into the pie plate.
See how the pinwheel is arranged with the sides pointing towards the middle? That’s how you arrange the buns in the pie plate.

How do I make orange rolls the night before?

  1. Assemble the rolls and fit them into the pie plate as described above.
  2. Instead of letting them rise, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. The next morning let the rolls rest on the counter, covered with a dish towel for 45 minutes to an hour to come to room temperature and rise.
  4. Bake as usual and brush the warm rolls with the orange glaze.
let the dough rise a second time.
After the rolls rise, bake them!

Crazy good orange glaze recipe for sweet rolls

This orange glaze is easy to assemble and only takes about 5 minutes of hands on time. Instead of a plain confectioner’s sugar glaze or a cream cheese frosting, these sweet buns have a luscious orange glaze that’s cooked in a saucepan. The glaze is sweet, but not cloying and bathes the buns in sticky, finger-licking bliss.

An easy orange glaze with only 5 ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Orange Juice
  • Sour Cream
  • Butter
  • Kosher Salt

How to make orange glaze

Just mix the ingredients together in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, then bring them to a boil and stir constantly for 3 minutes.

It makes a super smooth, creamy glaze with a tangy finish that’ll make you swoon.

Spread the orange glaze liberally over the warm sweet rolls so that every nook and cranny is swimming in the lustrous, gloriously sticky, sweet topping.

making the orange glaze to top the buns.
The simple sweet glaze is perfect over the orange rolls.

O-M-G! If you’re looking for a showstopper treat for weekend brunches and holidays, these cardamom orange rolls deliver! They’re soft, citrusy, lightly spiced and sticky sweet and best enjoyed warm from the oven with a hot cup of coffee or tea.


How do I store leftover orange rolls?

Though these citrusy sweet rolls are best the day that you bake them, you can save leftovers by wrapping them well in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerating. Reheat individual buns on a microwaveable plate for 20-30 seconds until warmed through. This will soften the crumb to give you a moist, chewy bite.

Can I make the rolls ahead and freeze them?

Yes. If you want to make the rolls ahead of time, bake them as normal and let them cool completely to room temperature. Don’t add the glaze. Wrap in plastic wrap and freezer paper or foil and freeze. To serve, defrost completely, then warm the rolls in a 300° oven for 10-15 minutes. Spread with the orange glaze as soon as they’re warmed through.

a plate of orange rolls with glaze and orange curls.
Doesn’t this look to-die-for?

Swaps and variations on orange sweet rolls

  • Make lemon pastries. Swap orange zest for lemon zest and use lemon juice in the glaze recipe.
  • Make a tropical version with key lime zest and juice and ¼ cup of flaked coconut sprinkled in the filling and over the glazed buns. Swap lime juice in the glaze recipe.
  • Intensify the orange rolls with more spices. Add ¾ teaspoon cinnamon to the sugar and orange filling mixture for a more pronounced spice flavor.
  • Add a crunchy topping. Sprinkle the sweet buns with sliced almonds before baking.
  • Make a cranberry orange sweet roll. Pulse ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor with the sugar for the filling until finely chopped. Stir in the orange zest and spices for a tangy cranberry orange filling.
Serving orange rolls on a plate.
These rolls are tender, light, sweet and satisfying.

In my opinion, any time you’re having a special weekend brunch or morning-iso holiday gathering, a sweet treat is a must. These are some of my favorite occasion-worthy breakfast pastries. I hope you like them too!

More sweet rolls and breakfast pastry you might like:

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Cutting into an orange sweet roll.
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5 from 1 vote

Cardamom Orange Sweet Rolls

These gooey orange sweet rolls are soft and fragrant with a simple cardamom orange sugar filling and luscious orange glaze. Perfect for weekends and holiday breakfasts.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword breakfast pastry, sweet rolls
Dietary Restrictions Egg Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12 rolls


  • 9″ Glass pie plate
  • pizza wheel



  • ½ recipe Refrigerator Rolls (or frozen bread dough)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 orange zested


  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup orange juice (from the zested orange)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch kosher salt



  • Lightly spray a 9″ pie plate with vegetable spray and set aside.
  • Remove the refrigerator dough from the refrigerator. Punch it down and loosely cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cardamom and orange zest. Mix together until well combined. Set aside.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a round circle about ¼” to ½” thick.
  • Brush the top of the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter and use your clean hands to spread it evenly over the dough.
  • Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 12 equal wedges, rolling from top to bottom, side to side. Roll into crescents starting from the from the outer edge to the pointy center. Arrange the orange rolls in the pie plate like a pinwheel, abutting one roll into the next.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and let the buns rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Bake the orange rolls until golden brown and firm to the touch in the center, about 25-30 minutes.


  • While the rolls are baking, assemble the glaze.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, sour cream, orange juice and butter. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a low boil, and stirring constantly, cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.


  • Once the rolls are done baking, cool them slightly for about 5 minutes, then brush the glaze over the warm rolls. Serve warm.


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

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