Delicate and delicious Orange Glazed Sweet Dinner Rolls are the best rolls recipe to whip up the next time comfort calls! Easy homemade sweet dinner rolls made with love (and citrus), these soft and fluffy baked rolls are topped with a gorgeous orange glaze for a hint of sweetness. The perfect side dish for the holidays and for everyday baking!
Love having rolls with dinner? Try my Macedonian Dinner Rolls with Feta Cheese too!
The Best Sweet Dinner Rolls
This recipe for the fluffiest homemade dinner rolls covered in a simple orange glaze belonged to my sweet neighbor, who was 80 years young at the time she taught me how to make them! It’s a recipe that’s been passed through generations – my neighbor’s mother used to make these Orange Glazed Sweet Dinner Rolls for the family to serve with pork chops, of all things.
They’re so good, my neighbor hid these dinner rolls in her pocket when she was young, to enjoy as dessert. I quickly learned why, and you will too!
What’s in a dinner roll? Well, first they need to have that light and buttery biscuit flavor. Next, they need a baked golden exterior and fluffy and soft interior; perfect to pull apart and absorb everything from butter spread to turkey gravy. Lastly, as I’ve discovered from the generations before me, the ultimate dinner roll has a melt-in-your-mouth sweet citrus glaze that totally knocks it out of the park.
These are the best sweet dinner rolls to whip up the next time comfort calls. They’re light, fluffy, buttery, and perfectly sweetened thanks to an irresistible orange glaze. And so easy to make using either homemade or ready-made biscuit dough.
What You’ll Need
The pure simplicity of this recipe is what makes it one of my consistent go-to’s! Here are the no-fuss ingredients needed to make these rustic sweet dinner rolls:
For the Rolls
- Active Yeast: Make sure to use dry active yeast for dough that’s not too hard or soft, but just right.
- Warm Water: To activate the yeast.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar to mix in with the yeast/water and for the dough itself.
- Butter: Unsalted, for both the dough and for buttering the bowl that the dough will rise in.
- Whole Milk: Whole milk offers the best consistency for these fluffy dinner rolls.
- Flour: For the most consistent results, refined all-purpose flour is the way to go.
- Salt: A pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.
For the Orange Glaze
- Orange Juice: Fresh orange juice is always best, with less pulp for a smoother glaze.
- Sugar: Makes the glaze deliciously sweet and sticky.
- Butter: For extra flavor and smoothness.
Can I Use Pre-Made Biscuit Dough?
Fun fact: the wonderful elderly neighbor who taught me this recipe arrived with ready-to-bake biscuit dough, and swore it was her secret! If you’re pinched for time (or want in on the secret too), you can of course use store-bought dough. Just follow the baking instructions and then glaze as you would if you’d made the rolls from scratch.
How to Make Orange Glazed Sweet Dinner Rolls
Making the biscuit dough from scratch may seem daunting! But I promise you it’s worth it (and easier than you think). This quick dough recipe comes together in a flash. Just another reason why this is the best baked rolls recipe! Here are the short steps to make these super easy dinner rolls in under an hour:
Make the Dough & Let It Rise: First, you’ll need to activate the yeast with the sugar and warm water. Next, combine the ingredients for the dough and mix well. Give the dough a good kneading and then place it in a buttered bowl to rise for an hour or so.
Prep the Rolls for Baking: Preheat the oven while you wait for your dough to rise. Once it’s ready, pinch off pieces of the dough to form into balls and place two balls side-by-side into greased muffin cups. These mimic English popovers! Drape a kitchen towel loosely over the tray while the rolls continue to rise, until they’re about doubled in size.
Bake: Remove the towel and bake the rolls in the oven at 400F until the rolls are a deliciously golden color.
Glaze: While the rolls are doing their thing in the oven, make the glaze! Boil the orange juice, sugar and butter in a saucepan until the mixture’s had a chance to thicken. Brush or drizzle the rolls with the orange glaze while they’re fresh out of the oven! Serve these rolls right away.
Tips for Success
Below are some helpful tips for making bakery-quality, soft sweet dinner rolls:
- Use Dry Yeast: Dry Active Yeast gives these rolls the best fluffy and light texture! Pay attention when activating the yeast with the water and sugar; if the mixture doesn’t become foamy, this means the yeast is dead and you’ll need to start again with a fresh packet.
- Make Sure Your Water is Warm, Not Hot: Combining the yeast with water that’s anything hotter than body temperature may kill the yeast.
- Knead the Dough By Hand: Kneading the dough by hand can take up to 10 minutes, but this way, it’s almost impossible to over-knead. If you’re using a stand mixer, just a reminder to not over-knead to the point where your dough is clumpy and separating – stop the mixer as soon as the dough ball holds its shape.
- Do the Stretch Test: To check if your dough has been kneaded enough, stretch a small piece of dough between your fingers and hold it against the light. If it’s ready, you’ll be able to stretch it without tearing and see the light through the dough.
These Orange Glazed Sweet Dinner Rolls are the best easy side dish for pairing next to soups to sauces to chili. You’ll love these served up next to a juicy roast or Thanksgiving turkey (perfect for soaking up the drippings and gravy!). Here are some serving suggestions for these zesty and versatile homemade sweet rolls:
- Juicy Roast Turkey Recipe with Maple Gravy
- Honey Soy Grilled Pork Chops
- Smothered Chicken and Gravy
- Texas No Beans Chili
- Creamy Crack Chicken Soup
- Slow-Cooker Cajun Jambalaya
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
These rolls will store the best when unglazed and left at room temperature. Wrap leftover rolls with foil or store them in a resealable bag for up to 5 days. You can also keep them in a dark and dry location like a bread box.
Reheat the dinner rolls in either an oven or microwave, using the following as a guide:
- Oven: Bake the rolls wrapped in aluminum foil at 350F for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. Glaze them once they’re out of the oven.
- Microwave: Wrap the rolls using moistened paper towels, place them in a microwave-safe container and warm them on low for a few seconds at a time. Glaze and serve!
Can I Freeze These?
You can! To freeze these dinner rolls, bake them as you would if you were serving them right away, without glazing. Let them cool completely before wrapping them in a double layer of aluminum foil (to protect against freezer burn!) and place them in a freezer bag. Freeze them for up to one month and thaw them overnight before glazing.
More Easy Side Dish Ideas
Looking for more easy and delicious side dish ideas? Try these at your next everyday or holiday meal!
- Crispy Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Cheese
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Vegetables
- Sweet Potato Roast with Parsley Pesto
- Lightened-Up Creamy Green Bean Casserole
Orange Glazed Dinner Rolls
- FOR THE ROLLS
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 package (1/4-ounce) active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour , divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- In a small mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar; stir until yeast is dissolved.
- Let stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter; add milk and heat to lukewarm.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons sugar, butter mixture, 2 cups flour, and salt; stir together with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Gradually stir in remaining flour; stir until dough is sticky. You may need to add a bit more flour to make a sticky dough.
- Butter a large bowl and set aside.
- On a lightly floured work area, knead dough until smooth and elastic; about 10 minutes.
- To keep dough from sticking, add more flour as needed.
- Form dough into a ball and transfer to buttered bowl, turning to coat.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature until doubled; about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lightly grease 3 muffin tins and set aside.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface.
- Pinch off tablespoon pieces of dough and form pieces into balls.
- Put 2 balls into each muffin cup, one next to another.
- Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let rolls rise for 35 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Remove towel and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove from oven and brush with prepared orange glaze.
- TO MAKE THE GLAZE
- Combine orange juice, sugar and butter in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.
- Continue to boil at a steady pace for 10 minutes, or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and brush over dinner rolls.