Orange Sweet Buns

A nod to the classic sweet bun recipe, these Orange Sweet Buns have the same sunny disposition, only with a new and improved crème fraîche frosting.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Orange Sweet Buns
Makes 12 buns
  • 4¼ to 4½ cups (532 to 563 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1⅓ cups (267 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1¼ cups (300 grams) whole milk
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) packed orange zest (about 2 large oranges)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Orange-Crème Fraîche Glaze (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: orange zest
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, ⅓ cup (67 grams) sugar, yeast, and salt.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and ½ cup (113.5 grams) butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg, and beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2¾ cups (344 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook and sides of bowl as needed. Add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see PRO TIP] but may still stick slightly to sides of bowl.)
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together zest, cardamom, remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, and remaining ½ cup (113.5 grams) butter until well combined.
  7. Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Using a small offset spatula, spread zest mixture onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Starting with opposite long side, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Gently shape log to 18 inches long and even thickness, if necessary. Using a serrated knife dipped in flour, cut log into 12 slices (about 1½ inches thick). Place slices, cut side down, in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  9. Bake until lightly golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 25 to 30 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Using a small offset spatula, spread Orange-Crème Fraîche Glaze onto rolls. Garnish with zest, if desired. Serve warm.
PRO TIP: Test the dough for proper gluten development by using the windowpane test. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat 1 minute more, and test again.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Orange Crème Fraîche Glaze
Makes about 1 cup
  • 1⅔ cups (200 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅔ cup (160 grams) cold crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) packed orange zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.


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  1. Dear BFS:
    I made these today, and I must say without reservation, this is the best sweet bun recipe I have ever made! The dough baked exceptionally well, pillowy and soft, buttery. The creme fraiche icing was spectacular. I made my own creme fraiche. Thank you for continuing to publish great recipes! I also used Kerry Gold butter. I could taste it in the dough. Perfection! Will make again. Maybe modify the filling and zest choice, but orange is delicious! Thank you!

  2. Made these yesterday and they are fabulous. Treated friends and they raved about them.
    Only change was that I refrigerated the dough overnight in step 4, then next day proceeded with recipe. .

  3. Made these for my husband’s family today. Their normal Christmas morning tradition has been Pillsbury Orange Rolls for years, so I decided to help them step it up this year 😉 I was worried the dough was going to be too wet, but I stuck to the instructions and they turned out perfectly! Safe to say these have easily claimed the throne as the new Christmas morning tradition. Thanks for the great recipe!

  4. My family could not stop eating these! So soft and just the right amount of sweet. Excellent with or without the glaze. Orange flavor is fantastic. A definite must make. I know I will be making these often.

  5. Wow. These are delicious! I used Mandarin orange zest, because that’s what I had in the house. I don’t know if it made a difference compared to ordinary oranges; the flavor is bright and fresh. I was worried they’d be heavy because these call for a LOT of butter, but the roll has a beautifully light texture. I only used half of the called-for amount of powdered sugar in the glaze, and I we thought it was plenty sweet. I also used Kerry Gold butter.
    Don’t wait any longer – you neeeeed to make these! =)

    • Hi Zaferia,

      Thank you for your question! Because this recipe only uses zest, you could absolutely substitute Meyer lemon zest for the orange zest called for; you’ll simply substitute 1:1 by volume. If you do test this recipe with Meyer lemons, please let us know how it goes! Sounds like an absolutely delicious citrusy twist!

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for your question!

      Unfortunately, without a thermometer it’s impossible to gauge temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, we recommend checking for doneness qualifiers (in this case, the buns will be a light golden brown when they’re finished baking). Another way to ensure accuracy is using an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is true to temperature.

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!

  6. So delicious, and incredibly decadent. The glaze is a must! I halved the recipe for my small household (used an 8×8 pan) and it worked like a charm.


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