Wake your family with the delicious aroma of orange cinnamon rolls baking in the oven! Soft, with the right amount of sugar, a pink citrus glaze and no animal ingredients, these blood orange cinnamon rolls will make your breakfast sweeter.
Why You Should Bake These Rolls From Scratch
- They are much softer and flavorful than the ones you buy;
- You can add a perfect orange flavor to your dough,
- Cinnamon and orange are one of the best flavor combinations - you've got to try it!
Ingredients For This Recipe
Blood oranges. The star of this recipe, blood oranges have a taste that is a cross between navel orange and raspberry and a pink, beautiful color. If where you live blood oranges are hard to find, or they’re just out of season, you can substitute this ingredient for navel oranges.
All-purpose flour. I always use unbleached all-purpose white flour for my cinnamon rolls and never tried adding whole wheat or baking them with any other flour.
Instant dry yeast. Can be replaced for active dry yeast. If so, don’t forget to proof the yeast before adding to the dough.
Almond milk. Can be substituted for oat milk, cashew milk, or any vegan milk for a vegan version. If you’re not looking for a dairy-free cinnamon roll, you can substitute it for milk.
Margarine. Any vegan margarine will do. Again, if you’re not looking for a vegan version, you can substitute for butter.
Sugar. I tried this recipe with regular white sugar and brown sugar. I also tried with maple syrup and honey (non-vegan version), and they also work great. The amount of moisture the last two added was not significant enough to make any changes to the recipe.
How To Make Them
Time to learn how to make blood orange cinnamon rolls from scratch. They’re easier than they look, and after doing those for the first time, you’ll never buying pre-made cinnamon rolls again!
Making the dough and first rise. Mix the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, blood orange zest and salt). If using a stand mixer, turn it on medium-low speed and add the warm almond milk and blood orange juice, mixing until combined. Add the butter and knead the dough for 6 minutes. If doing by hand, knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl and be smooth and tacky to the touch. Let it rise for one and a half hour, or until it doubles.
Making the filling. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Reserve.
Opening the dough. I love fluffy, bread-like cinnamon rolls, so I usually open my dough to a ¾ inch thick. But if you’re into lots of swirls and prefer a more chewy roll, open your dough thin, rolling it into a ¼ inch thick. Before adding the filling, brush a tablespoon of room temperature margarine all over the dough.
Adding filling. Spread the filling over the surface of the open dough evenly. Leave a margin of about 1 inch along the long side, to help when sealing the roll closed.
Rolling, sealing and slicing. Roll the dough, pinching the edge to seal it shut. Cut the dough into 1 ½ inches rolls, placing each roll in a lined baking pan. Leave enough space between each roll to allow them to grow properly. ¼ inch between each is enough.
Second rise. Cover the rolls and let them rise for about 45 minutes, or until they look light and puffy.
Baking. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, until they’re golden at the top. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before starting with the glaze.
Making and pouring the glaze. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze: powdered sugar, melted margarine, blood orange juice and zest. Stir until well combined and pour immediately over the rolls.
How To Slice Blood Orange Cinnamon Rolls Properly
There are 3 ways to cut these rolls without messing up. You can use either:
- A very sharp knife;
- A serrated knife;
- Dental floss.
For the first two, let the knife do the job: don’t press it too hard so that the dough will lose its shape.
Now, for the last option, dental floss will work great if you don’t have a sharp knife. First, make sure your dental floss doesn’t have flavor: it needs to be bland, or you risk getting a cinnamon mint roll.
Slide a long piece of dental floss under the dough, wrap around the top and pull tightly in opposite directions, so the floss will pull through the dough. And that’s it! Repeat the process to each roll.
- During winter, the dough may need more time to rise, as cold temperatures slows down fermentation. It’s ok to let the dough rise for more time than what’s suggested in this recipe if you don’t have a warm spot in your kitchen.
- Use room temperature ingredients and warm (not hot!) milk to improve fermentation.
- For an easy clean: let the dough rest in a clean, oiled bowl. That way, it’s easier to remove the dough from the bowl after the first rise, and also simpler to clean the bowl.
- Always wash well your oranges before zesting.
- I love fluffy, bread-like blood orange cinnamon rolls, so I usually open my dough to a ¾ inch thick. But if you’re into lots of swirls and prefer a more chewy roll, open your dough thin, rolling it into a ¼ inch thick.
- Don’t forget to flour your work surface and your hands when working with the dough. It makes easier to handle the dough and prevent it from sticking. Lightly flour the counter you’ll be opening the dough - and your hands as well just as a precaution.
- Fill your rolls from edge to edge. You need to fill all your dough from one side to the other. Don’t let any side unfilled but a small part along one of its long edges. Remember this: it needs to be full-filled to fulfill all your cinnamon roll needs.
Can blood orange cinnamon rolls touch when baking?
Sure they can, and that gives you an even softer cinnamon roll, as it makes them have less crust.
Can I make these rolls in advance?
Yes, they can be made ahead. For overnight rolls, immediately after cutting and placing them into the baking pan, cover and store inside your fridge. The next day, let them rest outside your fridge for 1 hour before baking.
Can I make cinnamon rolls without icing?
Yes, and in this recipe, it will still have a very good blood orange flavor. Just skip the glaze.
Can I make blood orange cinnamon rolls without cinnamon?
Yeah, just omit the cinnamon in the filling. Blood orange rolls still sound amazing, right?
Storing And Freezing
Store your blood orange cinnamon rolls in an airtight container, at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Always keep your rolls covered to prevent them from drying out. At room temperature, they’re good for 2 to 3 days.
To reheat, using a microwave works great, 15 to 20 seconds is usually enough for 1 to 2 rolls.
For freezing, wait for your rolls to cool completely. Then place them into an airtight bag, freezer-safe, and freeze them. They’re good for up to 3 months. I would not freeze them unbaked.
More Orange And Cinnamon Recipes For Breakfast
- 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (535g)
- 1 tsp salt (6g)
- 2 tsp instant yeast (6g)
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar (36g)
- 1 tbsp blood orange zest (about 6g)
- 1 cup almond milk, warm (236ml)
- ⅓ cup blood orange juice (80ml)
- 4 tbsp vegan margarine, room temperature (60g)
- ¾ cup brown sugar (150g)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (8g)
- 2 tbsp vegan margarine, room temperature (30g)
- 1 ⅔ cup sugar powder (185g)
- ¼ cup blood orange juice (60ml)
- 2 tsp blood orange zest (about 4g)
- 1 tbsp vegan margarine, melted (15g)
- In a large bowl, or stand mixer bowl if using one, stir flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add blood orange zest and juice, warm almond milk and margarine. Mix until dough is form.
- At medium-low speed, using the dough hook, knead for 6 minutes or until dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. When ready, dough will be smooth and tacky to the touch. If kneading by hand, knead for about 10 minutes.
- Let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until it doubles.
- For the filling, stir together the brown sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside.
- Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Flour lightly the surface you will use to open the dough. Roll the dough into a 14x20 inch rectangle.
- Brush the entire surface of the dough with 1 ½ tablespoons of margarine. Evenly spread the filling over the surface of the open dough. Remember to leave a 1 inch margin along the long side to help when sealing the dough closed.
- Roll the dough, pinching the edges to seal it shut.
- Cut the dough into 1 ½ inches rolls and place each roll into prepared baking pan. Leave enough space between each one to allow them to grow properly - ¼ inch is more than enough.
- Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let them rise for 45 minutes. They will look light and puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, until they’re lightly golden at the top.
- Remove from oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before starting the glaze.
- Sift the powdered sugar and mix with the melted margarine, blood orange juice and zest. Stir until well combined.
- Pour the glaze over the rolls immediately. Serve while still warm.
During winter, the dough may need more time to rise if you don’t have a warm spot in your kitchen.
Always use room temperature ingredients and warm milk to improve fermentation.
Always wash well your oranges before zesting.
Don’t forget to flour your work surface and your hands when working with the dough.
Fill your rolls from edge to edge. You need to fill all your dough from one side to the other.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 225mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 38gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information is an estimate only and will vary depending on the substitutions made and/or brands used.