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What Are Orange Rolls (and Where Can I Find Them?)

You don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never tried an orange roll!

It’s a zesty, sweet way to celebrate our favorite citrus fruit. And if you’ve never heard of it, you’d be surprised to learn how long you’ve been missing out.

Today we’ll cover the origin of this oven-baked pastry and where you can find them today.

Let’s roll!

The History of Orange Rolls

In the late 1800s, California farmers began growing oranges, and the brand Sunkist became a popular citrus distributor. Then in 1916, the California Citrus Growers Exchange released a cookbook called Sunkist Recipes. In it, you’ll find a recipe for Orange Pinwheels, but we know them as rolls. 

They resemble cinnamon rolls but are filled with citrusy zest and sugar. Some recipes recommend wetting the sugar with juice for a sweeter variation of the treat. 

This food became a typical midwestern breakfast dish in the 1930s. Recipes can be found in most Minnesota and North Dakota cookbooks from this era. The snack traveled south, and today you’ll find them throughout the Southern United States.

The All Steak Famous Dish is What?

Millard Buchman opened the restaurant All Steak Hamburgers in 1934. Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford to have hamburgers included on his sign, so the place became known as All Steak. Buchman started his restaurant in Tennessee and moved it to Cullman, Alabama, four years later. 

After customers place their orders, servers bring orange rolls to the table. The buttery, sweet appetizer has become the restaurant’s most famous dish. They’ve made the list of 100 Dishes in Alabama Before You Die every year since its inception in 2005. Just thinking about the thinly rolled dough and zesty filling has our mouths watering. 

Pro Tip: You’ll love these 5 Desserts Your Grandma Eats and You’ve Never Tasted.

Orange Rolls
Orange rolls make for the perfect morning treat to start your day.

3 Favorite Historically Delicious Orange Roll Recipes  

If you can’t make it out to Cullman to visit All Steak, you can try making these tasty treats at home. Grab some oranges and a rolling pin, and check out some of the best-looking recipes.

#1 Orange Pinwheels  

Published in 1916, this can be considered the first appearance of a recipe for orange rolls. During the early part of the 20th century, Americans could finally get their hands on citrus year-round. Find the recipe on The Food Historian Blog.

We recommend this option for inexperienced bakers or those short on time. It has no yeast, making the ingredients quick and easy to combine. You’ll need both orange rinds and juice for this one. Try using store-bought juice if you’d like a sweeter roll or freshly squeezed for something a little tarter.

#2 Midwestern Orange Rolls

If you love your rolls glazed, you’ll want to use this recipe. It can be found in a vintage 1940s cookbook from Minnesota, but we think using The Food Historian’s reprint makes it a little easier to find. These can be baked together in a dish instead of separated in a muffin tin. You’ll end up with super sweet, pull-apart orange bread, perfect for your next brunch potluck. 

Using hot milk, cold water, and yeast can make it tricky for even the most experienced bakers. If the liquid is too hot, it’ll kill your rise, but if it’s too cold, it won’t grow either.

Get the liquid around 105 degrees Fahrenheit before adding your yeast for the best results. 

#3 All Steak Recipe 

This time-consuming recipe will be worth the wait. It’ll take over an hour before you can even pop these buns in the oven, giving the yeast a chance to do its work. If you want to eat these for breakfast, you’ll need to set your alarm pretty early.

Let your yeast foam in warm sugar water for ten minutes before using it. After making your dough, it’ll need to rest until it doubles, which usually takes just under an hour. Use a rolling pin to get the rolls as thin as possible before adding the filling, then slice it up, put it in a muffin tin, and let it sit again for up to two hours.

Orange Rolls
If you don’t want to make your orange rolls from scratch, grab a can of Pillsbury orange rolls.

Does Pillsbury Make Orange Rolls Anymore? 

An easy way to bake these breakfast buns at home can be to pick up a tube of Pillsbury rolls. The brand temporarily discontinued them a few years ago, but you can find these again at the grocery store. We love the icing that comes with them. Cinnabon makes a delicious orange frosting you can only get in the Pillsbury can.

Though Pillsbury orange rolls have returned to some shelves nationwide, not every store has them. Luckily, most grocers carry other brands. You can find Millie Ray and Sons brand premade options in the freezer section. You can even pick up a canned crescent dough sheet and slather it with butter, sugar, and zest for an easy-to-make version of this tasty treat. 

Pro Tip: Pair your warm orange roll with one of these Best Pumpkin Spice Drinks.

Helpful Tips to Make Your Own Great Orange Rolls

We have some tips for you if you want to make your buns instead of buying them premade. First, don’t skip the glaze. Many old-fashioned recipes don’t include one, but you can make a little extra filling to line the bottom of the pan for a moist roll.

Beginner bakers might want to find a variation without yeast. You can use oat milk and a butter substitute like Earth Balance to make it vegan-friendly. Or, make it gluten-free by substituting the type of flour. 

The usual baking tips also apply to orange rolls. You’ll want to use room-temperature butter and warm liquids if you use a recipe with yeast.

We already mentioned how time-consuming these can be, so try making the dough the evening before. You’ll want to have them set up in the pan and chill overnight.

Once you wake up, you can pull them out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before baking. This could be considered the best way to sleep in and still have fresh breakfast rolls.

So, Where Can I Find Orange Rolls?

We highly recommend trying this midwestern-turned-Southern breakfast treat. You can make your own or be on the lookout for Pillsbury orange rolls on the shelves.

And if you make your way to Alabama, stop by All Steak to order a dozen or so for the road. Seriously, you don’t want to sleep on this delicious morning pastry!

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