Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls (100% whole wheat)

These 100% whole grain orange sweet rolls are soft, fluffy and not like any other whole grain cinnamon rolls you’ve tried in the past!

Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls from – 100% whole grain and made with less sugar! You know Pillsbury’s Orange Sweet Rolls? I remember when those came out. It was like Christmas when I woke up to the smell of those baking in the oven! Sadly, you can’t make 100% whole grain cinnamon buns that taste exactly like the Pillsbury ones, but at least these are heading in that direction. :)

Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls from

The dough is the same dough I used in these soft and fluffy dinner rolls, which I declared the best 100% whole grain dinner rolls ever. Really, they are! And that means these have the best base possible. Soft, fluffy, and no unpleasant whole grain taste here.

Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls from – so soft and delicious!

I added orange zest to the dough as well as to the icing on top. I know that many people prefer not to use powdered sugar but the problem is that there really isn’t a good powdered sugar substitute. Using coconut sugar or honey, in my opinion, just wouldn’t be very good on these orange sweet rolls. I don’t know if you can tell by the pictures, but my glaze was pretty thin. I didn’t use nearly as much powdered sugar as most recipes do! So it’s a small improvement and I think it’s one I can live with. :)

Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls

Rated 4.6 by 9 readers
Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls (100% whole wheat)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 24 rolls


    For the rolls:

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup butter, softened + additional butter for brushing on top
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 4½ to 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • For the filling:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar (I used coconut but you can use whatever you like)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • For the icing:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • a pinch of salt


  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of warm water. Set this bowl aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and honey until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and the yeasty water mixture and beat until well combined.
  4. Add in the vital wheat gluten and the salt, mix until combined and then switch to the dough hook.
  5. Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix.
  6. Then add in just enough flour so that the dough just comes together. Depending on the day, you may need a bit of extra flour. I've had to add up to an extra cup before!
  7. Knead the dough for 2 minutes (not more!).
  8. Wait until the dough is no longer tacky, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour. I like to turn the oven to the lowest setting for 1 minute, turn it off and then let the dough rise in there.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured surface and knead it a few times.
  10. Let the dough then rest for 3 minutes.
  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large sheet, about 16" x 24".
  12. Spread the filling over the dough, keeping a small border of about 1cm around the edges.
  13. Starting at the long end of the dough, tightly roll the dough into a jellyroll shape.
  14. Cut the dough into 1" pieces and place them in a greased 9" x 13" pan.
  15. Cover the rolls with some greased plastic wrap or a towel and allow the rolls to rise again, this time for about 20 – 30 minutes.
  16. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  17. Bake the rolls for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. It's very important not to overbake the rolls! The time it'll take to bake the rolls will depend on exactly how big you cut the rolls and what size pan you use, so remember to adjust that, if necessary.
  18. For the icing:

  19. Mix all the ingredients together.
  20. Drizzle over the rolls before serving.

Dough recipe adapted from Soft 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls from An Oregon Cottage

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67 comments on “Healthier Orange Sweet Rolls (100% whole wheat)” — Add one!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
    December 20, 2013 @ 2:14 am

    These remind me of the orange rolls my grandma makes, but even better with less sugar! :)

  • Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture says
    December 15, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

    Those look so delicious! I know what I’m baking for Christmas breakfast. It was fun partnering with you on this fun blog party. Cheers! Carrie

  • Lorena Keech says
    December 15, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    I would be making bread.

  • Shannon says
    December 15, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    I’d like to make a pound cake.

  • Tamar says
    December 15, 2013 @ 3:07 am

    The facebook Like buttons never work on PromoSimple, so I can’t even tell if I follow or not :( Try, it’s better when it comes to that and verifies automatically too. :)

    • Erin replies to Tamar
      December 15, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

      Thanks a ton for the tip! I’ll look into it. :)

  • Deb Christie
    December 14, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

    I would make yeast rolls first with the Kitchen Aid mixer.

  • Kyl Neusch says
    December 13, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

    make some sugar cookies

  • kathy pilato says
    December 13, 2013 @ 12:23 am

    these look so good!

  • Caitlin S says
    December 11, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

    I can’t wait to make these! Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls are one of my favorites, I love that this is a homemade, healthier version!

    • Erin replies to Caitlin S
      December 15, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

      But remember, they’re not really similar! ;) You’ll have to make a recipe using all-purpose flour if you want a copycat version. I hope you’ll like the healthier version! :)


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