Saveur Sweet Orange Buns

The picture above shows a log of rolled up sweet orange bun dough. I love the way the orange butter just peaks through the dough, like a little tongue licking itself to taste.

This recipe for Sweet Orange Buns appeared in last year’s Saveur 100 (Issue#144) and I wanted to know whether it deserved a place in that list. With a few modifications on the sugar content, it does.

The dough is pillowy soft with a flaky crumb, rivaling my Maya Kitchen go-to-recipe for sweet dough in this ensaymada post.  The whole kitchen will smell of butter the whole time you are making the buns and you will be compelled to rip apart one of them immediately as they come out of the oven, completely ignoring all those rules about letting bread “set” before cutting into them.  The buns will taste similar to very soft croissants slathered in orange marmalade.

Best with a cup of tea and The Tiger’s Wife

Sweet Orange Buns

via Sweet Orange Buns Recipe – Saveur.comEditorial comments in italics. 



  • 1¼ cups milk, heated to 115°
  • 1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  •  2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 16 tbsp., softened
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup orange zest (from about 4 oranges)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (Frankly this is too much sugar. I omitted it altogether in the bun filling, and added just a little bit to taste for the icing mix). 
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. fresh orange juice


  •  Make the dough: Combine milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, melted butter, 1 tsp. salt, and egg; add flour, and mix on low speed until dough forms.
 Shaggy dough formation before the dough forms a ball. I didn’t bother with the mixer since I like to mix/knead my breads by hand for better control.
  • Increase speed to medium-high; knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit until dough double in size, about 1½ hours.
  • Meanwhile, beat softened butter, brown sugar, and zest in a bowl on high speed of a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining salt, confectioners’ sugar, and extracts; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer ¼ cup filling to a bowl; stir in juice to make an icing. Set filling and icing aside.
See note on amount of sugar in the ingredients section. It is definitely too much. The brown sugar amounts are enough; no need to add the confectioner’s sugar to to the filling. You may confectioner’s sugar to the icing if you wish. 
  • Transfer dough to a work surface; using a rolling pin, roll dough into an 18″ × 10″ rectangle, and spread filling evenly over dough.
It will appear that you have too much butter in your bowl. Trust me, you don’t. The butter is just the right amount to have a decent coverage of the rolled dough. Do not spread to the edges, else you will have a messy roll which you will have a hard time sealing. 

  •  Lift up bottom edge of dough and roll it into a log; trim ends and cut log into 12 rounds.
  • Transfer rounds cut side up to a greased 9″ × 13″ baking dish; cover with plastic wrap. Chill 6 hours or overnight.
Make sure to place the rolls so that the spirals are all pointing in one direction. It will improve the quality of your pictures for your blog. Obviously I didn’t do this. No need to chill overnight, just wait for the buns to puff up and the dough no longer springs back when poked. It will take a good while though. 
  •  Heat oven to 375°. Uncover rolls and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Drizzle icing over rolls before serving.
Here is the a picture of the pre-frosted buns. The leftover butter frosting without the confectioner’s sugar will suffice. The confectioner’s sugar+butter sugar mix makes the bread dough hard when you are eating the buns cold. Perfectly fine though once zapped in the microwave for 30 seconds. 

12 thoughts on “Saveur Sweet Orange Buns

  1. These look and sound so amazing! I love to bake, but for some reason I’ve never made any ‘buns’ – cinnamon, orange or otherwise. It’s a crime, right? So I’m thinking this is definitely a must-try recipe! Thanks for sharing such great information about sugar content and such… can’t wait to try! 🙂


      • I’ve actually been making two other types of bread recently – scones and popovers. I had never made either until the last few months and I’ve made several batches of each! One of best scone recipes was for a savory basil parmesan batch that is excellent with beef stews or soups… The popovers are a different beast altogether and I have yet to perfect the recipe & baking times, but since I did recently get a pan specifically for these rolls, I’m hoping that will help! Other than that, I love making cupcakes (and have a link to a great dreamsicle recipe on one of my posts) and granolas and such!

        What is your favorite thing to bake?


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