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Blood Orange Sweet Rolls

  • Author: Joscelyn Abreu
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1214 rolls 1x


Cinnamon rolls enhanced with the citrusy flavor of blood oranges. Free of eggs and dairy, plus includes a refined sugar option!



Sweet Rolls:

  • 3 cups (405g–570g) unbleached all-purpose flour, just enough to form a soft dough plus a little more for dusting (can use up to half whole-grain flour—spelt, einkorn, or whole wheat, if you’d like)
  • 1 tablespoon rapid rise or instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (23 oranges)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (177ml) warm almond milk or other milk of choice (approximately 110º F)
  • ½ cup (118ml) regular orange juice or blood orange juice (approximately 110º F)
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) avocado oil oil or other oil
  • ¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup, cane sugar, or other sweetener of choice


  • ½ cup (113g) softened butter (can use dairy-free)
  • ¾ cup (110g) coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon (9g) cinnamon
  • Blood Orange-Cashew Glaze or Blood Orange Buttercream (recipes below)

Blood Orange-Cashew Glaze: (Refined sugar free)

  • 1 cup Raw Cashews, (pre-soaked in purified water for at least 23 hours)
  • 34 tablespoons maple syrup/honey, to taste
  • zest and juice of 2 blood oranges, more juice may be needed (about 1.5 Tbsp zest and 6-8 Tbsp juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Blood Orange Buttercream:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, use more or less to taste
  • 13 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest


To Make Dough For The Rolls:

  1. Combine milk/water, orange juice, and sweetener into a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Heat until mixture is heated to 110-115ºF. Be careful mixture is not too hot or you can kill the yeast. It should feel like warm bath water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cup flour, instant yeast, orange zest, and salt. Mix gently to incorporate and then add in the milk/orange mixture. Mix until smooth, about 2-3 minutes (if using a stand mixer, change to the dough hook.) Slowly begin adding flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix until blended. The precise amount of flour needed will vary depending on the humidity in your kitchen. Continue to add flour just until it forms a soft dough, be careful not to add too much.
  3. Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 15–20 minutes.
  4. Take the risen dough out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface (I also like to use a large piece of parchment or plastic wrap to keep it from sticking.) Roll dough into a 10×15-inch rectangle. Brush or rub softened butter all over the top of the dough. Mix together coconut sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the butter. Starting on the longest side, begin rolling dough the dough into a tightly wound log.
  5. To cut the rolls, I prefer to use plain dental floss instead of a knife. It cuts them easily without squishing the rolls. To do this, cut a piece of floss about 12-16 inches long. Slide floss under the roll and bring the ends up and cross over each other to cut each slice cleanly. Place rolls, cut side up, in greased or parchment lined 9×13-inch pan. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. *TIP: If your home is on the cooler side, turn your oven on to the lowest setting for 2-3 minutes (mine is 170ºF) and then turn the oven back off. Place a small pot of boiling water onto the bottom of the oven. This warm and moist environment should be the perfect place for your covered bowl of dough to rise.
  7. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Uncover pan and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 18-22 minutes, just until lightly golden. Do not over-bake. Drizzle with orange glaze or buttercream.

To Make The Glaze:

  1. I gave two options for frosting the sweet rolls. Pick one or the other.
  2. For the cashew glaze (free of refined sugar)–place rinsed and drained, pre-soaked cashews into a food processor or high powered blender. Add syrup, zest, and half of the juice, vanilla extract, salt and process until creamy, scraping down the sides occasionally. Add more juice as needed just until you get the desired consistency. Drizzle on top of the orange rolls and serve.

Orange Buttercream:

  1. Beat softened butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, beating until smooth. Pour in a little orange juice, then continue to beat buttercream until fluffy. Alternate powdered sugar and orange juice, until buttercream is desired consistency. Add extra powdered sugar, if buttercream is too soft, or extra juice if it’s too thick. Mix in the vanilla and optional zest. Spread buttercream over warm rolls.
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Breakfast, Dessert