Make Ahead

Mamma's Orange Refrigerator Rolls

April 23, 2010
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

My great-grandmother, known to everyone in the family as Mamma, lived a long, healthy life in Alabama and passed away in her sleep at 90-something when I was just finishing college. She had an open door policy to anyone who wanted to come 'sit for a spell', and was known for hosting lots of family holidays and reunions at her home. I fell in love with these soft little orange rolls with orange glaze she would serve with her brunches. They just melted in my mouth. At some point along the way, my mom got the recipe and passed it onto me. The dough is made the night before and refrigerated overnight. After rolling it the next day, the orange filling is spread on it, rolled up and then sliced into small rolls. Warning: these are incredibly addictive! —TheWimpyVegetarian

Test Kitchen Notes

My family and I absolutely loved these orange rolls! They were very easy to make, with only about 5 minutes of active time the first night, and maybe 10 minutes to get them rolled, filled and cut the next morning. I made a half recipe and got about 15 small (normal-sized) rolls, but I was working with some old yeast, so that may have been the culprit. They baked up beautifully, in the time specified. We ate them fresh from the oven, but the few that were left were still soft and delicious at room temperature a few hours later. I can highly recommend this recipe, and it will become my new go-to sweet roll recipe. - MaryMaryCulinary —The Editors

  • Serves 36 rolls
  • Refrigerator Rolls
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I recommend butter-flavored shortening for the best flavor)
  • 3 ounces sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packages dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 105° F, but don't go warmer than 115° F)
  • 1 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Orange Filling and Glaze
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
In This Recipe
  1. Refrigerator Rolls
  2. Boil 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Remove from the stove and add the butter and shortening and stir until melted. Add the sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. In a large bowl, put in the 1/2 cup of warm water and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir to dissolve. Add the butter / sugar mixture and eggs to the dissolved yeast. Add 3 cups flour or enough to make a thick dough and mix thoroughly. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnite.
  4. About 2 to 2 1/2 hours before serving the rolls, turn the dough out onto a floured workspace, divide in half and roll each portion into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle.
  5. Spread the orange filling (recipe below) on the dough, dividing the filling between the 2 rectangles. Roll up each rectangle like a jelly roll and slice into 18 equal slices.
  6. Place the rolls in cupcake paper in muffin pans (which helps to hold the glaze when served) or use 3 greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pans. Let rolls rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls and serve.
  9. Note: Reserve a few for yourself in case they get completely eaten up by everyone before you sit down.
  1. Orange Filling and Glaze
  2. Stir together the softened butter, granulated sugar, and orange zest. Spread on the rolled-out dough rectangles.
  3. Mix together the confectioners sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over warm rolls fresh from the oven.

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