Orange-Raisin Sticky Buns

Orange-Raisin Sticky Buns

What is it with me and orange lately? Has my hair finally gone to my head?

And raisins in some form – they’re pursuing me, wiling their way into everything I’m baking lately (for example).

And as I’m sure is the case with you, I’m planning Easter  menus. Since we’ll just be back from traveling the day before, I’m making ahead as much as I can and throwing it all together on the fly. I need foolproof and flavorful and if at all possible, freezable. I don’t want haphazard or lackluster, however, and it all kicks off with breakfast.

My family will be visiting for the first time in a while, and when I plan our meals together, for some reason I’m always gearing the menu toward my father. He loves fresh fruit for breakfast, but he likes something sweet and bready as well. No time to slave over the morning meal – I’ll be defrosting and prepping for the Big Kahuna later in the day.  Buying a coffeecake is not an option.

I know – cinnamon rolls. They never fail to impress; I can bake them and freeze them, then thaw overnight and glaze just before serving. Done.

Wait, not so fast: I love a good, doughy cinna-sugar rush as much as the next girl, but when you and your family (read: kids) are staring down the barrel of a day studded with jelly beans, Peeps and Cadbury Creme Eggs, do you want to kick it up that high right off the bat?

This is how my mind worked as I tackled the plan for Easter morning breakfast – and my orange obsession, raisin rant and spring fever converged with the White Whole-Wheat sent to me by King Arthur Flour to play with in preparation for Project PB&J next week. Why not try it in a breakfast bun with some orange and some raisins and a honey-based filling?

I’d come across a recipe that fit this general description years ago, and with some modifications, I successfully tempered the ‘sweet’ to make a breakfast (or coffee or dessert, even) treat that delivers tender, yummy and sticky in a slightly dialed-down application, relying on honey and orange to get the job done.

And raisins, of course.


To note: after baking, do not let buns sit in the pan, or you could be dealing with soggy bottoms. If baked through in a properly greased pan, they should be very easy to remove almost instantly. If you’re freezing, wrap tightly in plastic wrap once cool, then place in resealable freezer bags (do not glaze prior to freezing). Also, have a sheet of foil that covers your pan ready during baking and monitor the tops for browning – due to the higher sugar content, these can brown quickly. Cover with foil to keep it under control until they’re done.

Disclaimer: as always, all product opinions stated above are my own.

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Orange-Raisin Sticky Buns

Approx prep: 40 minutes Total rise time: about 1 1/2 hours Bake: 25-30 minutes Yield: 13 buns


2 packages active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (115° F)
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBSP toasted wheat germ
1 tsp salt
3 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp finely shredded orange peel
Orange icing


1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let stand (proof) for 10 minutes or until foamy.

2. In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl), combine dry milk powder, 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup honey, eggs, wheat germ and salt. Add yeast mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.

3. Add 2 cups of the white whole-wheat flour. Beat on low 30 seconds, then medium for 3 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining white whole-wheat flour and as much of the bread flour as you can.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour until the dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 7 minutes).

5. Shape dough into a ball, place in a large, lightly greased bowl and turn once to coat (so dough doesn’t dry out during the rising process).

6. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place (about 90° F) until double in size (about one hour).

7. Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease a 9×13″ pan with nonstick spray.

8. Prepare filling: stir together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup honey and orange peel until creamy and of spreading consistency.

9. If raisins need plumping, place in a bowl and drizzle 1-2 TBSP cold water over them. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towel.

10. Roll dough out into an 18″x15″ rectangle. Spread filling on top of dough, leaving a 1″ border on all sides. Sprinkle raisins over filling. Roll up rectangle starting with one long side. Pinch seam to seal.

11. Preheat oven to 350° F.

12. With a sharp knife, slice roll into 13 pieces and place pieces cut-side down in baking dish. Cover and let rise until roughly double in size (about 1/2 hour).

13. Uncover and bake rolls 25-30 minutes on center oven rack, monitoring for browning on top (after about 15 minutes). If tops brown quickly, cover baking dish with foil.

14. Remove from oven and let cool 3 minutes. Gently remove buns from pan and cool on wire rack. (If freezing, allow to cool completely first, then freeze.)

15. Prepare orange glaze: whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tsp shredded orange peel and 2-3 TBSP orange juice – or enough to make a drizzle consistency. Drizzle on buns after they have cooled or completely thawed.

Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens’ Holiday Baking 2009

twitter share button stumble share button Pin It!


  1. Yenta Mary says:

    I love baking with white whole wheat flour – not as “wheaty,” works much the way white does. But I love orange and I love cinnamon rolls; it wouldn’t have mattered how you served them, even frozen, and I’d likely be all over them … :)

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Haha – I promise I’d defrost them for you. I’m very pleased to be loving the orange and honey combo in these. Just haven’t been a big fan of orange in my baking but that is b/c I haven’t ventured much. Glad the ‘orange bug’ bit and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone! And the white whole-wheat is amazing in this recipe. It all works together perfectly.

  2. Christina says:

    These look and sound wonderful! I bake with orange so often that some have requested that I lay off it for a while, haha. I love citrus, though.

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Ha! I like citrus and I can’t remember why I have always steered away from orange. Some outdated holdover. Glad I’m over it!

  3. Choc Chip Uru says:

    These buns look like the epitome of a fresh and delicious breakfast- I am dying to eat one :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    I’m obsessed with anything orange so I will definitely have to try these soon. Now I’m not the biggest fan of working with yeast but I’m sure these babies will be well worth it!

  5. Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls says:

    and now you are making ME hungry! orange in a sweet roll just sounds so marvelous …

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Ann, welcome! It rocks, actually. I am now scheming citrus into everything I can in my mind…can’t wait to play some more with orange. :)

  6. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says:

    Cindy, these sticky buns look so delicious and decadent! Love the orange flavor you infused, as well. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m having a great giveaway today with four potential prize winners, so you should enter!

  7. Choc Chip Uru says:

    I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award because I found your blog to be simply awesome and delicious – come check it out here:
    Congrats :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. Joanne says:

    I feel like if you’re gonna bake to impress at breakfast, some kind of sticky bun or cinnamon roll is totally the way to go! The citrus in these takes them from overly sweet to just heavenly refreshing perfection!

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Thanks, Joanne! I’m getting hooked on citrus now. Y’all might see something yummy and LEMON from my latest obsession in cookbook form this week (it’s also part of the Project PB&J grand prize pack so double yum!).

  9. Amanda says:

    Oh my! Those look heavenly! I’m a huge orange fan, so I’m adding these to my ever growing list of recipes to try :)

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Hi, Amanda! I’m finding out that I’m about the only one who has eschewed orange in her baking. NO more! I hope you had a good trip home and that you are settled back in now. :)

  10. Kristi Rimkus says:

    Nice job with this healthier version of one of may favorite treats. I love the orange and the raisins!

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Hey, Kristi! Thanks for stopping in. I loved the way they turned out (obviously). Let me know if you give them a try!

  11. beti says:

    I am a big fan of orange desserts, this buns look really delicious and I wouldn’t mind to end up all sticky

  12. Allison says:

    Now I know why my sweet friend Cindy has been MIA! All the recipes look fabo & I expect some samples at our next girls lunch:). My new fav with orange is fresh juiced carrot orange. Excellent! Would probably go well with any of your goodies as the carrots outweigh the sweetness of the orange.

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      You little stinker! You need to talk to me about this. Sounds great! What do you want for next lunch? I need to strategize some things for Troy, too. Something new. Hmm…

  13. Ashley - BakerbyNature says:

    I’m so happy I found your blog – it’s lovely! And making me salivate… I have a major fling going on with orange right now, so these are a **must make!

    • Cindy Cindy says:

      Ashley, I’m happy you have, too! I have found yours, as well. I have to make these rolls again this week – I’m now an orange fangirl, too and it’s getting worse (better)!

  14. Caroline @ chocolate & carrots says:

    These look fabulous! :D Perfect for Spring.

Speak Your Mind