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cinnamon rolls in a pan with fruit in the background

Orange Carrot Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

5 from 3 votes
These Orange Carrot Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing are a marriage of classic carrot cake flavors and ever so complimentary, sweet-tart citrus. Perfect for Easter brunch, but you’ll want to eat them all year round!
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
Resting Time:1 hr 30 mins
Total Time:2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brunch, Holidays
Servings: 16 rolls
Calories: 248kcal
Author: Sip + Sanity | Linda Feller


  • Stand mixer
  • Small sauce pan
  • Rolling Pin
  • Mixing bowls
  • 9"x13" baking dish


  • 4 cups (+ 2 tbsp) bread flour plus more for rolling
  • tsp active dry yeast or 1 packet
  • 2 cups carrots, finely grated 1/2 cup for dough, 1-1/2 cups for filling
  • 1 orange zested for dough, juiced for icing
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided 1/3 cup for dough, remainder for icing
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs room temperature

Spice Filling

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup pecan pieces


  • 2 oz low fat cream cheese softened
  • cups confectioner's sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  • Into the bowl of stand mixer, pour 2 cups of flour, yeast, 1/2 cup grated carrot + orange zest. Use a fork or whisk to evenly disperse the ingredients throughout the flour.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk, sugar, 1/3 cup of butter, and salt until it reaches 120-130 degrees. Add this to the bowl of flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix it on low speed for 15-20 seconds.
  • Add the 2 eggs. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and beat on medium for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 cup at time. Beat just until each cup is incorporated and scrape down the sides in between. The dough may still appear sticky and a little on the wet side. The carrots have released some juices into the dough.
  • Dust a work surface with the remaining 2 Tbsp of flour and turn your dough out. Sprinkle a little more flour on your hands. Knead by hand for 3 to 5 minutes, incorporating all the flour.
  • Shape it into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Turn it over once to coat, cover and set in a warm, dry spot for about 1 hour. It will double in size. (I like to proof mine in the oven with just the oven light on.)
  • Meanwhile, make the spice filling by combining brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger in a small bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup of grated carrot and pecan pieces and stir.
  • Punch down the dough. Dust your work surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle about 14" x 16". 
  • Spread the filling all over the dough, nearly to the edges. Starting on the longer side, roll the dough then cut into 16 equal rolls.
  • Place the giant rolls into a 9"x13" cake pan, lightly greased. Cover them and allow to rest for another 30-45 minutes. They will expand to fill the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the rolls have rested, bake them for 20 minutes. Check them for doneness. The dough around the edges of the pan may turn a very light golden brown. If they are still pale, bake them for up to 5 minutes longer. Remove them to cooling racks.
  • Prepare the icing by combining what's left of the stick of butter with the cream cheese. Beat them with a hand mixer or with a whisk until it is smooth. Add 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and mix carefully. Add the vanilla, 2 Tbsp of orange juice and remaining cup of confectioner's sugar and mix. Add 1 to 2 more Tbsp of orange juice until the icing reaches your desired consistency. Mix until smooth.
  • Drizzle icing over the rolls and use an offset spatula or back of a spoon to spread.