Morning buns are one of the most fabulous bakery pastries you’ll ever find. If you’ve never had them, they’re part cinnamon roll, part croissant, and have just a hint of citrus, which makes them totally and utterly irresistible. I could eat these every single morning for the rest of my life. I may have also eaten these in the afternoon and the evening, too. Much like my other favorite, Danish pastries, they’re an equal opportunity pastry.
Is there a better kind?!
The dough used to create these is traditionally a croissant dough, but this recipe takes a bit of a shortcut with laminating the butter, so they’re not nearly as time-consuming as actual croissants would be. Both the dough and the filling have hints of citrus, which gives them a light and bright flavor. Contrary to cinnamon rolls, which are typically made with a rich, heavy dough, the flaky croissant-like dough used here lends itself to more of a pastry texture.
I love how easily the recipe came together – the initial mixing, rolling and filling took less than 45 minutes. Then, the pan of rolls sits in the refrigerator overnight and does a quick 20 minute rise the next morning before being baked for about 45 minutes. They’re very low maintenance for such an amazing pastry! You can even prep these and freeze them to have ready to bake should you have last-minute house guests. Perfect!
If you love croissants and cinnamon rolls (and who doesn’t?!), you HAVE to make these!
One year ago: Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel
Two years ago: Cake Batter & Sprinkles Chocolate Bark
Three years ago: Salted Caramel Cashew Bark
Five years ago: Peach Crumb Bars
Six years ago: Chicken Pot Pie
Seven years ago: Chili-Rice Dinner
For the Dough:
- 3 cups (361 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons (2.25 teaspoons) instant, rapid-rise yeast
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) salt
- 1½ cups (340 g) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices and chilled
- 1 cup (227 ml) sour cream, chilled
- ¼ cup (57 ml) orange juice, chilled
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg yolk
For the Filling:
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (106 g) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1. Prepare the Dough: Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large zipper-lock bag. Add the butter, seal and shake to evenly coat the butter. Press the air out of the bag and reseal. Roll over the bag several times with a rolling pin, shaking the bag after each roll, until the butter is pressed into large flakes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the sour cream, orange juice, water and egg yolk until combined.
- 2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly to form a smooth, cohesive ball. Roll the dough into a 20x12-inch rectangle. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pat the cylinder flat into a 12x4-inch rectangle and transfer to a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes.
- 3. Prepare the Filling: Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and grease with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugars, orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla.
- 4. Remove the dough from the freezer and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 20x12-inch rectangle and sprinkle evenly with the filling, leaving ½-inch border around the edges. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Starting at the long end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch lightly to seal the seam. Trim ½-inch of dough from each end and discard. Cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces and transfer cut-side-up to the prepared muffin tin. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- 5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Once the oven reaches temperature, turn it off. Remove the muffin tin from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Place the buns in the turned-off oven until puffed and doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the buns from the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake until the buns are deep golden brown, 40 to 50 additional minutes. Allow the buns to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and remove the liners. The buns are best served warm, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Make Ahead: After placing the buns in the muffin tin, place the tin in the freezer until the buns are firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer the buns (with the liners) to a zipper-lock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To finish, return the buns to a muffin tin and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours, then proceed with step #5.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
This isn’t the first recipe you have copied from America’s Test Kitchen. Almost word for word and all you did was change the amount of butter by 4 tablespoons. Shame on you.
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
24 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and chilled
1 cup sour cream, chilled
¼ cup orange juice, chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg yolk
Dear Michelle truly appreciate the way you made this. They look so yummy and delicious. I just can not stop my self to make them, Looking for more such wonderful recipes in future too.
Made these for the first time today, yummy! I used activated dried yeast, since that’s what I have. As someone else on here suggested, I just activated it with a pinch of sugar and some warm water, then chilled it a bit. I mixed all the wet ingredients together before adding the flour & butter. I skimped a bit on the baking time since I was nervous they would burn or stick to the pan (I didn’t use liners), but they could’ve used all the time. Some of them plumped way up and then once out of the pan, they sagged under the weight of their big top, but that’s my fault, not the recipe ;) They’re super yummy, and the orange flavor is just right. Will definitely be making these again!
Just got the book “Tartine: a Classic Revisited”. LOVE this recipe. Can not wait to try some of the others. including the ones with the Frangipane Cream, almond cream. Have not figured out if the frangipane is supposed to be smooth or creamy, crush the almond slices or chop to a powder.
I gave this only 2 stars because my yeast didn’t rise. I think the reason is that there is no warm milk or water for the yeast and by the time they are in the over after being cold for so long it doesn’t work. Granted, my packet of yeast could be bad but I have never had that happen in more traditional recipes. They are good in flavor but like hockey pucks. I loved the ingredients but the it just didn’t work for me.
Thank you for sharing this recipe I absolutely love morning buns. I really liked the twist that was added with the Orange zest that really made my taste buds smile. I wanted to mention that the dough was really wet and I used my kitchen aid mixer. I also forgot the muffin tins so I used my copper muffin pan. They still turned out perfect, golden brown, moist center and so buttery. I got the first taste of course and shared the others with my friends, needless to say I’m popular this week😊
I made 6 batches of the morning buns for a large brunch we were hosting at our home yesterday. They were a big hit and were not difficult at all to make. However, do not put into paper liners. The sugary filling stuck to the paper and we had a terrible time trying to remove the papers. I have really good non-stick muffin tins and they would not stuck and been much easier to serve. All in all, very good and something that most people have not had.
Excellent recipe! A keeper….thank you much.
I started making these a couple of years ago, the first time for my cooking club. They came out perfect at first try and everyone loved them. This is now my go-to recipe for special occasions. If you like the Starbucks morning buns, you will love these!
Oops – forgot. If I missed the attribution I apologize. In reading the comments I see that some are aware of the original source.
Hi – I love your site and find your recipes to be reliable. I have one quibble that is especially apparent with this recipe. This is Cook’s Country’s recipe which I originally saw on the show. I have no problem with you using it, but where is the attribution? You haven’t changed a word of it, so it is still theirs. I have always said that while cooking skill is important, the most important thing is the ability to recognize a good recipe. The execution is almost secondary as it is often within the reach of most cooks. So I applaud your skill in featuring good recipes, but honesty demands attribution to the source.
Hi Catherine, The attribution is at the bottom of the recipe. It’s always included when the recipe is from another source.
Is there anyway I can substitute the egg yolk with something vegetarian ?
Hi Padma, I’m not sure, as I’m not totally familiar with vegan or vegetarian alternatives when it comes to baking.
For the lazy cook: Get refrigerated crescent rolls from the supermarket. Also get Land O Lakes cinnamon butter spread. Unroll the dough into a rectangle, smudge perforations together with fingers, apply a coat of the Land O Lakes spread, roll, cut into as many sections as you can get, bake as directed. So easy, so evil! A cup of powdered sugar and a teaspoon or three of water or milk mixed into a glaze makes it additionally sinful! You can just coat the triangles with the spread and make the crescent rolls as directed too. The glaze gilds the lily. :)
I just tried making these, but they didn’t rise at all when I had them sit in the turned-off oven with the boiling water for 40 minutes. The resulting buns turned out flat. Would it work to put the yeast in warm liquid ingredients rather than in the flour, to try to proof the yeast first? I noticed other morning buns recipes online that just have you mix the butter in with the flour in a mixer (rather than the flake method in the plastic bag) will have you proof the yeast in warm water.
Hi Angie, If they didn’t rise at all, I would suspect that your yeast was bad; this recipe uses instant yeast, which does not require proofing (or activating) in warm liquid.
Thank you! I will give them a try again with new yeast.
I had the same problem with flat buns. If the yeast is proofed first will it kill it to add cold liquids like the orange juice and cold water. It sounded like how I make pie crust without yeast. Also I mixed it in my mixer too and cut up the cold butter with a thingy that you use for pie crusts. Just wish they had risen.
I am an avid watcher of America’s Test Kitchen and I’m not sure why…too many times I’ve been disappointed in the end results of the recipe. After preparing the buns today and baking tonight (because I wouldn’t have enough time in the morning before work), I was disappointed. If I had read Maureen’s comment from November 1, 2014 I would have seen the change in the ATK procedure for rising the dough. I prepared the dough as directed, set them in the refrigerator for 6 hours then baked as directed in this version of the recipe. After 30 min. of rising, there wasn’t much lift to the dough. I gave it an additional 30 minutes and they were somewhat risen. I baked according to directions but should have skipped the “bake at 425 for 5 minutes then reduce to 325 for an additional 40 to 50 minutes”. At 35 minutes, they were smelling of over browned butter and the oven was smoking so I removed the buns. The tops were beautifully browned but upon eating one, the inside was underdone. Not so much to make it inedible, but certainly more that enjoyable. I love the idea of a “croissant cinnamon bun” so I will continue to work with the recipe to see if I can achieve a success.
I’ve been baking so many cakes and brownies and pies that I forgot what it was like to work with dough. Oof. Easy and fun recipe. I’ve got them in the fridge chilling right now! I might need to do more push-ups if I work with dough again.
I’m sorry but I hated these. The butter did not form flakes ! I was very disapointed.
Just baking them and at 30 minutes they seem more then done. Is the baking time 40-50 minutes correct? Thanks!!
Hi Bal, Yes, that baking time is correct, but your oven temperature might be running high.
Did you know that the folks at Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen changed one of the steps? I don’t believe they announced the change, but it’s reflected in their current version of the recipe and they revised the video to reflect the change. The revision involves the raising process (your Step 5). I suspect the temperature was too high and melted the butter between the layers. Here’s the part that changed:
LET RISE AND BAKE Adjust oven rack to middle position and place loaf or cake pan on bottom of oven. Remove plastic from buns and place in oven. Pour 3 cups boiling water into pan in oven, close oven door, and let buns rise until puffed and doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
wish I’d read all the comments before baking. Was less than pleased with outcome.
Thanks Maureen for that revision. I made these buns based on the original recipe posted on the site. I noticed I had a lot of melted butter in the bottom of my baking tins that should not have been there. The adjustment you posted should do a much better job of raising the dough without melting the butter.
Thank you very much.
These are in the 2016 Bread Illustrated (ATC) cookbook, which is fabulous. No oven rise at all— cover loosely with greased plastic and rise until double (60-90 mins) OR immediately chill unrisen for “at least 16 and up to 24 hours; let buns sit at room temp for 1 hour before baking.
Tried it and was amazing! Everyone liked them. Adults were impressed that I could make a croissant anything. Jr high kids grabbed seconds and thirds even though they weren’t as sweet as regular cinnamon rolls. The slight hint of orange was a real treat. They came out crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.
Just in case this might help anyone, I used Active Dry yeast (because that’s what I buy in a big bag) and activated it with the warm water and sugar. Then cooled the whole mixture in the fridge and added it with the rest of the liquid ingredients in the recipe. The dough was wet/sticky but I didn’t add extra flour to it in fear it might make the buns dense. Just flour your surface and the top of the dough as need. Also, spray your rolling pin with non-stick spray and I didn’t have any issues.
I 3x this recipe (had to feed many people) so to make it manageable with my schedule, I broke the work down. First night I made the dough and let the log rest overnight in the fridge. 2nd night I made the rolls. Next morning I baked them. Overall it took less time than I thought and they came out great.
Sorry also wanted to know if I could use something instead of sour cream?
Hi Sophia, I think you could substitute plain yogurt, but I haven’t tried that yet.
Hi! Loved this recipe as soon as I saw it. I made it the other day but when I added the sour cream and the orange juice in it made the dough soooooooooo wet! I had to add sooooooo much more flour to the dough to be able to handle it enough to roll etc.
Where do u think I went wrong? :( just wondering if anyone else had this problem as I followsed the recipe exactly!
Also they turned out mahoooosive. Lol
Nevertheless they were truly delicious and lasted days in an airtight container. I warmed in microwave for about 30seconda in the morning and dough was nice and soft.
Same thing happened for me! I kept having to put the dough back in the freezer to harden it up. It was really just goop, not dough. And I also ended up with really large rounds. They didn’t fit in the tins properly. I haven’t baked yet, though. We’ll see how they turn out in the end!
I just joined today only. I loved your site and recipe.
I love your site and recipes!
These buns look fabulous, I have two questions, if I used a non stick muffin tin and grease it really well, do I still need to use liners?
Also, do they have to spend time in the refrigerator or can I make them and bake them on the same day?
Hi Jenifer, If your pan is non-stick and you grease it REALLY well, you could probably skip the liners. They do need to spend time in the refrigerator, but you could do it all in the same day if you refrigerate for the minimum, 4 hours.
When I saw this recipe I got very excited as I’d been craving cinnamon rolls. So I thought this weekend I’d give them a go. All went according to plan, until this morning when I heated my oven up but instead of 200F it was 200C, very hot!! I put my rolls in before I realised my mistake at which point I quickly took them out, but some of the butter from the dough had started to melt. Anyway let them cool and rise a little on the counter, and have just baked them. Think my oven was a little too hot because the tops of the buns are quite dark, not burnt but dark. It was my mistake, nothing to do with the recipe I hasten to add. Just a tad annoying as was really looking forward to them. Anyway, I’m sure they’ll taste great even though aesthetically they don’t look great. Will keep you posted on how they taste. (I think i was half asleep when I read the remaining instructions this morning LOL)
My family would go crazy for these!
I have heard of morning buns but didn’t realize they are part cinnamon roll, part croissant. They look fab!
I have never heard of morning buns before. Looks like I have been really missing out!!
Do you need to grease the liners if you use parchment paper ones?
Hi Bal, Yes, you should still grease them, they will stick to the pastry otherwise.
I’ve been looking for a base recipe to try to replicate ‘Ocean Rolls’ – a legendary morning bun from one of our local bakeries. This looks like the perfect base for them. Thank you so much for posting this. Stunning!
So, when you combine the sour cream, orange juice, water, and egg to the flour and butter mixture you will still have chunks of butter. Is that right? I’m just not 100% sure on how combined the mixture should actually be. Thanks!
Hi Beth, Yes, there will still be chunks of butter.
Starbucks makes a decent morning bun. Been wishing I could find a recipe for them so am excited to try these!
I have made croissants before, so to have that simplified and cinnamon thrown in is just a gift all the way around!! Thanks!
If only I could eat these every morning!
These look amazing! Love morning buns! :)
These sound delightful!
Can I omit the orange juice. I don’t like orange flavored pastries. What would I replace it with? Thanks
Hi Traci, Yes! You can replace the orange juice with water, and just omit the orange zest from the filling.
I’ve been looking for a morning bun recipe! I LOVE THEM!
I have made morning buns once, and they’re the most incredible tasting things! These look just perfect, and I love the sound of the citrus!
need these for breakfast asap! they look incredible!
Consider me a co-member of the Sisterhood of the Morning Bun. I elect you president, and I can be co-president. I have always been a morning bun fan, and have always wanted to make them. I’ll definitely do so now with these easy to follow decorations. What a nice post to read on this sickly (for me, at least, fighting through a cold) Wednesday!
I am so excited to make these! I have a friend who cannot have anything orange related, is it still just as tasty if I omit the orange juice/zest?
Hi Amy, Yes, just omit the zest from the filling and replace the orange juice with water in the dough.
I can’t get over how delicious these look and sound. Could there be a more perfect combo than a cinnamon roll and croissant? I can’t wait to try these. Thanks for sharing!
Would there be any difference in baking time if I added dried fruits and chopped nuts to the filling? Could you make this savory by omitting the zest and adding ham and cheese as the filling and maybe finely chopped green onions in the dough itself? I am always looking for quick to heat breakfast foods to get everyone out the door in the morning.
Hi Sabine, I think that either of those would work without any alteration to the recipe. Let me know how they turn out!
I can’t believe I’ve never even heard of morning buns, considering my love of both croissants and cinnamon buns! I’ve been trying to convince myself to try making croissants, but they seem like SO much work. This looks like the perfect in between pastry to try first, not as much work but still croissant-like. Thanks for posting this, I’ll definitely be trying it!
You know I’ve never heard of Morning Buns? A tragedy I tell you. Well I’m making these.
I love you and I love morning buns—thank you for speeding up this recipe (although it’s going to be DANGEROUS!)
Michelle, these look amazing. recipe is going into the Got to make these file. Why do you suppose they have you grease the muffin tin and use paper liners too? Just curious
Hi Lori, You don’t need to grease the actual tin, you need to grease the liners. The liners will stick to the pastry, so they need to be greased for easy removal once they come out of the oven.
I’m wondering if at any point you use a mixer for the dough or is it all mixed by hand?
I’ve never had these before and can’t wait to make them.
Hi Julie, It is mixed by hand – no mixer required!
I just love morning buns! These are lovely!
O. M. G. These seem like a lot of work but look so delicious!!!!!
They actually aren’t that much work, believe it or not!
I just finished making (and eating) these babies! They really weren’t that much work. Soooo delicious – thanks for sharing this recipe! New addition to my recipe tin :)