Orange Bubble Bread

Orange Bubble Bread will be the latest and greatest addition to your brunch menu. This yeasted pull-apart loaf is infused with a triple dose of zesty orange flavor.

Orange Bubble Bread

Here’s something different for your breakfast or brunch lineup. Orange Bubble Bread. It’s a yeasty loaf of pull-apart bread ‘bubbles’ made of orange sugar-coated dough. I first saw this recipe in an old Cooking Light ‘Best Of‘ cookbook. It was formulated for use in a bread machine. Because I don’t have the counter space or room in my cabinets to store a bread machine, this recipe sat bookmarked for about 8 years. As I’ve searched for new spring recipes with bright flavors, this bread came to mind. I decided it was time to re-work the recipe sans bread machine.

Honestly, I don’t know why I waited so long! It wasn’t that hard to figure out following the basics of blooming yeast and mixing dough. Because of its interactive pull-apart nature, it’s perfect for informal get-togethers where sticky fingers and hands-on enjoyment are all part of the fun. (Such as a lazy Sunday brunch with friends and family.) And it’s so deliciously soft and yeasty! In the words of my BFF “It tastes like an orange sugar doughnut!”.

Orange Bubble Bread

What is Bubble Bread?

Bubble bread, much like its cousin monkey bread, is a sweet yeasted loaf that’s baked to golden brown perfection in a tube or bundt pan. It’s composed of small pieces of dough rolled into balls. Which creates a bubbled look when baked. Each dough ball is rolled in melted butter and coated in a flavorful orange sugar mixture. The baked loaf is covered with a simple orange confectioners’ glaze while still warm. Speaking of, it’s best served warm, because that’s when it’s at peak flavor and soft texture.

Make the Yeast Dough

Bloom the yeast in a mixture of warm milk, water, melted butter, and a touch of sugar. This creates the perfect environment for the yeast to activate and work its magic. Once frothy, add in additional sugar, eggs, flour, and a generous amount of orange zest for that citrusy punch. I used my stand mixer and dough hook, but if you prefer the therapeutic act of kneading by hand, then that works too. Knead until the dough is soft yet elastic.

Shape the Dough

Divide the dough into 24 equally sized pieces. Then, roll each piece into a ball (see video for technique). I will admit, not all of my dough balls were exactly even. But everything turned out alright in the end. (No perfectionism necessary!) Cover the dough balls in plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.

Make the Orange Sugar Coating

The signature flavor of Orange Bubble Bread comes from its irresistible orange sugar coating. Mix together freshly grated orange zest with sugar until thoroughly combined. Large navel oranges are ideal for this recipe, because they provide ample skins for zesting. But you can use whatever orange variety you have on hand. Rub the zest into the sugar using your fingertips to really disperse the orange oil into the sugar. It smells so good! Just like aromatherapy in the kitchen.

Coat the Dough Balls in Orange Sugar

One by one, dip each dough ball in melted butter. Then dip it into the orange sugar mixture. This double-dipping ensures that the sugar sticks to the dough. The result is a caramelized, golden exterior once baked. Arrange the coated dough balls snugly in the tube pan or bundt pan. I used an 8-inch angel food cake pan but you can also use a bundt pan. If using a bundt pan, then choose one without a lot of detail. A plain fluted one will work just fine.

Orange Bubble Bread

Rise and Bake

Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Allow the assembled dough balls to rise until doubled in size. Then, bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 190°F for the internal temperature.

Make the Orange Glaze

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice, and more orange zest. Whisk together until well combined. Drizzle the warm loaf with the glaze, allowing it to seep into every crevice. Use a pastry brush to coat the entire bread loaf with the orange glaze.

Orange Bubble Bread

Serving Suggestions

Once glazed you can pick off individual dough pieces for bite-sized treats. Or you can cut the bread into slices. Here are some ways I like to enjoy this bread:

  • Breakfast: Serve warmed pieces of Orange Bubble Bread alongside a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Pair it with scrambled eggs and crispy bacon for a bountiful and satisfying breakfast. My husband loves a slice covered with salted butter and drizzled with honey for both breakfast and dessert.
  • Brunch: Serve the loaf as the table centerpiece alongside savory fare. It’s something sweet to offer instead of waffles or cinnamon rolls. You can also arrange slices on a platter alongside assorted jams and jellies (and of course, marmalade!) Complement the citrusy flavors with a pitcher of mimosas or a refreshing citrus salad.
  • Dessert: For a decadent dessert, serve slices of Orange Bubble Bread warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrast of warm, citrus-infused bread with cold ice cream is SO GOOD!
Orange Bubble Bread

We’ve really enjoyed eating this bread for practically every meal! Breakfast and dessert especially, but also whenever we’ve craved a sweet bite. I’m almost certain it will be making an appearance later this year, when winter citrus is at its most sparkling. But for now, it’s a real contender for Mother’s Day brunch!

Related recipe: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

Orange Bubble Bread

Heather Baird
This Orange Bubble Bread is bursting with citrus flavor, and it's bound to become your new favorite brunch addition. Baked to golden perfection and drizzled with a zesty orange glaze, this sweet yeasted bread is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. It can be eaten as pull-apart bread or you can slice it into pieces.
This recipe requires lots of orange zest! Purchase 3 large navel oranges to cover all of your zest and juice requirements for this bread. If available, choose unwaxed organic oranges. Use a microplane grater or the smallest holes on a box grater to get the finest shreds of orange zest for this recipe.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
90 minutes rise time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Bread, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 8 or 9 inch nonstick tube pan or bundt pan


Bloomed yeast mixture

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Yeast dough

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Orange sugar coating

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted

Orange glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest


Bloomed yeast mixture

  • Place the milk, water, and butter in a small saucepan and heat until melted. Let cool to 110°-115°F. Pour the mixture into the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the granulated sugar and stir with a spoon to combine. Stir in the yeast. Let stand until bloomed and foamy, 5-7 minutes.

Yeast dough

  • To the bloomed yeast mixture, add the egg, sugar, and salt. Mix until combined. Mix in the orange zest. Add half of the flour and stir with the paddle attachment to form shaggy dough. Add about 1/2 cup flour more to the bowl and switch to the dough hook. Knead until the dough is consistent and elastic. If dough is lax and very sticky, add more flour a little at a time. You may not need to use all of the flour. Knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic, and just a little sticky.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 24 even pieces. (To do this, I shape the dough into a round disk, and then cut into four pieces. Cut each quarter in half, and then each half into 3 pieces for 24 portions. See video for technique.) Roll each dough piece under a cupped hand into balls; cover dough with plastic wrap so the balls don’t dry out.

Orange sugar coating

  • In a medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar and orange zest. Mix well using your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar. The sugar should turn orange from the orange oil in the zest.
  • Grease an 8 or 9-inch nonstick tube pan or bundt pan with cooking spray.
  • Place the bowl of melted butter in close proximity to the bowl of orange sugar. Dip each dough ball first into the melted butter, then into the orange sugar. Roll until the ball is coated and transfer to a greased tube pan. Repeat the process, arranging the balls in an even layer in the bottom of the pan, and then arranging a ring of dough balls on top of the first layer. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts, about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown. You can check done-ness with an instant read thermometer, which registers an internal temperature of 190°F when cooked through. Keep in mind that baking times will vary according to the size pan you use. Using an 8-inch pan will take closer to 50 minutes, whereas a 9-inch bundt pan will bake slightly quicker.
  • Cool in the pan 5 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and then stand it back upright. Cool 15 minutes.

Orange glaze

  • Combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the glaze over the warm bread. Brush excess glaze over the outside of the bread using a pastry brush.
  • Serve the bread warm. See notes for re-heating instructions.


What to expect: This bread has an orange zest-speckled interior that is soft and lightly sweet. The exterior has a caramelized orange sugar coating. The entire loaf is glazed with a zesty orange glaze made with orange juice and orange zest. It’s a bright-tasting loaf that makes a wonderful breakfast or brunch. Serve it warm for best flavor and texture.
Baking Pan: If you use an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom as I did, place the pan on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake the bread on the baking sheet. This will catch any oil or sugar that may seep out (this was minimal). A better choice is a standard-size 9-inch nonstick bundt pan. The bread can also be baked in one even layer in a 10-inch round cake pan, however the baking time will be much reduced (30-35 minutes).
Reheating Instructions
Microwave Method: Place individual slices of Orange Bubble Bread on a microwave-safe plate and cover them loosely with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 20-30 seconds, or until warmed through. Be careful not to overheat, as this can make the bread tough or dry.
Oven Method: For larger portions or the entire loaf, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Wrap the bread loosely in aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out and place it on a baking sheet. Heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. This method ensures even heating and helps to retain moisture.
Keyword active dry yeast, all purpose flour, brunch recipe, bubble bread, confectioners’ sugar, dessert bread, monkey bread variation, mother’s day brunch, orange bubble bread, pull-apart bread, whole milk, yeasted bread recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments