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.

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 counterspace 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!”.

What is Bubble Bread?

Bubble bread, much like its cousin , 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 one will work just fine.

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.

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!

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:

Orange Bubble Bread

#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #5A822B; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-33 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-50 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-0-66 stop { stop-color: #5A822B; }

No ratings yet


  • 8 or 9 inch nonstick tube pan or bundt pan



Bloomed yeast mixture

Yeast dough

Orange sugar coating

Orange glaze


Bloomed yeast mixture

Yeast dough

Orange sugar coating

  • 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.

Orange glaze

  • Serve the bread warm. See notes for re-heating instructions.




Our 12 Best Bakes for Easter Weekend

Lemon-Poppy Seed Streusel Bread