Soft and fluffy lemon sweet rolls are filled with a lemon vanilla sugar and topped with homemade lemon cream cheese icing. Packed with lemon, these lemon sticky rolls are sweet, citrusy, and tart. If you love to bake sweet baked goods, you need to try these. And the aroma that will waft in your kitchen as you bake? Amazing. It will smell like spring and summer took over your home. Who doesn't want to start their day like that?
Why You’ll Love Lemon Sweet Rolls
- Soft and delicious dough. When you tear apart these lemon sweet rolls, you’ll be indulging even before your first bite. Imagine the steam wafting out of your first roll, exposing the soft and yummy dough. It is pure perfection.
- Easy to make ahead. One of the best parts about this dough is that you can prep everything, assemble your rolls on your baking pan, and let it do its final rise overnight in the refrigerator. Which means that all you have to do in the morning is pop the pan into the oven. But these are not just a morning treat, you can enjoy lemon sweet rolls any time of day. They are the perfect treat
- Up your baking game. Whether you’re an experienced baker or just trying your hand after watching The Great British (or Canadian) Baking Show, baking these lemon sweet rolls will prove your skill and impress your friends. Plus, they are actually easy to make, making them one of my favourite weekend baking projects to take on.
To make delicious lemon sweet rolls, you will need the following ingredients.
- all-purpose flour
- instant yeast
- lemon sugar filling - made with butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
- cream cheese icing - made with cream cheese (you can also substitute with mascarpone cheese), confectioners' sugar, and lemon juice.
- lemon zest - optional, to sprinkle on top.
How to Make the Best Lemon Sweet Rolls
- Prepare the dough. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, butter and egg until smooth. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar and salt until evenly combined. Pour the wet mixture into flour mixture. Stir well with a spatula until no dry flour is visible. Make sure to scrape off any remaining flour on the sides of the bowl.
- Knead the dough. Transfer the dough mixture onto a clean and dry surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it turns into a soft and smooth dough ball. Because of the high fat content (butter and milk) in this recipe, the dough is much easier to knead by hand and does not require a stand mixer.
- Proof the dough.Transfer the dough back into the mixing bowl, lightly grease the dough ball with a little vegetable oil and cover with a lid. Covering the dough with oil will help prevent the dough from losing moisture and drying out. Let it rise at room temperature for 1 hour (or overnight in the refrigerator) until it doubles in size.
- Shape the dough. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a rectangle approximately 20x14-inches in size. Gently spread softened butter evenly over the rolled dough. Whisk together sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, and vanilla extract until evenly combined. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the butter. Roll up the dough tightly into a log and pinch the end edges to seal. Cut into 12 even pieces using a knife or bench scraper, each about 1.5-inches in width.
- Arrange the rolls. Arrange the rolls into a greased 9x13-inch casserole pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or seal it in a large Ziploc bag. Let it rise (second rise) at a warmer place for 1 hour or until the rolls double in size.
- Bake. Evenly sprinkle the remaining lemon zest over the rolls, and bake in a 375 F preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cover the pan halfway with aluminium foil if is browning too much. Let the rolls cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
How to Make Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
To make the easy lemon cream cheese icing, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the softened cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and lemon juice, and beat until creamy and smooth. You can also mix together using a whisk and spatula.
Then, spread the cream cheese icing over the lemon sweet rolls and serve hot. Sprinkle extra lemon zest on top, if desired.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients. When it comes to baking, being precise will result in success. Be sure to use room temperature ingredients—not too hot or too cold. Allow your ingredients to sit out on the counter for about an hour before you get to work.
- Swap with oranges. If you want to switch this up, easily substitute the lemon with equal amount of orange to make orange sweet rolls.
- How to store: Lemon sweet rolls keep best when stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also store them in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- How to reheat: You can eat lemon sticky rolls at room temperature, but they taste best reheated in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Cover with a small pad of butter and heat on a microwave-safe plate.
More Fruity Dessert Recipes
- Lemon Loaf with Lemon Glaze
- Glazed Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Lemon Turmeric Sorbet
- Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
- Blueberry Yogurt Muffins
- Blueberry Pie with Lattice Top
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.