Lemon Sticky Rolls

 Lemon Sticky Rolls

If you have been a follower for a while, you know how I swoon over citrus treats.  I have a known lime addiction, but really any citrusy sweet has my name written all over it.  I was thinking about Spring & Easter & decided that this would make the perfect Easter breakfast!  The soft bread, with the tang of the citrus & the cool creamy glaze make these a perfect breakfast roll.  Like most cinnamon rolls they are a little time consuming, but so worth the wait!  You may also prepare & shape them the day before, cover them in saran wrap & save them in the fridge overnight.  Just allow them to raise for an hour at room temperature before baking them.  You are going to love these!

 Lemon Sticky Rolls
Lemon Sticky Rolls
Yield: Approximately 18 rolls.
Lemons, for dough, filling, & glaze:
  • 3 large lemons, at room temperature
  • Zest & juice lemons -- equals about 1½ Tbsp zest & ½ cup juice; divided below as follows in the dough, filling, & glaze:
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2½ tsp yeast (or 1 envelope)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened plus 3 Tbsp unsalted butter for roll assembly
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
Sticky Filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp powdered ginger
  • ½ Tbsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze:
  • 4 oz cream cheese (I use Neufchatel)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ Tbsp lemon zest
  • up to ¼ cup lemon juice (I only used 2 Tbsp for a thicker glaze)
  1. Warm milk in the microwave for about 35-45 seconds until warm but not hot on your wrist. Add yeast, stir, & let the mixture rest until foamy; about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter, sugar, vanilla, 1 cup of the flour, salt, nutmeg, & lemon zest. Use the paddle attachment & mix until crumbly. Add the yeast/milk mixture & eggs. Mix until combined. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough. (I used only 4 cups of flour total.)
  3. Switch to the dough hook & knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic & pliable. Lightly grease the top of the dough with vegetable/canola oil, & turn the dough over so it's coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel & let rise until nearly doubled; about 1 hour.
  4. While dough is rising combine the sugar, nutmeg, ginger, & lemon zest in a bowl so the zest has a chance to flavor the sugar. Once the dough has risen, add just enough lemon juice to the sugar mixture form a thick clumpy mixture like wet sand (I used the whole ¼ cup.)
  5. Lightly grease a jelly-roll pan with baking spray. On a floured surface, pat the dough out into a large yet thick rectangle; about 10"x15".
  6. Spread the dough evenly with 3 Tbsp of very soft unsalted butter. Then spread the lemon/sugar mixture over the top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top, long end. Stretch & pull the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon-sugar firm inside.
  7. Cut rolls using floss or string about 1" thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet with ends inward to help keep from unrolling once they raise. Cover the rolls with a towel (I like to use a LIGHTLY damp towel) & let raise for another hour or until puffy & nearly doubled.
  8. Heat oven to 350*F. Place risen rolls in the oven & bake for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190*F. (You may also press the center to see if it springs back to determine the doneness; if it springs back, it's done.)
  9. While rolls are baking prepare the glaze. Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until light & fluffy in a medium sized bowl. Add the powdered sugar, zest & half the lemon juice (2 Tbsp.) Blend until smooth & creamy. If you want a thinner glaze add the remaining 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Top warm rolls with glaze. Serve while still warm.
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Recipe re-written & adjusted from The Kitchn


 Lemon Sticky Rolls


  1. says

    I made sweet rolls often when I had a houseful of kids to eat them, Orange rolls, cinnamon rolls, danish etc. These lemon rolls look perfect–maybe I’ll make them and share with the neighbors. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind!
    Wonderful looking recipe

    • says

      Mmm! Danish! That is one thing I miss about working in a bakery…fresh danishes every morning, but my waist line is a lot happier now that I don’t work there! :)

  2. says

    My hubby loves sweet rolls and lemon, so this would be a hit! Maybe I will try them for Easter brunch. Can’t wait to read thru your other recipes. What a great blog!

  3. says

    I just made these rolls and they are delish. I love all the lemon flavor. Im a big cinnamon roll fan but I thought I would give these a try. I was not disappointed. I might try making this dough and glaze with a cinnamon filling. Oh I bet it would be amazing. Thanks for the yummy recipe, and hello from West Jordan Utah.

  4. says

    Oh my these look delicious! I just pinned it to my baking board on Pinterest. Also started following you with Bloglovin. :) Found you through the Time To Sparkle Link Party. Your blog is not good for my diet but I’m sure I’m going to be addicted to it anyways. I’m drooling at my computer as I type. 😉

  5. says

    These look amazing! I love sweet breakfast foods and love citrus sweets! I am a mother of 2 toddlers and 7 months pregnant. Making these in the morning would mean I would have to get up REALLY early! Do you think you could prepare them and refrigerate them overnight and then bake them in the morning? I might try it so that I could still enjoy these and get some extra sleep!

    • says

      Yes, you can most definitely refrigerate them overnight. They might need 30 minutes at rom temperature before you bake them still, but just cover them well (spray your plastic wrap so it doesn’t stick to the buns) & then let them rise in the fridge overnight. Good luck I hope you like them!

    • says

      These are best fresh, but are still good after a few seconds in the microwave on day 2 or 3. After that they kind of harden & dry out, so eat them within 3 days.

  6. says

    you posted this on my birthday in 2013. i found this two weeks ago and since then I LONG FOR MAKING THEM SO BADLY <3 so right now it is 9pm in the evening in germany, and I am so going to make these. heaven on earth, I have seen a bazillion recipes on every kind of website, seriously. but this just is THE recipe. thank god for you being here and posting this!!!

  7. Yan says

    Made these now. I replaced ginger with cinnamon and they still smell greay. But I think I baked them a bit too long because the outside is hard. I’m hoping the inside will be fluffly after it cools. The glaze is awesome too :3

  8. says

    Can I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour and how different would that turn out? I’d like to try making them the night before, would that work?

    • Amber says

      Bread flour would actually be great for this because it’s lighter in consistency than all-purpose flour which will create a lighter, fluffier roll. I just always have and use all-purpose for everything.


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