Sticky Lemon Rolls

Sticky Lemon Rolls

Sticky lemon rolls are stupid good. I’d only ever had cinnamon rolls, and they just weren’t doing it for me. But then I found Faith Durand’s recipe for sticky lemon rolls, and I made them for brunch, and I fell in love.

I adapted the recipe to streamline it a bit, and I can’t wait to share it. This is literally an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

These rolls are also great to make ahead. I like to make these the night before, and then bake them the following morning for an easy, decadent breakfast.



  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (but not hot)
  • 1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Lemon filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, from 2 lemons

Cream cheese glaze:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


First, pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk, and let it sit for a few minutes. Mix the butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, 1 cup of the flour, salt, and nutmeg into the milk mixture at a low speed. Continue adding flour until it forms a sticky dough.

Knead for five minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliable. Move the dough into a greased bowl, and turn to grease the top. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until doubled (usually about an hour).

For the lemon filling, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until combined and fragrant. Mix together with the butter until creamy. Add ginger, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Whip until it’s thin and creamy. Refrigerate until you assemble the rolls.

To assemble the rolls, shape the dough into a large rectangle (around 11 x 14 inches) on a floured surface. Spread the dough evenly with the sticky lemon filling. Roll tightly, starting with the long end. Keep the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon filling inside. Slice the dough roll into 1-inch rounds and place each in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. (It’s okay if they don’t fill the dish; they’re going to rise a lot, so don’t squish them together.) Cover the rolls, and let them rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

When you’re ready to bake the rolls, heat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 35 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 190°F.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. Whip the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.

When the rolls are done, smother them with the cream cheese glaze. Allow rolls to cool for as long as you can bear. Serve warm with a glass of milk. Enjoy!

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