Soft, fluffy, and topped with a thick and creamy citrus frosting, these Lemon Sweet Rolls are an irresistible treat for breakfast or dessert. They’re packed with a delicious lemon filling that makes these rolls a decadent way to start or end your day. They’re also perfect for brunch or an afternoon snack!
There’s nothing more comforting than the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, and here, these homemade Lemon Sweet Rolls are a delicious treat any time of day. Deliciously flavored with a tangy citrus zest that also adds brightness to the gooey cream cheese frosting, these Lemon Rolls are pure comfort food.
I use a few prepared shortcuts to make these Lemon Sweet Rolls even more lemony: a lemon boxed cake mix and lemon pudding contribute to their enticing taste and texture. You’ll be amazed at the softness, fluffiness, and citrus flavor that comes through.
Homemade bread is always a family favorite, and here, you’ll definitely need to set aside a little time so that these Lemon Sweet Rolls bake up tender, fragrant, warm, and soft. That means there’s some time involved for the dough to rise. This baking project is worth it, though, when you take that first bite! These lemony rolls are full of delicious sweetness mingled with a boost of brightness from the creamy filling and lemon zest that makes them totally swoon-worthy!
For The Dough
Lemon cake mix – adds a distinct lemon flavor to the dough
Fast-rise dry yeast – also known as instant yeast
Warm water – to mix with the instant yeast
Vanilla extract – to flavor the rolls
Kosher salt – to enhance the flavor of the dough
Flour – use your favorite brand of all-purpose flour
For The Lemon Zest Filling
Butter – use unsalted and set it out to soften
Sugar – use white granulated
Lemon zest – use a large lemon so you get the most zest
Instant lemon pudding mix – helps make the filling extra lemony and thick
For The Lemon Frosting
Cream cheese – set it out to softened
Butter – use unsalted and set it out to soften
Lemon extract – for flavor
Powdered sugar – sweetener
Whole milk – to help thin the frosting while keeping it creamy
How To Make Lemon Sweet Rolls
Note: This is a general overview of the steps. The full recipe with complete instructions is included in the recipe card down below.
STEP 1: Mix the dough using a stand mixer with the hook attachment. Start with the cake mix, salt, and flour before adding the vanilla and prepared yeast mixture.
STEP 2: Let the dough rise and double in size by covering the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and placing it in a warm area for 60 minutes.
STEP 3: Punch the dough down a few times and cover tightly again, allowing it to rise and double in size for another 60 minutes.
STEP 4: Make the lemon filling with the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon pudding and set aside.
STEP 5: Cut the dough in half and roll each section into a rectangle. Brush the dough with butter before sprinkling on half of the lemon zest filling.
STEP 6: Roll the dough into a tight log and cut the log into equal-sized pieces.
STEP 7: Place the rolls in a greased baking dish, cover them with plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise and double in size for 45-60 minutes.
STEP 8: Repeat the steps with the second half of the dough.
STEP 9: Bake the rolls in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 20-25 or until lightly brown.
STEP 10: Using the standing mixer, cream together the ingredients for the lemon frosting.
STEP 11: Once the rolls are finished baking, allow them to cool just a bit before spreading the lemon frosting evenly over the rolls.
Do I Need To Use A Stand Mixer And Dough Hook?
I would recommend that you do. The dough hook will do all of the heavy work for you as far as mixing and kneading the dough. You could do it by hand, but keep in mind that will add more time and physical effort than you might want to spend. That’s why I love time-saving appliances!
What Kind Of Yeast Should I Use?
This recipe calls for two packets of instant yeast, also called fast-rise dry yeast. All you need to do is mix it with warm water in order for it to activate before adding it to the dough mixture.
Best Way To Slice The Dough Log
I like to use unflavored dental floss to easily slice through the dough log. It just makes a super clean cut. However, if you don’t have dental floss, use a very sharp knife, and use a damp paper towel to wipe it off after each cut. That way, the knife will slice cleanly without pulling at the dough.
If you’re a lemon lover, you’ll definitely want to make this recipe as-is. However, there are other citrus flavors and fruits that will work equally well with the recipe. Just swap out lemon zest for any of these citrus ideas:
- Lime – use a yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding, but use lime zest and lime extract
- Orange – use an orange cake mix with lemon or vanilla pudding, but use orange zest and orange extract
If you love the combo of lemon and blueberries, make the recipe as-is, but when you’re sprinkling the lemon zest filling over the dough, add a smattering of fresh blueberries. They will bake up and burst within the rolls and add a scrumptious flavor to these lemon-sweet rolls.
Because of the cream cheese, I suggest storing leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days. They’re delicious cold, but you can also warm the rolls up in the microwave in increments of 10 seconds until your desired temperature is reached.
More Delicious Sweet Roll Recipes
Nettie is a wife and mother who is passionate about cooking and baking. With 5 children, Nettie insists that all meals, snacks, and desserts come together quickly! You will find a wide variety of easy yet scrumptious recipes on her viral website Moore or Less Cooking
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Soft, fluffy, and topped with a thick and creamy citrus frosting, these Lemon Sweet Rolls are an irresistible treat for breakfast or dessert. They're packed with a delicious lemon filling that makes these rolls a decadent way to start or end your day. They're also perfect for brunch or an afternoon snack!
- 1 box of lemon cake mix
- 2 packets of fast rise dry yeast
- 2 1⁄2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 cup flour
- Lemon zest filling
- 1 cup very soft unsalted sweet cream butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large lemon, zested
- 1 3.4 ounces instant lemon pudding mix
- Lemon frosting
- 1 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄4 cups unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 2 tsp pure lemon extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 Tablespoon whole milk
- Gather all of the ingredients.
- Using a small bowl, mix the yeast and warm water together until dissolved
In a standing mixer bowl, combine the cake mix, salt, and flour and mix using the dough hook.
- Add the yeast mixture and the vanilla extract into the large bowl and mix well using the dough hook.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm area. Allow the dough to double in size for 60 minutes.
- Punch the dough down a few times and cover tightly again, allowing it to rise and double in size for another 60 minutes.
- Cut the dough in half. Sprinkle some flour onto the counter and roll the dough into a rectangular shape. You will want the dough to be about 1⁄4 inch thick.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon jello.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the butter onto the dough. Sprinkle half of the lemon mixture onto the butter. Starting with the bottom dough (the side close to the edge of the counter) roll the dough into a tight log.
- The best way to cut these rolls is to use unflavored dental floss.
- Slide dental floss under the dough and cut the dough into 13 equal-sized pieces.
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with Pam baking spray. Place the 12 rolls into the baking dish and cover with the baking dish with plastic wrap. Allow the rolls to rise and double in size, about 45-60 minutes. Repeat the steps with the second half of the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the oven for 20-25 or until lightly brown.
- Using the standing mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, lemon extract, 3 cups of powdered sugar, and 2 Tbsp whole milk.
- Gradually mix in the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar and whole milk.
- Once the rolls are finished baking, allow them to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Spread the frosting evenly onto the rolls and allow the frosting to melt slightly
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Jell-O Lemon Instant Pudding & Pie Filling, 3.4 Oz (96g) 3-pack
Domino Sugar, Granulated, 4LB Canister
King Arthur, Unbleached Cake Flour, 32 Ounce
Rodelle Gourmet Pure Vanilla Extract, 8 Oz
Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast, The original active dry yeast, Equals 16 Envelopes, 4 oz Jar (Pack of 2)
Duncan Hines Signature Deliciously Moist Lemon Supreme Cake Mix 16.5 Oz. (3 Pack)
Amount Per Serving Calories 768Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 66mgSodium 623mgCarbohydrates 125gFiber 2gSugar 69gProtein 8g