Lemon Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are absolutely delicious and my favorite version is my Orange Vanilla Cinnamon Rolls.

However, I was craving a different kind of citrus : lemon.

I came up with these lemon cream cheese sweet rolls, (sweet rolls since there isn’t any cinnamon), and holy moly these things are so delicious.

While they take a bit, just like every other baked good, you can let them sit overnight to make them in the morning!




  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • zest of 1 lemon


  1. Rolls: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add milk, sugar, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for 5-7 minutes to activate the yeast. Add in eggs, butter, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Attach dough hook and add in flour and salt. Knead on medium-low speed until dough begins to come together.
  2. Add in more flour, a tablespoon at a time, only if needed to make sure dough does not stick to the bowl. Knead dough until smooth, but still soft, about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Shape dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and cover dough tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Once dough has risen, punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out a rectangle, about 14×9-inches.
  5. Filling: In a small bowl, mash together softened butter, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a border of about an inch without any filling.
  6. Roll up the dough, cut the ends, and cut the dough in about 15 rolls. Place the rolls, cut side up, in a sprayed 9×13-inch baking dish.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for 8-12 hours (overnight) or allow to rise again in a warm place, 1-2 hours, if baking immediately. If refrigerating overnight, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let rolls sit out at room temperature for 1-2 hours before baking.
  8. Icing: Beat butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in powdered sugar, lemon zest, then slowly add in milk until the desired consistency is reached. Continue to whip for about 2 more minutes.
  9. Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the plastic wrap and bake rolls until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Once rolls are done baking, spread the icing over the rolls, let set, and then serve.
  10. Lemon cream cheese sweet rolls are best served the day they are made, but can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Lemon cream cheese sweet rolls

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in some warmed milk, granulated sugar, and sprinkle in some active dry yeast. Let sit for 5-7 minutes or until the yeast is activated.


Add in a couple eggs, a stick of melted butter, vanilla extract, and the zest of an entire lemon.

Add in 4-1/2 cups of flour and some salt.

Knead dough with dough hook for about 6-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth but still soft.

Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.


Meanwhile, make the filling. Mash together butter, granulated sugar, zest of a lemon, and some salt.

After dough has risen, punch down, place on a lightly floured surface, and roll into a rectangle about 14×9-inches.


Spread the filling over the dough in an even layer.


Roll the dough up into a long log, pinching the seams together. Cut off the ends and then cut the dough in about 15 rolls.


Place dough, cut side up, in a greased 9×13-inch baking sheet.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight, or if baking immediately, let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours.


If baking the next day, allow dough to sit on the counter 1-2 hours to bring back to room temperature.


Meanwhile, make the icing. Mix together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, some milk, and the zest of a whole lemon. Whip for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

Bake dough in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Spread the icing over the top of the baked rolls, getting all down into the nooks and crannies.


Serve immediately!



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