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Lemon rolls with lemon cream are the perfect dessert for your weekend treat. It’s delicious, sweet and tangy! Everything you might hope for, for the most wonderful bite. And the best bit? Making these rolls isn’t complicated at all. You’ll need just a couple of hours and a little bit of patience.

I recently took some time off from baking and photography. I just didn’t feel inspired or that I had any energy left after a long workday. So, I allowed myself to pause to breathe, to find myself again and come back with more ideas and energy. I’m not saying I’m fully back, but I’m feeling way better and these delicious rolls prove it.

Fragrant lemon rolls with lemon cream are a mouth-watering treat that perfectly combines the delicate sweetness of a classic cinnamon roll with the vibrant flavours of zesty lemons. Whether you’re a lemon lover or simply seeking a delightful twist to your morning routine, this recipe is sure to awaken your senses and leave you craving more.

Last year I shared the most delicious recipe for cinnamon rolls with pistachio and caramel sauce. Well, I dare say these lemon rolls are even better – they’ll take you the same amount of time, but the balance between the creamy frosting and tangy lemon is just incredible! Go on, give them a go!

Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream

Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream: Recipe Parts

These rolls are made from four parts: tangzhong (if you haven’t heard about this, don’t worry) soft dough, tangy lemon filling and creamy frosting. These four components are what make all the magic.

  • Tangzhong – this was a real discovery for me! I found this in a Joshua Weissman cookbook and let me tell you – this should be a mandatory part of all cinnamon roll recipes! By using tangzhong, you’ll make your buns softer and they’ll stay fresh for a longer time.
  • Soft dough – it serves as the foundation for the incredible flavours that lie ahead. For these lovely rolls, I used a simple yeast dough with dry active yeast, plain flour, milk, egg and melted butter. To bring more tangy flavours I added a tablespoon of yuzu juice (this isn’t strictly necessary but brings so much flavour).
  • Lemony filling – the filling is where the magic happens, as the lemony zest intertwines with sugar to create a combination of sweet and tangy flavours. This vibrant mixture will have your kitchen filled with the irresistible aroma of fresh lemons, making it impossible to resist indulging in a roll even before they’re fully baked!
  • Creamy lemon frosting – to elevate these lemon rolls to new heights, we can’t forget about the luscious lemon cream frosting. It’s what makes this recipe from delicious to truly exceptional. Just mix the cream cheese with sugar and lemon juice to cover those beautiful rolls.
Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream

Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Recipe Tips

Making these lemon rolls isn’t complicated at all. Just don’t rush while you’re making the dough and let it proof properly. Everything else is easy peasy.

Just in case though, I’d like to share some tips with you for the best results:

  • Fresh and zesty lemons are the most important ingredient. If you can use unwaxed Italian lemons, you’ll truly get the best results.
  • When zesting your lemons, make sure to use only the outermost layer of the skin. Avoid grating too deeply into the white pith, as it can add bitterness to your rolls.
  • Take your time when preparing the dough for the rolls. Follow the recipe instructions precisely and allow the dough to rise adequately. Patience is key here, as a well-risen dough ensures light and fluffy rolls.
  • When rolling out the dough, handle it gently to prevent tearing or stretching. Use a lightly floured surface and a rolling pin to achieve an even thickness throughout.
  • Spread the lemon filling onto the rolled-out dough, aiming for an even layer. This ensures every bite is bursting with flavour.
  • To create perfectly shaped rolls, roll the dough tightly from one end to the other (roll from the short side, not the long one to have more spirals), keeping the filling intact. This will prevent any gaps or loose ends when cutting the rolls and result in beautifully spiralled pastries.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the rolled dough into individual slices. Aim for consistent thickness, which ensures even baking. Take care not to press down too hard, as it can flatten the rolls and affect their texture.
  • After arranging the rolls in a baking dish, allow them to proof. This second rising allows the dough to further develop flavour and results in a lighter and fluffier texture.
  • Lemon rolls are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven when they are still warm and tender. Serve them as a delightful breakfast treat or a delectable dessert.

Remember, baking is both an art and a science, so don’t be afraid to experiment and add your personal touch to the recipe.

Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream

If you are looking for other lemony treats, check out these recipes:

Lemon Swiss Roll with Citrus Curd
Tiramisu with Lemon Curd and Limoncello
Lemon and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Curd
Lemon Crinkle Cookies



18g plain four
30g water
60ml milk

7g dry yeast
100ml milk
350g plain flour
20g sugar
1 egg
40g melted butter
1 tablespoon of yuzu juice (I used this one)
Pinch of salt

50g softened butter
100g caster sugar
4 lemon zest

Cream layer:
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
1 lemon juice


Make the tangzhong:

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the flour, water and milk until completely dissolved.
  2. Heat the mixture, stirring continuously, until it stiffens into a thick paste.
  3. Set the tangzhong aside to cool down.

Make the dough:

  1. Warm the milk until it’s lukewarm (around 40 degrees) add the dried yeast and leave it for a couple of minutes until it starts bubbling.
  2. Add the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Mix everything and pour in the yeast mixture.
  3. Add the egg, melted butter, yuzu juice and prepared tangzhong. Combine everything.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until it’s smooth.
  5. Transfer it to an oiled bowl and cover it with a towel. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Prepare the rolls:

  1. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle.
  2. Spread the softened butter on top (leave one centimetre on the top without butter, this helps to seal the edge).
  3. Mix sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle the filling on top of the spread butter.
  4. Tightly roll up the dough. Seal the edges. Cut off the ends (to avoid clumsy-looking rolls). Cut the roll into 8 – 9 even pieces.
  5. Add them into a buttered baking dish, cover with a towel and leave for 40 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden.

Make the cream layer:

  1. Whisk the cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Pour the lemon juice and mix everything.
  4. Using a spatula, spread the icing over the lemon rolls and serve.