Meyer Lemon Sticky Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

Last week I had a few “I just had to” moments. First, I just had to buy 2 bags of Meyer Lemons when I saw them at the grocery store. For those not familiar with Meyer Lemons, their defining characteristics are slightly rounder shape when compared with a regular lemon, a thin yellow-orange colored peel, and a sweeter taste than a traditional lemon. They are thought to be a cross between an lemon and a mandarin. Can you see why I just had to buy them?


Then I saw this recipe for Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze. Sort of like a spring time version of a cinnamon roll, but without the cinnamon. Yeah, I had to make those. And then I remembered the Meyer Lemons and decided that not only was I going to make those rolls, but I was going to experiment with my new lemons.

I didn’t want them to be too sweet, so I included a bit of regular lemon zest and juice as well. Just look at them. What isn’t to love? Lemony goodness, baked treats, cream cheese glaze. They’re great for breakfast or dessert, or dessert with breakfast, lunch, and dinner if your name happens to be Eric. And they are delicious with a side of juicy blackberries. This recipe for Meyer Lemon Sticky Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze has definitely earned a favored spot in our family. I even made a double batch and froze half of them to enjoy later on, something I will definitely be doing again. In fact, I think I’m going to go clean out the freezer to make a bit more room. Because that second batch is gone already. I wish could have shard them with all of you!


Meyer Lemon Sticky Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

Makes 12 large breakfast rolls
adapted from TheKitchn


Lemon Roll Dough
1 envelope (0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast?
3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100°F or warm but not hot on your wrist
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
1/4 cup white sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
4 - 4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 lemon, zested
1 meyer lemon, zested
2 eggs

Sticky Lemon Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 meyer lemon, zested
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 meyer lemon, juiced and zested


In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zests. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.

Spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled - about an hour.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, then work in the lemon zest with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles wet, soft sand. Stir in the lemon juice.

Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10x15 inches. Spread evenly with the softened butter, then pour and spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.

Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. (You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour.)

Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190°F.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small food processor (or with a mixer, or a sturdy whisk), whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.

When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze. Serve while warm.