Sticky Lemon Rolls

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I found a very nice recipe for some Sticky Lemon Rolls at TheKitchn (no spelling error).  That recipe included a cream cheese topping, but I decided not to use that particular aspect of the recipe.  Still, if you want that you can find the full recipe, including the cream cheese topping at the link above.

I do like lemon and a love a nice, soft roll, so what could be a better alternative to cinnamon rolls, or chelsea buns, than this.

Having read lots of comments on TheKitchn site, about the recipe, it seems that many people had a slight issues with the lemon filling oozing out of the bottom.  I discovered this after I had already made the filling, so to try to combat that I simply added a tablespoon of flour into the filling and mixed it in, hoping that it will absorb some of the moisture and thereby prevent it all oozing to the bottom.

As I didn’t want to use cream cheese for the topping I just made a simple icing to drizzle over the top, which worked out very nicely, as it doesn’t make the rolls too sweet.

Straight from the oven and iced, they taste wonderful, a true lemony delight.

Sticky Lemon Rolls
Sticky Lemon Rolls – In Baking Tin

For the dough:

  • 7g active yeast
  • 185g milk, warmed to about 35c.
  • 113g butter, softened
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs(in US this would be large eggs)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 576g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the lemon filling:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 56g very soft butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 60ml lemon juice

For the icing:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes or until foamy. 
  2. Using the mixer paddle and with the mixer on low speed, stir the softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the flour into the milk and yeast mixture. 
  3. Stir in the salt and nutmeg. 
  4. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough. You should need all the flour, or just about all of it.
  5. Switch to the dough hook and knead at low speed for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy.
  6. Lightly grease 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 for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. While the dough is rising, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with the tips of your fingers until well combined. 
  8. Add the butter and beat together with a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) until it is thick, whipped, and creamy. 
  9. Add the ginger and nutmeg. 
  10. Slowly add the lemon juice and whip. It should be a thin yet still creamy mixture of butter and sugar. If you think the mixture has become too thin you can add a tablespoon of cornflour so that it thickens somewhat.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour, or until you are ready to assemble the rolls.
  12. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface, pat the risen dough into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10 x 15 inches.
  13. Spread the dough evenly with the sticky lemon filling. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Stretch and pull the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon filling inside. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls and place each in the prepared baking dish.
  14. Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for 1 hour or until puffy and doubledin size.
  15. Preheat the oven to 350F/180c/160c Fan
  16. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  17. While they are baking make the icing.
  18. Add a little of the lemon juice to the icing sugar and stir until combined.  Add enough juice only to make a thick, dropping consistency.  If it gets too thin and runny add more sugar.
  19. Remove the baked rolls from then and pipe the icing in zig-zags over the rolls.
  20. Allow to cool and removed from the baking tin.

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