Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.
I am in love with lemon anything, especially in breakfast and dessert. And since three of the top 12 posts of 2014 were lemon, I know y’all love it too.
Let’s not waste any time in 2015. It’s time for the first lemon recipe of the year: Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls!
You guys. BIG NEWS ALERT:
Jordan ate a cheeseburger. And she liked it.
Now, I know some of you are all, “Huh? That’s big news??” But trust me, it is. Since Jordan could chew I’ve been trying to get her to eat a hamburger and she would never touch one, ever. She is super picky (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and the list of foods she likes is less than what she doesn’t. I have to give her credit, she’s gotten good at tolerating things. She almost always at least eats a few bites of what we serve for dinner, but hamburgers were a huge hurdle.
Do you know how hard it is to find restaurants that make kids meals for picky kids? (Or adult meals? She’s approaching 10, the kid menu cutoff for some restaurants.) Kids that don’t like chicken, hamburgers, turkey sandwiches, pasta, potatoes, or soup? It’s been hell, but now? Now she can order a burger. #hallelujah
Also? Being able to say “I told you so” was a pretty nice perk.
Being a super picky eater, I totally understand where she’s coming from. Trying new things is hard, even for me, even now. One of the things I’m so glad I decided to finally try? Lemon. How did I live my life without loving lemon desserts??? Now? I can’t get enough.
And in case you didn’t know, lemon and blueberry go hand in hand. And in sweet rolls? It’s like they’re made for each other.
Ever since I made easy lemon sweet rolls a few years ago, I’ve been dying to make a scratch version. And I’m so glad I did. And, by the way, from scratch is easy too. Believe me!
I adapted my overnight cinnamon rolls for this recipe. That post has a photo tutorial of how your dough should look at each step, so if you’ve never made yeasted cinnamon rolls before, start there. That dough is the same recipe I’ve used for several rolls: almond, peanut butter, and zucchini to name a few. Don’t be scared of using yeast! Just be sure that you have fresh and that it’s not expired. This recipe uses active dry yeast because I know it’s readily available at so many grocery stores.
The only difference between that dough and this one is that I decreased the milk and added lemon juice and zest.
And, OMG, that decision? Epic. These are the fluffiest rolls I’ve ever made. And? When you open the oven? All you smell is lemon. #FTW
Since these are sweet rolls and not cinnamon rolls, there is no cinnamon. Instead, they are filled with a sugar and butter mixture that is bursting with lemon zest. So, if you’re keeping track, there is lemon in the dough AND the filling.
Also? There’s lemon in the frosting. But we’ll get to that.
You can stop at lemon filling, but why? Blueberries just make it more fun. I used small, miniature blueberries for these sweet rolls. They are often labeled “wild” and you can find them at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in the frozen section. We don’t love big blueberries in our baked goods in my house, but we love the mini version. However, you can use regular sized as well. Fresh or frozen will work, just make sure you defrost the frozen ones, and drain them well.
Once you roll up the sweet rolls and cut them (you can make 9 large or 12 small) you place the pan in the refrigerator overnight. That makes breakfast a snap: let the rolls warm up to room temperature while the oven preheats, then bake and serve. Breakfast in 40 minutes instead of 4 hours.
And, of course. The glaze. All sweet rolls need glaze. A cream cheese glaze with lemon juice for more lemon flavor.
If you kept track all the way though, that means there is triple lemon in these rolls.
And that? Is perfection. Is this lemon popular recipe #1 of 2015? We shall see… 🙂
Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls
For the Dough:
- 2/3 cup warm non-fat milk — think hot bath water, about 45 seconds in the microwave
- 1 package active dry yeast — about 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 1/3 cup + 1/2 teaspoon sugar — divided
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest — from 1 medium lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice — from 1 medium lemon
- 3 - 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour — plus more for dusting
- Paddle attachment & dough hook for your mixer
For the Filling:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest — from 1-2 medium lemons
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 cups blueberries — fresh or frozen (if frozen, make sure they are thawed and drained), see note
For the Frosting:
- 2 tablespoons butter — melted
- 2 ounces cream cheese — very soft
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch salt
- 3-4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Make the Dough:
- Place milk in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat for 45 seconds in the microwave, until it’s about 120°F, think hot bathwater. (The time you heat it will need to be adjusted depending on your microwave. You can use a candy or a meat thermometer to test the temperature.) Add yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes until frothy.
- Place sugar, butter, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until the butter is distributed throughout the liquids, although it may be chunky. Pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir for a few seconds.
- Add 3 cups flour and stir with the paddle attachment just until the mixture starts to stick to the paddle. Then replace the paddle with the dough hook. Continue mixing on low speed until the dough forms a ball in the center of the bowl. The dough will be slightly sticky and elastic. There will be minimal transfer to your finger if you poke it. If it’s still very wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in it. Spray the top of the dough ball with cooking spray (lightly) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 2-4 hours until it doubles in size. Note on rising: if your house is warm, it should rise no problem. If it’s cold in your house, it may take longer for the dough to rise.
Prepare your Rolls:
- Stir together butter, sugar, lemon zest, salt and flour until it forms a paste.
- Once the dough is risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 10” by 14”. Spread the filling as evenly as possible over the rectangle, making sure to reach to the sides so the outer rolls have enough filling. Sprinkle with blueberries. I used 1 cup of mini (or “wild”) blueberries that were defrosted and drained. If you’re using regular sized berries, you might want to use more of them.
- Roll the dough up tightly from the long end. Slice it into 12 equal rounds. Place the rolls into a 9x13” pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Or, if you want to make them the same day, cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for 1 hour until they’ve puffed up a little, then continue as directed below.)
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them warm up to room temperature while the oven is preheating. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until they are golden brown. (Mine took 24, be careful not to over bake. The bottoms will turn golden before the tops do.) Note: the blueberries will drain to the bottom of the pan overnight. That’s not a problem.
Make the frosting:
- Whisk the melted butter and softened cream cheese until mostly smooth. If your cream cheese is too stiff, you can use a hand mixer. Whisk/beat in powdered sugar and 3 teaspoons lemon juice, adding more as desired for thickness. Pour over warm rolls and serve.