Lemon Breakfast Rolls with Vanilla Icing

It’s really hard to think of anything better than a soft and pillowing breakfast roll smothered in cream cheese frosting, but I’m getting really close with these lemon breakfast rolls topped with some delicious vanilla icing.

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that I absolutely love breakfast rolls, I come from a bread eating country and to be honest, I don’t really need an excuse to eat bread, but I love experimenting with it and trying different flavours.

There’s something about lemon in bakes that makes me incredibly happy, it’s probably the fact that it kind of reminds me of the sun and the summer months, or maybe the mix of the lemon’s acidity and bitterness and the sweetness of the sugar in the bakes.

So what’s in these lemon rolls?

  • The dough is made with a very basic recipe consisting of bread flour, sugar, milk, butter and yeast. I know some people add eggs to their breakfast rolls, but I like to keep it simple without them.
  • The rolls are filled with more butter and sugar mixed with lemon zest. I like to scrub the lemon zest and the sugar with my fingers to infuse the sugar with the beautiful lemon flavour.
  • Finally, the rolls are topped with cream cheese, vanilla extract, a drop of milk and icing sugar.

These rolls are so good while they are still warm, they basically melt in your mouth and the icing makes them even even softer and it’s just the perfect finishing touch.

Let me know if you make these lovely rolls and I really hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Lemon Breakfast Rolls with Vanilla Icing


  • For the rolls:
    • 400 ml of whole milk
    • 90 gr of butter
    • 750 gr of flour
    • 22 gr of yeast
    • 150 gr of sugar
  • For the filling:
    • The zest of 2 and 1/2 lemons
    • 90 gr of sugar
    • 50 gr of butter at room temperature
  • For the icing:
    • 100 gr of cream cheese at room temperature
    • 30 gr of butter at room temperature
    • 35 gr of icing (powdered) sugar
    • 1 tbsp of whole milk
    • 2 tsp of vanilla extract


  1. Warm up the milk and let the butter melt in it. In the meantime, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the milk and butter into the dry ingredients and mix them well until you get a dough. Knead it over a floured surface for 5 minutes, then, put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Once the dough has risen, mix sugar and lemon zest, I like to “massage” the sugar with my hands so it gets really infused with the lemon zest. Punch the dough to get rid of the air and in a floured surface roll it until you have the shape of a rectangle. If you are struggling to get that shape, just cut the edges so it acquires that shape.
  4. Have the shortest edge of the rectangle closer to you and spread the butter over it up until the edges, I usually just use my fingers to do this. Then, sprinkle the sugar over it.
  5. Grab one of the long edges (to your left or right) and start rolling the dough until you get a long log. Cut the top and bottom edge if those edges seem uneven. Cut the rolls into 2.5-3 cm sections using either a very sharp serrated edge knife or floss (I used floss and found it extremely satisfying).
  6. Place the rolls into a greased baking tray, don’t squeeze them together, leave some space between them to allow them to grow. Let the rolls rise for another hour.
  7. Once ready, pop them in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until they start getting brown on top.
  8. When they are ready or while cooking, make the icing by mixing all the ingredients listed above with a hand mixer and spread it over the rolls while they are still warm. Enjoy them hot or cold.

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