Gooey Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls


It’s actually supposed to be kinda nice in NYC today you guys! 60 and sunny which feels like a dream after this winter that we have had. Andy and I are seriously considering what it will take to relocate somewhere warmer after yet another snow storm is supposedly on it’s way later this week. So I’m planning to enjoy today as much as possible and be outside as much as Hugo will allow. (Just when I thought I had a baby who always loved been outdoors, he’s had a few unnerving meltdowns the last few days when we attempt to go out. I hope that changes with the warmer weather!)


When the weather gets exceedingly dreary for too many days in a row, I can’t help but bake something sunny and tart to take my mind off things. When I bit into these gooey, lemon-y rolls just for a second I imagined it wasn’t nasty out. The dough is my favorite, one that I use often, which bakes up so puffy and tender. The insides are full of tart and sweet meyer lemon filling and topped with a lemon-y cream cheese glaze. They are perfect for a festive brunch spread or just enjoyed with a big mug of tea. I will never tire of gooey swirly buns- check out some of my other variations too: Salted Caramel, Caramel Apple, Blueberry, Cranberry Orange, and a savory Cheddar Garlic version as well!

Gooey Meyer Lemon Breakfast Buns

Yield: 12 rolls


For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 .25 ounce package instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon*

For the filling

  • 1/4 cup butter very soft
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • Zest of 1 regular lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger

For the icing

  • 3 oz cream cheese, very soft
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest


For the dough:

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in butter; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm- add vanilla extract
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; whisk together. Add water, egg, zest and the milk mixture; beat well with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk.
  3. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition. (dough will be too thick and sticky to use the mixers or whisk at this point.)
  4. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. (dough will spring back when lightly pressed.)
  5. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the filling:

  1. In a small bowl combine the sugars, vanilla, lemon juice, zest and ginger
  2. To assemble rolls:
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. (use your 9x13 baking dish as a guide.) Using a pastry brush- slather the dough with the butter.
  4. Spread the sugar/lemon mixture over the butter. Roll up dough starting with one of the short ends and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place in a 9x13 baking dish.
  5. Cover and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then spread them with icing. (directions below) Serve warm.
  7. Lemon Icing:
  8. Whisk the cream cheese until it's smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and zest and continue to whisk. If the icing seems thick, add more lemon juice if needed.


Original recipe adapted from: All Recipes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Isn’t this little burst of sunshine GLORIOUS? I’m trying to enjoy it and not think about snow storm XVXII or whatever ridiculous number it’s up to these days (Note: I have no idea how Roman numerals work). I figure these rolls will help me get through the next batch of winter.

  2. I can’t imagine anything better than these rolls this weekend. I live in Canada (Alberta) and it feels like winter will never end.

  3. Anything that starts with “gooey” has me interested, and I love a good sweet roll! These look so so yummy and delicious, and such a nice transition into spring. Pinned!

  4. South Carolina is nice – it was sunny and 79 degrees today! And, yes, those look great!

  5. These look marvelous! I’m really looking forward to trying them. One question — is there a specific reason to use the zest of a regular lemon along with the meyer lemon in the filling? Could one use the zest of two meyer lemons instead? Or do you think using the regular lemon zest as well adds a nice balance to the flavors? Oh, and I just noticed the topping uses the zest of regular lemons as well — could one use one meyer, one regular lemon for zest in that case/both meyer lemons? Sorry for such fiddly questions, but I’m curious to hear what you think before I give these a go!

    1. The only reason I said to use regular was because Meyer Lemons tend to be a bit more expensive- hard to find, I used what I had and then switched to regular lemons. Either works!

  6. I absolutely love all your recipes, but this was a huge let down. I had a bunch of Meyer lemons to use up. I was extremely disappointed because the filling was so juicy that it oozed everywhere… If you attempt to make these I would recommend skipping out on the juice! Super sad these are going in the trash :(

    1. I am so sorry this happened. I will take a look at the recipe and give it another test to see if it needs any tweaks.

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