Cinnamon rolls are one of my family’s favorite recipes, and always one of my top choices when planning a brunch menu. While I love cinnamon rolls any time of the year, during springtime it’s fun to shake things up a bit and I find lemon rolls to be a fabulous alternative to cinnamon rolls, especially for an Easter brunch.
This lemon roll recipe is absolutely fantastic and your friends and family will absolutely love it. It’s just like making traditional cinnamon rolls, but with a switch on the flavors. The rolls themselves have a delicious lemon flavor. The filling combines sugar, lemon zest and Lemon Flavor JELL-O Pudding Mix, and they are finished off with a divine lemon cream cheese frosting.
This recipe will make two 13×9 pans of lemon rolls, perfect for sharing or taking to big get-togethers. You can cut the recipe in half to make a single pan, but for me whenever I am making cinnamon rolls I like to make a big batch. A large batch is really no more work than a small batch, and I always have friends and family who are thrilled to be surprised with a pan of fresh baked rolls!
To make these lemon rolls, we start with a lemon cake mix, yeast (I have great success with rapid rise yeast), water, vanilla, flour and a dash of salt. It’s a very basic and simple dough to make.
One of my favorite tips for letting any dough rise is to turn my oven on to about 300 degrees, and let it preheat for about two minutes (that’s two minutes total, not two minutes after it reaches temperature). It slightly warms the oven, and is then the perfect warm and draft-free place to let your dough rise. I also make sure to spray some non-stick cooking spray in my bowl before placing my dough in, and I cover it with plastic wrap. This works like a charm for getting my dough to rise.
After I let my dough rise for 30-60 minutes, I punch it down and let it rise again for another 30 minutes. It takes some time, but the end result is so worth it.
Once I’m ready to roll my dough out, I typically divide my dough in half, especially when making a recipe that makes two pans of lemon rolls. It’s just a bit easier to work with this way. After rolling my dough out, it’s time to spread on the filling.
JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding Mix works wonderfully in the filling of these lemon rolls. Instead of spreading on cinnamon and sugar as I would for cinnamon rolls, after buttering my dough, I sprinkle on a mixture of sugar, JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding Mix (the dry mix, do not make it into pudding!), and some lemon zest.
Then it’s time to roll up the dough and cut into rolls.
I let my rolls rise for about 30 more minutes. I turn my oven on to preheat about 15 minutes into this rise time, which usually results in my oven being heated and ready right about the time my 30 minute rise is done. And into the oven they go to bake.
There are a few different ways to frost your lemon rolls. I used to wait until my rolls were cool to frost, but I have found that I really enjoy frosting my rolls right after they come out of the oven, which allows the frosting to almost melt into the rolls. Either way is great. A little trick I use to help get my frosting onto my rolls is using a small cookie scoop to scoop out my frosting. You can also just spoon it on.
The lemon cream cheese frosting made with PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese is amazing. You could also use a regular PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese frosting, but if you love lemon, go for the lemon version! These are absolutely amazing, and your kitchen will smell phenomenal when they come out of the oven.
I hope your family enjoys these delicious lemon rolls. This is such a great dish to make for an Easter brunch, and if you aren’t hosting, it’s so easy to just transport them right in the baking pan, just another thing I love about cinnamon rolls and lemon rolls!
Click here for the recipe: Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting