Insanely lemony, delicious and fluffy, these vegan lemon rolls with a sticky lemon glaze make a perfect start to the day. They are a terrific dessert to sleep on as well!
Breakfasts and desserts around here often tend to be lemony, because lemons and sugar? It's a combination that infuses any food with sunshine. And of late, we can't stop grooving on these vibrant Vegan Lemon Rolls with a Sticky Lemon Glaze.
The rolls are fluffy and tall and they are infused with lemon at every stage. There's lemon zest and lemon juice in the dough, in the filling and in the glaze. You can cut down on the lemon if you want them less lemony, but why?
Cardamom adds a sweet note to perfectly complement the lemon.
The rolls are also amazingly easy to make although they are yeasted rolls, so they will require two rises, one before and one after shaping the rolls. But it's just about two hours in all and it goes by pretty fast. I'll also have tips for you below on how you can prep these the night before and pop them in the oven the morning you want to devour them.
If you try these sweet lemon rolls, I'd love to know, so come back and tell me all about it! Or take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag me @HolyCowVegan.
How to make the vegan lemon rolls
- You will need about four large lemons for this recipe--the juice and the zest. Try and use organic lemons whenever you're consuming the zest. The lemon in the dough and the filling seem to mellow quite a bit during baking, but if you want to cut down on the lemony flavor just use less lemon juice in the glaze.
- Begin the recipe by making the dough. There's yeast, sugar, vegan butter, lemon juice, zest, cardamom, vegan yogurt, nondairy milk, tapioca starch and all purpose flour in the dough. I also add a bit of baking soda to make up for the fact that there's no rise from eggs in this vegan recipe.
- Knead the dough for five minutes after everything's mixed in. When done the dough should feel soft, not stiff, but it should also not be sticky.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling--sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and cardamom.
- Also prep a 13 X 9 inch baking pan by spraying the bottom with cooking spray, then lining with parchment paper and spraying the parchment and sides of the pan.
- Let the dough rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size. Roll it into a rectangle about 16 X 12 inches. Arrange it so the 12-inch long side is facing you before you start adding the filling.
- Rub a bit of vegan butter over the rectangle, then spread the filling evenly on top leaving an inch border along the border that's away from you.
- Roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder into 12 even pieces.
- Nestle the rolls, cut side up, in the baking pan. Cover loosely with a towel and set aside for an hour in a warm place until they have doubled in size.
- About 15 minutes before the rolls have finished rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the rolls in the preheated oven and bake 32 minutes or until golden on top.
- While the rolls are baking, make the lemon glaze by mixing lemon juice, sugar and pure vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
- When the rolls come out of the oven let them stand about five minutes, then pour on the glaze. Let the glaze harden for another 15 minutes or so, then serve warm. These taste great at room temperature as well.
Make ahead tips
- If you plan to make these for breakfast and don't want to start the whole process in the morning, which is understandable, make the rolls the night before and place them in the refrigerator, covered tightly with cling wrap.
- Bring them out in the morning and let them stand a little longer in a warm spot if they have not doubled. Then bake. You may need a slightly longer time in the oven in this case.
- You can also refrigerate the dough for a couple of days during the first rise. Before making the rolls let the dough stand for a few minutes until it reaches room temperature and has doubled, and then proceed.
These rolls taste amazing warm from the oven. But they store quite well too. Make sure you put them in an air-tight container, or alternatively cover the baking dish with the remaining rolls tightly with cling wrap. Refrigerate. Warm through before serving.
To freeze the rolls, let them reach room temperature, then store them in an airtight container. Be sure to separate the rolls before you freeze them. Thaw completely before eating and warm in the oven or microwave.
More vegan rolls recipes
Vegan Lemon Rolls with Sticky Lemon Glaze
- Stand mixer or large bowl
- Small bowl for mixing filling and glaze
- 12 X 9 inch baking dish
For the rolls
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ½ cup nondairy milk (lukewarm)
- 5 tbsp sugar (divided)
- 8 tbsp vegan butter (softened, at room temperature)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- ½ cup vegan yogurt
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
For the filling
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (softened, at room temperature)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
For the sticky lemon glaze
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (optional)
Make the lemon rolls
- Mix the yeast, nondairy milk and 1 tbsp sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and let it stand five minutes until the yeast froths.
- Add the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, ground cardamom and mix well. It's okay if the butter remains a bit lumpy but remember it should be soft, not hard.
- Add the tapioca starch and 2 cups of the all purpose flour. Mix with the dough hook, then add the remaining flour and continue to mix until you have a dough that's soft but not sticky. Knead for five more minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball, coat the bowl with oil or cooking spray, then place the dough into the bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil. Cover tightly and set aside in a warm place to double, about an hour.
Make the lemon filling
- Mix the lemon zest, juice, sugar and cardamom in a bowl, rubbing between your fingers lightly. Don't add the butter yet.
Shape the rolls
- Prepare the baking dish by coating it with cooking spray or oil, lining the bottom with parchment paper, and then coating the parchment paper and sides with more cooking spray.
- Once the dough has risen, remove it to a lightly floured surface. Fold it once or twice to deflate but don't punch it.
- Form it into a rough rectangle with your palms and then roll into a rectangle 12 inches by 16 inches.
- With the 12-inch side facing you, rub the butter on the rectangle of dough evenly.
- Next spread the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the side that's away from you.
- Roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Use a serrated knife to cut it at approximately 1-inch intervals so you have 12 even-sized rolls.
- Nest the rolls into the baking dish, cover loosely with a towel, and set aside in a warm place until they have doubled and are puffy, which should take an hour.
- In the last 15 minutes that the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake the rolls in the oven for 32 minutes or until golden on top. Remove to a rack.
Make the lemon glaze
- While the rolls are baking, make the lemon glaze by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk them until you have a very smooth mixture.
- After the rolls have been out of the oven five or 10 minutes, pour the glaze over the top of the rolls and let it set another 15 minutes.
- Serve the rolls warm.
Love these vegan lemon rolls? Check out more vegan dessert recipes on Holy Cow Vegan!