Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls

Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls have a bright citrus flavor that is ideal for spring time! With a quick rise method, they’re faster and easier to make.

Citrus is one of my favorite flavors to use in the spring time—especially lemon! Whether I’m making these sweet rolls, Lemon Poppy Seed Bread, or even Lemon Cupcakes, it always satisfies that citrus craving!

Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Roll on a plate with a fork

Quicker Lemon Sweet Rolls

A few weeks ago I bought a big bag of lemons at Target to make these lemon coconut poppy seed muffins. I guess I should have realized that I only needed a couple and not a dozen.

With a pile of ripe lemons on my counter I had to quickly come up with a few things I could bake to use them up! I made lemon bars, lemonade, used one in pesto and the rest went towards these beauties.

I love sweet rolls. There’s just something about those fluffy spirals and gooey centers that get me every time. And let’s not forget all of that creamy frosting! They’re just heavenly!! These lemon poppy seed sweet rolls are no exception.

The only problem I have with sweet rolls is how long they take to make. I’m an instant gratification type of person. I hate waiting for things, especially food! So I tried to make this recipe “quick” by speeding up the rising process.

Three Lemon Poppy Seed Rolls on a white plate

How to Make Them

DOUGH. To start off you’re going to want to make the dough, which can be made in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Since I have a stand mixer I used it, but the old fashioned way works just fine too!

REST. Once the dough is formed into a ball, place a piece of plastic wrap over it and let it rest on your counter for 10 minutes. The plastic should get nice and foggy and you should notice a slight rise.

FILL + ROLL. Next comes the fun part, rolling it out into a large rectangle and spreading the filling over top. After the filling is on, roll the dough into a log, cut and place into a greased baking dish.

QUICK RISE. Now comes the super duper time saving step. Gently cover them with foil and place them into your oven that was preheated to 200 degrees. Turn off your oven and allow them to rise. Mine had doubled in size by about  35 minutes, but I left them in for 45. It may take up to 1 hour for the rolls to double, that’s ok.

BAKE. Turn on your oven and place the rolls back in to bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Once they’re nice and golden brown, remove them and let them cool.

FROSTING. While they’re cooling prepare the frosting and slather over the tops of the warm rolls. Garnish with additional lemon zest or enjoy as is! These rolls are absolutely divine! You’re going to love them, i just know it! I couldn’t believe how easy and quick they were to make and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised too! Next time I’m going to Either way, I can’t wait to make another batch of these light and fluffy lemon poppy seed sweet rolls!

Lemon poppy seed roll on a white plate with a fork

Recipe Tips and Storing

  • You can use meyer lemons instead of normal lemons because it has a sweeter taste.
  • Make sure to use the smallest grater option when zesting the lemon!
  • Add more flavor by incorporating a pinch of cardamom.
  • Try adding some fruit in the filling, like raspberries or blueberries.

Keep these STORED in the fridge for about 3 days in an airtight container. You can REHEAT these in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to rewarm the rolls.

You should FREEZE sweet rolls after you bake them, but before you frost them. Let them cool completely and then keep them in an airtight container for a few months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge, and then rewarm them in the oven. Spread newly made frosting over the rolls after you’ve warmed them in the oven.

For more sweet roll recipes, try:


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Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls 1

Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls Recipe

Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls have a bright citrus flavor that is ideal for spring time! With a quick rise method, they're faster and easier to make.
4.75 from 8 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Rolls
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 302kcal
Author: Andrea
Print Recipe


  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter - room temperature
  • 2 medium lemons - zested
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese - room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
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  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast and salt.
  • In a small microwave safe bowl (or glass measuring cup), combine the sugar, butter, water and milk. Heat in the microwave until the mixture is hot and the butter is almost melted (it took about 1 minute 30 seconds on HIGH in my microwave). Gradually add the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and poppy seeds. Mix until a soft and sticky dough forms.
  • If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and set on the lowest mixing setting for 4 minutes or until the dough becomes elastic or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3-4 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Once the dough has rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it measures a 16x9 inch rectangle. Prepare the filling by combining all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl except for the butter. Spread the butter over the top of the rolled dough, then cover with the filling. Tightly roll the dough and cut into 12 portions. I like to use dental floss for this... I also cut it in half, then fourths etc. That way my pieces are all uniform in size.
  • Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish and gently press a piece of aluminum foil over top. Turn OFF your oven and place the covered rolls inside to rise. My rolls took 45 minutes to double in size, but they could take up to 1 hour.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and turn ON your oven to 350 degrees. Once heated, bake the rolls for 25 minutes or until the centers are lightly golden brown in color. To prevent over-browning, use that same aluminum foil to set over the rolls half way through baking.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. While rolls are cooling, prepare the frosting by combining all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and beating by hand or with a hand mixer until smooth. Spread over the tops of the rolls and garnish with additional lemon zest, if desired.


-Fresh fruit such as blueberries, strawberries or raspberries can be used in the filling.


Serving: 12serving | Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 341IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg


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About the Author


Hi I'm Andrea!

Hotelier turned Food Blogger to help make your life simple, one recipe at a time.

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  1. 5 stars
    These sweet rolls are all around amazing! The flavoring from the lemon and the sweetness with that tang, and the poppy seeds finish out the sweet rolls.

  2. 5 stars
    OMG! So delicious! The ‘cheater’ speed up for the dough rising is genius. It makes baking breakfast rolls a whole different story.

    1. I love the “cheater” speed up too! I love the time it saves. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!