Try this ooey, gooey, moist lemon Danish sweet rolls with their lemon and cream cheese filling! You'll be hooked after just one bite!
I am totally in love with these lemon Danish sweet rolls! The tart lemon curd is balanced perfectly with the cream cheese filling that is all rolled up in a tender roll. I am re-sharing this recipe today because I've changed the recipe a little.
These used to be really messy to make, but I have tweaked my recipe so that these are no longer super messy to make. These are perfect for breakfast, brunches, and, well, midnight snacks. If you are feeling adventurous and love lemon treats, then try these! They will not disappoint.
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How to make these sweet rolls!
- I start the dough and then make the lemon curd, but I am going to give the instructions for the lemon curd here first.
- So get all your ingredients for the lemon curd measured out.
- Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest, salt, and lemon juice in a small pot.
- Whisk your eggs in a bowl, or my preference is a 4-cup glass measuring cup. (affiliate link)
- Measure out 2 Tbs. of Water in a small bowl and have the unflavored gelatin (affiliate link) and a measuring spoon next to it.
- First, bring the contents of the pot to a simmer. As it starts to simmer, add the unflavored gelatin to the 2 Tbs. of water to soften for about 30 seconds.
- Add the softened gelatin to the simmering lemon liquid and whisk in until dissolved.
- While whisking, quickly add the hot lemon liquid to the eggs in a small steady stream to temper the eggs.
- Once you've whisked all or most of the hot liquid in, return it to the pot and simmer until the lemon coats the back of a spoon. This will not take long. Remove the lemon curd from the heat.
- Pour the hot lemon curd in a glass bowl and place it over another bowl that has ice in the bottom so it will cool quickly. Whisk the lemon curd here and there while it cools. Once it's no longer hot you can take it off the ice. Set aside until it's time to use it!
- Now for the dough...
- I prefer to use my stand mixer (affiliate link) fitted with the paddle attachment, but this recipe can be done just as well with hand beaters. (affiliate link)
- In the bowl of your mixer, place the butter, salt, and sugar.
- In a small pot, over medium-high heat, scald the 1 cup of milk. To scald milk, heat it until nearly boiling, then remove from the heat. Pour the scalded milk over the contents of the mixing bowl. Allow to cool down to a warm but not hot temperature (a bit warmer than a baby's bath water).
- In a small measuring cup, dissolve 1 Tbs. active dry yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in ⅓ cup warm water and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
- Pour the foamy yeast, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of flour into the mixing bowl. Mix on low just to get everything mixed together, then beat at a medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Don't skimp on the time. You need to beat the batter for 5 minutes.
- Following 5 minutes of beating, add 1 ½ cups more flour and mix just until incorporated. The top left picture below is what your batter/dough should look like. This particular kind of roll is called a batter roll or batter bread. Meaning it is not going to come together in a ball like typical dough. It will be sticky and gooey.
- Remove the paddle attachment and cover the bowl with a dish towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled. This should take an hour to an hour and a half.
- Gently punch down the dough, recover, and allow it to rise a 2nd time until doubled. This time it will rise in about half the time it took before.
- While the dough is rising for a second time make the cream cheese filling according to the recipe instructions. Also, prepare a 9x13 baking dish (affiliate link) by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Dump the risen dough onto a generously floured surface. As you can see in the bottom left-hand picture above, this dough is very soft and kind of sticky. Gently knead the dough with a little flour, just enough that it is not terribly sticky. Do not add a ton of flour. You really only need a bit. This dough should not toughen up and be stiff dough like regular bread dough.
- Roll the dough out with your rolling pin (affiliate link) into roughly a 20 x 14-inch rectangle on a floured surface.
- Spread the cream cheese filling on the top of the rolled-out dough first.
- Stir the lemon curd around a bit to make it smooth, and spread it over the cream cheese filling. Roll up jelly-roll style.
- Using dental floss, cut the rolled-up dough into 15 one-inch slices. You may end up with more than 15. Slice quick, use two hands to pick up the slices so the middles don't slip out, and place them in the prepared baking dish. (affiliate link)
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. The rolls should be golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before drizzling with the icing. Enjoy warm and refrigerate the leftovers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, just make sure they are completely cool before putting them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature.
Other creative sweet roll recipes I know you'll love!
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Lemon Danish Sweet Rolls
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Tbs. Cold Water
- 2 teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin
- ⅔ Cup Sugar
- One pinch Salt
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- ½ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice about 3 large lemons ((must be fresh not bottled))
- 6 Tbs Butter
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz Cream Cheese room temp.
- ¼ Cup Butter room temp.
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ Cup Butter
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Scalded Milk
- 1 Tbs. Active Dry Yeast
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- ⅓ Cup Warm Water
- 2 Eggs
- 3 ½ Cups Flour divided
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- I usually start the roll dough and then make the lemon curd.
- In a 4-Cup measuring cup, whisk the 2 eggs together. Set aside.
- Put the sugar, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Just as the lemon liquid begins to simmer, add the unflavored gelatin to the 2 Tbs. of water to soften for about 30 seconds.
- Add the softened gelatin to the simmering liquid and whisk until dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and trickle in a slow stream into the eggs while whisking vigorously until all the hot liquid is whisked into the eggs. Pour back into the sauce pot.
- Bring back to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Place this bowl inside another bowl that has ice in the bottom. This will cool the lemon curd quickly. Stir here and there while it cools. Once cool though, remove from the ice and set aside until it's time to use it.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can make these with hand beaters, too), place the ¼ cup of butter, 1 teaspoon Salt, and ¼ cup of sugar.
- In a small saucepan, scald the 1 cup of milk. To scald milk, heat the milk over medium heat high to nearly boiling. Remove from the heat and pour over the contents of the mixing bowl.
- Allow to cool to a warm but not hot temperature (a little warmer than a baby's bath water). This takes 20-30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in ⅓ cup warm water. Let stand until foamy. About 5 minutes.
- Pour the foamy yeast, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of flour into the mixing bowl. Mix on low just until everything is mixed together. Then beat on medium-high for 5 minutes. Don't skimp on the time. You must beat it for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 ½ cups flour. Mix until incorporated. This is a batter dough, so the dough is going to be sticky and gooey; it will not be a ball of dough. Refer to the pictures included in this recipe post to see what this should look like. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled. This will take an hour to an hour and a half.
- Punch down the dough, recover, and let rise a second time until doubled. This will only time ½ the time of the first rise.
- While the dough is rising for a second time, preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Get your dental floss out and ready to slice the dough.
- Also, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth to make the cream cheese filling.
- Dump the risen dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead gently just enough so the dough is not sticky. This won't take a lot of flour. Remember, this is a soft dough and should not be a stiff ball of dough like bread dough would be.
- Roll out into a rectangle that is roughly 20x14 inches. Spread the cream cheese filling over the top of the rolled-out dough, followed by the cold lemon curd.
- Quickly roll up the dough jelly-roll style, ending with the roll of dough seam side down. This is where things may get a little messy.
- Cut the rolled-up dough into 15 one-inch thick slices using dental floss. Be quick and use two hands to move the slices from the counter to the prepared baking dish. The lemon curd will ooze out some. That is just the nature of the beast.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The rolls should be golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before drizzling icing on the top. Serve warm and refrigerate the leftovers.
- Using a fork, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to bring to a drizzly consistency.