Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls

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Serve breakfast with a tangy twist! Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls are filled with lemon curd and topped with a sweet lemon glaze. Ooey gooey delicious!

Introducing May’s sweet roll recipe: The Ones with Lemon.

I actually had these Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls prepared to post in April, but due to limited supplies and reader requests, we posted our Bisquick cinnamon rolls instead. Those are ready in under 45 minutes and have no yeast…but still use our heavy cream trick.

And you guys LOVED them. Thank you!

lemon poppy seed rolls in a pan with one missing

For May I wanted to share something fresh. And bright. And fruity. Because I’m ready for warm weather and fresh air and all things healthy. Not that these rolls are healthy but you know what I mean.

Why You’ll Love These Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls:

  • same pillowy soft sweet roll dough you love
  • lemon zest and poppy seeds baked into the dough
  • quick lemon curd filling that is sweet and tangy
  • heavy cream bath for ultimate gooiness {you know we wouldn’t skip this step!}
  • easy powdered sugar lemon glaze
  • overnight option available
  • freezer friendly
lemon poppy seed dough on a pastry mat

How to Make Sweet Rolls

This is the same base sweet roll dough as we have on most of our other cinnamon roll recipes. You can read many hints and tricks for mixing this dough on our original recipe post, but here are a few special tips:

rolled out lemon poppy seed rolls
  • You can use a stand mixer to mix this dough or knead by hand. But our favorite way? Put the ingredients in your bread machine if you have one and set it to the dough setting. This is the easiest! But if you don’t have a stand mixer or bread machine, this dough is easy to knead by hand.
  • We like to use Red Star Platinum Baking Yeast, but if you choose a different kind, read the back of your yeast package for water temperature and how to add it. You can use any type of yeast as long as you add it according to the type you have.
  • Don’t add too much flour. First add 4 cups, then add the last ½ cup only if the dough is too sticky. The dough should feel tacky and not dry.
rolled out dough with lemon curd
  • Rise time may vary. Rise time depends on temperature, humidity and what type of yeast you use. If your house is warmer, it may take shorter to rise. We find that initial rise takes about an hour and the second rise about 30 minutes. Your time may vary though!
  • Use a large baking pan. We originally made our cinnamon roll recipes in a 9×13 pan. And you can totally do that. But we now use a larger 10×15 baking pan so that the rolls have plenty of time to expand out and rise. They look more even and pretty doing it this way. You can also use two square or two round baking pans if you’d like.

Lemon Curd Filling

We used a jar of store bought lemon curd for the filling to keep it easy. If you want to make homemade lemon curd, make it the day before you prepare these rolls so it is cooled off. Here is our favorite lemon curd recipe.

lemon poppy seed rolls cut on a pastry mat

Don’t forget the secret ingredient!

Just as with all of our other sweet rolls, we use our heavy cream trick in this recipe. Pour heavy cream over the rolls right before baking for the ultimate soft, gooey sweet roll.

What if you don’t have heavy cream? Use half and half, coffee creamer, evaporated milk, whole milk or even coconut cream. Any high fat milk will work.

unbaked poppy seed rolls

Frosting for Lemon Poppy Seed Rolls

When I think of lemon desserts, I don’t often think of a heavy frosting, but rather a sweet tangy glaze. So that is exactly what we made. It’s a mix of powdered sugar, butter and cream (for richness) and lemon juice for tang.

If you spread this over the warm rolls it will soak in and around the rolls. If you don’t want it to soak in, wait til the rolls are cooled.

pan of lemon poppy seed sweet rolls with glaze

Can I let the dough rise overnight?

We often make the cinnamon rolls and get them to the point of the second rise (when they are rolled out, cut up and put in the pan). Cover and refrigerate until morning.

The morning you want to bake them, pull them out of the refrigerator and allow them to rise. Plan about at least an hour for this so you aren’t waiting too long! Then let them do their second rise. Pour on the cream and let them bake.

poppy seed roll on a plate

How do you store sweet rolls?

We store these sweet rolls in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also freeze them. They stay soft!

lemon poppy seed sweet roll on a plate
overhead view of lemon sweet rolls
overhead view of lemon sweet rolls

Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls

4.82 from 27 votes
Serve breakfast with a tangy twist! Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls are filled with lemon curd and topped with a sweet lemon glaze. Ooey gooey delicious!
Servings 15
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 30 minutes

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For the Dough:

  • 1 cup warm milk (about 115 degrees F**)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast (I like Red Star Platinum Baking Yeast)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup butter (Melted, but make sure it isn't super hot. Just barely melted, or even softened, is fine.)
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the Filling:

For Pouring:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (for pouring over the risen rolls)

For the Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream


  • Pour the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast overtop.
  • Add the eggs, butter, salt, poppy seeds and sugar.
  • Add in 4 cups (save the other ½ cup and add only if you need it) of flour and mix using the beater blade just until the ingredients are barely combined. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so the flour has time to soak up the liquids.
  • Scrape the dough off the beater blade and remove it. Attach the dough hook.
  • Beat the dough on medium speed, adding in up to ½ cup more flour if needed to form a dough. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. **The dough should be tacky and will still be sticking to the sides of the bowl. That’s ok! Don’t be tempted to add more flour at this point. We generally add about 4 ½ cups, but start with 4 cups.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.
  • Use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place it in the greased large bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel or wax paper.
  • Set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until double. I like to turn on the oven to the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the oven and place the dough to rise in there. It normally takes about 45-60 minutes for the dough to rise. Do not allow the dough to rise too much or your cinnamon rolls will be airy.
  • Sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour. Turn out the dough onto the pastry mat and sprinkle the top of the dough with additional flour.
  • Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about a 24×15″ rectangle. (the size of the rectangle can vary…it does not have to be exact!)
  • Use a rubber spatula to smooth the lemon curd over the whole dough rectangle.
  • Starting on the long end, roll the dough up tightly jelly roll style.
  • Cut into 15 slices and place in a greased 10×15 baking pan.
  • Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Warm the heavy cream until the chill is off. Don’t make it hot…you just don’t want it cold. It should be warm to the touch.
  • Once the rolls have risen, pour the heavy cream over the top of the rolls, allowing it to soak down in and around the rolls.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25-27 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Note…the time will vary based on how big the rolls are, what type of pan, how close the rolls are packed, etc. Watch them closely and check them at 20 minutes. If they are turning too brown, place a piece of foil loosely over them until they are done baking.
  • While the rolls are cooling, prepare the glaze.
  • In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar, melted butter and lemon juice. Add the heavy cream a tablespoon at a time until the glaze at a drizzling consistency.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled rolls.
  • Store in an airtight container.


The calories shown are based on the recipe making 15 rolls, with 1 serving being 1 sweet roll. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**
**Different yeast calls for slightly different proofing methods. We follow Red Star Platinum’s temperature guidelines. Please check your yeast packet to see what temperature the milk should be at.
*The Calorie count shows the amount with ALL of the frosting used. There will be less calories in the rolls if you don’t use all of the frosting at once.


Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 276mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 343IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Calories 369
Keyword brunch, comfort food

Other Lemon Desserts

If you love lemon as much as we do, try one of our other popular lemon recipes:

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Emily Tiffan
4 months ago

5 stars
Absolutely LOVE this recipe! The dough is always perfectly soft and fluffy, and the lemon gives the most wonderful tartness. Will be making again and again! #giveaway2023

Dawn Lusk
10 months ago

5 stars
These are DELISH and enjoyed every time I make them! I make the lemon curd too, 😋.

1 year ago

Can these be overnight in the fridge risen like your cinnamon rolls?

3 years ago

5 stars
Made these Christmas morning and they were absolute perfection. Lemon is my all time favorite flavor. Great dough recipe and can see so many different flavor options too.

3 years ago

Just tried to make these for my boyfriend and they didnt work out. Made them exactly by instructions and once the curd was in, they became a gloopy mess. And there was nearly no rise after the first hour. Won’t be making again 🙁

Dawn Lusk
3 years ago

5 stars