These glorious little lemon brown butter cinnamon rolls are made with a classic brown butter sweet dough, filled with a lemon flavored cinnamon filling and topped with a sweet and tart lemon glaze.
Cinnamon Rolls. One of my favorite things to eat. Yes, I said favorite, get over it. I love cinnamon rolls so much, I find it difficult to make different variations of them like I’m going to ruin their goodness or something.
But then one day Sarah Fennel made a 48-hour food guide to Detroit and being myself, I had to check out all of her listings. On the list was a cute little diner, Parks & Rec, that serves the most amazing Lemon Cinnamon Rolls.
So what did I do you ask?! Just like I did with these banana chocolate chunk muffins, I pondered a little and then went home & made my own version of lemon rolls, obbbvvvv!
What are lemon brown butter cinnamon rolls?
There are million cinnamon roll recipes out there and lemon sweet rolls are no new thing on the web these days. There are many variations including lemon and blueberry rolls, classic sweet roll dough with a sugary lemon filling, classic cinnamon rolls with lemon glaze or lemon cream cheese frosting, etc.
These glorious little buns are made using a classic brioche dough made with brown butter and filled with a lemon flavored cinnamon filling. They’re topped with a sweet and tart lemon glaze.
There’s a bit of a debate whether classic cinnamon rolls should be made with brown sugar or white sugar. I’ve always made them with brown sugar but I opted for granulated sugar this time to really let the brown butter and lemon flavors shine.
I did opt for brown sugar in basically all my other cinnamon roll recipes because brown sugar pairs so well with caramelized white chocolate, apple butter, carrot cake, etc. & it would work great in this lemon version as well.
How to make brown butter for lemon cinnamon rolls?
Brown butter is so quick and easy to make BUT I low key don’t have the patience to wait for it too cool sometimes. I’ve made these babies with regular butter as well and they’re still amazing. It just gives these rolls a more intense and sophisticated flavor.
Browning butter is simply cooking butter. Let it melt, then it will sizzle and foam for a few minutes. Remove it from the heat when you begin to smell a nutty aroma and see dark speckles. It does burn quickly so make sure to stir continuously and pour into another bowl immediately.
If you’re REALLY into the brown butter, you can also use this brown butter cream cheese frosting from my apple butter cinnamon rolls.
How to make these lemon cinnamon rolls with brown butter?
Cinnamon rolls are one of those desserts that looks super complicated and seems like it will take you forever to make but really they’re not. The whole recipe is down below here’s a list of the ingredients and the basic steps:
- Flour: I use all-purpose because that’s what everyone has on hand and it makes amazing lemon cinnamon rolls.
- Yeast: I typically use active dry yeast but this recipe can be made with either instant yeast or active dry yeast. There are different mixing methods for the two.
- Sugar: you’ll need granulated sugar for the dough and the filling. For the glaze, you’ll need powdered sugar.
- Salt: salt brings out different flavors in baking and cooking.
- Egg: I like to use a full egg and an extra egg yolk for this recipe.
- Milk: If you’re using active dry yeast, make sure the milk is warm but not burning hot.
- Butter: I chose to use brown butter to give these lemon rolls a little oomph but make sure to let the melted brown butter cool before using it!
- Lemons: I mean, it wouldn’t be a lemon cinnamon roll without lemons…
- Cinnamon: again, it wouldn’t be a cinnamon roll without cinnamon…
General steps for making sweet dough:
- Combine the ingredients to form the dough.
- Allow the dough to proof until it’s doubled in size (this usually takes about one hour at room temperature or slightly warmer).
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
- Spread filling on top.
- Roll up the dough and slice it.
- Allow rolls to proof in the prepared pan for about another half an hour.
- Bake and let it cool for 2-3 minutes before frosting!
Ok that does seem kind of long, LOL, but I promise it’s not that bad once you learn how to make them. & like let’s be real, I’d spend any amount of time to make brown butter cinnamon rolls with lemon! *drooling emoji*
Storing cinnamon rolls
Once the cinnamon rolls are frosted, you’ll want to keep them in the refrigerator because of the milk in the icing. If they’re not frosted, you can keep them at room temperature overnight but not any longer. Make sure to keep them tightly covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.
Okkkkkk so like if you know what’s good for ya, you better go get started on these so they can be done by tonight. Make sure to tag me @baranbakery on instagram if you make these brown butter lemon cinnamon rolls! As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 Tbsp (7oz package) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 of brown butter (about 1/3 cup)
Lemon Cinnamon Filling
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 medium lemon, zest
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 of brown butter (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 1/2-2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2-3 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- fresh berries for topping (optional)
- Place the butter in a small light colored saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is fully melted it will begin to bubble- continue stirring it frequently and don't leave it unattended.
- The butter will foam and you won't be able to see what's happening under the foam so make sure to keep stirring. You will begin to smell an intense butter flavor with a nutty aroma and you'll see brown speckles forming in the butter. Quickly pour the butter into a heat proof bowl and allow it to cool completely to room temperature.
- Heat up the milk until it's warm but not too hot to touch (115-120F/46-49C). Add in the yeast and half of the sugar to the warm milk. Whisk it together and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until it foams.
- Place the flour, salt and the rest of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Once the yeast has activated and the milk mixture looks foamy, turn the mixer on to low speed.
- Add in the eggs to the dry ingredients, followed by the milk mixture. Pour it in slowly as it's mixing.
- Once the dough is combined, add in the softened brown butter. When the butter is fully incorporated, use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough, on low-medium speed, for about 10-15 minutes.
- The dough is done kneading once it peels itself away from the edge of the bowl & forms a ball (if this doesn't happen & the dough is too sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of flour & continue kneading). You can also do the windowpane test.
- Grease the sides of the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to proof in a warm environment until it's doubled in size, about one hour.
- After the dough has doubled in size, use a rolling pin to spread it out onto a floured surface until it's about 1/4" thick.
Lemon Cinnamon Filling
- Combine the granulated sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk them together. Spread the softened brown butter over the dough and evenly sprinkle the sugar mixture on top.
- If you want 12-16 smaller rolls, roll it up hot dog style and if you want 9-12 larger rolls, roll it up hamburger style. Slice and place them in a greased 9"x13" or a round 10"-12" pan. You want them about a 1/2" apart in the baking dish so they have room to proof.
- Cover the rolls and let them rest in a warm environment for about 30 minutes, until they rise and look "fluffy". Bake on 350/177C convection (or 325F/162C conventional) for 20-25 minutes, until they're golden brown.
- Combine all the ingredients for the icing in a bowl and whisk them together until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Spread it over the warm lemon cinnamon rolls, top with fresh berries if you desire, and serve warm!
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for one day, then the refrigerator for anything longer than that.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 505Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 2gSugar: 51gProtein: 6g