These fluffy & soft lemon sweet rolls make just 6 perfect lemon rolls filled with a quick & easy gooey lemon curd and cream cheese frosting that’s irresistible!

vegan lemon sweet roll on a plate

Why you *need* these easy small batch lemon sweet rolls:

If you’re a cinnamon roll lover, like myself, but need something a bit lighter in the warmer months, then you need to try these small batch lemon sweet rolls.

They’re bright, soft, melt in your mouth, and deliciously sweet yet tart with that fresh lemon zest. Not to mention, instead of using lemon sugar, we’re using a quick and easy lemon curdwhich creates an even gooier and richer texture and flavor.

bitten lemon roll in a casserole dish

Trust me, the extra 5 minutes you need to prep this from scratch lemon curd is well worth it.

And like my lemon blueberry cinnamon rolls and my small batch cinnamon rolls, I thought you might not need 12 rolls for a brunch or dessert treat. Maybe you only need 6, or even 4 or 2! So why not make these lemon sweet rolls a small batch form instead?

Because we’re not using any eggs and using dairy free substitutes, these secretly vegan lemon rolls are even easier than the traditional version, and trust me, you won’t miss the dairy!!

Just the softest, fluffiest gooey rolls that are SO easy for beginner bakers and perfect for when you just need something sweet!

Key ingredients:

  • The lemon curd: We’re using an eggless and super quick and easy (even easier than classic!) lemon curd recipe instead of doing a lemon sugar filling. I thought it was way more fun and yielded a gooey and brighter lemon flavor. It’s perfectly tart and sweet, and the color is absolutely phenomenal. You need lemons,cornstarch or arrowroot starch, sugarvanillaplant-based butteraquafaba (or chickpea brine), and chickpea flour.
  • All purpose flour: I actually prefer to use all purpose flour as opposed to bread flour in these small batch lemon sweet rolls because the texture is much softer and more melt in your mouth. 
  • Sugar: A high quality vegan sugar, like Florida Crystals, is recommended!
  • Plant-based butter: Because these small batch lemon rolls are naturally dairy free and vegan, we’re using vegan butter. I love using Miyoko’s, which when brought to room temperature, spreads and acts just like a softened butter. For the dough, though, it’s even easier- we’re melting the butter and incorporating it right away!
  • Dairy free milk: I like to use a heavier dairy free milk, like soy milk or oat milk, because it most closely resembles a whole milk. But since we’re also adding a secret ingredient to the base of our casserole dish, you can still use something like an almond milk, and your rolls will be just as fluffy and lovely!
  • Active dry yeast: We actually have two methods for rising our dough. You can use active dry yeast or quick rise yeast. I’ll describe the methods for both below. Either option will yield a delicious flavor!
  • Dairy free yogurt: This replaces the eggs in a traditional enriched dough, but don’t worry- it’s actually even better! That’s why yogurt in general is my top egg substitute in baking, especially breads. 
  • Vanilla extract: I also like to add in vanilla beans for extra vanilla flavor to help balance the tartness of the lemons.
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest: We’ll add in both to the dough to really brighten these rolls and for extra lemon flavor. 
  • The lemon cream cheese icing: This is simply vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, lemon juice and zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar. A dream combination!
vegan lemon sweet rolls in a casserole dish

Two different ways to rise these rolls:

Because I love options, I’m giving you two different ways to rise these small batch sweet rolls. The first is with active dry yeast, and the second is with quick rise yeast.

With active dry yeast: We’ll start by blooming the yeast in our hot dairy free milk along with some sugar. The sugar activates the yeast and feeds it, which will create that carbon dioxide release and get our dough to rise. With the dry active yeast, you’ll need to let the dough rise twice: the first proof just after you knead the dough, and the second proof before baking the rolls after they’ve been shaped.

With quick rise yeast: Instead of blooming the yeast, you’ll add it immediately to the dry ingredients when whisked together. Then add in the remaining wet ingredients, and knead the dough as you would with the active dry yeast. 

You can skip the first rise, and just move immediately into shaping and rolling the dough. Or you can rise the dough for 30 minutes (about the time it will take to double in size in a warm place!). And proceed on with shaping the rolls!

lemon roll in a casserole dish

The trick to getting super soft, perfectly baked lemon rolls:

Normally, when you bake lemon curd in sweet rolls, it will disappear and be absorbed by the dough as it bakes in the heat of the oven.

We don’t want that. We want super plush and soft sweet rolls with a deliciously bright and gooey lemon filling.

That’s why we’re adding heavy vegan cream to the base of our casserole dish before baking the rolls and just after rising them a second time.

What the vegan cream will do is be absorbed by the dough while it bakes, so that the lemon curd can remain in the middle of our sweet rolls! Plus the texture is absolutely UNREAL. SO soft, fluffy, and lovely!

Overview: Step by Step how to make Small Batch Lemon Rolls:

The full measurements are found down below in the recipe card. However, we’ll go over the basics here!

The lemon curd:

We’re using my favorite no-coconut vegan lemon curd that’s so quick and easy to make! It’s also naturally nut free (and obviously no eggs and no dairy!).

Simply whisk everything together in a small saucepan, then bring the mixture to heat. Once the lemon curd starts to thicken, you’ll remove it from heat and stir in the vegan butter. Then let cool, and proceed on with making your lemon sweet rolls!

BEST Easy Vegan Lemon Curd Recipe (no coconut milk!)

How to shape lemon rolls:

The silky cream cheese frosting:

I just adore this silky cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect addition to the tops of our lemon sweet rolls.

We use my homemade vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, lemon juice and zest, and powdered sugar with a touch of vanilla. 

Simply whisk all the ingredients together, and smear onto your rolls.

frosted vegan lemon sweet rolls
frosted lemon sweet rolls

The main tip is just making sure that the cream cheese and butter are both at room temperature before incorporating into a frosting.

Can I make these lemon sweet rolls gluten free?

Yes, you absolutely can! But like my homemade gluten free cinnamon rolls, this is done NOT by swapping in a gluten free 1:1 baking flour. It just won’t be the same. So here are the measurements for making these lemon sweet rolls entirely gluten free (and vegan 😉 ) as well!

Here are the measurements for the gluten free lemon sweet rolls:

  • 1 3/4 cup (240 g) tapioca flour or starch
  • 1 1/4 cup (195 g) millet flour
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp (25 g) psyllium husk powder
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 tsp (7 g) instant yeast (quick rise yeast)
  • 1 cups (240 mL) dairy-free milk, lukewarm
  • 3 tbsp (68 g) dairy-free yogurt,* room temperature
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) vegan butter, melted but not hot
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Then include the filling and frosting from the main recipe.

For how to make these gluten free lemon sweet rolls:

  1. Follow Step 1 in the main recipe.
  2. For making the dough: Whisk together the tapioca flour, millet flour, granulated sugar, psyllium husk powder, arrowroot starch, and instant yeast. Add in the remaining wet ingredients and use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment to knead the dough until a soft, slightly tacky dough ball forms, about 5 minutes.
  3. Proceed to Step 5 of the main recipe and follow the remainder of the recipe. There’s no need to proof the dough before shaping the rolls. You’ll proof them before going into the oven.

Measurements for just 2 and 4 lemon rolls:

Need a super small batch of these lemon sweet rolls and only want to make just 4 or even 2 lemon rolls?

No problem 🙂 Here are the measurements for making an even smaller batch of sweet rolls.

To make 4 lemon rolls:

  • 1 1/2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour, divided (plus more for flouring surface)* see notes for Gluten Free 
  • 1/3 packet (3 g) active dry yeast* 
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) granulated sugar or coconut sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) dairy-free milk, unsweetened, warmed to 110F 
  • 1 1/3 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2/3 tbsp lemon zest 
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature 
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) vegan unsalted butter, melted and room temperature 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To make 2 lemon rolls:

  • 3/4 cups (100 g) all-purpose flour, divided (plus more for flouring surface)* see notes for Gluten Free 
  • 1/3 packet (3 g) active dry yeast* 
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) granulated sugar or coconut sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/8 cup (45 mL) dairy-free milk, unsweetened, warmed to 110F 
  • 2/3 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1/3 tbsp lemon zest 
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature 
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) vegan unsalted butter, melted and room temperature 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
lemon sweet roll on a plate

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Small Batch Gooey Lemon Sweet Rolls (No eggs! No Dairy!) Pinterest pin

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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frosted vegan lemon sweet rolls

Small Batch Gooey Lemon Sweet Rolls (No eggs! No Dairy!)

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  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Rising Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These fluffy & soft lemon sweet rolls make just 6 perfect lemon rolls filled with a quick & easy gooey lemon curd and cream cheese frosting that’s irresistible!


Ingredients

Scale

Lemon sweet roll dough:

  • 2 1/3 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour, divided (plus more for flouring surface)* see notes for Gluten Free
  • 1/2 packet (5 g) active dry yeast*
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/3 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (135 mL) dairy-free milk, unsweetened, warmed to 110F
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) vegan unsalted butter, melted and room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon curd filling:

  • 1/2 cup vegan lemon curd (make about 1/2 batch of this recipe)
  • 3 tbsp salted vegan butter, melted
  • 6 tbsp heavy vegan cream or coconut milk

Lemon cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/4 cup (56 g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) vegan butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 12 cups powdered sugar, sifted (depending on how sweet you want the glaze)

Instructions

  1. Prep: Measure out all ingredients. Grease and line a medium casserole dish or baking dish with parchment paper for the rolls to bake in. Grease a medium sized bowl with cooking oil, and set aside. I also recommend making the lemon curd before making the dough.
  2. Activate the yeast: Add 1 tbsp of the sugar to the heated dairy free milk, and mix to dissolve. Then add in the active dry yeast to the mixture, and cover. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes. It should bubble and foam, and smell yeast-y. See blog post and Notes section for quick rise yeast.
  3. Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, and salt. Then add in the remaining dough ingredients, along with the activated yeast mixture, and use a stand mixer with dough hook attachment or a large bowl with wooden spoon to knead and mix the dough until a smooth dough ball forms. This will take about 10 minutes. To check if your dough is done being kneaded, use the window pane test.
  4. Proof: Place the kneaded dough into the greased bowl and cover the dough with either a clean dish towel or plastic wrap. Place the bowl into a warm area (ideally 85F+) to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Roll out the dough: Lightly flour a clean surface. On your lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to be a 9×15″ rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Brush the melted vegan butter from the lemon curd filling section, along with spreading on the lemon curd.
  6. Shape the rolls: Now you can either roll the dough as one log, and slice into 6 equal lemon rolls using a clean kitchen knife or dental floss. OR make a mark for six 1.5″ strips on the 9″ side, and use a pizza cutter to slice long 1.5×15″ strips of dough. Roll each dough to form the lemon sweet rolls.
  7. Cover and rest: Place the sweet rolls into the prepared bakingpan, and cover to rest by the oven while the oven preheats to 350F. The rolls should double in size.
  8. Before baking: Add in the tablespoons of heavy vegan cream in the crevices of your rolls. Doing this will yield a softer texture in our sweet rolls.
  9. Bake: Place the lemon sweet rolls into the oven to bake for 32-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Then remove from the oven and allow the rolls to cool while you prepare the lemon glaze. If you’ve noticed that any of the lemon curd has created pockets in the swirls, you can fill any remaining lemon curd you have in those pockets. The lemon curd with cook and set in the cooling lemon rolls.
  10. Make the lemon glaze: Whisk together the vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Then add in the powdered sugar and whisk until combined.
  11. Smear and serve! Spread the lemon cream cheese frosting over the rolls, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

Gluten free: See blog post for instructions and ingredient measurements.

Active dry yeast: You can also use quick rise yeast. Please see the blog post for specific instructions!