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Easy Lemon Rolls

These Easy Lemon Rolls are unbelievably light, with an airy texture and a refreshingly lemony flavor. The crunchy topping offsets the tender bite inside perfectly.

A hand pulling a piece of easy lemon rolls from a pan, topped with icing and crunchy topping.
Easy lemon rolls are here to become your new favorite citrus breakfast piece!

1-Minute Video: Easy Lemon Rolls

Why This Recipe Stands Out

This is one of our all-time favorite lemon recipes. Here’s what you’ll love:

  • Start with Frozen Rolls: We love a simple recipe, and this one uses frozen dinner rolls and only a few other ingredients.
  • Easy for Brunch: This recipe is perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch and is if you’re wondering what to serve on Mother’s Day.
  • Big Lemon Flavor: The lemony glaze is made with fresh lemon juice for the best flavors, just like in our Lemon Blueberry Bread recipe.
  • Family & Friends: Everyone in the family loves them, including the kids, just like these best-ever, most lemony lemon bars!

Key Recipe Ingredients

Overhead shot of ingredients to make easy lemon rolls on a dark surface.
  • Frozen White Dinner Rolls – We use 12 frozen white dinner rolls for this recipe. Make sure to get raw, unbaked dough, such as Rhodes frozen dinner rolls.
  • Lemon Zest – It adds a bright, citrusy flavor to the rolls that complement the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the butter. I use this microplane zester for easy lemon/lime zesting.
  • Salted Butter – We melted butter to infuse the rolls with savory flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar and Fresh Lemon Juice – A combo of powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice creates a sweet-tangy glaze that takes these rolls to the next level!

Substitutions and variations

Here are some of our favorite variations and substitutions to make with this recipe:

  • Homemade Dough: Instead of using frozen white dinner rolls, you can use homemade dough. Try using the dough from our Homemade Cinnamon Rolls or even our Pizza Dough to make these lemon rolls.
  • Honey or Maple Syrup: If you prefer a less sweet glaze, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the glaze. You can also substitute the sugar with honey or maple syrup for a different flavor.
  • Glaze vs. Frosting: For a fun twist, try adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the glaze for a lemon-vanilla flavor. Or, if you’re a fan of cream cheese frosting, try using our Cream Cheese Frosting from our Carrot Cake instead of the lemon glaze.

Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Thaw frozen dinner rolls until no longer frozen but still cold. Cut rolls in half and arrange them in a greased baking pan.
  2. Drizzle melted butter over the rolls and sprinkle a third of the lemon zest/sugar mixture on top.
  1. Let the rolls rise for about an hour. Sprinkle the remaining zest/sugar mixture over the rolls and bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes.
  2. While the rolls are baking, make the glaze by combining powdered sugar, lemon juice, and milk. Drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls and serve.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

Take a look at our best prep-ahead tips for this recipe:

  • Night Before: These lemon rolls can be assembled the night before. The next morning, let them come to room temp and rise, and then bake as directed and drizzle with glaze.
  • Make Ahead: You can also make the entire recipe ahead of time. After baking, let the rolls cool completely, then store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Warm in the oven before serving.
  • Freeze Them: You can also make the lemon rolls completely, including the glaze, and freeze them. They’ll last for a month in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy them, just let them thaw at room temperature or warm them up in the microwave.
A close-up photo of glazed easy lemon rolls topped with crumbs, with lemon slices in the background.
Make these easy lemon rolls the night before, minus the drizzle. In the morning, drizzle ‘n devour.

Commonly Asked Questions

How do I know when the rolls are done?

The lemon rolls are done when they turn a beautiful golden color. This should take about 16-18 minutes in the oven.

Can I use fresh dinner roll dough instead of frozen?

Yes, you can. If you prefer to use fresh dinner roll dough, simply replace the frozen rolls with the equivalent amount of fresh dough. You may need to adjust the rising time as fresh dough may rise faster.

What type of pan should I use?

You can use a 9×13 baking pan or two round cake pans. Make sure to grease the pans with butter before arranging the rolls.

How long do the lemon rolls keep?

These lemon rolls are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are made. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also warm them up in the oven before serving.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

A close-up photo of glazed easy lemon rolls topped with crumbs, with lemon slices in the background.

Easy Lemon Rolls

5 from 2 ratings
These easy lemon rolls are unbelievably light, with an airy texture and a refreshingly lemony flavor. The crunchy topping offsets the tender bite inside perfectly.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Rise: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 26 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

For the glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 TB fresh lemon juice, slightly more or less, depending on desired consistency

Instructions

  • Thaw frozen dinner rolls just until no longer frozen but still cold – not yet risen.
  • Butter a 9×13 baking pan or two round cake pans.  Cut rolls in half and arrange in pan cut-side down, 1/2 inch apart.  Drizzle with melted butter, evenly over rolls.
  • Mix lemon zest and sugar together in a bowl.  Sprinkle a third of the zest/sugar mixture evenly over the rolls.
  • Cover and let rise until rolls are doubled in size, approx. 1 hour, depending on your room temp. (Tip: I covered my baking pan with an equal-sized baking pan in lieu of cling wrap, to give room for rolls to rise upward.)
  • Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle. Carefully sprinkle remaining zest/sugar mixture evenly over the rolls.
  • Bake 16-18 minutes or just until golden.
  • Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm rolls.  Serve warm.

Notes

  • If baked the night before, let the rolls cool completely.  Cover and let sit at room temp until ready to reheat.
  • To ensure your easy lemon rolls turn out perfect, make sure to only thaw the frozen dinner rolls until they are no longer frozen but still cold. This will allow them to rise properly and maintain a light, fluffy texture.
  • Butter your baking pan before arranging the rolls. This will not only prevent them from sticking, but also add a delicious buttery flavor to the rolls.
  • When letting the rolls rise, cover them with an equal-sized baking pan or tea towel to give them room to rise upward. This will help to keep the heat around the rolls and prevent them from drying out.
  • Be sure to sprinkle the remaining zest and sugar mixture over the rolls just before baking. This will give them a beautiful, golden crust and a sweet, citrusy flavor.
  • For the glaze, drizzle it over the rolls while they are still warm. This allows the glaze to seep into the rolls, keeping them moist and adding a wonderfully sweet and tangy lemon flavor.
 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 0.04g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 4mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 88IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.01mg
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake

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Add a comment

Recipe Rating




9 comments

    • Sharon
    • 5 stars

    Made this bread for a breakfast at my church. It was a hit. Very tasty. Everyone loved it. Thanks

      • Amy Dong

      That’s fantastic, Sharon!

    • julie

    Thanks for the recipe….Shouldn’t it make 24 rolls though? It states 12. 🙂

    • jeffswinetoasti

    I make these for our Church’s hospitality hour, that is between services. My family like it best when I use oranges, I however, like the lemon…

      • chewoutloud

      I love the lemon, too! But orange sounds yummy also. Probably can’t go wrong with either :). Thanks for writing in!

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