Homemade sweet roll recipe that makes gooey strawberry-swirled soft rolls with a creamy lemon glaze — perfect for relaxed mornings.
Whenever I bake a batch of homemade sweet rolls, I think of the cinnamon rolls my mom used to make on weekend mornings.
They weren’t made from scratch, but I loved them just the same. I especially enjoyed the job of opening the packet of white, sugary glaze and spreading it over the hot rolls.
If there was ever a food that brought more joy to me as a child, I can’t think of one!
I’ve made many pans of cinnamon buns over the years for my own family, and this yeasted, tender dough recipe is our favorite.
This time I decided to make them with a lightly sweetened strawberry filling instead of the usual brown sugar and cinnamon.
Sweet roll dough
I believe that a warm, freshly-baked sweet roll should taste buttery and tender, almost like brioche bread dough. That first bite should make you swoon with happiness.
Are you with me so far?
This dough has all that going on, plus it’s so easy and hands-off to make in a stand mixer.
If you don’t have a mixer — or if you just love to get your hands on dough — you can also mix the dough by hand in a large mixing bowl.
Turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand until it forms a soft, smooth ball. Add enough flour to keep the dough manageable, dusting with up to 1/4 additional flour if needed, then proceed with the rising.
Creamy lemon glaze
A creamy glaze is the “wow” factor that makes a pan of sweet rolls so fantastic — the combo of yeasty, buttery dough, tangy-sweet strawberry filling and finally the creamy glaze with its light lemony taste is the definition of irresistible!
My mom’s cinnamon bun glaze always included some milk or cream, but I decided to go with a small amount of melted butter instead.
The glaze is a simple mixture of confectioners sugar, lemon juice, melted butter and my favorite magic touch: flaky sea salt.
That small addition of salt balances out the sugar and acid and makes the glaze pop, and isn’t cloyingly sweet.
Tips for overnight rolls and storage
- To enjoy these rolls as a fresh-from-the-oven breakfast treat: Make the dough recipe through step 4 (cut and arranged in baking pan) and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, let the buns rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake and glaze following the recipe instructions.
- Leftover rolls will keep up to 2 days at room temperature. The glaze will melt and become sticky, which is fine.
Handy Tools and equipment for making sweet rolls
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- A 9 x 13-inch baking pan or baking dish
- Heavy-duty stand mixer (optional, but it will mix the dough quick and easy)
- Rolling pin
- A bench knife for slicing the dough — one of my favorite all-around kitchen tools
- Offset spatula, for spreading glaze and serving
Glazed Strawberry Sweet Rolls
For the dough
- 1/4 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 3 cups (400 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk (almond or oat milk is fine)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter, for brushing the pan
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the glaze
- 1 3/4 cup (227 g) powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Make the dough:
- Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg.
- Switch to the dough hook. Add the flour, yeast, salt and milk and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth 3-5 minutes. It will feel slightly sticky, Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Make the filling:
- While the dough rises, put the strawberries, sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until the strawberries begin to soften and the juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
Make the sweet rolls
- Brush a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with the melted butter.
- Gently deflate the dough and coax it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 12 x 18-inch rectangle with a rolling pin, dusting with a little more flour if it feels sticky.
- Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. With the short side facing you, roll up the dough away from you to form a log. Roll as firmly as possible, taking care not to squeeze out the filling. Pinch the dough at either ends to seal and turn the roll seam side down. Slice the dough with scissors or a sharp knife into 12 1-inch wide pieces.
- Place the rolls cut side up in the prepared baking pan. Cover and let rise until they're doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Alternatively, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until light golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes while you make the glaze.
Make the glaze:
- Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
- Drizzle the glaze over the top of the rolls, spreading with a spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- For morning buns: Make the dough recipe through step 4 (cut and arranged in baking pan) and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, let the buns rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake and glaze following the recipe instructions.
- Leftover rolls will keep up to 2 days at room temperature.
- To make the dough by hand, blend the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or use a hand mixer. Mix in the egg, flour, yeast, salt and milk until a soft dough forms. Turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand until it forms a soft, smooth ball. Add enough flour to keep the dough manageable, dusting with up to 1/4 additional flour if needed, then proceed with the rising step.