These raspberry sweet rolls are made similar to cinnamon rolls with a sweet homemade dough filled with a swirl of raspberry. They're perfect for a special occasion breakfast or brunch but make a tasty treat anytime you have a craving.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Raspberry + Lemon! Need I say more? This flavor combination is divine.
- A nice change to cinnamon rolls! Made almost the same way but with a tasty fruit filling.
- Healthy, whole ingredients. The sweet dough is made with whole wheat flour and regular flour and lightly sweetened with honey.
- Perfect for special occasions such as Mother's Day, Easter, Spring Brunches, and Valentine's Day.
This recipe for raspberry rolls starts with a traditional sweet dough. I made mine with Einkorn flour, which I am loving in baked goods recently. It is a great ancient grain I recommend trying out. Here's what you need to make a batch:
- Milk: Use regular whole milk slightly warm to the touch, about 100 degrees F to activate the yeast. You will also need some cold to thin out the icing a bit.
- Active dry yeast: This will give the raspberry rolls plenty of lift.
- Eggs and butter: Add richness and buttery goodness to the rolls.
- Sweetener: Honey is recommended but you can also use granulated sugar. It lightly sweetens the dough for the raspberry sweet rolls but also feeds the yeast and helps promote its activation.
- Flour: You will be using a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose. The whole wheat adds some nice texture to the dough but the dough is easier to work with when you use a combination.
- Raspberry sauce: I love this homemade raspberry sauce but you can also use store-bought raspberry preserves if you need something more simple.
- Cream cheese: I usually low-fat but you can also make this with regular.
- Powdered sugar: For the creamy lemon icing.
- Flavoring in the icing: Use real vanilla extract and some grated fresh lemon zest.
TOP TIP: Fresh lemon zest is key because it will give you the most intense flavor. If you aren't using a microplane as I did, make sure it is chopped very fine. While the flavor is delicious, it is best enjoyed in small amounts!
How to Make Raspberry Sweet Rolls
Set some time aside to make this recipe. The hands-on time isn't too crazy but the dough needs time to proof twice so it takes a bit of time to prepare.
- Activate your yeast in the warm milk and honey. Mix it up in a bowl and set aside for up to five minutes. It’s ready when the yeast is bubbly and frothy.
- Place it in the mixing bowl. Add your eggs, butter, salt, whole wheat flour, and 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour. Mix for about 1-2 minutes.
⭐️ TOP TIP: You are going to mix in stages. The first mix determines whether or not you need more flour. Brands of flour, temperature, and your location all influence the texture so you need to be prepared to adjust.
If the dough is still really sticking to the side of the bowl after about 1-2 minutes, add in more all-purpose flour, a half cup at a time. Mix it fully after each addition, I like to mix for at least one minute.
You still want the dough to feel slightly tacky (sticky) when it is done. It is a wheat dough so it is important to make sure it has a little more moisture than an all-white dough.
- Once you have the right amount of flour, continue mixing the dough on medium speed for about 5-6 minutes.
- Cover and allow the sweet roll dough to rise in a warm place until doubled.
TOP TIP: I have a proof setting on my oven that keeps the temp about 100 degrees. If you don't have this setting, place the bowl of dough in an unheated oven with a pan of boiling water.
- Prep your pan. Brush the inside of the pan with the softened butter.
- Roll the dough out to an 18x24-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. You will make these rolls just as you would cinnamon rolls but instead of brushing on melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon you use raspberry sauce.
- Brush on a thin layer of raspberry, about ⅛ inch, over the entire surface, except for a one-half-inch space on top or bottom.
TOP TIP: This empty space is to allow you to pinch the roll closed. I usually like to roll from the top down, so I leave my uncovered section at the bottom.
- Roll up the dough, tight but not too tight. You want it to stay closed when it cooks but you don’t want to squeeze out all the filling.
- Pinch the roll closed and cut your rolls with a sharp knife to desired size. I like mine about one and one-half inches thick.
- Place the rolls in your buttered pan. I like mine to be pretty close so they rise together, if you prefer them separate, move them further apart on the baking pan.
- Cover the rolls and allow them to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- When ready, remove the cover and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 15-25 minutes.
BAKE TIME TIPS: The actual time will depend on how close together your rolls are and how thick you cut them. So be prepared to check them and adjust accordingly.
- Prepare your icing by combining cream cheese, lemon zest, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
- Mix all the ingredients together, adding milk as needed for the consistency you are looking like.
- Add the icing. I like to add my icing when they are still warm so it coats the rolls as it melts down instead of staying on top. If you prefer it to stay on top, allow the rolls to cool completely.
How do I know when the rolls are ready?
The way I check for doneness is a little unconventional, but works. First, I check the top for a very light brown color. Then, I choose a roll in the center and gently pull up the middle of the roll, if the center of a middle roll is done, you are good. Once they are finished, remove the raspberry rolls from the oven.
How to Store
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simply reheat if desired or eat them just like they are!
Can I make raspberry sweet rolls in advance?
Yes, you can! You can make them up completely the night before including baking them. Planning to reheat them? Wait to add the icing in the morning after you heat the up. If serving at room temperature in the morning, add the icing the night before.
Another option is to make them the night before and bake them in the morning. Prepare the dough, cut the rolls, and place them in the pan as instructed in the recipe. Then wrap well and store in the fridge overnight. They will still rise under refrigeration when given plenty of time.
In the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and allow them to sit for thirty minutes before baking as directed in the recipe.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Spread out the raspberry sauce in a fairly thin layer. About one-eighth an inch is good. You want enough so you can taste it in the roll, but not so much it is an ooey gooey mess. It is a fine line! I use an offset spatula, but you can also use a spoon or knife.
- Don't roll up too tight! You want the filling to stay inside and not squeeze out the sides.
- The cut rolls will triple in size so keep that in mind when placing them in your pan.
- There's no exact science to the right combination of flour and liquid. Be prepared to add a bit more all-purpose flour (after the initial two and a half cups) to get the right consistency.
I’ve used a cast iron pan or round white casserole dish when making raspberry rolls. They also work great on a 9x13 pan, or even a baking sheet. If you are using one of these, you can brush with the butter or line the pan with parchment.
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Raspberry Sweet Rolls
- 1 ¼ cup warm milk This should be just slightly warm to the touch, about 100 degrees
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup honey or granulated sugar
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 5-6 cups all purpose flour Start with 5 cups and add from there. This is a variable as so much rides on climate, measuring techniques etc.
- ½-1 cup raspberry sauce recipe also included in post. If you prefer a simpler method, store bought raspberry preserves.
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
- 6 ounces cream cheese I always use a lowfat type
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- milk How much you use depends on the consistency you are looking for.
- Activate your yeast in the warm milk and honey. You do this by simply mixing all 3 in a small bowl. Set aside for about 3-5 minutes, the yeast will get bubbly and kind of frothy (if that is a word).
- Once it is activated, add to your mixing bowl. To this add your eggs, butter, salt, whole wheat flour and 2 ½ cup all purpose flour. Mix for about 1-2 minutes. This first mix is to gauge whether or not you need more flour. If the dough is still really sticking to the side of the bowl after about 1-2 minutes, add in more flour- ½-1 cup at a time. Now, after each addition, make sure and mix it fully before adding more. I like to mix at least one minute. You still want the dough to feel slightly tacky (sticky) when it is done. It is a wheat dough and it is important to make sure it has a little more moisture than your all white dough. Once you have the right amount of flour, continue mixing on medium speed for about 5-6 minutes.
- Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled. I have a proof setting on my oven, that keeps the temp about 100 degrees. If you don't have this setting, no problem. I used to place my dough in the bowl in the oven with a pan of boiling water.
- While it is doubling, prep your pan. I used my cast iron, so I brushed the inside with softened butter. If you prefer, you can also make these one a 9x13 pan, or even a baking sheet. If you are using one of these, you can brush with the butter or line the pan with parchment.
- Next, roll your dough to an 18x24 inch rectangle. You will make these rolls just as your would a cinnamon, but instead of brushing on melted butter, sugar and cinnamon, you brush on your raspberry sauce. So, brush on a thin layer, about ⅛" over all, except ½ inch on top or bottom. You will need this to pinch the roll closed. I usually like to roll from the top down, so I leave my uncovered section at the bottom. So, roll the rolls. I like to try and roll it tight,but not too tight. You want it to stay fairly close, but not squeeze out. Now, pinch the roll closed as shown in the photos.
- With a sharp knife, but your rolls to desired size. I like mine about 1 ½ inches.
- Place rolls in pan. I like mine to be pretty close so they rise together, if you prefer them separate, move them further apart.
- Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled.
- While they are doubling, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove cover and place in oven.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes. This will depend on how close together your rolls are and how thick you cut them. While they are baking prepare your icing. Mix all ingredients together, adding milk as needed for the consistency you are looking for.
- The way I check for doneness is a little unconventional, but works.First I check the top for a very light brown color. Then, I choose a roll in the center and gently pull up the middle of the roll, if the center of a middle roll is done, you are good. Once they are finished, remove from oven.
- I like to add my icing when they are still warm, then it coats the rolls as it melts down instead of staying on top.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. These are delicious warm, but also really good cool or even the next day.