almond-lemon rolls

Baking sweet rolls is always a special time for me. My dough of choice is my grandmother’s recipe, so I can’t help but think of her during those brief but easy hours of dough rising, rolling, and baking. She celebrated a birthday last week, and for a moment I wasn’t sure how to make her day special; she’s blessed so many people during her lifetime and sometimes it’s hard to know how to bless her in return.

Almond-Lemon Rolls | Tutti Dolci
I settled on these almond-lemon rolls, transforming her dough into sublime little rolls flavored with sweet almond paste and bright lemon. These rolls are truly special; the almond paste filling melts into the dough while baking and the sweet glaze is just right.

Almond-Lemon Rolls | Tutti Dolci
As always, I baked with Red Star Yeast because I know I can count on great results. Like all things baked with love, sweet rolls are best shared. I can’t think of a better treat for Valentine’s Day, Easter, or any spring brunch.

Almond-Lemon Rolls | Tutti Dolci

 Almond-Lemon Rolls | Tutti Dolci

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Almond-Lemon Rolls

  • Yield: 18 rolls



  • 3 1/2 cups (490 g) flour, divided
  • 1 package Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature


  • 1 Tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 oz (112 g) almond paste, grated


  • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp pure almond extract


  1. Combine 2 cups (280 g) flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixer bowl; mix on low speed until incorporated. Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until very warm (120-130°F). Add warm milk, butter, and egg to flour mixture and mix until combined; mix in remaining 1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour. Switch out the flat beater for a dough hook, and knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough is ready when it feels tacky but doesn’t stick to your fingers (if necessary, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time while kneading).
  2. Place dough in a large bowl coated with nonstick spray and cover with plastic. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. To check if dough has doubled, lightly flour two fingers and press them down into center of dough. If indentations remain, gently press down dough; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (or two 9-inch round pans) with nonstick spray.
  3. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and roll into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Place sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse for 1 minute; sprinkle lemon-sugar over dough and top with almond paste, pressing gently into dough with rolling pin. Carefully roll dough up into a tight log and pinch edges to seal.
  4. Trim off uneven ends and score dough into 18 equal slices. Use unflavored dental floss to slice dough crosswise (slip a long slice of floss under log of dough and cross on top to cut slices cleanly). Place rolls cut side up into prepared baking dish. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  5. While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake rolls for 18 to 19 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, salt, melted butter, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond extract in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.


Wrap leftover rolls well and store at room temperature up to 2 days; warm in a 300°F oven before serving.


  • Calories: 210
  • Carbohydrates: 35

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Disclosure: I was compensated by Red Star Yeast for the development of this recipe. All opinions expressed are my own.

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  1. These rolls are so lovely, Laura! What a beautiful treat for your grandma. I just love the flavors of almond and lemon… they must taste heavenly together. 🙂

  2. I’m still thinking about the Meyer Lemon rolls you shared recently and I can’t imagine topping that one but gosh, you did with this recipe. You might know by now how much I love almonds and the almond paste is brilliant here. Now that I’ve got more time to bake, this one is going to be made, for sure! 🙂

  3. Oh, these sound spectacular! And what a nice way to honor your grandmother. Bill (and his mom) both wish they had his grandmother’s cinnamon roll recipe, but she did it all my sight and feel. I think I’ll adopt your grandmother’s recipe for our family!!!

      1. Hi Scott, if you want to make these rolls in advance, I would actually recommend working up to Step 4. Place rolls cut side up into prepared baking dish and cover tightly with plastic. Let rest in the refrigerator overnight (up to 14 hours). On baking day, let the rolls come to room temperature and rise on the counter until doubled in size (about 30 to 45 minutes) before baking.

  4. Oh these look like they will melt in my mouth, Laura! What a special recipe to have. Hope your grandmother celebrated a wonderful birthday. I know these would have been the highlight of my day! (And I just LOVE your photography!!!)

  5. Nothing says love more than sweet rolls! So thoughtful of you to make these special breakfast rolls for your grandmother on her birthday, Laura. Love almond paste in yeast doughs, like Stollen, and can just imagine how fabulous this flavor combination is in sweet rolls! Thank you for sharing! xo

  6. These look ah-mazingly good and I bet you did your grandmother proud!! I have a few questions….I don’t particularly like almond paste, is there something else I could substitute it with? I do love almonds though…strange I know!! And second one, is the yeast a 7gm sachet? Will be bookmarking this one to make when my lemon tree comes on very soon!!!
    Jan x

  7. Oh my gosh, these sound like heaven. Almond paste on anything has my heart, but in these soft, sweet rolls and with that glaze? So incredible. Love these, Laura!