Citrus Sweet Rolls with Clementine Cream Cheese Glaze

These delicious citrus sweet rolls are full of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, and topped with an unbelievable clementine cream cheese glaze.

This post is sponsored by Darling Citrus. All opinions are my own.

a cast iron skillet filled with citrus sweet rolls on a marble surface

With fall upon us it’s the absolute perfect time to bake up a batch of cozy sweet rolls. Cinnamon rolls are the most common type of sweet rolls to make, but if you’re looking to switch things up, you definitely need to give these delicious spiced citrus sweet rolls a try! You’re going to fall in love with the warm spices combined with a fluffy dough and a clementine cream cheese glaze that adds a touch of brightness.

citrus sweet rolls with cream cheese frosting on plates with a cup of coffee

I made these citrus sweet rolls in partnership with Darling Citrus, using their sweet and juicy clementines to add a uniqueness to the typical morning rolls recipe, with the zest mixed into the spiced brown sugar filling and the zest and juice playing an important role in the glaze. Darling Clementines® are not only bursting with flavor, they’re also filled with vitamin C and grown in the most fertile areas of Chile, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Morocco.

hands holding a cup of coffee and a plate with a citrus sweet roll

It’s no secret that citrus makes a beautiful addition to any morning meal, and I just love how decorating the top of the sweet rolls with a few slices of Darling Clementines® adds a vibrant pop of color.

overhead view of citrus sweet roll dough on a floured marble surface topped with a spiced brown sugar mixture

Why these Citrus Sweet Rolls taste so amazing

These spiced citrus sweet rolls are a delightful combination of fluffy, enriched dough wrapped around a caramelized brown sugar and spice filling. The notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves in addition to clementine and lemon zest will make your house smell amazing!

sweet roll dough cut into rolls with a bag of clementines

Baking tips for cinnamon rolls

  • The key to fluffy sweet rolls depends on the yeast to give the dough a good rise. Make sure your yeast is still fresh and alive before proceeding with the recipe. It should be foamy and small bubbles should form a few minutes after activating it by mixing with warm milk (about 110 degrees) and sugar.
  • This recipe makes 8 rolls and calls for a 9-10 inch round pan. Cast iron works best and covering it in parchment paper will make cleanup a breeze. If you don’t have the right size pan, you can also make these in a greased 9-by-13 inch baking pan. Just cut the dough into 9 pieces and arrange them in three rows of three.
  • Make sure to allow a few hours for letting the dough rise and chill. Keep reading for tips on how to prepare the dough the night before!
citrus sweet roll dough in a white parchment lined skillet before baking

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

You can make these citrus rolls ahead of time so that all you’ll need to do the morning of is take them out of the fridge and let them puff up for a bit before baking. Here’s how:

  • The day before, make the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Then punch it down to release any air that has built up and cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour (you can also chill it overnight at this point, if desired, or move along to the next step).
  • After the dough has chilled you can roll it out and top it with melted butter and the spice filling. Then roll it tightly, cut it into rounds and add them to the skillet or baking dish. If making it in advance, this is when you would cover and chill it overnight.
  • The next morning, take the rolls out and let them puff up for about 1 1/2-2 hours. Then bake as usual. You can prepare the glaze while the sweet rolls are in the oven.

sweet rolls just out of the oven before being frosted

How to make the clementine cream cheese glaze

The clementine glaze is so easy to make and only takes a few minutes. Make sure to use room temperature cream cheese so that everything combines smoothly. Add the cream cheese, clementine juice and zest, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer (or using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

This makes a thicker glaze, but if you prefer a thinner glaze, add more juice and continue to mix until the glaze is thinned out to the desired consistency.

baked citrus sweet rolls, clementines and a bowl of cream cheese frosting

Substitutions

If you’re not able to find clementines, there are many other types of that citrus can be substituted, from tangerines to oranges to lemons!

citrus sweet rolls on ceramic plates garnished with sliced clementines

More citrus recipes

Clementine Mezcal Margarita

Grapefruit Pavlovas

Lemon Herb Focaccia

Crispy Orange Tofu

a close up of the inside of a citrus sweet roll on the plate

Thanks for reading! To keep up with me in the kitchen, follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest. If you make these sweet rolls, please share it using the hashtag #LePetitEats!

Citrus Sweet Rolls with Clementine Cream Cheese Glaze

These delicious citrus sweet rolls are full of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, and topped with an unbelievable clementine cream cheese glaze.

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword baked, cinnamon rolls, citrus sweet rolls, morning rolls, sweet rolls
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 rolls
Author Denisse

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • Vegetable oil for greasing the bowl

For the spice filling:

  • 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon clementine or orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the cream cheese glaze:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed clementine or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon clementine or orange zest
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Warm the milk in a small pot over medium heat until the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and yeast until combined. Let sit until mixture is slightly foamy and small bubbles have formed, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly to combine.
  3. Add yeast mixture and egg; mix on low until just combined. Add melted butter and mix, scraping the bowl as necessary, until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Change to the dough hook attachment. Knead for 4-5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a large bowl and place dough in the bowl. Cover tightly and place in a warm, draft-free area. Let sit until the dough has about doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Punch dough down to release any air bubbles. Cover tightly and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour and up to overnight.
  6. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll to a 16 x 10-inch rectangle and approximately 1/4- to 1/3-inch thickness.
  7. Combine brown sugar, spices, citrus zests and salt in a small bowl. Brush surface of the dough with half of the melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar mixture in an even layer, patting to make sure it’s sticking. Drizzle with remaining butter.
  8. Starting at the end closest to you (the long side of the dough), roll dough up into a tight coil, pressing lightly as you roll to make sure there are no gaps between the dough and the filling. Cut log into eight even pieces. Line a 10 inch cast iron skillet with parchment paper and arrange the rolls in the pan, leaving a bit of space between each piece.
  9. Cover rolls lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area until the rolls have puffed and spring back slightly when pressed with your finger, about 1 hour. Alternatively, the rolls can be covered and refrigerated overnight. (If you refrigerated the rolls overnight, it may take closer to 1 1/2 to 2 hours for them to puff up.)
  10. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place rolls in oven and bake until they are golden brown and fluffy and the sugar has started to bubble up around the edges, about 32 to 35 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, mix together the cream cheese, clementine juice, clementine zest, powdered sugar and salt. Frost the warm cinnamon rolls with the cream cheese frosting.

Recipe Notes

  • The key to fluffy sweet rolls depends on the yeast to give the dough a good rise. Make sure your yeast is still fresh and alive before proceeding with the recipe. It should be foamy and small bubbles should form a few minutes after activating it by mixing with warm milk (about 110 degrees) and sugar.
  • This recipe makes 8 rolls and calls for a 9-10 inch round pan. Cast iron works best and covering it in parchment paper will make cleanup a breeze. If you don’t have the right size pan, you can also make these in a greased 9-by-13 inch baking pan. Just cut the dough into 9 pieces and arrange them in three rows of three.
  • Make sure to allow a few hours for letting the dough rise and chill. Keep reading for tips on how to prepare the dough the night before!

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