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citrus sweet rolls with cream cheese frosting in a white cast iron skillet

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
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8 rolls
Calories 400 kcal
Author Denisse


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


  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!