Woman makes cinnamon buns but with lemon – and we have the recipe!

Rebecca Brauen is a baker who doesn’t shy from experimenting with new and delicious flavors. So when the resident of Yukon, Canada, wanted to make something unique for her daughter, her creative juices began flowing. She wondered if she could make cinnamon buns, but without the cinnamon. Enter Lemon Cinnamon Buns!

“I surprised myself with this idea,” she said to CBC North over Facebook messenger. “At the last minute, I changed to a lemon twist. It was so fun!” 

Sharing Lemon Cinnamon Buns with The World 

Brauen is passionate about baking and does it every day. “Cooking for loved ones is my true joy.”  

There’s the famous saying that “cooking is love made visible” and that is certainly true for what goes on in Brauen’s kitchen. Although she baked these buns for her daughter, Benja, the ‘baker’s tax’ gave her the right to try her new creation, and they were more incredible than she could have ever dreamed of. 

“It was possibly the best bite I have ever had,” she said. 

Brauen’s love of baking couldn’t be contained to just herself and her family. So she joined a Facebook group called: The Arctic Kitchen: Recipes of the North. It now has over 19.8 thousand members and a welcoming community of people sharing recipes and their love of good food. And when Brauen shared her lemon cinnamon buns in a post, everyone was enthralled with the idea.  

Image Credit: Becki Brauen | Facebook

“They look really good!” said one commenter. “Thank you for your recipe, I have to try this.” 

“Ooh what a great idea!” said another. “Love lemon anything – very nice twist on an old fave! They look delicious.” 

Many people posted pictures of their own homemade lemon cinnamon buns. 

About the Recipe 

Brauen used a store-bought lemon pie package to make the curd, which is an option for a baker in a hurry. Not to mention the limitations people most likely face in the northern regions of Canada. However, we will provide a classic homemade recipe as well as a gluten-free, and vegan version. If you already have a favorite dough recipe, you could use that one. If you bake bread, you could even set some dough aside for these delicious buns and save the trouble of making two doughs. We will also provide a gluten-free and vegan option below. 

If you love lemon flavors, these lemon cinnamon buns are a must-bake. It’s about time lemon curd ventured from the pies and trifles and into pastries. The sweetness of the filling is perfectly balanced with the tartness. And there’s no need to add an icing like with regular cinnamon buns. As Brauen mentions in her post, icing “would be too much”. However, you could dress up the buns with some whipped cream and extra curd if desired! 

Read: Lemon Lavender Poppyseed Muffins (Gluten-Free, Calming Recipe)

Lemon Cinnamon Buns Recipe 

Ingredients 

Dough: 

  • 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour* 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk* 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter* 
  • 1 large egg* 

Filling: 

  • 1 can or package of lemon pie filling (or homemade**)
  • ½ package cream cheese* 
  • ½ cup of sugar 
  • Zest of 1 lemon 

Directions 

  1. For the dough:  Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine the milk, water, and butter in a bowl.
  2. Heat the mixture until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm through (about 110°F). Pour the mixture into the prepared dry ingredients.
  3. Add the egg, and stir until it a soft dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3–4 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with a hand towel, and let rest for about 10 minutes. 
  5. For the filling: Mix the softened cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar in a bowl. If you’re using lemon pie filling, make it as per box instructions. (If you’d like a from-scratch recipe, see below.)
  6. For the buns:  Roll the dough out into a 14×8-inch rectangle.
  7. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the dough.
  8. Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese.
  9. Roll up the dough and cut it into 9 rolls. Arrange in a lightly greased square cake pan with the spiraled sides facing up.
  10. Tightly cover the buns with foil or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area for an hour to an hour and a half.
  11. After the buns have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the buns for 25–28 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.

Dough recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction 

*For a gluten-free and vegan version, see below. 

**For a lemon curd recipe from scratch, see below.

Homemade Lemon Curd 

Recipe by Mark Hagen  

Ingredients 

  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons) 
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed 
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 

Directions 

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until fully mixed.
  2. Add the butter and lemon zest; cook, whisking constantly. The mixture should begin to thicken and be able to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Transfer the curd to a small bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Use in the lemon cinnamon bun recipe as directed.

Gluten-free and Vegan Dough Recipe 

Recipe by Broma Bakery 

Ingredients 

  • 1 packet of active dry rapid rise yeast 
  • 1 cup warm nondairy milk 
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar 
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour 

Directions 

  1. Combine the milk, sugar, and yeast in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Add the melted butter, one cup of flour, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  3. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes. The dough should feel smooth.
  5. Coat a large bowl with oil and place the dough inside. Cover the top with plastic wrap and allow to rest for one hour in a warm area. The dough should double in size.
  6. Use the above lemon cinnamon bun recipe as directed. 

Read: Gluten and Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Recipe

Vegan Lemon Curd Recipe 

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cups lemon juice (about 4 large lemons) 
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar  
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk 
  • 5 tbsp corn or arrowroot starch 
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric (for color, optional) 

Directions 

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until smooth.
  2. Keep whisking as curd starts to simmer and thicken in about five minutes. Keep a close eye on it since the curd could burn easily if left alone.
  3. Once the curd had thickened, take it off the heat and allow to cool.

For the rest of the filling in the lemon cinnamon buns, you could use a store-bought vegan cream cheese of your choice and swap the granulated sugar for coconut sugar. Then carry on with the lemon cinnamon bun recipe as directed above.  

Keep Reading: Why I Breathe, Eat, and Drink Lemons Daily and So Should You

Sarah Schafer
Founder of The Creative Palate
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.