lemon sweet buns

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5 from 2 reviews

These lemon sweet buns are a bright and buttery take on a breakfast pastry. The brioche dough provides a rich and tender crumb and is rolled up with lemony sugar for a fluffy, citrusy, caramelized result.

  • Author: Indi Hampton
  • Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, plus overnight to rise
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: American


sweet bun brioche dough

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 10 tbsp butter, sliced into 10 pieces, room temperature

lemon filling

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp melted butter


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine dry ingredients and whisk by hand to briefly mix. Pour in the milk, eggs and butter and mix on low speed for about 1 minute until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth, shiny, and passes the windowpane test, 15- 20 minutes.
  2. Form the dough into a ball (it'll be very soft), place it in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, until well chilled.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest and mash together with the back of a spoon until fully mixed. Set aside.
  4. Cut the dough into 6 pieces of equal size. Working one piece at a time, roll out the dough to a 7" x 10" rectangle, using a light dusting of flour if needed. Brush surface with melted butter, leaving 1/2” border, and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of sugar-zest mixture. Roll up dough lengthwise to form a 10" long cigar, seal long edge with water, then place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough.
  5. Place sheet pan in freezer for 2-3 minutes so dough is firm and easier to shape. Working one at a time, use a sharp knife to cut the cigar in half lengthwise, leaving 1/2" attached at one end, and gently rotate halves so the cut sides face up. Cross the right strand over the left and repeat to form a twisted log, leaving cut sides exposed, then pinch the loose ends together. Shape braided dough into a loop, with the ends overlapping, then tuck ends under the loop and pinch to secure, if needed. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with at least 2 inches of space on all sides. Repeat braiding and shaping the remaining dough pieces, returning the cigars to the freezer to firm up as necessary.
  6. Cover braided buns lightly and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours, until puffy and slightly larger (they won't double in size). Preheat to oven to 375°F towards the end of the rising time.
  7. Bake buns for 25- 30 minutes. Check after 10 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly. Buns are done when skewer inserted into center of braid comes out clean and the exposed layers are firm to the touch. Transfer buns to a rack, cool slightly, and enjoy!


  • makes 6 buns
  • lemon sweet buns can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days