These raspberry sweet rolls feature a tender sweet dough, juicy raspberries, a light smattering of preserves and a hint of lemon. Slathered with a creamy vanilla glaze, these vegan sweet buns are perfect for breakfast, brunch and dessert!
Thank you to Stahlbush Island Farms for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
A breakfast treat for weekend mornings any time of the year, these raspberry sweet rolls also make special occasions like Mother’s day brunch, and Christmas morning even better! A delicious spin on cinnamon rolls, we forego the spice for some vibrant raspberry flavor with a hint of lemon.
How to Make Raspberry Sweet Rolls
There are 3 simple parts to these raspberry rolls:
- Vegan Sweet Dough: Sweet yeasted dough made from scratch is very easy to do. Proof the yeast, mix and knead the dough then let it rise for 1.5-2 hours. Roll it out then it’s time for the fruit filling!
- Raspberry Filling: a layer of vegan butter, raspberry preserves, frozen raspberries and a hint of lemon. I love Stahlbush Island Farms frozen raspberries in these rolls – perfectly ripe and so flavorful!
- Vanilla Glaze: One bowl and just a few ingredients whisked together for the smooth, satiny vanilla frosting to slather on the warm raspberry buns!
How to Make Sweet Dough
The base for these raspberry rolls and other morning buns like cinnamon rolls (or scrolls) and brioche, is sweet dough. This rich bread dough is softer, less chewy and more flavorful compared with regular lean dough. Unlike the dough you’d use for pizza crust or sandwich bread which often have just flour, yeast and water, sweet yeasted dough is enriched with fat and sugar. Eggs and butter are often added to traditional sweet dough. As we’re making egg-free and dairy-free rolls, we’re using vegan milk and butter sticks as our fat sources.
The purpose of proofing (or proving) dry active yeast is to make sure that the yeast are still alive. Healthy yeast will produce the gases that will give rise or leaven the dough. By placing the yeast in warm liquid and a bit of sugar, the yeast hydrate and feed on the sugar, creating bubbly foam on the surface. If there is no activity after about 10 minutes, the yeast are no longer alive and should be replaced before you continue with the recipe. If you’re confident that your dry active yeast or instant yeast are healthy, proofing the yeast can be skipped. That said, traditional yeast should still be hydrated so that you don’t run the risk of having undissolved beads of yeast in your dough.
While the temperature of the liquid (in this case, plant-based milk) needs to be warm, it can’t be hot or it will kill the yeast. Aim for 110-115°F (43-46°C) – if you don’t have a food thermometer, heat the milk until it’s just warm enough for a baby’s bath or feels warm (not hot) if you test a small drop on the inner part of your wrist. If testing on your wrist, be sure the milk is not steaming so you don’t risk burning yourself.
Mixing and Kneading Dough in a Stand-Mixer
If you have a stand-mixer, there’s very little active time for this raspberry sweet roll recipe! Add the proofed yeast and milk into the stand-mixer bowl, followed by the rest of the sugar and the melted vegan butter. The butter can simply be softened instead of being melted but it cannot be hot or it will kill the yeast.
Add the flour and salt to the stand-mixer bowl, mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides. This takes about 5-10 minutes. If the dough is really sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix again. Continue until the dough is no longer sticky but still tacky. If you add too much flour, the dough will be dry, difficult to work with and won’t be tender. As the old saying goes concerning yeasted dough, “wetter is better.”
Mixing and Kneading Dough by Hand
If you don’t have a stand-mixer, you can still make these raspberry sweet rolls. You just need to use a little elbow grease and about 10 minutes to knead by hand. It isn’t hard to do and is surprisingly meditative for some people! As with the stand-mixer method, knead the dough until it is no longer shaggy and has become more compact.
At first the dough may really difficult to work with – it’ll be really sticky. You can let it rest for about 20 minutes so the flour can become more fully hydrated which will make the dough easier to work with. Keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled helps a lot; unlike flour, oil will not dry out your dough and is less messy.
If you’re brand new to kneading dough, check out this article about kneading wet dough which has lots of pictures to help guide you.
Mixing and Kneading Dough in a Bread Machine
Like most other yeasted dough, this vegan sweet dough can be made in a bread machine. Simply use the dough setting and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the dough has had its first rise, remove it from the machine and continue with this recipe where you’ll be rolling out the dough.
Proofing the Dough
Once you’ve proofed the yeast, mixed the dough together and kneaded it, it’s time to proof the dough. While this is down time for you, this is when the yeast are put to work to leaven the dough.
Form the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly oiled bowl. Turn it over once so the top of the ball is lightly oiled; this will prevent it from drying out. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel or a piece of plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen away from drafts or high heat.
Most yeasted dough will take about 1.5-2 hours to double in size. Enriched dough like we’re using for these raspberry sweet rolls rises more slowly than leaner doughs. Sugar loves water and so it’s a struggle between the sugar and the yeast for hydration. This is also one of the reasons why there’s more yeast in this dough than say no-knead bread dough.
If it’s been 1.5-2 hours and your dough has not come close to growing nearly twice in size, your yeast is may getting old and not performing as it should. Another reason may be that the dough isn’t warm enough. While yeast can grow in cooler temperatures, they will do so much more slowly.
Normally once the dough for other sweet buns like cinnamon rolls has proofed, and assembled into rolls, there is a second proof about 30-60 minutes. But because we’re using frozen fruit which cool down the dough (and those warmth loving yeast), you won’t see much rise until the raspberry sweet rolls actually start baking in the oven. I’ve tested this recipe using active dry yeast without a second rise and the results were still great!
Once your dough is rolled out, slather on the softened vegan butter, a layer of raspberry preserves and then the frozen raspberries. The frozen raspberries are tossed in cornstarch, a touch of sugar and lemon zest. Lemon compliments and enhances the raspberry flavor while keeping sweetness in check.
Feature Ingredients and Substitutions
All-Purpose Flour: while regular flour works best in these rolls, if you like a slightly more chewy roll with a tighter crumb, you can use bread flour.
Milk: I use soy milk in my baking because it’s our preferred plant milk. It has a higher amount of fat and protein than many other types of plant-based milks. Avoid watery milks like rice milk or almond milk which don’t enrich the dough as much.
Yeast: this recipe calls for dry active yeast but you can also use an equal amount of instant yeast. Instant yeast does create a faster rise (be sure to follow the package instructions for substitutions.)
Sugar: provides food for the yeast, helps create a more tender crumb, richer flavor, and helps retain moisture of the rolls. As such, the amount of sugar should not be reduced for this recipe. Artificial/alternative sweeteners can not be used because they do not provide energy for the yeast.
Vegan Butter: when selecting vegan butter to use in baking, use vegan butter sticks, not the tub-style vegan butter or spreadable margarine. Sometimes called baking sticks, this product has a higher fat content (and a lower water content) that produces better results in melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor. Refined coconut oil makes a great substitute for vegan butter in this recipe – because it’s had the coconut flavor removed, it is neutral in taste.
Frozen Raspberries: other small frozen berries like blackberries or blueberries are nice in these vegan rolls. Do not thaw the berries. Fresh raspberries can be used if frozen raspberries are not available where you live.
Raspberry Preserves: most raspberry preserves have less sugar in them than jam, and either will work in this recipe. The addition of lemon zest to the berries helps tame the sweetness, for a lovely balance of tart and sweet.
Make-Ahead and Storage of Vegan Sweet Rolls
The dough for these rolls can be made, left for the first rise at room temperature, and then refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Doing this actually makes for a more flavorful dough! Remove the dough from the fridge about an hour before you plan to assemble the rolls so that the gluten can relax a little for easier rolling. Assemble them and get the coffee on while they bake!
Dough left in the fridge for more than 48 hours will start to ferment giving it a sour smell and flavor. From there, the yeast won’t have enough sugar to eat and will die which produces a dough that has an unpleasant taste.
While you can assemble the rolls completely and refrigerate them, I don’t recommend doing this because the raspberries will release too many of their juices. This makes for soggy rolls and heavily stained dough. These raspberry sweet rolls are best baked after you assemble them and then eaten the same day.
Freezing Raspberry Sweet Rolls
If you’d like to freeze these sweet rolls, it’s best to do so after they have baked and are completely cooled. You can glaze them before freezing them or once you’ve thawed and reheated them.
Place them in an airtight container, or wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and then store in a sealed container in the freezer for up to a few months.
Keep Leftovers Airtight
Once glazed and cooled completely, store the rolls in an airtight container either in the fridge or at room temperature. Although they are best the day you bake them because they will start to dry out, they can be kept for up to a couple of days on the counter or about 5 days in the fridge.
Reheating Sweet Rolls
Reheat leftover rolls in the microwave for about 20 seconds or set the entire tray covered in foil in an oven preheated to 350°F (177°C, gas mark 4) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
More Vegan Sweet Rolls Recipes
If you make these Raspberry Sweet Rolls, please give it a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration and on Facebook. Thank you for reading!
Vegan Raspberry Sweet Rolls
For the Sweet Dough:
- 1½ cups warm plant-based milk (110–115°F [43–46°C]) (I use soy)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 4 tsp dry active yeast
- ½ cup vegan butter sticks, melted (see Note)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
For the Raspberry Filling:
- ¼ cup vegan butter, softened
- ½ cup raspberry preserves or jam
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- zest of 1 lemon
- 10 oz Stahlbush Island Farms frozen raspberries (Do not thaw)
For the Vanilla Glaze:
- 4 tbsp vegan butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Sweet Dough:
- In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or in the bowl of a stand-mixer with a dough hook attachment or a large bowl if mixing by hand, mix the warm milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes—the yeast should have created some foam in the bowl. If it hasn’t, you need new yeast as the ones you used have died. If the yeast has foamed, turn on the stand-mixer to low and slowly add the rest of the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add 1 cup (130 g) of flour and mix until incorporated. Add the salt, then the rest of the flour 1 cup (130 g) at a time. Run it on a medium-low setting for about 5-8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic with a slight tackiness. If the dough is really sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix again. Continue until the dough is no longer sticky but still tacky. If you add too much flour, the dough will be dry, difficult to work with and won’t be tender. As the old saying goes concerning yeasted dough, “wetter is better.”
- If mixing your dough by hand, add in the sugar, oil and vanilla and 1 cup (130 g) of flour to the large bowl once the yeast has foamed. Add the salt and the rest of the flour with the spoon and then use your hands once it becomes too difficult to mix with the spoon. Turn the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. Keep your hands lightly oiled to prevent the dough from sticking to you. If it's really sticky, you can let it rest for up to 20 minutes to hydrate the flour. Form the dough into a tight ball. Lightly oil the bowl you mixed the dough in. Place the dough in the bowl, turning once so the top is lightly oiled, too. Cover lightly with a clean, lint-free towel, foil or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 1.5 to 2 hours or until roughly doubled in size.
For the Raspberry Filling:
- Combine the frozen raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest in a bowl. Place back in the freezer until it's time to add them over the dough.
To Assemble the Rolls:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C/gas mark 4.) Line a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking dish or a 12-inch (31-cm) skillet with parchment paper (or lightly oil it.)
- Prepare your work surface for rolling out the dough by lightly oiling the surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 14 inches (51 x 35 cm). Spread the vegan butter evenly over the dough, followed by the raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the frozen raspberry mixture evenly over the preserves.
- With the long end closest to you, roll the dough evenly and tightly away from you. Push the roll over so the seam is facing down. Using a very sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 even pieces. Place the rolls in the prepared baking dish cut side down. Cover lightly with a lint-free kitchen towel, foil or plastic wrap and let rest about 30 minutes or until the oven is preheated (these rolls will not rise as much before baking because the dough is chilled from being filled with frozen fruit).
- Uncover the rolls, place them in the preheated oven and bake for 28-32 minutes or until golden on top, sound a bit hollow when tapped or when a toothpick inserted into a middle part of the dough comes out clean. If you have a food thermometer, the interior should be 190-200°F (88-93°C.) Let cool for 20 minutes and then spread with vanilla glaze or enjoy as is! Once cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Store for a couple of days at room temperature or about 5 days in the refrigerator.
For the Vanilla Glaze:
- Beat the vegan butter in a medium bowl until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar ½ cup (106 g) at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the plant-based milk. Beat until all of the lumps are gone. If it’s too thick, add more plant-based milk a tablespoon (15 ml) at a time until it reaches the desired thickness. Spread over the rolls.
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The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.