These Easy Lemon Sticky Buns taste as good as they look! With a tangy lemon filling and chopped pistachios, they are full of flavor. Best of all, they’re a lot easier to make than you might think.
Most of the recipes that come to fruition here on Some the Wiser begin the same way. It starts with a flavor combination that I can’t get out of my head. Maybe they present themselves to me in a dream. Maybe I taste something and begin to wonder what it would taste like with x,y, or z. I’m not really sure how it happens. But once the flavor combination is in my head, it lingers there until I do something with it.
The flavor combination that has been intriguing me for the past week or so has been Meyer Lemon + Pistachio. I knew it was going to be something great. I thought about cakes and puddings and muffins, and then cinnamon rolls. After recipe testing (a.k.a. eating a lot of Meyer Lemons + Pistachios) for a few days, I decided cinnamon rolls were close, but not quite right. I settled on these twisted Sticky Buns.
I’m pretty sure this particular flavor combo, Meyer Lemon + Pistachio, must have come to me in a dream because these Easy Lemon Sticky Buns really do taste like a dream come true.
The best thing about these particular Easy Lemon Sticky Buns is that they really are EASY. I know I’ve said it here a thousand times before, but it’s still true so I’ll say it again: my favorite recipes are the ones that look fancy, but are actually a cinch to make. Like most baking recipes, there is a time commitment, but a lot of it is rest time.
What we have here are simple sticky buns that look fancy because of the twist. But let me tell you a secret: the twist is no big deal. Now, let’s talk about the simplest way to make these Easy Lemon Sticky Buns.
Easy Lemon Sticky Buns : Tips and Tricks
The first way to simplify these sticky buns is to use your bread machine. I use this bread machine and it is no doubt my absolute favorite kitchen tool. We use it just about every other day so we can always have homemade bread. And it comes in really handy for things like pizza dough and sticky buns.
With a bread machine, the effort requirement for these sticky buns is cut in half. I start by dumping all the ingredients in the bread machine, push the dough setting, and then I go about my business for the next two hours while it mixes, kneads, and proofs the dough at the perfect temperature. I end up with perfect dough every single time!
You can definitely make these Easy Lemon Sticky Buns without a bread machine, but it will take a little bit more effort. Still, I’d say they are completely worth it! I’ve been eating them for a few days now, so you can take my word for it.
If you don’t have a bread machine but you do have a Stand Mixer, that will help make your job a lot easier too.
Now the thing that makes these Easy Lemon Sticky Buns look so fancy is the way they are twisted. I’ll be honest with you here, I looked at a bunch of recipes to try to figure out how to make fancy twists, but I had a difficult time understanding most of the instructions. In the end, I decided to just roll them up and tie them in a knot. As you can see, it totally works.
The pictures above (and the instructions below) are really all you need to know to figure these out – they’re pretty simple.
A quick note about Lemons:
I used Meyer Lemons for this recipe. I am pretty convinced that Meyer Lemons are the greatest citrus of all. They are so tangy, so juicy, and so much sweeter and more flavorful than an ordinary lemon. This recipe may work with ordinary lemons, but I’ve only made it with Meyer Lemons and I do think they’ll taste best.
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 3⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup whole milk, slightly warmed (about 30 seconds in the microwave)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 2 meyer lemons
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ cup meyer lemon juice (juice from approximately 2 lemons) See note
- ½ cup salted, roasted pistachios shelled and coarsely chopped (plus more for topping if desired)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- (see note below)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- juice of 3 meyer lemons
- If you are making this in the bread machine: Place the yeast in the bottom of the bread machine, then add the flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk together the melted butter, slightly warmed milk, water, and egg then pour over the dry ingredients in the bread machine. Use the dough setting.
- If you are making this by hand or with a standing mixer: sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes until foamy. Stir in the butter, egg, sugar, and 1 cup of flour. Then add the salt and remaining flour, mixing as you add until completely incorporated. Knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and soft. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough over so all sides are greased. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
- While the dough is rising, mix together the sugar, butter, ginger, and lemon juice and zest for the filling. Refrigerate until dough is ready, or for at least 30 minutes.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To assemble the buns divide the dough into 8 equal portions for large buns (as pictured here) or 16 equal portions for smaller buns. To make them equal, I weigh the dough (it should be about 2 pounds) and then weigh each portion (about 4 oz for large buns) so they will be the same size - this is of course not strictly necessary.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a flat, oblong shape (as pictured above). Spread a generous tablespoon of the lemon filling and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Roll this up.
- Then, using a very sharp knife, make two slices along the length of the roll (see picture above). Gently pull this apart to expose the filling, then take an end of the roll in each hand and twist in opposite directions until the roll is completely twisted (as pictured above).
- Take the twist and tie it into a simple knot. Place on the prepared baking sheet. You will have to bake these in two batches, but I have had great success even with the different rise times.
- Cover the assembled buns with a towel and leave them to rise for about an hour, or until puffy.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Whisk together the egg wash and lightly brush the outside of each roll.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.
- Whisk together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cooked buns. Sprinkle with additional chopped pistachios and enjoy!
2. If you are making these for dessert and want them to be delightfully indulgent, use the full glaze recipe. If you are making them for breakfast or brunch and don't like them as sweet, only make half of the glaze recipe. They are good both ways.