Lemon Sticky Buns


Lemon Sticky Buns


These lemon sticky buns are an adaptation of Nonna’s sweet bread dough. Just goes to show that the possibilites are endless once you start experimenting with her recipes. We can totally see how every Nonna and grandmother ended up with slight variations in their recipes over time. Or in this case, we have a completely new dessert using a traditional dough recipe.





There are a few steps in this recipe – but wait, don’t take off just yet! Although these are amazingly delicious with the quadruple lemon threat, you could easily skip the lemon curd (why though!) and even the frosting (just crazy talk!) and still have an equally delicious lemon sticky bun. In our opinion, this isn’t something you make everyday so go all out! 

Anna and I come from different parts of Italy so it always makes for interesting conversation when we talk about our parents and grandparents and what we remember. For me, just the thought of lemons brings me back to vivid memories of being on my Nonno’s farm where lemon, pomegranate, persimmon, and olive trees were planted sporadically in the clementine orchard. The lemons there were huge and it seemed like even a slight brush against the tree let off an aroma that sent your senses right into overdrive! The lemon and olive trees were up on the hillside so it was a little trek to get to them but when you’re 10 years old and are dying to show how fast you can get there and back it’s not an issue! They were so good! We would eat slices of them as though they were apples! At the vineyard there was a different variety of lemon which I wasn’t familiar with. I didn’t give it much thought at the time but now I wish Nonno was around to ask. Each type seemed to have their own preferred use but all were equally amazing. So to bring this all back to this recipe, you can’t have too much lemon – am I right?






When you take these sweet buns out of the oven it will be tempting to try just one. We must emphasize that you shouldn’t do this. One will lead to two which leads to your husband and children chiming in and before you know it you’ve devoured half of them before even giving the lemon curd, syrup and frosting a chance! 




What else can we say except of course, as always, these are best eaten fresh – enjoy!

Be sure to refrigerate any leftover frosting or buns you have frosted that have not been eaten right away and consume within a day.




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Lemon Sticky Buns

  • Author: Nonna's Way


A sweet bun drenched in a lemon syrup, filled with a dollop of lemon curd, and topped with a lemon – mascarpone frosting.




  • 1/2 cup (125mL) lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (10mL) active dry yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (250mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) milk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups (1000mL) all-purpose flour

Lemon Curd

  • 1/2 cup (125mL) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45mL) corn starch
  • 1 cup shy (225mL) boiling water
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp (45mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7.5mL) butter

Lemon Syrup

  • 1 cup (250mL) icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45mL) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Lemon Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) soft butter
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) mascarpone cheese
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) icing sugar
  • 2 tsps (10ml) fresh lemon squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25ml) vanilla
  • 2 tsps (10ml) lemon zest



  1. Mix the water and 1/2 tsp sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Cover and let rest 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together. Add the butter and mix well. Add the yeast mixture, milk, and lemon zest – mix between ingredient additions.
  3. Add 1 cup of flour at a time and mix in with your hands. Gently knead until you have a smooth and soft dough that bounces back when touched.
  4. Cover and let rise for 4 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Divide dough into 18 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place side by side (touching each other) in a lightly greased pan.
  7. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
  8. Place on middle rack and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  9. Remove and let cool slightly.
  10. Use a piping bag to squeeze a dollop of lemon curd into each bun.
  11. Pour the lemon syrup over the buns while still in the pan.
  12. Frost each bun just before serving and garnish with a touch of fresh lemon zest.
  13. *Be sure to refrigerate any leftover frosting or buns you have frosted that have not been eaten right away and consume within a day.

Lemon Curd

  1. Mix the sugar and corn starch together.
  2. Add the boiling water while stirring so no lumps form.
  3. Cook in a small pot on medium heat until it thickens and is translucent.
  4. Remove from heat and blend into the egg yolks a little at a time.
  5. Cook for 2 more minutes then add the lemon juice and butter.
  6. Cook for another 3 minutes. Remove and scrape all into a small bowl. Cover with food safe plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd. Set aside to cool.

Lemon Syrup

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until a smooth syrup forms.

Lemon Frosting

  1. In a medium size bowl, combine the butter and mascarpone cheese and mix well with a blender or by hand until.
  2. Add in the icing sugar and continue to mix until smooth.
  3. Mix in the vanilla and lemon zest.
  4. Be sure to refrigerate any leftover frosting or anything you have frosted that has not been eaten right away and consume within a day.


  • Liliana Tommasini

    18.02.2017 at 15:25

    I died and went to heaven just reading this post. I love lemon curd and sticky buns – what an amazing combination. Have to make these.

  • Nicoletta @sugarlovespices

    22.02.2017 at 01:54

    I have yet to make sticky buns, I know, what a shame 😉, and this is just the right way to start. We love lemon flavored sweets so much, and that lemon mascarpone frosting is just divine!

  • Odilio

    27.02.2017 at 18:34

    Gostei muito de todas as receitas. Inicialmente algumas receitas parecem ser
    difíceis, mas são bem orientadas e os ingredientes bem acessíveis. Vou experimentar
    fazer. Obrigado.

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