Raspberry Sweet Rolls are sweet, a bit tart and may be better than cinnamon rolls!
These sweet rolls are made with a raspberry filling that is all rolled up in a soft homemade dough, and then frosted with homemade cream cheese frosting. They are rich, soft, sweet and crave-ably delicious.
The Raspberry Filling
You can spend some extra time and make your own raspberry filling. I am lazy and choose to make homemade dough and then use a can of raspberry filling.
Yes, homemade is better, but once this raspberry filling is rolled up in soft dough and then baked and topped with cream cheese frosting, I promise you won’t care if the filling is homemade or canned.
All you need is one can and it is the perfect amount for a perfect raspberry filled sweet roll.
Using Yeast in Baking
I always use instant (rapid rise) yeast. You do not have to “proof” the yeast, but I always do.
Here are some tips if you are new to using yeast:
- Use instant yeast, quick-rising yeast, or rapid rise yeast (also called bread machine yeast). This type of yeast makes a yeast dough recipe almost fail proof! There is no proofing needed (although I still proof it every time to be safe). This yeast isn’t as hard to use. You can just add the yeast in with all of your ingredients (even though you can do this, I still proof it like I stated before). It can be a fast rising yeast, cutting time off of a recipe.
- You need a liquid and a sugar to feed the yeast to activate it. Sugar and honey can be used interchangeably for this.
- Using instant yeast makes the process a little more forgiving. The temperature of the water (or milk) doesn’t have to be so exact. If it is a little too hot or a little too cool the recipe should still work great. If you are using active yeast the temperature matters. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast; too cool it won’t proof/activate.
- Using instant yeast usually means you don’t have to let your breads rise twice. For a lot of my recipes I still have two rises. let my dough raise until doubled in size, roll them out and then let them raise again. This isn’t always needed like my Easy French Bread recipe…it has only one rise.
- If you use active dry yeast, you will need to watch the water temperature a bit more and make sure you proof your yeast. Proofing it will let you know the yeast is not dead and will ensure your breads rise.
- Store your yeast in the fridge for up to 4 months. It needs to be kept in a cool, dry place in a sealed container. Not doing so could result in dead yeast, which means no rise. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months. It just may take a little bit longer for it to activate when proofing.
The Sweet Roll Dough
The dough for these sweet rolls is homemade. It is easy to make and is so much better than anything you can buy at a store.
A stand mixer, using the dough hook works best to make the dough. A hand mixer won’t work with the dough. You can mix it by hand and knead the dough by hand if you do not have a stand mixer.
Measure and add your sugar and warm milk to the mixing bowl of your mixer. Then add your yeast and give it a little stir.
Next, add your yeast and give it a little stir.
Let it sit for a few minutes. It will start to bubble up and it will get a little foamy! That is a good thing! Your sweet rolls will rise and be light and fluffy!
While you are waiting for your yeast to proof (being bubbly and foamy), partially melt your butter and beat your egg. Then slowly add your partially melted butter and beaten egg to the yeast and warm milk in the mixing bowl. Add your salt (can’t see it in the photo but it was added).
Using the dough hook attachment, start out adding 2 cups of all purpose flour. It is best to add a little at a time when making yeast doughs. Too much flour will make your sweet rolls/bread heavy and more dense and not as light and fluffy.
Slowly add the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and is only slightly sticky.
It should stick to your fingers just a bit but not make your hands messy. You may not need to add the entire 3 cups. Add the amount needed to get the right consistency of dough.
Still needs a little bit more flour.
Still needs more flour. You can see it is sticking to my fingers quite a bit still.
Now it is perfect! Barely sticking to my fingers and the dough is super soft! (See photo below).
Cover the mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it raise until doubled in size. About 45 minute to an hour.
TIP: If you turn on your oven and put the bowl of dough near it, the heat will help it rise faster.
Once it has doubled in size the dough is ready to roll into raspberry filled sweet rolls!
The Pan for Sweet Rolls
You can use a half sheet pan, jelly roll pan (slightly smaller than a half sheet), or a 9×13 pan or baking sweet rolls. Make sure your dish or pan is greasedor lined with parchment paper.
I prefer to bake my sweet rolls on a half sheet pan (lined with parchment paper), because they get good and golden brown all the way around the roll. I find that when they rise in a 9×13 they are squished and bake up a bit softer in the very center, and the center rolls have a harder time baking all of the way.
Whatever pan you prefer is great!
Making Sweet Rolls with Raspberry Filling
After the dough has doubled in size, on a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a 12×18 inch rectangle. The size doesn’t have to exact.
Spread the can of raspberry filling on the rolled out sweet roll dough. Spread so the dough is covered evenly. Leave a little bit of a border of dough around the edges (the filling will squish out a bit when rolling).
Roll up the dough, lengthwise, as tightly as possible. Some of the filling probably will squish out as you roll-that is ok!
Pinch the end of the dough into the rolled dough so it sealed the best you can.
Then turn the long roll of dough over so the seam is down.
Using string, dental floss, or a really sharp knife, cut the roll of dough into 12 equal pieces. If some are larger than others that is ok.
I usually cut right in the center, then each half in the center again and go from there until I have 2 pieces.
Place the cut sweet rolls evenly spaced on your greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet/half sheet pan.
If using a 9×13 pan, they will be closer together, and that is ok.
Some of the filling may fall out or squeeze out, it is no big deal! They may be a bit messy and a little mess is ok!
Cover the pan of sweet rolls with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until doubled in size. About 45 minutes to an hour. You can place them next to your heated oven and they will rise a bit faster!
Once the rolls are double in size, place them in the oven. Let them bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Check them at the 15 minute mark. You will know they are done when the tops of the rolls are golden brown and the filling is warm and melty.
Take out the sweet rolls when they are golden brown on top and more firm, not doughy in the center. You can poke a fork or toothpick into the center of the middle sweet roll and you will be able to tell if it feels soft baked or doughy.
If they still need to bake and they are already golden on top, loosely cover them with foil so the tops don’t get to brown.
While the sweet rolls bake, make the Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting.
Just mix all of the frosting ingredients in your stand mixer, or use a hand mixer. Make sure the cream cheese and butter are room temperature and soft, or the frosting will be lumpy.
Frost the sweet rolls straight out of the oven if you want warm, melty cream cheese frosting; or you can let them cool before frosting them.
Enjoy the sweet rolls warm or a bit later when they are cooled.
*If you eat them warm the frosting will be melty and the raspberry filling will be gooey! (My favorite way to eat them!)
For another tasty raspberry recipe, try my Homemade Raspberry Sauce.
Here are some products I used to make this recipe!
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Raspberry Sweet Rolls
Sweet Roll Dough
- 1 cup warm milk *warm it in the microwave for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on high- it should be warm enough but not too hot if you were to drink it
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp instant or rapid rise (bread machine) yeast
- 4 tbsp butter, partially melted * 1/2 stick of butter, not fully melted- salted or unsalted, either works
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups all purpose flour *add more or less as needed-see notes
- 1 21 oz. Can Raspberry Pie Filling *see photo above to see the kind I use
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, softened – room temperature *1 stick, salted or unsalted, either works
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened-room temperature *one block
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar *add more or less to your liking to get it as sweet and as thick as you like
Sweet Roll Dough
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease a 9×13 baking dish.Use whichever pan you prefer…see notes below.
- In a stand mixer, using the dough hook, add your sugar and warm milk. Then add your yeast. Give it a little mix with a spoon and then let it sit for a few minute to “proof”. The yeast mixture should get foamy and bubbly. This means the yeast is alive and will work!
- Next, add your partially melted butter and mix the ingredients together on low speed just so they are mixed a bit. Next add your slightly beaten egg and mix it again on low.
- Add your salt, mix it on low for a few seconds. Then add2 cups of the flour. Start mixing it on low speed then increase the speed as the flour mixes in.
- Add the last cup of flour a little at a time until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl and the dough is soft and slightly sticky. Add more or less flour as needed. Once you get the right amount of flour in the dough, let it mix and knead itself on medium-high speed until the dough is soft and smooth.TIP: You will know you have added enough flour when your hands stick to the dough but do end up covered in sticky dough. You shoud be able to pull your fingers away and not have too much dough stick to them. See the photo above in the blog post.
- Leave the dough in the bowl and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to one hour.
Rolling out the Sweet Rolls
- Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out the dough into a large rectangle (About 12×18 inches roughly). Spread the raspberry filling on the dough leaving just a little bit of an edge around the dough (see photos above).
- Roll the dough up from the long end (lengthwise) so you have a long roll. Some of the filling may squish out-it’s ok! Place the long roll seam side down to cut the rolls. Then cut the long roll into 12 equal pieces. Use a sharp knife or dental floss to cut the sweet rolls into pieces.
- Place each roll on the parchment paper lined baking sheet evenly spaced, or in the greased 9×13 baking pan.Use whichever pan your prefer…see notes below
- Cover the sweet rolls with a clean kitchen towel and let them raise again until doubled in size, or about 45 minutes to one hour.
- Make sure to preheat your oven to 350F. You can place your pan of rolls next to the oven so they will raise faster.
- Once the rolls are doubled in size, let them bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Check them at the 15 minute mark. You will know they are done when the tops of the rolls are golden brown.*Every oven cooks different. Cooking times are just an estimate.*If using a 9×13 pan the baking time may need to be a bit longer so the rolls in the center of the pan can get baked completely. If the rolls are getting too brown on top lay a piece of foil on the top of them and let them bake until done in the very center.** Poking the center of the cinnamon roll that is in the middle of the pan will help you know if they are done. You will feel that the dough is still sticky and not easy to poke if they are still raw or need cooked more. It should go in pretty easy when poked and feel “done”.
Cream Cheese Frosting – make while the rolls bake
- In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), add all of the frosting ingredients and mix them together until smooth and creamy. Add more or less powdered sugar to your liking.*if the cream cheese and butter are not super soft the frosting may be lumpy
- Frost the sweet rolls after they have baked when they are warm so the frosting melts on them. If you prefer to have the rolls cool before frosting them that is fine too!
- Enjoy!The sweet rolls can be covered with foil in the pan and enjoyed the next day. Pop the sweet roll in the microwave for a few seconds and they will taste just as good as they did when they were fresh!*I don’t ever refrigerate leftovers, even with the frosting being made with cream cheese, and no one has even been sick from them. But refrigerate them if that makes your nervous.