If there’s one treat that can beat cinnamon rolls, it’s these absolutely indulgent raspberry sweet rolls. In this recipe, buttery dough spirals around a juicy, sweet-tart raspberry filling made from frozen raspberries. You can make the sweet rolls within a few hours, or get started the night before using the overnight option. Top with vanilla or cream cheese icing for an unforgettable breakfast experience.
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
As the first sweet roll recipe I ever published on my website, these soft and fluffy raspberry sweet rolls have truly stood the test of time.
Let’s travel back to the days of yore: the year 2012. That’s when I published my very first(!) sweet roll recipe on my website: raspberry sweet rolls. This recipe is practically vintage, and has hardly changed over the years!
I’ve developed many more sweet roll recipes since then like my lemon sweet rolls, apple cinnamon rolls, funfetti cinnamon rolls, and chocolate sweet rolls. I’ve learned a lot in the process, but today’s raspberry version has never lost its special place in my heart. It’s my most favorite dough, and I based my ultra popular overnight cinnamon rolls recipe off of it!
Should this recipe go in a museum?
What to Expect With This Recipe
- Texture: This is one of my richest homemade doughs, so you’re already promised a soft, springy, and fluffy texture. The more fat in the dough, the softer the baked bread. For example, this dough includes whole milk, butter, and egg. Recipes like my overnight cinnamon rolls, pizza pull-apart rolls, and honey butter rolls all start with a rich dough.
- Flavor: The combination of tart, juicy raspberries with tangy-sweet cream cheese icing is unbelievably mouthwatering. Just wait until you smell these baking!
- Time: This dough requires 2 rises. Once you understand the assembly process, which I detail below with step-by-step photos, the prep moves pretty quickly. Set aside at least 4–5 hours from start to finish, or divide it between 2 days with the overnight option. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind most of that time is hands off as the dough rises.
My #1 Tip for Sweet Roll Success: I recommend using a strong and dependable yeast. Platinum Yeast from Red Star is a premium instant yeast, which cuts down on rise time. Its careful formula contains natural dough strengtheners and makes working with yeast simple. And simple is always good, right?
One reader, Alicia, commented: “I have been baking for over 50 years and have made countless sweet rolls of all types. This dough was by far the best because it stayed soft for 3 days—most unusual. I will be making some of our favorites using this dough, or maybe I’ll try some of your other doughs. ★★★★★”
Grab These Ingredients for the Dough & Filling:
- Whole Milk: Whole milk is ideal for the richest-tasting raspberry sweet rolls. Buttermilk works just as well without any changes to the recipe. Many readers have successfully substituted nondairy milks. In a pinch, you can use 2% or 1% milk, but do not use nonfat milk.
- Sugar: You need white granulated sugar for the dough, both for flavor (these are sweet rolls, after all) and to feed the yeast. You’ll use some again in the filling.
- Yeast: You can use active dry or instant yeast. Follow the directions exactly as written regardless of which you choose. If using active dry yeast, the rise times will be a little longer. I always use and recommend Platinum Yeast from Red Star.
- Butter: This is a rich dough, meaning it has fat to help guarantee softness. Use softened butter and, to help it blend easier, cut it into 4 pieces before adding.
- Vanilla: This is a new ingredient I use in today’s dough; the original recipe didn’t call for it. You don’t need much, just 1/2 teaspoon to add some unbeatable flavor. You also need vanilla in the icing. You can use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Eggs: Like butter, eggs promise a softer, richer dough.
- Salt: Dough is bland without salt.
- Flour: Flour provides the dough’s structure. You can use either all-purpose flour or bread flour. You’ll notice the rolls are a little chewier if you use bread flour.
- Frozen Raspberries: Frozen raspberries are a non-negotiable. You’ll lose your mind rolling up juicy, messy, sticky fresh raspberries.
- Cornstarch: To help thicken the raspberry filling.
Step-by-Step: How to Make Raspberry Sweet Rolls
Start by proofing your yeast in warm milk with a little bit of sugar. This step ensures that the yeast is active and not expired. Most yeast these days is already active, but it’s a quick 5–10-minute step that prevents you from wasting your time (and ingredients) just in case the yeast has expired.
Next you’ll add in the remaining dough ingredients.
What if I Don’t Have a Stand Mixer? If you do not own a mixer, you can mix the dough together with a large wooden spoon/silicone spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle. A hand mixer works, but the sticky dough repeatedly gets stuck in the beaters.
After the dough comes together, it will be a little soft and sticky—that’s normal. Knead the dough on a floured counter or keep it in the mixer for kneading—whichever method you use, it should be about 5 minutes of kneading. If you’re new to yeasted doughs, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial is helpful.
Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it in a draft-free area to rise until doubled in size—it takes about 2 hours. After that, punch the risen dough down:
Roll it into a rectangle shape that’s about 12×18 inches in size. Then it’s time to fill it!
Baker’s Tip: If the dough keeps shrinking as you roll it out, stop what you’re doing, cover it lightly, and let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten. I often do this when I’m making pizza dough. When you return to the dough, it should stretch out much easier.
Raspberry Sweet Roll Filling: Use Frozen Raspberries
You need FROZEN raspberries for the filling of these sweet rolls—do not thaw. Fresh raspberries are much too juicy and delicate for the filling. If all you have is fresh, freeze them first. Trust me on this. Otherwise you will have a big sloppy mess on your hands—and counter, and potentially your clothes—when rolling/cutting the rolls. And raspberry stains are not easy to clean!
Toss the frozen raspberries with a little bit of cornstarch and sugar, and then sprinkle it all over the rolled-out dough. Easy! Unlike a raspberry cake filling, there’s no cooking involved here:
Now, roll it up as tightly as you can:
Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into 12 rolls, each about 1.5 inches wide. Arrange in a greased baking pan, cover, then let the rolls rise until a little puffy, about 90 minutes.
The rolls won’t totally double in size in the second rise because the filling is frozen, which keeps the dough cold. It’s a slightly longer second rise time than we usually need for overnight cinnamon rolls, for the same reason. (Alternatively, you could let the rolls rise overnight. See Notes in the written recipe below for overnight instructions.)
Be prepared for the berries to release their juices as they thaw. You will see red raspberry juice all over the bottom of the pan—this is fine, and expected! In fact, it’s a good thing. It turns into an incredible raspberry glaze that caramelizes over the bottom of the rolls when they bake.
I sometimes line my 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper just because the raspberry juice can get a little messy, but this is optional. You can simply grease the pan instead.
The rolls need about half an hour in the oven to bake. About halfway through baking time, tent a piece of foil over the top of the pan, to prevent the tops from browning too much.
Cool your rolls, in the pan, on a wire rack for about 10–15 minutes while you make the icing.
Are You a Yeast Beginner?
This Baking with Yeast Guide is a wonderful starting point. I answer many common yeast FAQs in easy-to-understand explanations, so you can learn the basics before beginning.
Cream Cheese Icing
The original recipe I published back in yesteryear (aka 2012) called for vanilla icing, but I really, really love these raspberry sweet rolls with cream cheese icing, so I’m changing it. It’s the same deliciously smooth and silky icing I slather on my classic cinnamon rolls, though lately I’ve been making it with vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract. See all those tiny vanilla bean specks? You can actually see the added flavor!
I don’t say this often, but I think it applies here… hubba hubba.
Only the Best Raspberry Recipes Here:
- Raspberry Danish Twist Bread
- Dark Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Cake
- Raspberry Dessert Sauce
- Jumbo Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- Raspberry Almond Crumb Cake
In this recipe, tender, buttery dough spirals around a juicy, sweet-tart raspberry filling made from frozen raspberries. You can make the raspberry sweet rolls within a few hours, or get started the night before using the overnight option in the Note below.
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 100°F (38°C)
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (14g) Platinum Yeast from Red Star (2 standard-size packets)*
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 and 1/2 cups (563g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spooned & leveled), plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons canola, vegetable, or olive oil for bowl (or use nonstick spray)
- one 10-oz. package (about 2.5 cups or 300g) frozen raspberries (do not thaw)
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 ounces (113g) full-fat brick cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (30ml) whole milk or heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and the yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow mixture to sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy on top. *If you do not own a mixer, you can do this in a large mixing bowl and in the next step, mix the dough together with a large wooden spoon/silicone spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle. A hand mixer works, but the sticky dough repeatedly gets stuck in the beaters. Mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula is a better choice.*
- On medium speed, beat in the remaining sugar (which should be 1/2 cup/100g) and the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat on medium speed until combined. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. Switch the mixer down to low speed and with it running, add 1 cup of flour at a time, making sure it’s fully incorporated before adding the next. After 4 cups have been added, add the last 1/2 cup and beat until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes. Dough will be soft.
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer (and switch to the dough hook if you used the paddle) and beat for an additional 5 full minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5 full minutes. (If you’re new to bread-baking, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial can help here.) If the dough becomes too sticky during the kneading process, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour at a time on the dough or on the work surface/in the bowl to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. Do not add more flour than you need because you do not want a dry dough. After kneading, the dough should still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger—if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. You can also do a “windowpane test” to see if your dough has been kneaded long enough: tear off a small (roughly golfball-size) piece of dough and gently stretch it out until it’s thin enough for light to pass through it. Hold it up to a window or light. Does light pass through the stretched dough without the dough tearing first? If so, your dough has been kneaded long enough and is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading until it passes the windowpane test.
- 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or use nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter and it takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
- Grease the bottom and sides of a metal or glass 9×13-inch baking dish or line with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough: Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick. If the dough keeps shrinking as you roll it out, stop what you’re doing, cover it lightly, and let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten. When you return to the dough, it should stretch out much easier.
- Make the filling: In a medium bowl, toss the frozen raspberries with the sugar and cornstarch. Spread the cold sugared raspberries evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. With an extra sharp knife, cut into 12 even rolls, about 1.5 inches each. Arrange in the prepared baking pan.
- 2nd Rise: Cover the rolls tightly and allow to rise until puffy, about 90 minutes. (Or use the overnight option in the Notes below.) The berries will release their juice at the bottom of the pan—this is OK.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Bake for about 28–32 minutes or until they are lightly browned on top. About halfway through baking time, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the pan to prevent the tops from browning too quickly. Remove pan from the oven and place pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes as you make the icing.
- Make the icing: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream/milk, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Spread the icing over the warm rolls and serve immediately.
- Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions – Overnight: To prepare the night before serving, prepare the rolls through step 7. Cover the rolls tightly and refrigerate for 8–12 hours. (16 hours max. 8–12 hours is best, but 16 hours is OK if absolutely needed. Do not exceed 16 hours.) The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter for 1–2 hours before continuing with step 9.
- Make Ahead Instructions – Freezing: Baked rolls can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: bake the rolls in step 9 for only about 10 minutes. Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. To serve, take the rolls out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Once thawed, finish baking them for about 15–20 minutes.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer | Rolling Pin | 9×13-Inch Glass Baking Pan or Metal Baking Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls
- Milk: I recommend using whole milk for the best, richest-tasting dough. You could also use buttermilk. Reduced-fat, low-fat, or nondairy milk works in a pinch. Do not use nonfat milk.
- Yeast: I always use Platinum Yeast from Red Star, an instant yeast. You can use an active dry yeast instead, if needed. The rise times could be slightly longer. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Vanilla: I love using vanilla bean paste in this recipe because it combines both extract AND vanilla bean seeds, and tastes phenomenal in the dough AND icing. You can, of course, use pure vanilla extract instead.
- Raspberries: You need FROZEN raspberries for the filling—do not thaw. Fresh raspberries are much too juicy and delicate for the filling. If all you have is fresh, freeze them first.
- Alternate Icing Option: Instead of cream cheese icing, you can top the warm rolls with vanilla icing.
Keywords: raspberry sweet rolls