Cream Cheese Rolls

I’ve made these cream cheese rolls (also known as honeycomb bread) more times than I can count. They’re a family favorite and the perfect dish to enjoy with some good tea.

A pan of cream cheese rolls with some serving-ware next to it.

There’s something truly special about homemade bread. Not only is it tastier than store-bought varieties, but it’s also more affordable and surprisingly simple to make. With just a few basic ingredients, you can create bakery-worthy rolls right in your own kitchen.

Today, we’re making the beloved Arabic classic: honeycomb bread, also known as khaliat al nahl. Traditionally these little dough balls are filled with cheese and a sugar syrup but can also be filled with savory fillings if you choose. Don’t let the exotic name fool you—these cream cheese rolls are easy to make and require ingredients that you likely already have on hand.

These cream cheese rolls are like the chameleons of pastries—they’re perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or even a sneaky midnight munchies session. They’re the ultimate all-day, every-day indulgence.

A pan of cream cheese rolls with some serving-ware next to it.

Cream Cheese Rolls

Cream cheese rolls are like the chameleons of pastries—they're perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or even a sneaky midnight munchies session. They're the ultimate all-day, every-day indulgence.
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Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 Rolls


Dough Recipe
  • 1 packagee Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 5 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds (Optional)
Simple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar


Prepare Simple Syrup

  • Add the water and sugar to a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil for about 3-5 minutes. Cool the syrup down and set it aside

Cream Cheese Rolls Directions

  • Activate the yeast in warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot so you don’t kill the yeast
  • Add in the milk, melted butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the yeast and water mixture. Give it a good stir to incorporate together
  • Add in the flour. Work the flour in a little bit then slowly incorporate in the oil.
  • Let the dough rise until it doubles in size.
  • While the dough is rising, make your simple sugar by letting the sugar and water come to a boil and then lowering the heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Once your dough has risen, take a small piece of dough, flatten it into a circle in your hand and add about a teaspoon of cream cheese to the middle of the dough. Form the dough into small balls and place in an oiled pan.
  • Once you have formed all of the rolls, coat with an egg or milk wash and sprinkle the rolls with some sesame seeds
  • Bake at 350 until golden brown.
  • Pour the simple syrup over the rolls and allow it to soak up the syrup before serving


If you are mixing by hand, here are a couple of tips:
  • Add in about 2 cups of flour first and use a spoon or spatula to mix the flour and liquids together really well. You want it to be a really sticky dough mixture. When you pull your spoon/spatula out, the dough should be sticking to it.
  • Next, add in another cup of flour. This time lightly coat your hands in flour and use your hand to incorporate the flour into the dough. The dough at this point should start to take form a little bit more but it will still be pretty sticky
  • Add in the rest of the flour and half of the oil. Using your hands work the flour into the dough. Once you have worked all the flour in you should now have a dough that is easier to work with.
  • If it is still sticking to your hand instead of adding more flour add in the remaining oil slowly as needed and make sure to coat your hands in oil. This will help you knead the dough without it getting really sticky.
  • If after all of this the dough is still sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour and work that in. You do not want to make the dough hard, it should be really soft otherwise the rolls will turn out really dense.
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