Pecan sticky buns are our favorite gooey cinnamon rolls for weekend and holiday brunch. These sticky rolls start with an easy homemade dough and baked with a delicious caramel pecan topping.
Sticky buns are like the fun aunt compared to cinnamon rolls. They're gooey, sticky, and delicious! Y'all, these pecan sticky buns are SO good!
About this Recipe
For this pecan sticky buns recipe, the delicate cinnamon roll dough is baked in a dish over top a layer of chopped pecans and a homemade gooey cinnamon syrup. Once baked, you flip the dish over to invert the rolls onto a platter while the pecans and syrup become the topping.
Below are the ingredients you need to make these delicious sticky buns.
Grocery List for Pecan Sticky Buns:
- Instant yeast
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
Click here or scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe ingredients and instructions.
Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the step-by-step on how to make pecan sticky buns. The general steps are as follows:
- Make the dough.
- Make the topping:
- Assemble buns:
- After dough is risen, roll out on floured surface into 16x12-inch rectangle.
- Melt butter in the microwave. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Spread mixture evenly over surface of the dough.
- Roll dough into a log and cut into 12 rolls.
- Place rolls in the pan over top of the pecans.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 more minutes.
The steps may look intimidating and tedious, but this really is easy to put together when you do it step by step. And its so worth the effort of these delicious sticky buns!
Topping: We prefer pecans for our topping, but you can instead use other nuts like almonds, cashews or macadamia.
Filling: This recipe is tested with the filling measurements indicated in the recipe below, but if you prefer more filling, feel free to add more butter, sugar and cinnamon.
Dough: For a cheat recipe, try using store-bought frozen or refrigerated bread dough.
Top Tips and Tricks
- This recipe is tested using a 9x13 glass Pyrex dish. If using a metal pan, the cooking time may be shorter.
- Use at least 2% fat milk.
- Let cool the full 15 minutes before serving, or the caramel topping will be hot and burn your mouth and lips!
- You can assemble sticky buns the night before. Simply place the rolls in the dish over the pecan topping, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge before the second rise. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before baking.
Your Questions Answered
What is the difference between sticky buns and cinnamon rolls?
Sticky buns are very similar to cinnamon rolls, however, sticky buns have a caramelized topping and doesn't always have a cinnamon swirl filling.
Should sticky buns be refrigerated?
We prefer to store our sticky buns at room temperature since refrigeration can dry them out. Cover with plastic wrap and store on the counter up to 2 days.
How long does it take for the sticky bun dough to rise?
This recipe requires two rise times. The first rise is about 1 hour and the second rise, after the rolls are formed, is 30 minutes.
Storage and Leftovers
Store: Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature up to 2 days.
Reheat: Leftover rolls can be reheated in the microwave or oven, or eat at room temperature.
Freeze: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months. Separate rolls after baking and freeze in single layer on baking sheet for 20 minutes. Transfer to freezer bag. Thaw overnight in fridge and reheat in microwave or oven.
To make this recipe, the following equipment is helpful:
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook (or knead with hands), or use a hand held mixer
- 9x13 baking dish
- Liquid measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Rolling pin
- Pastry brush, or a rubber spatula
- Pastry cutter or knife
More Cinnamon Roll Recipes
- Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookie Bars
- Maple Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
- King Cake
- Cinnamon Rolls
Photography by Lindsay Evers.
Pecan Sticky Buns
For the dough:
- 1 cup milk , 2% or whole
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter , cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 envelope instant yeast (1/4 oz.)
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour , approximate
For the Topping:
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed (light or dark)
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups pecan pieces , or chopped pecans
For the Filling:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Make the Dough:
- Place milk, sugar and butter into a 2-cup microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until temperature is between 190°F to 205°F. Stir until butter is at least almost all melted.
- Transfer butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in salt and sprinkle in yeast.
- Add beaten egg and 2 cups of flour. Mix until combined.
- Using the dough hook attachment at medium speed, continue to mix for 3 minutes while gradually adding the rest of the flour, in ½ cup portions, until a tacky dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl, turn dough over once in the bowl and then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise on the counter until doubled in size, about 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of rising, make the topping.
Make the Topping:
- Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the corn syrup and vanilla then continue to mix until light and fluffy.
- Spread mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top.
Assemble Sticky Buns and Filling:
- After dough is risen, transfer to a lightly floured surface. (I like to use my pastry mat.) Roll dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle.
- In a 1-cup measuring bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and heat another 15 seconds until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Spread mixture evenly over the surface of the rolled out dough.
- Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a log. Cut into 12 even rolls.
- Place the rolls in the pan on top of the pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the risen rolls for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove pan from the oven. Let rolls cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving platter.
- Let cool another 15 minutes before serving.
- Overnight instructions: You can assemble sticky buns the night before. Simply place the rolls in the dish over the pecan topping, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge before the second rise. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before baking.
- Store: Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature up to 2 days.
- Reheat: Leftover rolls can be reheated in the microwave or oven, or eat at room temperature.
- Freeze: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months. Separate rolls after baking and freeze in single layer on baking sheet for 20 minutes. Transfer to freezer bag.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only