Sticky, cinnamon-y, and sweet, these Homemade Pecan Sticky Buns are a tried and true breakfast treat that are impossible to resist! Enjoy for brunch or with a cup of coffee in the evening for rich, gooey, deliciousness everyone loves.
The Best Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns
Sticky, cinnamon-y, deliciousness! These Pecan Sticky Buns are all the things good sticky buns should be and when enjoyed warm from the oven, they are absolutely irresistible.
Sticky buns do begin with a yeast dough but don’t worry if you’ve never worked much with yeast. I’ve included a few tips below to help you and this recipe is pretty simple overall. One thing to keep in mind before beginning is that the dough does need to rise twice for an hour to an hour and a half each time, so you want to begin several hours before you plan on enjoying these. (Or see the make ahead instructions below!)
What Are Sticky Buns?
Sticky buns are a close cousin to cinnamon rolls. In fact, both are made from the same dough. However, sticky buns are…well, stickier! They’re made with a sweet, sugary, and sticky topping. And while they are also usually made with cinnamon, they typically include pecans in the topping as well.
Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you – this recipe is separated into 3 parts but many ingredients are repeated.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
For the Dough:
- Milk – I used whole milk but 2% would also work.
- Instant dry yeast – Make sure your yeast is fresh to ensure it’ll work properly.
- All-purpose flour – Spooned and leveled for accurate measuring.
- Granulated sugar – For sweetness.
- Pinch of salt – Heightens the other flavors.
- Butter – Since we’re adding salt, I used unsalted butter.
- Egg – This gives the dough structure.
- Vanilla – For flavor.
The Pecan Topping:
- Unsalted butter – Softened to room temp.
- Brown sugar – Helps created the lovely caramelized sauce.
- Honey – Helps create the stickiness in the buns.
- Cornstarch – Thickens the topping.
- Sea salt
- Chopped pecans
For the Filling:
- Sugars – Equal parts granulated sugar and light brown sugar are used in the filling.
- Cinnamon – For that lovely warm flavor.
- Unsalted butter – Softened to room temp.
How to Make Pecan Sticky Buns
Making sticky buns is not difficult but it does require a good chunk of time, as the dough needs to rise twice.
(Scroll down to the printable recipe card for details and measurements, and don’t miss the video below.)
- Prepare the yeast. Heat the milk to 100F (but no more than 110F) over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, whisk in the yeast, and add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, until bubbly.
- Knead the dough. Add 4 cups of flour, the rest of the sugar, and salt to a stand mixer. Stir to combine. Add the yeast, cooled butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine then turn to medium-high speed. Knead the dough for 6 minutes.
- Let the dough rise. Spray a bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Add the dough to the bowl and spray the top with more spray. Cover with plastic and place in a warm place until it doubles in size.
- Make the topping. Whip the butter until smooth. Add in the brown sugar, then the honey, cornstarch, and sea salt. Mix until smooth. Spread in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with pecans.
- Make the filling. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.
- Form the buns. Punch the dough down on a floured work surface. Knead into a ball then roll into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Top with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch rim around the edges. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Tightly roll the long side over into a roll to form an 18-inch log. Cut into 12 even pieces.
- Let the buns rise. Place the buns on top of the topping mixture in the baking dish. Cover with plastic. Allow to rise until the rolls have doubled.
- Bake. Bake the rolls for 27 to 32 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Enjoy. Let cool for 10 minutes, then very carefully invert onto a serving platter. Enjoy immediately.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for making the best pecan sticky buns.
- Make sure the yeast is good. If your yeast does not bubble up in the first step, toss it and start again. If the yeast isn’t good, the dough won’t rise.
- Do not overheat the milk. The milk should be heated to just 100F. Avoid going over 110F as milk that is too hot can kill the yeast.
- Add more flour if needed. If after a few minutes of kneading, the dough is still sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl, you can add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it pulls away. It’s okay if it sticks to the bottom of the bowl.
Pecan sticky buns serve a dual purpose as both breakfast and dessert. They’re perfect for Sunday brunch, next to some savory scrambled eggs and bacon or our homemade homemade breakfast sausage or enjoy one on its own as a sweet morning treat. They’re also great served with a cup of coffee anytime or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Video: Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe
- Can These Be Made in Advance? Yes, pecan sticky buns can be made the night before. Prepare the rolls to the point where you lay the slices on top of the topping mixture in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, but instead of letting the dough rise the second time, immediately place the covered dish into the fridge. In the morning, take the dish out of the fridge and place on the counter for 2-3 hours until the rolls have doubled in size, and continue on with the additional steps.
- Storing leftovers. Leftover sticky buns can be kept, covered, on the counter for up to 3 days. But keep in mind, the sooner you eat them, the better. I always like to pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up first.
- Can Sticky Buns be Frozen? Yes, you can freeze baked pecan sticky buns. After baking, allow them to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then again in foil to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter and then reheat the sticky buns in the microwave or pop them back in the oven to warm through.
Similar Breakfast Ideas:
Pecan Sticky Buns
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 ounce instant dry yeast (1 packet)
- 4 to 4 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted and cooled
- 3 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE PECAN TOPPING:
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 2 cups light brown sugar , packed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 cups chopped pecans
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar , packed
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , very soft
- Place the milk in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the milk to around 100°F (but no more than 110°F.) Take off the heat, whisk in the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until bubbly.
- In the body of a stand mixer, add 4 cups of the flour, the rest of the sugar, and the salt. Using the dough attachment, stir it together until combined. Once the yeast has bloomed, add it to the mixing bowl along with the cooled butter, eggs, and vanilla.Start mixing everything together at low speed. Once combined, turn the mixer on to medium-high speed and knead the dough for 6 minutes. If your dough is sticking to the sides, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough pulls away (if it is sticking to the bottom of the bowl, that is okay.)
- Spray a separate large bowl with neutral flavored cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, and spray the top with cooking spray. Cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and set in a warm place in your house. Allow the dough to rise to double the size, about 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
- While the dough is rising, make the topping by placing the butter in a large bowl and whipping it until smooth with an electric hand mixer. Add the brown sugar and mix until smooth. Add the honey, cornstarch, and sea salt, mixing until smooth. Spread this mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the pecans, set aside.
- Make the filling by placing the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine. Set aside.
- Generously flour a clean work surface. Punch down the dough and lay it out on the work surface. Knead it a few times to form it into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into an 18×12 inch rectangle.Top the dough with the soft butter all over, leaving about a 1/2-inch rim all around the edges. Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the butter.Tightly roll the long side over into a roll so you have an 18-inch long log. Cut it into 12 even pieces, about 1 & 1/2 inches thick.Lay the slices cut side up on top of the topping mixture in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again until doubled, about t to 1 & 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the rolls have doubled, bake for 27-32 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Let the dish cool on the counter for about 10 minutes. Very carefully invert the pan onto a serving platter. Serve immediately.