These pecan sticky buns are a simplified homemade version that anyone can enjoy making from scratch at home. With just a few steps, you can get a full pan of the perfectly gooey, pecan-topped rolls you crave.
Perfectly Gooey Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe from Scratch
This sticky buns recipe is one of my favorites and I’m excited to share it with all of you. Featuring a flaky and soft yeast dough nestled beneath the sticky goodness, these rolls are fantastic. Whether you serve these rolls up for breakfast or dessert, they’ll always be a huge hit.
What are sticky buns?
Sticky buns are similar to cinnamon rolls, but include a sticky, caramel and pecan glaze. They are also turned upside down when done so the sticky glaze is on top of the buns.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to make them so they turn out perfectly every single time.
Sticky Bun Recipe Ingredients
For the dough you will need:
- All-Purpose Flour
- Granulated Sugar
- Melted Butter
For the filling, you will need:
- Brown Sugar
- Softened Butter
For the sticky topping you will need:
- Brown Sugar
- Heavy Cream
- Vanilla Extract
- Chopped Pecans
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How to make Old Fashioned Sticky Buns with Pecans
Make the Topping
- In a pot on the stove, melt together the brown sugar, butter, honey, and salt until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add in the cream and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Pour about ¾ of the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Reserve remaining goo for later.
Make the Dough
- In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups of flour with the rest of the dry ingredients. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture.
- Add the egg, butter, milk, and water to the well. Mix the dough until combined.
- Add in the remaining cup of flour and mix again.
- Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it comes together and is smooth. This should take about 6-8 minutes by hand or about 4 minutes with a stand mixer.
- In a bowl combine the filling’s brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Roll your dough out into a rectangle that is about ¼ of an inch thick.
- Spread the softened butter evenly over the top of the dough.
- Sprinkle your cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough and spread it out evenly. Press lightly to help it adhere.
- Roll the rectangle dough into a log starting with one long side and rolling towards the other.
- Cut the log into 15 equal-sized pieces. This is most easily done by cutting it into 3 pieces and then cutting each piece into 5.
- Place the cut rolls into the 9×13 baking dish, right on top of the gooey sugar mixture. Make sure that your rolls are evenly spaced.
- Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow to rest until doubled in size. This is about 45 minutes.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove the pan from the oven and turn it upside down over a cutting board. The goo that was on the bottom of the pan will now be on top.
- Combine the remaining goo you set aside with the chopped pecans and spread evenly over the top of the rolls.
- Serve and enjoy!
Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe Tips
- What type of yeast to use. I like to use instant yeast because it’s stronger than active dry yeast and doesn’t have to be bloomed as dry yeast does. Using either kind won’t make much of a difference in this recipe so go ahead and use what you have on hand.
- The size of the pan matters! I highly recommend that you only attempt this recipe with a 9×13 baking dish. This will help to prevent the goo from rising up and leaking out of the pan creating a large sticky mess on the baking dish and in your oven. These rolls will rise and puff up as they bake so they need the larger pan to accommodate all of that.
I added an extra step at the end of this recipe. It’s worth it! I like to add the pecans at the end because they stay more crispy and then you can drizzle even more goo over the top!
How to serve Pecan Sticky Buns
Pecan sticky buns can be served warm or at room temperature. They are great for breakfast, dessert, or a midday snack! Eat them with milk or coffee, you can’t go wrong.
How to store sticky buns:
You can keep your sticky buns covered well in plastic wrap or in a covered container for up to days at room temperature.
Do sticky buns need to be refrigerated?
No, sticky buns do not need to be refrigerated. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Can you freeze sticky buns?
You can keep your rolls stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Simply take them out of the freezer and pop them into the fridge the night before you want to serve.
Then in the morning, grab the pan and place it on the counter to come to room temp as the oven preheats. Bake as directed or reheat if already cooked through. Enjoy!
How to reheat sticky buns:
A nice trick for reheating your rolls without them becoming dried out is to place a roll onto a microwave-safe plate and then add a small dollop or pad of butter on top.
Reheat in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute and enjoy! The butter helps to add moisture back to the topping and keeps your roll moist and delicious.
Pecan Sticky Bun Recipe FAQs
Old fashioned sticky buns have been a popular treat for breakfast and dessert for years. Often served around the holidays. Thick rolls filled with a cinnamon swirl and topped with sticky soft caramel and pecans are what makes this recipe different from their cinnamon roll cousins.
While both recipes may start off as yeast bread rolled thin and spread with a cinnamon filling, it’s the assembly portion that separates these two recipes and makes them both unique.
Cinnamon rolls are baked and then topped with frosting or icing whereas pecan sticky buns are nestled in a pan layered with sugar and nuts so that after being baked they can be flipped upside down to reveal the sticky goodness on top.
Sticky buns are also called pecan sticky buns or caramel rolls.
Kind of. Honey buns are the brand name of a Little Debbie cinnamon roll-like pastry. Homemade honey buns recipes resemble sticky buns more than cinnamon rolls.
Most likely they were over baked or not stored properly. Bake them until the internal temperature of the middle roll reaches 200ºF. This ensures they are done but not overcooked. Store them in an airtight container.
In the US, sticky buns resemble schnecken, a dessert from Germany. German-American’s popularized the recipe in Pennsylvania and it has morphed into the sticky buns recipe we know today.
When preparing sticky buns, there is a caramel sauce that is made and spread in the bottom of the baking pan. When the sticky buns are finished baking, they are turned over so that the sticky sauce is on the top.
Sticky Buns Recipe from Scratch
For the Buns
- 4 cups flour all purpose
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup water
Filling for the Buns
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened
Sticky Bun Goo and Topping
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 9 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans chopped
For the Goo and Topping
- Melt brown sugar, butter, honey, and salt together until sugar is dissolved.
- Add cream and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Pour 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Save remaining goo for later.
For the Buns
- Mix 3 cups of the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients together in large bowl and create a well in the center.
- Add the egg, butter, milk, and water to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Add the remaining cup of flour and mix until combined.
- Cover and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.
- On a floured surface, turn out the dough and knead until it comes together and is smooth, about 6-8 minutes by hand or 4 minutes in a stand mixer.
To Assemble the Buns
- Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Roll out dough into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread softened butter evenly over the top of the dough.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the dough and spread it out evenly. Press lightly to adhere to the cinnamon sugar mixture to the butter.
- Roll the rectangle up tightly (you will be rolling the long side) so that you have a long rolled log.
- Cut the log into 15 even rolls. This is most easily done by dividing the dough into 3 pieces and then each of the 3 pieces into 5 pieces.
- Place the cut buns in the 9×13 pan into the goo, evenly spaced in the pan.
- Cover rolls and let rest until doubled about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from oven and turn out onto a cutting board. The goo that was on the bottom will now be on top.
- Combine remaining goo and pecans. Spread evenly over the top of the buns.
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Tina bassett says
To be sure I understand correctly, I can make them, refrigerate overnight, and then bake the next morning, right?
Yes, that is correct.
Just made these they smell fantastic!!!!
So happy to hear that!
I don’t have a lot of experience doing breads but I’ve never seen a recipe that doesn’t require proofing the yeast either within the flour/dry ingredients or in the liquid added to flour mixture. How does that work? Thank you for your help and understanding 🦋
Hi Sharon! I use instant yeast which doesn’t need to be bloomed like active dry yeast. I’ve added a note to the recipe card with further clarification. I hope that helps! For even more details on yeast, you can read this post about Different Types of Baker’s Yeast.
How do you recommend making ahead??
You can make these the night before and then turn them out the next day!
Is the milk and water at room temperature when adding to the dry ingredients ?
Hi Mary! Yes, room temp or slightly warm is fine.
How would you reccomend freezing? Do I make the gooey topping and add later?
Hi Kelly, Yes that is what I would recommend. I’d make the actual buns, flash freeze, and then transfer to a zipper bag. Then when you ready to bake you can make the topping.
These are amazing. So delicious.
So glad you like them!
Do you proof the yeast or just put into dry ingredient mixture?
I don’t proof the yeast, I just add it to the dry mixture.
So gooey and delicious!
Not sure when you say cream as ingredient, what kind of Cream do I need? Trying to get ingredients together to make this recipe sticky buns. Than you
Hi Jenny! Heavy cream is what I use.
Made these this morning. Amaaaaaaaaaazing. And amazingly addictive.
So glad you liked them, Andrea!!