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.
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.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to make them so they turn out perfectly every single time.
Sticky Buns 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 Sticky Buns
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!
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!
Sticky Bun vs Cinnamon Roll
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.
You can keep your sticky buns covered well in plastic wrap or in a covered container for up to days at room temperature.
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!
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.
Sticky Buns Recipe
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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