Pecan Sticky Buns
These Pecan Sticky Buns are a heavenly blend of fluffy dough, gooey caramel glaze, and toasted pecans. They are the perfect treat to elevate your breakfast or as a dessert to share during the holidays or on special occasions!
If you love a good cinnamon roll, then you’re in for a treat with these delicious sticky buns — only with crunchy pecans and a sweet caramel glaze. For similar treats, try my Homemade Cinnamon Rolls or my Mini Cinnamon Rolls.
Why This Recipe Works
- Gooey caramel glaze. This pecan sticky buns recipe has rich caramel glaze, oozing with buttery goodness, that covers each bun, ensuring a moist and flavorful bite every time.
- Perfect dough texture. The sticky pecan buns dough achieves the ideal balance—soft dough that’s airy and tender—creating the foundation for these buns that melt in your mouth.
- Crunchy pecans. The caramel pecan layer adds a delightful crunch, complementing the sweetness of the caramel and adding to the overall texture.
- Warm Milk: The warm milk will help the yeast bubble, and it will make a moist texture to the sticky bun recipe that you wouldn’t get with warm water.
- Butter: The butter provides a delicious buttery filling for the pecan stick buns.
- Sugar: A bit of granulated sugar to the dough provides a sweet bun flavor. Then the caramel glaze and cinnamon sugar mixture have light brown sugar to provide a sweet and creamy texture.
- Active Dry Yeast: Be sure to let the yeast develop and bubble before adding the flour and salt. This will help the yeasted dough rise easily.
- Bread Flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content than all purpose flour so it will create a better structured dough.
- Light Corn Syrup: This will help the caramel glaze stay soft, sticky and gooey.
- Pecans: Roughly chop the pecans.
- Ground Cinnamon: The cinnamon mixture inside the rolls will provide the perfect flavor.
- Make the sticky bun dough. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup warm milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 2 tsp active dry yeast. Mix lightly. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.
- Add remaining dough ingredients. Add 1 beaten egg and mix. Add 3-4 cups bread flour and 1 tsp salt. Mix with dough hook until the dough clears the sides fo the bowl. Dough should be soft and barely sticky (without leaving lots of residue on your fingers). Knead for 3-4 minutes until soft and smooth.
- Let dough rise. Place dough to a lightly greased bowl and turn over so the top is now lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
- Make the caramel glaze. To the bowl of a stand mixer add 1 cup butter and 1 cup light brown sugar. Beat on high speed using the paddle attachment for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract and beat for 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
- Prepare the pan. Grease a 9×13 inch pan and spread the caramel glaze along the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans.
- Roll the dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 10×16-inch rectangle. Smear 4 tablespoons softened butter on top. Mix 1/2 cup light brown sugar and 2 tsp ground cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle over top the butter. Roll into a tight log (with the long side facing you), spiraling the dough as you roll. Using a sharp knife or string, cut into 12 equal pieces (like cinnamon rolls).
- Place rolled buns in the pan. Place the cut rolls 3 across and 4 down on top of the pecan pieces. Cover and let rise for 1-1.5 hours until the rolls touch.
- Bake the pecan sticky buns. Preheat the oven to 350ºF while the buns are rising. Once preheated, uncover the buns and place in the oven. Bake for 30-38 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Then turn out onto a serving platter. Scoop out any leftover glaze from the pan and drizzle on top of the buns. Let sit for 10-20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Ensure the yeast is activated properly by letting it sit in the warm milk mixture until it becomes bubbly. This step is crucial for the dough’s rise.
While adding flour, monitor the dough’s texture. It should be soft and slightly tacky but not excessively sticky. Adjust flour amounts as needed for the right consistency.
When rolling the dough, keep it taut and even to create uniformly sized buns for even baking.
Allow the dough enough time to rise, ensuring it doubles in size for fluffy, light buns.
I find using unflavored dental floss is the perfect way to get even cuts when slicing the log into rolls.
Don’t wait too long before turning out the sticky buns or else the caramel glaze will get hard and you’ll have a hard time getting them out.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
Make-Ahead: After cutting the rolls and placing them in the pan, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, let them sit at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes before baking.
Storing Instructions: Once baked, store leftover pecan sticky buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. To retain freshness, reheat in the oven before serving.
Freezing Instructions: You can freeze unbaked rolls (before the second rise) tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and foil for up to a month. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator, let them rise, and bake as directed.
Check the yeast’s freshness and ensure it was activated properly in the warm milk mixture.
Yes, you can. Adjust the quantity and skip the activation step. Incorporate the instant yeast directly with the flour.
Ensure the pan is generously greased and that the caramel glaze coats the bottom adequately.
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with walnuts, almonds, or a mix of nuts for a unique flavor profile.
More Pecan Recipes
Pecan Sticky Buns
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup butter - melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg - lightly beaten
- 3-4 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter - softened
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar - packed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the warm milk, melted butter, granulated sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast is bubbly.
- Add the egg and mix to combine. Add the bread flour and salt and mix with the dough hook. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl. Dough should be soft and just slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, until soft and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, turn over. Then cover with plastic wrap until doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
- While the dough rises make the caramel glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or using hand beaters, cream the butter, brown sugar and salt on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the corn syrup, vanilla and beat again for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Grease a 9×13 pan. Spread the fluffy caramel glaze along the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top.
- Roll the dough into a 10×16 inch rectangle. Smear the 4 tablespoons of softened butter over the top. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the butter. Roll the dough up into a log (with the long side facing you), creating a spiral as you roll. Using a serrated knife cut the log into 12 equal pieces.
- Place the rolls in the pan, 3 across 4 down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1-1.5 hours or until rolls are touching and about double in size.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Once preheated, place the pecan rolls in the oven and bake for 30-38 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Cool the rolls in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then remove them by flipping them over onto another pan or serving platter. If there is runoff glaze, scoop it over the rolls using a spatula. Wait 10-20 minutes before serving.