These Sticky Buns are the epitome of comforting breakfast recipes that will transport you to simpler times. The warm flaky dough is caressed in a gooey caramel sauce, giving you that melt-in-your-mouth goodness in every bite.
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Ah, the iconic Sticky Bun, the sweet cousin of cinnamon rolls and other sweet dessert breakfasts. We're suckers for dessert for breakfast, from Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls to the Ultimate Cinnamon Buns and even these Copycat Cinnabon Rolls. As you can probably tell, we have a bit of a sweet tooth. That's why we're bringing you these easy Sticky Buns so you can add them to your already growing list of sweet breakfast recipes. These classic Sticky Buns are everything you could want in a breakfast-for-dessert option – fluffy dough, spicy filling, and a decadent caramel sauce sprinkled with pecans.
What Are Pecan Sticky Buns
Originating in the 18th century when Germans began settling in Pennsylvania, the Sticky Bun is easily recognized as one of America's favorite breakfast foods, like these Quick Maple Cinnamon Rolls and this Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. Sticky Buns are very similar to Hot Cross Buns and cinnamon rolls in the sense that they contain a yeast dough that needs to rise to obtain fluffy, pillowy rolls. Typical Sticky Buns also contain pecans, so if you're into that, then you'll love this recipe and these Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls.
Why you'll love this recipe
Imagine the cozy scent of cinnamon and sugar filling your kitchen – it makes you feel all warm and happy inside. Sharing these buns with friends and family is a great way to make moments like lazy weekends or special days even better. Plus, the sweet, sticky caramel glaze and crunchy pecans is what breakfast dreams are made of!
For the Dough:
- Unsalted butter
- Warm water
- Instant yeast
- Vanilla extract
- Large egg
- Egg yolks
- All-Purpose Flour
For the Caramel Sauce:
- Heavy cream
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Corn syrup
- Whole pecans
For the Filling:
- Packed light brown sugar
- Ground cardamom
- Ground cinnamon
How to Make This Sticky Bun Recipe
Preparing the Dough
Warm the milk and butter together in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Set it aside. Then, in the bowl of your stand, mixer with the paddle attachment, mix water, yeast, vanilla, sugar, egg, and egg yolks. Add salt and the warm milk mixture, mixing until just combined.
Next, incorporate 2 cups of flour, blending for about a minute at medium speed. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add another 2 cups of flour. Knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticking. If needed, add up to ¼ cup additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to bring the dough together. Then, form the dough into a ball on a clean, lightly floured surface. Place the dough ball in a large bowl with a thin oil coating, cover it, and let it rise in a warm place for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
Making the Caramel Sauce
Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and water (pour sugar in the center to avoid touching the sides). Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, uncover and continue boiling until it turns into a thick, straw-colored syrup (around 7 minutes). Reduce heat to medium, continuing to cook until it smokes and turns golden (1 to 2 minutes longer).
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, bring butter, cream, vanilla, salt, and corn syrup to a simmer. As soon as the sugar reaches 350 degrees F, remove from heat and carefully add a quarter of the cream mixture. It will bubble. Once it subsides, add the remaining cream and whisk until smooth. While hot, pour the caramel sauce into the prepared baking dish, then sprinkle pecans evenly over the sauce.
Filling and Shaping the Rolls
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and place it on a floured surface. Then, roll dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Mix filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving a border. Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll the dough tightly. Seal the edge with water. Next, place the roll seam side down and cut it into 12 pieces. Put them cut side up in the caramel-filled baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
Baking and Serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the buns have risen, bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the center reaches 185-188 degrees F. Then, cool the pan for 5 minutes before flipping the buns onto a serving dish (brace for caramel mess). Scrape any remaining caramel and spoon over the buns. Finally, let the buns cool for 10 minutes before enjoying the deliciousness.
What to Serve With Sticky Buns
Expert Recipe Tip
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough instead of your hands. It makes the rolling process much easier, and the dough is more uniform!
Leftovers and Reheating
Store leftover sticky buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. After 2 days, place in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze your sticky buns for 2-3 months.
Before reheating your sticky buns, make sure they're at room temperature. Then, heat them up in the microwave for at least 10 seconds or longer, depending on how hot you want them.
Yes! Prepare the sticky buns as directed in the recipe and place the prepared buns in the fridge. Then, pull out the buns the next morning and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. While the buns warm up, turn on the oven to 350 and bake as directed.
Yes! Prepare the buns up to the point of baking, rise time, and everything else. Then, when you're ready to bake the rolls, place them in the fridge to allow them to thaw overnight. Once the rolls have thawed in the fridge, let them come to room temperature and bake as directed.
More Sweet Breakfast Recipes
This homemade Sticky Buns recipe is the best way to up your breakfast game. With every bite, the soft and flavorful dough, rich caramel sauce, and delightful filling combine to create the perfect caramel pecan rolls. Whether it's a lazy weekend breakfast or a special occasion, these treats remind us of the simple pleasures in life. If you try this recipe, please rate the recipe card and let us know if you liked this recipe!
For the dough:
- ½ cup milk
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 envelope - 2 ¼ teas instant yeast
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg - plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 - 4 ½ cups flour - plus more for dusting
For the caramel sauce:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoon corn syrup
- 3 cups whole pecans - lightly toasted and chopped
For the filling:
- 4 tablespoon butter - cut into ¼" pieces
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the dough:
- Heat the milk and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat until butter has just melted. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the water, yeast, vanilla, sugar, egg, and egg yolks. Add the salt and the warm milk mixture and mix until just combined.
- Add 2 cups of the flour and combine, 1 minute at medium speed.
- Switch to the dough hook and and add another 2 cups of flour and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and is not sticking to the sides, about 10 minutes. Add additional flour, up to ¼ cup, 1 tbs at a time if needed to bring the dough together.
- On a clean lightly floured work surface, form the dough into a ball.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let ride in a warm draft free area for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Butter a 9 x 13" baking dish.
Make the caramel sauce:
- Combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan (pour the sugar into the center to avoid it touching the sides). Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until it has become a thick and straw colored syrup, about 7 minutes (300 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
- Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture begins to smoke and has turned golden in color, 1 to 2 minutes longer (350 degrees).
- Meanwhile, bring the butter, cream, vanilla, salt, and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan over high heat. Don't let the cream mixture reach a simmer and cook before the syrup has reached it's proper stage.
- As soon as the sugar has reached its 350 degree mark, remove it from the heat and carefully pour a quarter of the cream mixture into it. It's going to bubble like crazy. When that subsides, add the remaining cream and whisk until smooth.
- While still hot, pour the caramel sauce into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the pecans over the sauce in an even layer. Don't get all brave and stick your finger in. You will regret that. Set aside.
Filling the rolls:
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a clean lightly floured work surface.
- Roll out the dough into a 16" by 12" rectangle.
- Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the dough, giving yourself a slight border on the finished end.
- Beginning with the long end closest to you, tightly roll the dough. Lightly moisten the edge with water and pinch shut.
- Place seam side down and cut the roll into 12 even pieces. Place cut side up in that caramel filled baking dish you have on stand by.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free spot for 1 to 1 ½ hours longer, until the buns have doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- When the buns have risen, bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center reads 185 - 188 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Cool pan for 5 minutes before taking on the challenge of finding a dish big enough to flip these out onto. 😉
- Carefully, using both hands, flip the buns on to a serving dish. Caramel is going to go every where. Scrape out any remaining caramel and spoon over buns.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving warm. Worth it.
Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.
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