Sticky Buns

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Sweet, sticky, and loaded with pecans, this Sticky Buns recipe is easier to prepare than you may think. Enjoy warm for breakfast or dessert.

Angled view of a sticky bun

The Best Sticky Buns Recipe

Oh, sticky buns. The cousin of cinnamon rolls and one of those recipes we tend to think is much harder to make than it actually is.

If you’ve fallen into the trap of thinking sticky buns are complicated to make, keep reading. The truth is, they’re not difficult to make at all. Even if you have never worked with yeast before, this sticky buns recipe is a great place to start.

Plus I’ve included an extensive tips section, including how to make them in advance. (Because who wants to wake up super early to prepare these for breakfast?!)

The boys love these for a special weekend breakfast. I enjoy them with a cup of coffee in the afternoon or as dessert.

A pecan sticky bun on a plate

Why You’ll Love These Pecan Sticky Buns

These sticky buns are a family favorite. Here’s why!

  • Sweet, sticky, and loaded with pecans. First and foremost, they have all the best elements of any good sticky buns recipe. They are sweet, thanks to the caramel-like topping, they’re sticky, and they’re topped with lots of pecans.
  • Easier than you think. Sticky buns are not difficult to make. They just require some time, as the dough needs to rise first.
  • Perfect to prep in advance. The best part, though, is that you can do most of the work in advance. See below for my notes on how to make sticky buns in advance.
Close up of pecan sticky buns on a baking sheet

What’s The Difference Between Sticky Buns and Cinnamon Rolls?

The two are similar but not the same! Sticky buns have a sticky, caramel-like topping with nuts, while cinnamon rolls focus on a cinnamon-sugar filling and are often topped with frosting or glaze.

These sticky buns do have a cinnamon sugar filling but it’s not the focus of the recipe, just as some cinnamon rolls are made with pecans.

Monkey bread is another similar recipe, with sticky cinnamon-coated pieces of dough. The big difference there is that monkey bread is a sweet pull-apart bread vs a roll.

Homemade sticky buns ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

One of the best things about this sticky buns recipe is that you probably have all, or at least most, of the ingredients on hand. Scroll down to the recipe card below for the measurements.

For the Dough

  • Whole milk – I recommend whole milk for the dough. You can also use 2% in a pinch.
  • Unsalted butter – Use unsalted butter to control the flavor of the dough.
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Flour – Bread flour is the preferred flour for this recipe, but all-purpose flour will work just as well.
  • Sea salt – Enhances the other flavors.
  • Instant yeast – This recipe utilizes instant yeast and is recommended for making the rolls. Dry active yeast can be used but may cause longer rise times.

For the Topping and Filling

  • Unsalted butter – Melted to combine with the other ingredients in the topping and softened for the filling.
  • Light brown sugar – Used in both the topping and filling.
  • Light corn syrup – Sweetens the topping and provides the sticky sheen as well.
  • Heavy whipping cream – Adds a bit of cream and stabilization to the topping.
  • Pecans – Walnuts work too.
  • Cinnamon – Adds a warm flavor to the filling.

How to Make Sticky Buns

Here’s an overview of how to make sticky buns. Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed instructions.

  • Combine the wet ingredients. Warm the milk and butter over low heat to 110F. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined then slowly whisk in the milk and butter.
  • Make the dough. Add 4 1/2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt to the wet ingredients. Begin mixing with the dough hook on low until a dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes.
  • Rest and knead. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes then knead for an additional 5 minutes. Gradually add more flour if needed, until the dough pulls away from the bowl’s sides.
  • Let rise. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover, and place in a warm spot to rise for 45-60 minutes, until it doubles in size.
  • Make the topping. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat until bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in the whipping cream. Pour into a greased baking pan and sprinkle the pecans evenly over the top.
  • Fill the dough. Punch the dough down, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and roll into an 18-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the butter.
  • Shape the rolls. Roll the dough tightly and cut into 12 equal pieces. Place in a baking pan on top of the pecan mixture.
  • Let rise. Cover the pan with a towel and let rise for 20-45 minutes, until almost double in size.
  • Bake. Bake the rolls for 24-30 minutes, until they reach 190F and golden brown. Check at the 15-minute mark and cover with aluminum foil if needed.
  • Flip and enjoy. Let the sticky buns cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip onto a platter so the sticky pecan topping is face up. Enjoy warm.
Pecan sticky buns on a baking sheet

Can These Be Prepared in Advance?

Fresh sticky buns make an incredible breakfast but if you don’t feel like waking up early to prep them…no worries! You can prepare them in advance.

To prep them ahead, assemble the buns until just before slicing and placing them in the pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, take the chilled buns from the refrigerator and allow them to rise on the counter for 1 – 2 hours. Then proceed with baking them in the oven as normal.

A fork cutting into a sticky bun on a plate

Tips for Success

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when preparing these pecan sticky buns.

  • Use only heavy cream. The heavy cream in the topping mixture is the key to keeping the topping soft and gooey. This is similar to when making homemade caramel sauce, so it is important to include it in the topping and should not be substituted for milk.
  • I recommend lightly covering the buns with foil after 15 – 20 minutes of baking. This helps the rolls to not get too brown on the bottom.
  • The amount of pecans can be adjusted. In the photos, I used only ¾ of a cup to see the beautiful swirls and sticky topping. But you can add up to 2 cups if more pecans are desired
  • When flipping the sticky buns, I recommend lining a pan or platter with parchment paper. The buns are…well…sticky! Flipping them on to parchment paper ensures clean up is a breeze.

Proper Storage

Sticky buns are best served the same day. However, if needed, you can store them in an airtight container overnight.

If served the next day, I recommend reheating in the microwave for 15 -20 seconds.

More Sweet Breakfast Ideas

Sticky Buns feature
No ratings yet

Sticky Buns

Sweet, sticky, and loaded with pecans, this Sticky Buns recipe is easier to prepare than you may think. Enjoy warm for breakfast or dessert.
Servings: 12 buns
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Rise Time: 2 hours
Total: 3 hours



  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 – 4 3/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup – 2 cups chopped pecans



Dough Preparation:

  • Warm Milk and Butter: In a small pan over low heat, combine milk and butter. Warm the mixture to around 110¬∞F, being cautious not to overheat.
  • Prepare Wet Ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined.
  • Combine Wet Ingredients: Gradually add the warmed milk-butter mixture to the bowl and whisk until fully combined.
  • Begin Dough: Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. On top of the wet mixture, add 4 1/2 cups of bread flour, instant yeast, and salt (keep yeast separate from salt).
  • Mix and Knead: Start mixing on low speed using the dough hook until the dough forms. Knead for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  • Rest and Knead Again: Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes to strengthen the gluten. Resume kneading for another 5 minutes. If the dough is overly wet, gradually add some of the remaining 1/4 cup of flour until it becomes slightly sticky but pulls away from the bowl’s sides. It’s okay if it’s a bit sticky at the bottom.

First Dough Rise:

  • Let it Rise: Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm spot to rise. Typically, it takes 45 – 60 minutes for the dough to double in size. Keep an eye on it due to variations in kitchen temperature.

Topping Preparation:

  • Prepare Topping: While the dough rises, in a small pot over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Cook until the mixture starts bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in heavy whipping cream. Pour this mixture into a greased 9×13 baking pan and sprinkle pecans evenly over it.

Dough Assembly and Second Rise:

  • Prepare Dough for Filling: Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and transfer it to a floured surface. Roll it out into an 18-inch rectangle.
  • Fill the Dough: Spread softened butter over the entire surface of the dough. In a separate small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Evenly spread this mixture over the buttered dough.
  • Shape the Rolls: Roll up the dough tightly and cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. Place these pieces in the prepared baking pan on top of the pecan and filling mixture.
  • Second Rise: Cover the pan with a towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise again until nearly double in size, approximately 20 – 45 minutes, depending on the room’s warmth.

Baking and Serving:

  • Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350¬∞F while the dough rises.
  • Bake the Rolls: Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 24 – 30 minutes. Check at the 15-minute mark and cover with foil if they’re browning too quickly. The rolls are ready when their internal temperature reaches 190¬∞F.
  • Cool and Serve: Once baked, remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.
  • Flip and Serve: Carefully flip the rolls onto a platter or larger baking sheet, allowing the sticky side to face up. To ease cleanup, consider lining the serving surface with parchment paper.

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.


Calories: 642kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 699IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg


Leave a Review!

We LOVE hearing from you! Submit your question or comment here.

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:

I accept the Privacy Policy