Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

This caramel pecan sticking buns recipe is pure baking heaven. Made with a filling dough, buttery filling, and topped with a salted caramel glaze and pecan topping, there aren’t many buns as delectable as these. Here’s how to make sticky buns from scratch.

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

Have you ever wanted to make a delicious, decadent dessert that is easy enough for anyone to do? The caramel pecan sticky buns recipe does just that. In this blog post, we will discuss how to create the dough, what ingredients are needed and how long it takes to bake these scrumptious treats. Enjoy!

The moist, tender dough is studded with pecans and brown sugar. Delicate folds are made in the dough and then it’s rolled up jelly-roll style, which helps create a light and airy texture that contrasts wonderfully with the sticky glaze.

caramel pecan sticky buns recipe

Whether you are looking for a decadent weekend breakfast or a sweet pick-me-up with your coffee at any time of day, you can’t go wrong with caramel pecan sticky buns. The cinnamon roll’s more indulgent cousin, these buns are topped with a salted caramel sauce and crunchy pecans.

Making caramel pecan sticky buns is not that difficult but guarantees excellent results. Just make an enriched yeasted dough, fill with cinnamon sugar, and bake on top of a caramel-pecan base. When inverted, the caramel drips all over the rolls, creating an indulgent glazed topping.

You can make these sticky buns ahead of time by prepping the buns the night before and putting them in the fridge overnight. The buns also store well for a few days in the fridge and up to several months in the freezer. Thanks to an adaptable recipe such as this one, you can have delicious, indulgent sticky buns whenever you want! 

caramel pecan sticky buns recipe

Are you looking to switch up your breakfast or dessert repertoire? Caramel pecan sticky buns are hearty, delicious treats that will leave everyone clamoring for more. Here is everything that you need to know about them.

Cinnamon Rolls vs. Sticky Buns

The main difference between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun is the topping. Cinnamon rolls are glazed with cream cheese or icing. Meanwhile, sticky buns have an inverted topping of caramel and nuts. The buns bake on top of caramel and nuts, then get flipped once they come out of the oven so that the caramel tops them.

There are many similarities between cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, so it is easy to get confused. Both have a yeast dough and cinnamon filling. The technique is the same—both coil the dough around the filling, forming spiral rolls. However, by looking at the topping you will easily be able to tell these two apart.

Making the Dough

First, gather your ingredients. You will need milk or buttermilk, active dry yeast, granulated sugar, softened unsalted butter, eggs, salt, all-purpose flour, and vanilla extract.

Next, activate the yeast. Combine the yeast, warm milk, and a tablespoon of sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Wait until the yeast starts foaming. This wakes up the yeast and should also help you tell if your yeast is too old before you accidentally ruin a whole batch. 

Then, combine all of the ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix until it forms a cohesive dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball.

Add the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel, and let it rise for one to two hours.

Making the Cinnamon Sugar Topping

While the dough is rising, make the cinnamon sugar topping. You will need brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl, then set it aside.

Filling the Buns 

Once your dough has risen, you can start filling the buns.

Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it forms a rectangle about 12×18 inches.

Using a pastry brush, brush melted butter over the top of the rolled-out dough. This helps the cinnamon mixture stick to it evenly.

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top. Be sure to distribute it evenly so that every bite of the sticky rolls has the perfect amount of filling.

Starting at one long end, carefully roll the dough so that it forms a spiraled log. When you finish rolling, pinch the ends of the dough together so that it does not fall apart. 

Cut the rolled-up dough into 12 pieces. These will be your individual rolls.

Making the Salted Caramel

To make salted caramel, you will need butter, brown sugar, salt, and heavy cream or milk.

In a saucepan, heat the butter and brown sugar. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture begins to bubble. Add the salt and milk, stirring until you get a creamy, brown sauce.

If it appears too thin, you can thicken caramel sauce by leaving to simmer on the stove over low heat for ten minutes.

Assembling the Buns

The first step in assembly is to prepare the baking tin. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

Then, sprinkle a layer of pecans over the bottom of the tray. Pour the caramel over the pecans.

Place the rolls on top of the pecan-caramel base, spiral side facing down. Cover the tray with the rolls and let it rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Once the rolls have risen, bake the buns for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown.

Making the Glaze

caramel pecan sticky buns recipe

The caramel-pecan glaze forms itself while the rolls are in the oven. Once the rolls are done baking, let them cool for a few minutes.

When the rolls are cooled, flip them over onto a plate or tray. The sticky caramel should now be on top.

Gather any excess caramel or pecans with a spoon and pour it over the rolls, creating the glaze. 

How to Store Leftover Caramel Sticky Buns

Caramel sticky buns are so delicious that you’ll probably have to fight off grabbing hands the second that they come out of the oven. However, the buns are pretty filling so you may find yourself stuffed after just one! Luckily, caramel sticky buns can be stored for several days.

Once the buns are cool, put them in an airtight container. You can keep them at room temperature for easy-access snacking or pop them in the fridge. At room temperature, they can stay for up to three days. In the fridge, they can last as long as five days.

If you don’t have an airtight container, a plate covered in foil or cling film also works for storing leftover caramel sticky buns. However, an airtight container works best because it protects them from getting stale. You want your sticky buns to be moist no matter when you eat them.

Can Caramel Sticky Buns Be Frozen?

Do you want to have sticky buns at any time, even when you’re not in the mood to spend several hours baking them? You can keep caramel sticky buns in the freezer for several months. Once they are baked, they last a long time as long as they are stored properly. 

Before putting sticky buns in the freezer, wrap them in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Be sure to squeeze out excess air from the wrapping as trapped air can make them go stale (for extra security, some people put the sticky buns in an airtight container). 

You can also wrap the buns individually for packed lunches or breakfasts on the go.

Just be sure to thaw the sticky buns before reheating and eating them. You can thaw them in your fridge, on the counter, or using the thaw setting on a microwave. 

Can I Make Sticky Buns Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make sticky buns ahead of time. That means that you can have these for breakfast without needing to get up very early. 

To make sticky buns ahead of time, make the dough, caramel, and filling the night before. Assemble the buns on a tray as if you were preparing them for a second rise, then cover them. Once they are covered, you can put them in the refrigerator.

The prepared but raw buns can stay in the refrigerator overnight. They will rise just as they would if they were left out at room temperature, just slower. Once you wake up, you can just preheat the oven and pop them in to bake.

Can You Substitute Walnuts for Pecans in Sticky Buns?

One of the best things about sticky buns is their versatility. You can adjust the ingredients according to your tastes and preferences.

Walnuts are another common topping for sticky buns. If you don’t have pecans on hand or just don’t like them, simply add walnuts to the caramel sauce and baking tray base. 

Other flavor variations include adding maple syrup to the caramel topping, adding fruits such as strawberries, adulting up the recipe by adding rum, and swapping out the pecans for other nuts. Once you have the basics of the recipe down, feel free to play around with it until you find a combination that you love. 

How Do You Reheat Sticky Buns? 

You can enjoy sticky buns at room temperature, but they are best when they’re warm and a little gooey. 

You can reheat sticky buns that have been in the fridge or on the countertop in a microwave for a few seconds. This will heat them a little and freshen up the taste.

You can also reheat the buns in the oven. Cover the buns and pop them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes to replicate that gooey texture.

If you are reheating buns that were in the freezer, be sure that they’ve thawed completely before putting them in a microwave or oven. 

Should I Stir When Making Caramel?

The number one mistake most home bakers make when making caramel for the first time is stirring the caramel when it is on the stovetop. The instinct is sound—after all, you don’t want the sugar and butter to stick to the pan. However, stirring the caramel causes the sugar to agitate and form crystals. This leads to gritty, clumpy caramel instead of the smooth sauce you’re looking for.

It can be difficult to just watch your caramel for minutes on end and not do anything, but you have to be patient. What you can do is gently swirl the entire pan from time to time. This prevents the sugar from sticking and ensures that it melts easily.

This advice only applies for the first step of making caramel, when you are melting sugar on the stovetop. Later, when you add the cream, you should stir the caramel to incorporate the liquid smoothly and evenly.

How to Fix Gooey or Gritty Caramel

One of the most difficult things to perfect when making caramel is the sauce’s texture. Gritty, grainy caramel is all too common—but that means plenty of others have experienced it before and know how to fix it.
As soon as you notice crystals forming, add a few drops of water, return the caramel to the heat, and gently stir until the crystals dissolve. You can also use corn syrup instead of water.

If you frequently struggle with grainy or gooey caramel, adding an acidic ingredient such as cream of tartar or lemon juice will prevent sugar crystals from forming. Inhibitors such as acidic ingredients should only be added in small amounts to avoid affecting the final taste of the caramel. Some people consider adding extra ingredients cheating, but if the end result is smooth caramel, who cares?

caramel pecan sticky buns recipe

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

This caramel pecan sticking buns recipe is pure baking heaven. Made with a filling dough, buttery filling, and topped with a salted caramel glaze and pecan topping, there aren’t many buns as delectable as these.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Dough Proofing/Rising 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people



  • 2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt


  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter

Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup pecans toasted
  • 1 tbsp rum optional


  • In a large bowl, combine active dry yeast, granulated sugar, milk, and water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until mixture is foamy with bubbles on surface.
  • Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together in a stand mixer. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl until the dough comes together. If it needs more glue, add some additional flour to bind it.
  • Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and let rise for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
  • Coat two cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine ½ cup butter and 1 cup dark brown sugar for the caramel sauce. Cook until the sugar in the butter has dissolved. Combine iced heavy cream and kosher salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Combine sugar and butter in saucepan. Cook without stirring until mixture turns golden brown, about 8 minutes. Do not stir while cooking. Divide mixture equally into cake pans. Sprinkle pecans evenly on top of caramel sauce
  • Divide dough in two and roll out each section into rectangles with a length of 14 inches and width of 6 inches.
  • Brown sugar and cinnamon are combined to produce the filling. Brush each rectangle with melted butter and then sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mix. Roll each rectangle into a tight tube, beginning with the longer side. Cut the tube into nine pieces of similar size. Place the rolls in the prepared cake pans and let them rise for about 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake until browned and baked through, 25 to 30 minutes. The caramel will be bubbling when you take the sticky buns out of the oven.
  • Immediately serve onto plates, being careful as the sauce will be hot to the touch. Serve warm.


After arranging in their baking dish and wrapping in plastic, the buns can be assembled the night before and stored in the refrigerator. Allow the buns to rise at room temperature for 2 hours before baking as recommended the next day.