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Sticky Buns with Pecans Recipe

8 Reviews

Some buns you want sticky and other buns you don’t. These pecan sticky buns are best warm and dripping with sticky caramel-y glaze.

A photo of a sticky bun taking from above covered in a caramel glaze and chopped pecans.

Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe

The stickier the better! I’ve always seen pictures of sticky buns loaded with pecans, but only recently did I start looking for the best recipe. We have my Mom’s Sticky Buns recipe, which is a quick and easy version minus the nuts and totally nothing like this recipe. But what about a classic pecan sticky buns recipe?

Now we come to the kind of buns you don’t want sticky! Such a funny story too. When the perfect recipe for sticky buns was finally created, I put a warm, gooey roll on a plate for everyone to start sampling. I said to our little guy, “Do you want to try sticky buns?”

That darling little three-year-old dropped his jaw and said, “like these buns?!!!!!!” shaking his little booty in the most awkward dance ever. And he was so serious!! How could his mother be asking if he wanted sticky buns?!!!

Ah, to be little again!

Now, you may be wondering if sticky buns are just glorified cinnamon rolls, but they’re actually two distinct foods. Sticky buns are placed in a baking dish that has been coated with a caramel glaze and toasted pecans. Once the baking is complete, the buns are flipped over so that the caramel glaze is on top. Cinnamon rolls are placed in a bare baking dish and then coated with a cream cheese glaze after baking. I will eat both or either any time, any day!

A ohoto of a dozen sweet rolls still sitting in the baking dish so the gooey caramel side is face down.

Pecan Sticky Buns Ingredients

This sticky buns recipe has four components: the buns, the filling, the caramel sauce the buns are baked in, and the sticky topping you put on once the buns are baked. Here are all the ingredients you’ll need for this pecan sticky buns recipe: 

  • Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Instant yeast
  • Unsalted butter
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Light brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Heavy cream
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cloves
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pecans

A photo of a dozen sticky buns coated in caramel glaze and chopped pecans.

How to Make Sticky Buns

These pecan sticky buns are easy to make, but they do require quite a bit of time to prep. Here are the basic steps to making homemade sticky buns: 

  1. Make the sticky bun dough, then let it sit in a warm place until doubled in size. 
  2. Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce. Once finished, pour it into a 9×13-inch pan. 
  3. Once risen, roll out the sticky bun dough and sprinkle the cinnamon filling over top. 
  4. Roll the dough into a long log, then cut into even-sized pieces. 
  5. Place the unbaked sticky buns into the baking dish on top of the caramel sauce. 
  6. Bake until golden brown on top. 
  7. Let the sticky buns cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.
  8. Make the pecan topping and spoon onto warm sticky buns. 
  9. Serve immediately.  

A photo of a sticky bun sitting on a white plate with a fork next to it.

Can I Omit the Pecans? 

If you have an allergy or simply don’t like pecans, feel free to omit. You’ll be left with classic sticky buns, which are still delicious! 

Can I Use Another Type of Nut? 

Great idea! I bet walnuts would taste good in this recipe as well. I don’t recommend using a strongly flavored nut like peanuts or cashews though. 

Is There a Buttermilk Substitute I Can Use? 

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can mix a little whole milk with white vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes. For this recipe, you’d want to mix roughly ¾ teaspoon vinegar with ¼ cup  whole milk. You can also use all whole milk in this recipe, but the buttermilk makes the dough super soft and tender! 

A photo of a dozen sticky buns coated in caramel glaze and chopped pecans.

Can I Make These Sticky Buns in Advance?

Sticky buns are best the day they’re made, but you should be fine to make them a day in advance. Pop them into a warm oven for a few minutes to make the caramel sauce gooey again before serving! 

Can Sticky Buns Be Frozen?

Yes! These gooey delicious buns of love can be frozen! They will last in an airtight container for 2-3 months in the freezer. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm them up in the microwave to get that warm sticky caramel just right.

A photo of a sticky bun taking from above covered in a caramel glaze and chopped pecans.

Tips for Making Pecan Sticky Buns

You will notice that this recipe calls for unsalted butter. So what is the big deal with salted and unsalted butter? Is it really that important? The truth is, it really is a big deal. 

The quantity of salt in butter varies from brand to brand. If you use unsalted butter, you control the amount of salt in your recipe. Salt is crucial in baking so having control of the salt content is extremely important. Plus, unsalted butter is fresher than salted butter. Salt is a preservative, so salted butter has a longer shelf life and therefore is likely less fresh.

Also note that the corn syrup in the topping is a must. The corn syrup prevents the topping from being too runny and binds it together. If you omit the corn syrup or try to substitute an alternative sweetener like maple syrup, I’m not sure how your pecan sticky buns would turn

A photo of three sticky buns on a white plate with a fork sitting next to them and a bag of Fisher chopped pecans in the background.

Keep the sticky on your fingers and face and shake your buns all over the house when you taste how bomb these are! My son can teach you all his moves!

More Holiday Breakfast Recipes: 

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A photo of a sticky bun taking from above covered in a caramel glaze and chopped pecans.

Pecan Sticky Buns

3.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 12
These easy pecan sticky buns are best when they are warm and dripping with sticky caramel-y glaze. The stickier the better!



  • 3/4 Cup Milk whole is best
  • 1/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 1/4 Teaspoons Yeast instant
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter unsalted
  • 1 Egg large, (set out as you scald the milk so it's not cold)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 1/2-3 Cups Flour

Caramel Sauce

  • 5 Tablespoons Butter unsalted
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup light
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 1 Pinch Salt


  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Dash Cloves
  • Pinch Salt
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Butter melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Flour


  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3/4 Cup Pecans toasted *see note


For the dough

  • In a saucepan over medium low heat, add the milk and buttermilk and cook until the edges begin to foam a little. Do not boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Cool to lukewarm.
  • Add the yeast and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
  • Add the butter and stir until melted in.
  • In bowl of standing mixer, whisk egg.
  • Add milk/sugar mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Whisk in salt. Switch to your dough hook attachment. Add about 2 cups flour and mix until the dough comes together, adding up to 1 more cup (I generally only need 1/2 cup more) until a stiff dough is created.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.

For the caramel sauce:

  • Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for glaze in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is thoroughly combined.
  • Pour mixture into nonstick metal 13- by 9-inch baking dish; using rubber spatula, carefully spread mixture to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Set baking dish aside.

To assemble and bake buns

  • Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in small bowl for the filling and mix; set aside.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.
  • Gently shape dough into rough rectangle with long side nearest you.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll to 16- by 12-inch rectangle.
  • Brush dough with melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along top edge; with butter remaining on brush, brush sides of baking dish.
  • Sprinkle filling mixture over dough, spreading it evenly, leaving 3/4-inch border along top edge.
  • Beginning with long edge nearest you, roll dough into a tight cylinder to keep filling from falling out.
  • Pinch seam to seal and roll cylinder seam-side down.
  • Using serrated knife, slice cylinder in half, then slice each half in half again to create evenly sized quarters. Or, use string to slide under the dough, lifting, crossing and slicing through. Slice each quarter evenly into thirds, yielding 12 buns.
  • Arrange buns cut-side down in prepared baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in warm spot until puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle lowest position, and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert onto rimmed baking sheet, large rectangular platter, or cutting board. With rubber spatula, scrape any glaze remaining in baking pan onto buns; let cool while making pecan topping.

For the topping

  • Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in small saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally.
  • Off heat, stir in vanilla and pecans until pecans are evenly coated.
  • Spoon heaping tablespoon nuts and topping over center of each sticky bun. Continue to cool until sticky buns are warm, 15 to 20 minutes. Pull apart or use serrated knife to cut apart sticky buns; serve.


*To toast the pecans: Place the pecans in a skillet over medium heat and toast, swirling the pan occasionally, about 1-2 minutes.
Sticky buns can be frozen for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator and warm before eating.
Nutrition Facts
Pecan Sticky Buns
Amount Per Serving (1 bun)
Calories 439 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 53mg18%
Sodium 441mg19%
Potassium 143mg4%
Carbohydrates 63g21%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 483IU10%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A photo of a sticky bun taking from above covered in a caramel glaze and chopped pecans.

Sweet Roll RECIPES

Looking for more sweet roll recipes? Try our World’s Best Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Empty Tomb Rolls, Orange Rolls, Maple Glazed Cinnamon Butterflake Rolls, Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls, Orange Cinnamon Butterflake Rolls, Empty Tomb Rolls, Heirloom Apple Rolls or Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.


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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • My mom just shared a pro-tip. My grandma would put the topping in the bottom of muffin tins and place The roll on top for baking, which keeps it all together and simplified a bit. I’ve not tried it myself, but I do remember enjoying her pecan rolls. (She was phenomenal. Taught home economics at BYU, published in Ladies’ Home Journal, and became State of Utah director of home economics education in the 1940’s.)

    • Reply
    • That is a great tip! Thank you so much Brooke! I’m never one to argue with grandma!

      • Reply
  • I love your recipes. They all look so delicious. I am currently doing chemo and most all web sites say I should avoid sugar as much as possible. Do you have any recipes that are low or sugar free.

    • Reply
    • Bless your heart Tina! Are you looking for desserts? Or any type of specific recipe?

      • Reply
  • How do I make without a stand mixer?

    • Reply
    • Hi Carrie! You can do it by hand too. Just mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and then mix by hand when it gets to hard to stir. Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • I really want to make this recipe but I too am having trouble figuring out which ingredients are for which part because so many ingredients over lap.. Would you please re post the recipe with categories? Thank You for your wonderful website!

    • Reply
    • Thank you! Yes, we had it grouped like that but for some reason it didn’t translate over to the recipe card correctly. We are working on fixing it!

      • Reply
  • With a 23 ingredient list, don’t you think categorizing the list would be a better option? You list butter 4 times…sugar 4 times…milk, flour and salt multiple times. Wayyyyyyyy too confusing.

    • Reply
    • Completely agree, Please break your ingredients down into categories:

      • Reply
      • We are on it! Thank you!

    • Thanks for the feedback Rich! We had all the ingredients grouped into what they are used for, but it didn’t come through in the recipe card. We are working on it now!

      • Reply
  • Looks good but poorly structured and confusing ingredients list

    • Reply
    • Thank you for the feedback Lisa! We are going to group the ingredients list into what each ingredient is used for.

      • Reply
  • It would be easier to follow the recipe if the ingredients were categorized by dough, caramel, and filling.

    • Reply
    • I love that suggestion! I’ll get that updated!

      • Reply

4 Things You Should STOP Doing When Grilling!