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:

Pecan Sticky Buns

3.88 from 8 votes
Servings: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours


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
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 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.
    3/4 Cup Milk, 1/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Cool to lukewarm.
    1/4 Cup Sugar
  • Add the yeast and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
    2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast
  • Add the butter and stir until melted in.
    3 Tablespoons Butter
  • In bowl of standing mixer, whisk egg.
    1 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.
    1 1/2 teaspoons Salt, 2 1/2-3 Cups Flour
  • 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.
    5 Tablespoons Butter, 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, 3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup, 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream, 1 Pinch Salt
  • 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.
    1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar, 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon, 1 Dash Cloves, Pinch Salt
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.
    1 teaspoon Flour
  • 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.
    2 1/2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 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.
    3 Tablespoons Butter, 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, 3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • Off heat, stir in vanilla and pecans until pecans are evenly coated.
    1 teaspoon Vanilla, 3/4 Cup Pecans
  • 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.


Serving: 1bunCalories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 6gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 441mgPotassium: 143mgFiber: 2gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 483IUCalcium: 67mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: Over 200 Favorite Easy Breakfast Recipes
Cuisine: American

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

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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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