Sticky Buns Recipe

The best homemade sticky buns recipe from scratch with a gooey caramel pecan glaze and homemade sweet dough. Don't be intimidated by making bread at home, this recipe breaks it all down step by step. Make sure to eat them warm for the best soft and fluffy texture.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 4 hrs 15 mins
Serves: 8 Rolls
homemade sticky buns on a blue plate on top of a natural woven placemat

This homemade sticky buns recipe makes pillowy soft sweet dough rolled up with a cinnamon sugar filling and then baked in a bed of caramel pecan glaze. Flip them out onto a plate and let that ooey-gooey sticky glaze drip. Soft, sticky, and oh-so-addictive!

homemade sticky buns on a blue plate on top of a natural woven placemat

Making your own sticky buns from scratch is SO much better than a can and it’s not hard at all to do. This sweet dough is so versatile for all types of desserts like cinnamon rolls and danish! Prep these sticky buns the day before and pop them in the oven for the most amazing fresh sticky buns right out of the oven to enjoy with your morning coffee.

Sticky Buns Ingredientsbowls of ingredients for sticky buns

Instant yeast is my preference when making bread because it will rise SO much faster than active dry yeast.

All-purpose flour or bread flour will work for this sweet dough recipe. Bread flour has a higher protein content and will give a slightly better texture to your buns, but either is okay.

Corn syrup adds that gooey texture to the glaze on top of the sticky buns. You can add more if you want a more “ooze” to your sticky buns, or less for a more set caramel on top.

Pecans are the traditional topping for sticky buns, but you can use any type of nut that you prefer or just leave them out entirely!

How to Make Sticky Buns

Sticky buns have three components, the sweet dough, the cinnamon sugar filling, and the caramel pecan glaze. I find it easiest to make all three and assemble my sticky buns in one day, then refrigerate them overnight, and proof and bake them the next morning for breakfast.

Making the Sweet Dough

  1. Warm the milk to 110ºF.hand holding a thermometer in a container of milk reading 110 degrees
  2. Add the flour, yeast, and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix the dry ingredients briefly. You can make this dough without a stand mixer, you’ll just have to knead by hand for 10 to 15 minutes.dry ingredients for sticky buns in a glass stand mixer bowl
  3. Add the softened butter in chunks and mix on low speed until it is broken up and distributed amongst the flour.butter added to a glass bowl with dry ingredients for sticky buns
  4. Slowly drizzle in the warm milk while mixing on low and mix until the flour starts to stick together.container of milk pouring into a glass stand mixer bowl
  5. Then add your eggs one at a time and mix until combined.hand pouring a bowl of eggs into a stand mixer bowl
  6. Finally, add your salt. Salt is added last to give the yeast a chance to get a little coating in flour and butter. Salt kills yeast, so this gives the yeast an upper hand in the battle. 
  7. Mix the dough on medium speed with the dough hook until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and bounces back when you touch it. Once it forms a smooth ball, turn off the mixer. This can take 5-10 minutes. dough mixing in a stand mixer bowldough mixing in a stand mixer bowl
  8. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead it for a few minutes on the counter.hands pressing down on a ball of dough
  9. Roll the dough into a nice tight ball.smooth dough ball on a counter top
  10. Place the dough ball in a large bowl greased with oil and cover it with plastic wrap.hands covering a ball of dough in a glass bowl with plastic wrap
  11. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in size. This can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes but will vary depending on the temperature of your room. 80°F is the best temperature for proofing, so I like to put it in my turned-off oven with the light on or on top of my dishwasher while it’s running.hands placing a glass bowl of dough on top of a cool stove

Making the Caramel Pecan Glaze

  1. Add the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a large bowl and mix with a whisk or electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy.electric hand mixer combining a butter mixture
  2. Drizzle in the corn syrup and vanilla and mix until combined. Use less corn syrup if you want a thicker consistency for your glaze.pouring a container of corn syrup into a glaze mixture
  3. Spread the glaze paste into a 9″ or 10″ round cake pan (or baking dish of your choice) around the sides and the bottom of the pan.spatula spreading a glaze paste around the sides of a cake pan
  4. Sprinkle pecans over the top of the glaze and set the pan aside. We’re going to flip this upside down and it will become the gooey, caramelized top of the sticky buns.hand sprinkling pecans onto the bottom of a cake pan

Assembling the Sticky Buns

  1. Make the cinnamon sugar filling by adding the softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon to a large bowl and mixing until smooth with a whisk or hand mixer.butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a glass bowlelectric hand mixer blending a cinnamon sugar filling
  2. When your dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.hands pressing dough on a counter
  3. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a large rectangle, 1/2 inch thick, about 12″ wide, and 15″ long.hands rolling out dough with a wooden rolling pin
  4. Smear the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the rolled-out dough, leaving about 1/2 inch of space along the outside edges of the dough.cinnamon sugar filling spread out on a rectangle of dough
  5. Sprinkle pecans on top of the dough, making sure to evenly space them out.hand sprinkling pecans on top of a rectangle of dough
  6. Tightly roll from the long side of the dough into a log shape.hands rolling the long side of dough into a log
  7. Score 8 evenly-spaced sections in the top of the dough with a sharp knife, then carefully cut them into buns. The dental floss trick unfortunately won’t work because it can’t cut through the pecans, so a serrated knife works best.serrated knife cutting through a log of dough
  8. Assemble the cinnamon buns in your prepared pan on top of the glaze mixture. It’s okay if they are almost touching, just make sure that your pan is big enough to easily fit all of the buns. They will proof again before baking.hands assembling sticky buns into a cake pan
  9. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place them in a warm area for 30 to 60 minutes until the buns are crowded in the pan and poofy. They don’t have to be fully doubled in size, but your rise time will also be determined by the size of your pan.covering unbaked sticky buns in a cake pan with a tea towel

Baking the Sticky Buns

  1. Bake at 350°F for 45-60 mins until the tops are golden brown and the internal temperature in the center reads 190°F. Use a thermometer to check, as the baking times will vary depending on what size pan you use.hand pushing a cake pan of sticky buns into an oven
  2. Make sure you place a sheet pan on the rack under the rolls to catch the drips, or it will burn on the bottom of your oven. I had to switch my sheet pans out a few times to avoid a lot of smoke from the burning sugar. This was a lot easier to clean a sheet pan than the bottom of my oven! hand pushing a blue sheet pan underneath sticky buns in an oven
  3. If the top is getting too brown and the center is not done, lightly cover it with a piece of foil to slow down the browning on top. 
  4. Remove the finished sticky buns from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. We want the caramel glaze to set slightly, but still be hot so that it comes out of the pan.thermometer inserted in baked sticky buns reading 190 degrees
  5. Place a large serving plate on top of your pan and carefully flip the sticky buns upside down.hands placing a blue plate upside down over sticky buns in a panoven mitts lifting a cake pan off of baked sticky buns
  6. If there is any remaining caramel in the pan, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes then drizzle the caramel on top of the sticky buns.hand lifting a sticky bun

FAQ

What’s the difference between sticky buns and cinnamon rolls?

Sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are quite similar. They are both made with a sweet enriched dough and filled with cinnamon and sugar. The dough is rolled up and then cut into slices. The main difference is that cinnamon rolls are glazed with cream cheese frosting, while sticky buns are covered in pecans and caramel glaze.

How do you store sticky buns?

Sticky buns can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated for up to a week. They need to be kept in an airtight container to prevent the sticky buns from drying out.

Can you reheat sticky buns?

Yes! Sticky buns are best eaten warm, so microwaving them for 30 seconds to 1 minute will make the caramel gooey and the bread soft again.

Are honey buns and sticky buns the same thing?

Yes, honey buns and sticky buns are both a type of sweet bread filled with cinnamon and topped with nuts and caramel sauce. They’re often called Chelsea buns in the UK, although these are more closely compared to cinnamon rolls.

How do you keep sticky buns soft?

Sticky buns can dry out by using too much flour, over-baking, or not storing them in an airtight container. Using a scale to weigh out your ingredients is important because you could accidentally be adding extra flour by using cups. Measuring by weight is much more accurate than volume.

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homemade sticky buns on a blue plate on top of a natural woven placemat

Sticky Buns Recipe

The best homemade sticky buns recipe from scratch with a gooey caramel pecan glaze and homemade sweet dough. Don't be intimidated by making bread at home, this recipe breaks it all down step by step. Make sure to eat them warm for the best soft and fluffy texture.
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Proofing: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 4 hrs 15 mins
Serves: 8 Rolls
Calories: 945kcal

Ingredients

Sweet Dough

  • 4 ounces (114 g) milk 110ºF
  • 4 grams dried instant yeast
  • 12.5 ounces (350 g) all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 4 ounces (114 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 ounces (57 g) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg room temperature

Cinnamon Filling

  • 4 ounces (114 g) unsalted butter softened to almost melted
  • 4 ounces (114 g) granulated sugar
  • 10 grams cinnamon
  • 2 ounces pecans chopped

Pecan Caramel Glaze

  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 4 ounces (114 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces (114 g) brown sugar light or dark
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (114 g) corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces pecans chopped

Equipment

  • 1 Stand mixer with dough hook
  • 1 9" or 10" cake pan or casserole dish
  • 1 Sheet pan (13"x18") or similar sized pan

Instructions

Making the Sweet Dough

  • Warm the milk to 110ºF
  • Add the flour, yeast, and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix the dry ingredients briefly. You can make this dough without a stand mixer, you'll just have to knead by hand for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter in chunks and mix on low speed until it is broken up and distributed amongst the flour.
  • Slowly drizzle in the warm milk while mixing on low and mix until the flour starts to stick together.
  • Then add your eggs one at a time and mix until combined.
  • Finally, add your salt. Salt is added last to give the yeast a chance to get a little coating in flour and butter. Salt kills yeast, so this gives the yeast an upper hand in the battle. 
  • Mix the dough on medium speed with the dough hook until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and bounces back when you touch it. Once it forms a smooth ball, turn off the mixer. This can take 5-10 minutes. 
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead it for a few minutes on the counter.
  • Roll the dough into a nice tight ball.
  • Place the dough ball in a large bowl greased with oil and cover it with plastic wrap.
  • Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in size. This can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes but will vary depending on the temperature of your room. 80°F is the best temperature for proofing, so I like to put it in my turned-off oven with the light on or on top of my dishwasher while it's running

Making the Caramel Pecan Glaze

  • Add the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a large bowl and mix with a whisk or electric mixer until it's light and fluffy.
  • Drizzle in the corn syrup and vanilla and mix until combined. Use less corn syrup if you want a thicker consistency for your glaze.
  • Spread the glaze paste into a 9" or 10" round cake pan (or baking dish of your choice) around the sides and the bottom of the pan.
  • Sprinkle pecans over the top of the glaze and set the pan aside. We're going to flip this upside down and it will become the gooey, caramelized top of the sticky buns.

Assembling the Sticky Buns

  • Make the cinnamon sugar filling by adding the softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon to a large bowl and mixing until smooth with a whisk or hand mixer.
  • When your dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a large rectangle, 1/2 inch thick, about 12" wide, and 15" long.
  • Smear the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the rolled-out dough, leaving about 1/2 inch of space along the outside edges of the dough.
  • Sprinkle pecans on top of the dough, making sure to evenly space them out.
  • Tightly roll from the long side of the dough into a log shape.
  • Score 8 evenly-spaced sections in the top of the dough with a sharp knife, then carefully cut them into buns. The dental floss trick unfortunately won't work because it can't cut through the pecans, so a serrated knife works best.
  • Assemble the cinnamon buns in your prepared pan on top of the glaze mixture. It's okay if they are almost touching, just make sure that your pan is big enough to easily fit all of the buns. They will proof again before baking.
  • Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place them in a warm area for 30 to 60 minutes until the buns are crowded in the pan and poofy. They don't have to be fully doubled in size, but your rise time will also be determined by the size of your pan.

Baking the Sticky Buns

  • Bake at 350°F for 45-60 mins until the tops are golden brown and the internal temperature in the center reads 190°F. Use a thermometer to check, as the baking times will vary depending on what size pan you use.
  • Make sure you place a sheet pan on the rack under the rolls to catch the drips, or it will burn on the bottom of your oven. I had to switch my sheet pans out a few times to avoid a lot of smoke from the burning sugar. This was a lot easier to clean a sheet pan than the bottom of my oven! 
  • If the top is getting too brown and the center is not done, lightly cover it with a piece of foil to slow down the browning on top. 
  • Remove the finished sticky buns from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. We want the caramel glaze to set slightly, but still be hot so that it comes out of the pan.
  • Place a large serving plate on top of your pan and carefully flip the sticky buns upside down.
  • If there is any remaining caramel in the pan, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes then drizzle the caramel on top of the sticky buns.

Notes

  1. The best investment you can make when you’re getting started with baking is a digital kitchen scale! Weighing your ingredients will help you avoid baking failure. Using a kitchen scale for baking is super easy and gives you the best results every single time. 
  2. Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
  3. Make sure all of your cold ingredients (e.g. butter, eggs, milk) are at room temperature or a little warm. Why? Because we want to create an emulsion and allow the ingredients to fully mix together. 
  4. Sticky buns can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated for up to a week. They need to be kept in an airtight container to prevent the sticky buns from drying out.
  5. Sticky buns are best eaten warm, so microwaving them for about 30 seconds will make the caramel gooey and the bread soft again

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 945kcal (47%) | Carbohydrates: 98g (33%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 60g (92%) | Saturated Fat: 31g (155%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 147mg (49%) | Sodium: 326mg (14%) | Potassium: 195mg (6%) | Fiber: 4g (16%) | Sugar: 62g (69%) | Vitamin A: 1488IU (30%) | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 82mg (8%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)
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8 comments on “Sticky Buns Recipe

  1. Sorry to have bothered you. I used the oven temp from your cinnamon rolls. thank you for sharing your recipes. I made the vanilla cake. It was a hit.

  2. Can you freeze these before baking them up?

    Thank you

  3. I baked them and then frozen . Defrost in the fridge and reheat . I actually would pull a bun off and reheat 45 sec in microwave turned out perfect.

  4. Hey Liz, can I substitute honey for the corn syrup?

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