Pecan Sticky Buns

filed under: Bread · Breakfast on May 22, 2019

These heavenly Pecan Sticky Buns are going to be your new favorite recipe! We loved the caramelized pecan topping and perfectly cooked rolls. If you love sticky buns you may also like my homemade Apple Fritters, Glazed Cake Donuts, and Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole!


Pecan Sticky Buns

This recipe just happens to be based on The Pioneer Woman’s Sticky Buns recipe currently being served at her Mercantile! (I made some changes to the topping and method) But let me tell you, these sticky buns are BEYOND delicious and loaded with texture and sweetness. It seemed a bit intensive at first, but it is really just a few easy steps divided over a few hours. Make sure you knew when you want your sticky buns to be served so that you can plan accordingly.

Picking up Pecan Sticky BunOvernight Method for Sticky Buns

Should you want to break up the steps a bit, you can chill the dough overnight. In #8 of the instructions, it says “Cover and chill for 1 hour.” Instead of chilling for 1-hour, you will chill overnight. Don’t prepare the filling or topping until the next morning.

Overhead image of pecan sticky buns on a plate

How to Make Pecan Sticky Buns

First off I just have to apologize for how intense this blog post is! Not only were these sticky buns so fun to bake and take pictures of, but there are a lot of steps in the process so I want to make sure anyone that is wary of working with yeast feels comfortable.

There are three main components to this recipe:

  • Dough
  • Dough Filling
  • Topping


In a medium bowl add milk and heat in the microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until it reaches 110°F. Add in the oil, sugar, and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 1 minute.

In a large bowl (if you use a very large bowl you can knead the dough right in the bowl!) add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Pour the milk mixture over the flour and stir with a spatula. It will be warm and sticky. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel (or two towels if your bowl is really big!) and let it sit for 1 hour. After the hour is up the dough will look the same, as in it should not have changed size at all.

Now add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In the bowl (or on the counter if you don’t have a big bowl) use your hand to knead the ingredients together. (This took me about 2 minutes.) Once they are all incorporated, cover the bowl again and chill for 1 hour.  Because my bowl was too big for the refrigerator, I set the covered bowl in the cool pantry (about 50°F) for the hour. The dough size should increase a bit, but it will not be doubled in size.

Making the Sticky Buns

After the hour of “chilling” place dough on a floured surface and roll a large rectangle. It should be about 30×10 inches. Try to keep it as much of a rectangle as possible. When I roll out round dough into a rectangle I start by using my rolling pin to make a plus sign in the dough. Then starting at the first corner, roll that corner out and away from the center of the dough. Move to each corner of dough and press out and away from the center of the dough. This will get you a pretty darn even square and from there you just keep rolling from the center to increase the length. You may need to stop and check to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your counter.

Spread the Filling Ingredients

One of the most fun steps! Once your dough is rolled out into the 30×10 rectangle, spread the butter over the dough. I like the butter very soft and use a clean hand to spread it over every nook and cranny of the dough. Now sprinkle your sugar over the entire surface of the dough. Now sprinkle the cinnamon. (You can also stir the brown sugar and cinnamon together before sprinkling, but I didn’t want to dirty another bowl.)

Starting with the longest side, roll up the dough in a tight log like you would a jelly roll. Once rolled, cut into 16 individual rolls. I use a very sharp knife, but you can also use the floss method, which is sliding the floss under the dough log and then crossing the floss and pulling through.

Raw dough making Pecan Sticky Buns

It is a fairly thin dough, so each individual roll will be tightly compact.

One raw bun before baking

Now get your hot skillet out of the oven (you may have already removed it at this point) and start to carefully place the buns into the hot bubbling pecan and sugar mixture.

Overhead view of raw sticky buns before baking

Sixteen rolls fit perfectly in the 12-inch skillet.

Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them sit for 20 minutes on the counter. (Not the oven!) They should rise a bit.

After 20 minutes, place the skillet back into the oven for 30-40 minutes. I placed a loose tent of foil on the buns for the first 15 minutes.


Pecan Sticky Buns on a Plate

Once they are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to sit for 10 minutes.

Place a large serving platter on top and quickly flip the platter and skillet over so that the buns are now right-side-up on the platter. Lift up the hot skillet and be sure to let all of the sugared bits and pieces fall onto the buns!


One Pecan Sticky Bun on a white plate

How to Serve Sticky Buns

I happen to have a large round serving platter that worked perfectly for these sticky buns. It is 16-inches in diameter which meant that glorious sweet pecan sauce could spill down over the rolls and not make a big mess!

Can you use a 9×13 dish for this recipe?

You can. Although I have not tested it (I love my skillet!) it will work. I would still use the foil-lined baking sheet underneath the 9×13 dish just in case there is spillage.

Can you Freeze Sticky Buns?

If you want to plan ahead and freeze the buns, you sure can. I prepare the rolls up to the point where they are cut into individual buns. Place them into a baking dish lined with parchment and then cover the buns with plastic wrap (pressing down gently to remove as much air as possible) and then cover the dish with foil. Place in freezer. When you are ready to use them, remove them from the freezer and allow them to warm up to room temperature, about 12 hours or overnight. Then prepare the topping and follow the rest of the instructions.

Very close up of the ooey gooey pecan sticky bun

4.7 from 10 votes
Pecan Sticky Buns
Pecan Sticky Buns
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Resting/Cooling Time
2 hrs 30 mins

Homemade sticky buns based on the Pioneer Woman's famous recipes. They are perfection in every way!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sticky buns
Servings: 16 buns
Calories: 510 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (¼-oz. pkg.) active dry yeast
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup salted butter, very soft
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (226g) butter, melted
  • cups (300g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey, optional (I used Wild Turkey)
  • 2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped
  1. In a medium bowl add milk and heat in the microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until it reaches 110°F. Add in the oil, sugar, and stir until dissolved.

  2. Sprinkle yeast on top of the milk mixture, and let it sit for 1 minute.

  3. In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour. Pour the milk & yeast mixture over the flour and stir until just combined. It should be wet and sticky and warm in temperature.

  4. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour.

  5. After the dough has rested for 1 hour, remove towel. It should look the same. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining ½ cup flour.

  6. Knead to combine. (If you use a large enough bowl, you can knead the ingredients together right in the bowl.)

  7. Cover and chill 1 hour.

  1. Melt butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add in the brown sugar, honey, salt, vanilla, and whiskey (if adding). Stir well and make sure there are no lumps. Set aside.

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. Roll dough into a 30×10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. (Such as a clean countertop)

  3. Using a clean hand, spread the soft butter over the surface of dough, making sure spread evenly and covering all of the dough, right up to the edge. Sprinkle with 1 cup brown sugar and then sprinkle with cinnamon.

  4. Starting on the long side, roll up dough, jelly-roll fashion. Cut roll crosswise into 16 equal slices, and set aside. (Cut in half at the center, now cut each new section in the center, then cut each new section in half. This should be 16 pieces.)

  5. Set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on top of a foil-lined and rimmed baking sheet. Place pecans in bottom of skillet, and pour the butter and brown sugar (the TOPPING) mixture on top.

  6. Place skillet in oven until sugar mixture is slightly foamy and bubbling, about 10-15 minutes.

  7. After the 10-15 minutes, remove from oven and place rolls, cut side up, on top of melted and bubbling sugar. (Place the rolls carefully around the edges making sure to not touch the hot skillet)

  8. Cover and let rolls rise, about 20 minutes.(This is outside the oven! Do not place rolls back into oven until they have risen for about 20 minutes!)

  9. Return skillet to oven, and bake at 325°F until rolls are golden brown and sugar is brown and sticky, 30 to 40 minutes. (I covered the rolls with a loose foil tent for the first 20 minutes. This is optional.)

  10. Remove baking sheet with skillet on it from the oven and let cool 15 minutes. Invert rolls onto a large serving platter. Best served warm!

More amazing breakfast recipes:

Buttermilk Biscuits

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Amish Glazed Donuts

Homemade Monkey Bread

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  • Imogene Filkin says:

    Wish your descriptions and instructions were in larger print

  • Traci DeNaples says:

    This is a great recipe. The rolls were beautiful and delicious. Took me 4 hrs and 40 min start to flip but worth it. Thank you!

  • Camron says:

    My husband absolutely loved these! First time making a sticky bun, and they turned out great. Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Way to go Cameron! Thrilled you guys enjoyed them!

  • Patty says:

    Hii!! Been following you on Ig for a while now, but this is the first recipe I’ll attempt to do! wish me luck!! Is there any reason why we use honey for the topping? I have some homemade caramel I wonder if I could use insetad.

  • Emily says:

    I just finished making these and after consuming one feel compelled to leave a review. This recipe may be long, but It is spot on, easy to follow and worth all the time and clean up. These pecan sticky buns may just be the best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life…my eyes may or may not have (but definitely did) well up a little bit after I took my first bite. Thanks for sharing this recipe with the world!

  • Chelsea says:

    Can I use instant yeast? Would it be the same amount listed as for the active yeast?

  • Amy Guyette says:

    I found them to be greasy. All the butter in the topping soaked into the dough. I was bummed that after all the time invested they were not better

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Amy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. I am sorry the sticky buns did not turn out for you. We have made this recipe many times without that happening. It’s definitely worth another try! Have a great day!

  • JOYCE says:


  • Louise says:

    Loved this!!
    Can you leave it chill in the refrigerator over night?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Louise! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You can definitely chill the dough overnight. Instead of chilling for 1-hour, just chill the dough overnight. Don’t prepare the filling or topping until the next morning. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Hassan says:

    This is an absolutely amazing recipe. My partner does not like pecans, so I replaced them with cashews and hazelnut and it worked out just as great!

    So far, I have not tried one recipe that turned out bad or even close to unsatisfactory!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thrilled to hear it Hassan!

  • KatieBakes says:

    So much butter! So good!

  • Carol Voges says:

    Good Morning Amanda, Asked for your help with a sour cream coffee cake – to date have not had a reply, know you are a busy lady but if you are unable to help just let me know. Thank you, Carol Voges

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      What kind of help do you need Carol?

  • Vicki says:

    Made these yesterday. Dont bake with yeast very often, but these came out great. My only complaint was that they did not fit a 12″ skillet. They exploded and jumped out onto the cookie sheet. Definitely needed a larger pan. I’ll use my 16″ one next time.

  • Liz Mueller says:

    I made these yesterday ( high altitudes) Everyone loved them.
    My first time with yeast. I did use a candy thermometer to make sure the milk mixture was @ 100-110 degrees. I had to use a 12 inch cake pan because my iron fry pan was only 10 inches.
    Thanks for a good recipe.

  • Liz Mueller says:

    I made these again today and adjusted the yeast by less then 1/8 tsp.I live in high altitudes.They came out gorgeous.
    Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Caro says:


  • Thomas Theisen says:

    I am a pecan roll fanatic, and have tried them at dozens of local bakeries. These are my favorite. Due to the non-nutritional density of these babies, I have to space out my consumption. I wrap groups of two in foil and freeze them inside a ziplock bag. Left out overnight to thaw, they reheat beautifully in a toaster oven the next morning (10 min at 325)

  • Crystal s Langford says:

    I only recently fell in love with baking. Maybe two years tops now. With the courage of the titian’s and curiosity of my cat, I try everything twice (because I normally render things either uneatable or unrecognizable the first round). I discovered you in instagram a couple weeks back and adore your since of humor and recipes! Thank you for sharing!

  • Ben says:

    Have you checked the settings on your computer. YOU can actually adjust the font size on YOUR computer. This is not Amandas responsibly to make adjustments for your eyesight. We, as humans, have to start taking responsibility for ourselves at some point. Happy Saturday!

  • Mayra says:

    This recipe was perfect!!! I just made it took it out of the oven told everyone they can have some in 15 minutes. 15 minutes past and it’s halfway gone!!

  • Bee says:

    These turned out OK but were way too sweet for my taste. If I make them again I will bake the buns and bake them first then cut the topping in half and after getting it bubbly I would add the buns out of the oven and let set for a bit then turn it out.

  • Patrick says:

    Making these this morning (made the dough last night.) I do have one comment because I didn’t see it covered. Make sure that the milk mixture is cool enough not to kill the yeast. Mine was still almost 160F after 30 min. This will kill the yeast and it will never rise. Took almost an hour to get below 110F (the max temp I work with yeast at.)

  • Emily says:

    These look delicious! I do not have a cast iron pan, what other pan would you suggest?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Emily! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not made the sticky buns in a different pan, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness. You could try a 9×13-inch baking dish, but the baking time could be affected. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Athena Engel says:

    Hi, I just have a question. I would love to make these but my husband Is allergic to nuts. Do you think it will be ok without them? Do I need to change any of the filling or topping ingredients?
    Thank you, Athena

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi Athena – I don’t recommend this recipe if there are nut allergies.

  • Athena Engel says:

    The recipe looks great! I’m just asking if the flavor is destroyed by leaving the pecans out. I understand about but allergies, the only problem with the whole recipe is the pecans. Does it ruin it to leave them out? I’m sorry to bother you, btw.
    Thank you