Maple pecan sticky buns are an easy, pull apart dessert flavored with gooey maple caramel and pecan halves.  This succulent old fashioned treat is the best Christmas morning breakfast.  Family and friends will devour these in a hurry!

Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
person holding a maple pecan sticky bun with a bite eaten from it
Bread, Breakfast, Sweet Bread

Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

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This recipe was originally published on April 11, 2018.

Sticky buns have been a family-favorite treat in our house for many years.  That’s why I’m excited to share this delicious recipe for maple pecan sticky buns with you!  Even if you’ve never made bread before, you can make these buns for Christmas morning breakfast.

tray of maple pecan sticky buns with greenery

What are sticky buns?

Sticky buns are basically cinnamon rolls topped with a caramel glaze.  The glaze is put inside the pan and the rolls are baked on top.  Once the rolls are removed from the oven, the pan is inverted so the caramel is on top.

Where did sticky buns originate?

Sticky buns ultimately come from Germany, where a variation of them were called schnecken.  Eighteenth century German settlers in the United States brought them to Pennsylvania, and they have been well-loved treats ever since.

person holding a maple pecan sticky bun

Are sticky buns and cinnamon rolls the same?

Sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are quite similar, but not identical.  Sticky buns are made the same way as cinnamon rolls, but simply are baked with a caramel topping–hence the name “sticky” buns.

How do you know when cinnamon rolls are done?

  • There are two ways to check if sticky buns are done baking.
  • Color.  The buns should be a rich golden brown, not pale.
  • Temperature. This is by far the most accurate way to check the buns.  Insert a meat thermometer into the center roll; it should have a temperature of 190-200 F.

person holding a piece of maple pecan sticky bun

Do sticky buns need to be refrigerated?

Nope!  Sticky buns will keep well on the counter as long as they are tightly sealed.  For best freshness, eat within 24 hours of baking or freeze.

How to Store Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

  • Let the sticky buns cool completely.
  • Seal the buns in an airtight container or a zip-top bag.  Make sure to press extra air out of the bag.
  • Store at room temperature.  Enjoy within 24 hours for best taste, or freeze.

person holding a maple pecan sticky bun

Can maple pecan sticky buns be frozen?

  • Yes, you can freeze sticky buns.  Freezing them is the best way to keep them fresh.
  • Seal the buns in a zip-top freezer bag and press out the extra air.
  • Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Defrost in the microwave for 30-45 seconds per roll.

person holding a maple pecan sticky bun sliced in half

Doesn’t a sweet tooth need to be fed regularly? These sticky buns should satisfy all your caramel-nut cravings. 😍  I hope that your family will be loving these maple pecan sticky buns, too, so prepare to make another batch (or two) sometime. 😋🍞

How to Make Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

Gather the ingredients for the bread dough.  You’ll need bread flour, fast-action yeast, salt, eggs, butter, sugar, sour cream, and milk.

ingredients for sticky buns

Dump the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  Stir each one in with your finger.

bowl of flour with salt and yeast

Add the sugar and butter and mix until blended.

mixing flour and butter for sticky bun dough

Dump in the eggs, sour cream, and half of the milk.  Mix until a dough begins to form, then gradually trickle in the milk to form a somewhat sticky dough.

mixing bread dough in a mixer

Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes on medium-low speed, until the dough is not as sticky and passes the windowpane test.  (See the recipe card below for an explanation of the windowpane test.)

kneaded bread dough in a bowl

Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside to rise in a warm place until at least doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

bowl of risen bread dough

Meanwhile, prepare the maple caramel topping.  You’ll need unsalted butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cream, and pecan halves.

Spread the pecans on a small cookie sheet and toast at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  The nuts should smell toasty and be crunchy.

butter, pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar, and cream

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the sugar, maple syrup, and cream.  Whisk the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then boil it for a couple minutes until thickened.  Be careful to stir frequently and keep the heat low so it doesn’t burn.

whisking a pot of maple caramel

Immediately pour the maple caramel into a buttered 9×13-inch pan and sprinkle 1 cup of the toasted pecan halves on top of the caramel.  Set the pan aside for later.

pan of maple caramel and pecan halves

Grab the ingredients you’ll need for filling the sticky buns: 3/4 cup chopped pecans, softened butter, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon.

bowls of brown sugar, chopped pecans, butter, and cinnamon

Once the bread dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface and punch it down all over.  Roll the dough to a 15×18-inch rectangle.  Spread the butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans.

Roll the dough up tightly from one of the long sides, then pinch the seam and ends to form a log.  Wrap a piece of clean thread around the log and pull the ends to tighten the thread around the log, cutting it into a slice.  Repeat until you have 12 sticky buns, then place them in the prepared pan.

pan of sticky buns with maple caramel and pecans

Cover the sticky buns with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside to rise until their sides are touching and the buns are springy to the touch, about 1 hour.  Make sure to preheat the oven to 375 F.

pan of risen sticky buns before baking

Bake the sticky buns at 375 F for 20-25 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.  Check their internal temperature with a meat thermometer to double-check that they’re cooked; it should read 190 F.

baked sticky buns in the pan

Let the buns cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then flip the pan onto a cookie sheet or serving platter.  Enjoy the sticky buns while they’re still warm and gooey!

sticky buns on a cookie sheet

Pro Tips for Making Homemade Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

  • Always use bread flour.  This ensures a chewy texture and higher-rising buns.
  • In a hurry?  Make the bread dough the night before and let it do its rising in the fridge.
  • Keep the caramel from burning by whisking it frequently and keeping the heat on medium-low.
  • Toast the pecans for an enhanced nutty flavor.
  • Be careful not to overbake the sticky buns, or they will be dry.
  • Only let the buns cool for 5 minutes before flipping them out of the pan, or the caramel will harden and you won’t be able to get them out easily.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

Loving these sticky buns?  Your family will rave about these other breads, too.

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The pleasure of a 5-star review for this sticky bun recipe would be greatly appreciated.

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person holding a maple pecan sticky bun with a bite eaten from it

Maple Pecan Sticky Buns


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 buns 1x

Description

Maple pecan sticky buns are an easy, pull apart dessert flavored with gooey maple caramel and pecan halves.  This succulent old fashioned treat is the best Christmas morning breakfast.  Family and friends will devour these in a hurry!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Bread Dough

  • 4 1/8 cups bread flour (500g)
  • 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar (50g)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (115g)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (60g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (177 ml)

For the Maple Pecan Topping

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (115g)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed (160g)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (79 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk (45 ml)
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted (109g)

For the Cinnamon Butter Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (29g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed (120g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped (75g)

Instructions

Making the Bread Dough (25 minutes + 1 1/2 hours proving)

  1. Warm the milk to 115 F.
  2. Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and pour in the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, then stir in each one with your finger.  Stir in the sugar with the paddle attachment and add the softened butter, sour cream, and eggs.
  3. Start mixing the dough on low speed and gradually trickle in the warm milk.  Add just enough milk to create a soft, stretchy, and somewhat sticky dough; you may not need it all.
  4. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and knead for 5-8 minutes, until the dough has a glossy sheen and no longer sticks to the bowl.  You may need to add a sprinkle of flour to the bowl if the dough is excessively sticky.
  5. Most importantly, the dough should pass the windowpane test.  Test the dough by stretching a lump of it between the thumb and forefinger of each hand.  The dough should stretch until translucent without breaking; if not, knead for a minute longer and check again.
  6. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place and let the dough prove until it’s at least doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preparing the Maple Pecan Topping (15 minutes)

  1. While the dough is proving, prepare the topping.  Spread 1 3/4 cups of pecan halves on a small cookie sheet.  Roast the nuts at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Keep an eye on the nuts so they don’t burn.
  2. Lightly butter the base and sides of a 9×13-inch cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar, maple syrup, and milk.  Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved, then let the mixture boil for a couple minutes.
  4. Pour immediately into the prepared pan and sprinkle 1 cup of toasted pecan halves evenly over the top.  Let cool until the buns are ready.

Shaping the Sticky Buns (25 minutes + 1 hour proving)

  1. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the gas pockets, then roll the dough to a 15×18-inch rectangle.
  2. Brush the dough with the melted butter, then stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon until thoroughly mixed and sprinkle evenly over top.
  3. Chop the remaining 3/4 cup of toasted pecan halves into small pieces, then sprinkle over the dough.
  4. Tightly roll up the dough from one of the short ends and pinch the seam to seal.
  5. Cut off the ends with a piece of stout thread by placing the thread under the log and pulling it tight to make a loop.  Keep tightening the loop until it cuts through the dough.  Slice the log into twelve equal slices and place them evenly in the prepared pan.
  6. Place the pan inside of a large, clean garbage bag, inflate the bag, and tuck the ends underneath to seal.  Set aside in a warm place until the buns’ sides are touching and the dough springs back when gently prodded with a fingertip, about 1 hour.
  7. About 10 minutes before the bread is done proving, preheat the oven to 375 F.

Baking the Sticky Buns (20 minutes + 5 minutes cooling)

  1. Bake the buns at 375 F for about 20-25 minutes, until they’re a rich golden brown.  Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil if they’re getting too dark.  The center buns should have an internal temperature of at least 190 F.
  2. Let the buns cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a large cookie sheet.  Serve the buns warm.

Notes

  • Bake the cut off ends in a large ramekin along with the buns.
  • Leftover sticky buns freeze very well and can be quickly defrosted for a delightful snack.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this sticky bun recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: caramel sticky buns, old fashioned sticky buns

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10 thoughts on “Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

  1. I love the step-by-step photos and instructions that you provide. The attention to detail is amazing.

  2. These buns are summed up in two words: absolutely divine. The stickiness is accented by pecans, and the bun is soft and fluffy. I love these!

  3. These sticky buns are so delicious and sticky, I could have eaten 2! The pecans add a nice crunch to the yummy bun.

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