Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

Bake my melt-in-your-mouth maple cinnamon rolls next.

Breakfast and brunch have never been more indulgent and delicious than with these make-ahead maple pecan sticky buns! Recipe on

I’ve got a bun in the oven.

No really, I do!

(I’ve been waiting 18 weeks to type that. And also, I am overwhelmed by your response to our happy news. Thank you so much… all of you… for your kind words, stories, comments, and endless support. Monday was the most wonderful day because of you. Thank you for being part of that very special moment announcing this. ♥)

Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on

I also have maple pecan sticky buns on the menu this Easter weekend. To test the recipe out, I made a batch last week and again the other day. (Froze the rest!) The whole batch is better than I even imagined and give regular ol’ cinnamon buns a run for their money. Why have regular cinnamon rolls when you can have brown sugar, butter-y, caramel-ish pecan sticky buns? There’s absolutely no comparison.

Sticky buns > cinnamon rolls.

If you’re team cinnamon roll, I guarantee this recipe will change your mind. You’ll be on the big buns side in no time. And consequently, your buns may even get bigger.

Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on

I have a lot of step photos for you today to walk you through the process. To avoid overwhelming you, I share all the step shots below the written out recipe. But I do encourage you to take a peek at them. They will help guide you along. I took all these step shots of my process the other day because I feel working with yeast intimidates most. And I want you to no longer be afraid of the stuff! Sticky buns aren’t scary.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

Before We Get Started…

There are 3 parts to these maple pecan sticky buns.

  1. The dough.
  2. The filling.
  3. The maple pecan topping.

Dough: this is the same trusty dough I use for my overnight cinnamon rolls and maple cinnamon rolls. Which means (1) it’s dependable. I’ve used this dough at least 30x in the past couple years and am extremely confident in it. (2) it’s a make-ahead recipe, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. You can begin prepping these maple pecan sticky buns the night before OR you can completely prepare them in the morning. Choose which is best for your schedule. And (3) it’s loved. There’s a reason I turn to this dough recipe time and time again. The dough is buttery and soft. In fact, the softest, richest sweet roll dough on my website.

Filling: Let’s grab dark brown sugar for the filling instead of light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Why? Intense flavor! Of course if you don’t have a bag of dark brown, you can use light brown. But I highly recommend switching things up. Major molasses, moisture, deep beautiful flavor. We’ll combine it with soft butter and cinnamon to fill the rolls.

Topping: Maple and pecan, you make us all completely weak at the knees. I decided to introduce maple into the traditional pecan sticky bun topping because I wanted to avoid using corn syrup– and because I craved maple! If we’re being honest, I was out of corn syrup so I improvised. And I’m grateful for doing so. Corn syrup is typically used to make that gooey caramel topping, but there’s no reason why pure maple syrup can’t be subbed in. There’s mouthwatering flavor there we’d be missing out on.

You know what the coolest part is? You bake these sticky buns upside down!

Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on

Flip the entire pan over onto a serving plate and that hot, sticky, brown sugared, caramel-y, buttery, maple pecan topping is revealed. And man does this stuff smell divine. Who needs cream cheese icing when you have THIS?

Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on

NOTE! It may look like a lot of ingredients, but they are mostly all repeats in each process like dark brown sugar, butter, milk, etc. 🙂

Scroll down for my step photos and additional tips for making these at home!


Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 buns
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Breakfast and brunch have never been more indulgent and delicious than with these make-ahead maple pecan sticky buns!



  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk*
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons active dry or instant yeast (2 standard packets)*
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/2 cups (558g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface


  • 2 cups (250g) chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed dark brown sugar*
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) whole milk*
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Make the dough: Heat milk to about 95°F (35°C)– use microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. Here’s what I do: turn the oven on to 200°F (93°C). Once heated to that temperature, turn the oven off. Stick the covered dough inside the oven and allow it to rise in this warm environment.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread pecans in an even layer in the pan. Set aside. Combine the rest of the topping ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted, then bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour on top of pecans. Set aside.
  4. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle. I used a ruler for accuracy. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
  5. Add the filling: Spread softened butter all over dough. Top evenly with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. Cut into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan.
  6. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment again for about 30-40 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Bake rolls for about 25 minutes until they are golden brown. About halfway through the bake time, I like to cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  8. Using oven mitts, carefully invert the pan onto a large serving platter. The warm topping will deliciously melt down the sides! Serve warm.


  1. Overnight Instructions: To prepare the night before serving, prepare the rolls through step 5. Cover the rolls tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours before continuing with step 7.
  2. Freezing Instructions: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: bake the rolls in step 7 for only about 10 minutes at 375°F (191°C). Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. To serve, take the rolls out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator a few hours before serving. Then, finish baking them.
  3. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Glass Mixing Bowls | Wooden Rolling PinGlass Baking DishMelamine Serving Platter
  4. Milk: Whole milk (or 2%) is definitely a must for this rich dough and absolutely needed for the topping. Instead, you can use half-and-half for the dough and heavy cream or half-and-half for the topping. Do not use lower fat milk for the topping; it won’t set up properly.
  5. Yeast: If using active dry yeast, the rise times will be slightly longer. I always use an instant yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  6. Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is strongly recommended for best flavor, but light brown can work in a pinch.

First, prepare the dough. Very straightforward dough we’re working with here using yeast, warm milk, sugar, eggs, butter, flour, and salt. It’s a very soft dough.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Let it rise until doubled in size, usually about 1 and 1/2 hours.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

While it rises though– prepare the maple pecan topping. Here’s what you’ll need, plus some whole milk.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Boil it all together on the stove, then pour over a layer of delicious Diamond of California pecans. Taste test, of course.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Topping is all set. Now back to the dough. Punch it down to release air bubbles. Roll it out. Smear butter on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Roll it up tightly, slice, and place the rolls on the maple pecan topping.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Let the rolls rise *overnight* in the refrigerator or for 45ish minutes right then. Whichever works best for you. They’ll get all puffy like this:

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Bake them.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

Flip them.


Eat your heart out! Your work here is done.

You’ll also love my overnight cinnamon rolls!

Soft, fluffy, buttery cinnamon rolls you can begin ahead of time. Save time in the morning and have everyone wake up to warm, fresh, cinnamon goodness! Recipe on

Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on
Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on


  1. Hi Sally!! I made the sticky buns and the flavor is amazing!! But the dough where all the caramel and pecans are, is way too soft. I thought that maybe it was a undercooked so I decided to put it in the oven for a few more minutes but the result is the same. Is it normal or did I did something wrong?

    1. Hi Isabella! You didn’t do anything wrong. That part of the sticky bun will be extra soft from the coating, but it shouldn’t taste raw. I recommend baking until the rolls are cooked through. You can tent the pan with foil to prevent burning. 🙂

  2. So addicting!
    The dough was so fluffy. the maple pecan adds great flavour and while warm they are to die for! We ate half the pan while warm between 2 people

  3. Absolutely AMAZING taste and texture! We love love them.
    Even though the one in the middle of the pan wasn’t cooked enough – wonder why.

  4. Sally, i love your recipes. Thank you sooo much for your detailed explanations and pictures to go along with it. It makes life easier for us home bakers who need the reassurance that we’re doing it correctly

  5. Is it possible to make the dough two days ahead, or a day and a half ahead? I want to make the dough tomorrow morning and bake it christmas morning. Would that work?

    1. You can allow the dough to rise in the refrigerator. It will be a slow rise, but this will allow you to start the rolls this morning.

      1. So Sally, you can make them the same way as the overnight cinnamon rolls in terms of an overnight rise? Those always turn out well!

  6. Sally, I just made these and I’ve made so many things from your site but these are beyond the best. I’m so upset because now I’ll have to make them for so many occasions! lol I’ll definitely make them for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. Thank you so much!

    1. Haha – I’m so sorry that you will have to keep making them 😉 But I’m so happy you enjoy them so much!

  7. Love this recipe as is, but looking to make it for a crowd and I know of several intolerances to dairy. Have you tried with lactose free butter and lactose free milk (not plant milks)?? Will it still work out? Don’t want to invest in those products if it’ll be a huge flop!

    1. Hi Maude! I haven’t tried those substitutions. Lactose free milks are usually fine, but I’d be concerned about the butter. Let me know if you try it.

    2. My wife can’t tolerate any dairy, even lactose free, so I made these using Nature’s Choice for the butter and Oatly for the milk. Came out wonderful with an overnight raise in a box on our deck.

  8. Sally, every recipe of yours that I have tried has turned out amazingly, and this one is no exception. This dough is the best I’ve ever made, I was a bit sceptical when I saw it in my mixer but when I pulled it out to rise, wow! I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into getting it right. And I love that you include the metric measurements too, which is just another detail that helps us readers get a consistently great outcome. Thanks for making such an awesome blog 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Neala! I am thrilled you enjoyed this recipe and truly appreciate your readership 🙂 Happy baking!

  9. These looks amazing! Can they be made with the quick cinnamon rolls from scratch recipe that uses instant yeast and only requires one rise?

    1. Hi Katie! Absolutely. You will have an extra thick layer of maple pecans since that recipe yields a slightly smaller pan. Not a bad thing! 🙂

  10. i made this tonight for dinner and it delicious! my whole family really enjoyed it. i did notice that it seemed like i let me dough rise too long–my rolls were *really* puffy. do you have any tips for a yeast newbie on how to know when dough has risen enough? also, i’d love any tips for how to take my circular dough ball and make a good rectangle, too. mine was definitely more of an oval even after trying a few different ways to square it off. i want to improve my results for the next time i make it (can’t wait!).

    1. Hi Jen! I actually have a blog post for yeast beginners. I know you’ll find it super helpful for all your bread baking adventures. 🙂

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally