Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

Breakfast has never been more indulgent! These are my glorious make-ahead maple pecan sticky buns. This homemade sticky buns recipe will convert even the purist of cinnamon roll lovers. For best results, read through all of my instructions before beginning.

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

Why have basic cinnamon rolls when you can have brown sugar, butter-y, caramel-ish pecan sticky buns? There’s absolutely no comparison. They’re tastier than you could ever imagine and give regular ol’ cinnamon rolls a run for their money. If you’re on 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.

Sticky buns > cinnamon rolls.

These Maple Pecan Sticky Buns Are:

  • Rich and decadent
  • Maple-y and nutty
  • Packed with warm cinnamon spice
  • Made with pure maple syrup
  • Piled high with a sticky, brown sugared, caramel-y, buttery, maple pecan topping
  • A make-ahead or overnight breakfast recipe– perfect for holiday entertaining
  • Simple to prepare and can be started the night before
  • An extra special Christmas breakfast or Easter brunch recipe

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

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

Three Parts to Pecan Sticky Buns

There are 3 parts to today’s maple pecan sticky buns:

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

Let’s quickly walk through each.

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 with 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– the softest, richest dough on my website.

Filling: Let’s grab dark brown sugar for the filling instead of granulated sugar. Why? Intense flavor! If you don’t have a bag of dark brown sugar, you can use light brown. We’ll combine the sugar 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 often crave maple in the morning! 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. We’d be missing out on so much flavor.Unbelievably soft, rich, and decadent maple pecan sticky buns with extra brown sugar caramel topping! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Maple Pecan Sticky Buns

I have a lot of step photos to walk you through the process– you can find them below the written recipe. (Just keep scrolling down.) I include these step shots because I feel working with yeast intimidates most. And I don’t want you afraid of the stuff. Sticky buns aren’t scary!

Let’s review the basics of making sticky buns:

  1. Make the sticky bun dough.
  2. Let the dough rise (1st rise). Transfer the dough onto a floured surface, knead it, then place it in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  3. Make the topping, then pour it into a greased baking pan.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12×18 inches. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
  5. Spread filling onto the dough.
  6. Tightly roll dough & cut into rolls. This should form an 18-inch log. Cut into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in the baking pan on top of the topping. (These rolls bake upside down!)
  7. Let the rolls rise (2nd rise).
  8. Bake. The rolls take about 25 minutes to bake. Tip: halfway through the bake time, cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t over-brown.
  9. Flip rolls & serve. Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes. Using oven mitts, invert the pan onto a large serving platter. The warm topping will deliciously melt down the sides! Serve warm.

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.

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

Overnight Instructions

Maple pecan sticky buns are a great choice for holiday entertaining because they can be prepared the night before serving. To prepare the night before serving, simply place the shaped (unbaked) rolls on top of the pecan topping as instructed (step 5), cover the rolls tightly, then refrigerate for 8-12 hours. The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours before baking.

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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

Description

Breakfast and brunch have never been more indulgent and delicious than with these make-ahead maple pecan sticky buns! For step-by-step photos, scroll down below the recipe.


Ingredients

Dough

  • 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

Topping

  • 2 cups (250g) chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk*
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

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

Instructions

  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). 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 active yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Beat in 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 bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  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 over 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. 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 on top of the pecan topping.
  6. Cover the rolls with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm environment again for about 45-60 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Bake rolls for 25 minutes or 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 over-brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool 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.

Notes

  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 right before serving.
  3. Special Tools (affiliate links): KitchenAid Stand Mixer, 5qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl, Glass Mixing BowlsRolling Pin, Glass Baking Dish, and Melamine Serving Platter
  4. Milk: Whole milk (or 2%) is best for this rich dough and topping. If needed, 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 wonderful for extra flavor, but light brown sugar can work in a pinch.

Keywords: maple pecan sticky buns, maple sticky buns

First, prepare the dough. You need yeast, warm milk, sugar, eggs, butter, flour, and salt. This is a very soft dough.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cover the dough in a greased bowl, then let it rise until doubled in size, usually about 1 and 1/2 hours.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Spread pecans into a greased baking pan. Boil the rest of the ingredients on the stove, then pour over pecans.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Topping is all set. Now back to the risen dough. Punch it down to release air bubbles. Roll it out in a large rectangle. Spread softened butter on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Roll it up tightly, slice, then arrange the rolls on top of the maple pecan topping.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cover and let the rolls rest overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 45-60 minutes. They’ll get nice and puffy like this:

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Bake them.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 smell divine! Who needs cream cheese icing when you have THIS?

maple-pecan-sticky-buns-4

Eat your heart out! Your work here is done.

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

162 Comments

  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

    1. I’m so happy you loved these! They are incredibly addictive 😉

  3. I love your recipes and your thorough explanation of the recipes,thanks alot for sharing ypur baking addiction with us

    1. Thanks so much! I’m thrilled you enjoyed this recipe 🙂

  4. Constance @croostifoodi says:

    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.

  5. 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

    1. So sweet to read this morning, thank you so much for the kindness!

  6. 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. Barbara Rowell says:

        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!

  7. These sound wonderful. My Hubbie hates nuts. Can the nuts be omitted with similar results? Thanks.

    1. You can leave out the nuts for just regular sticky buns!

  8. Hi Sally!

    Can I sub in bread flour for AP flour in this recipe?

    1. Sure can! The rolls will be a little extra chewy 🙂

  9. Arielle Shiller says:

    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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. What temperature should you reheat thawed buns and for how long?

    1. Hi Theresa, I recommend that you keep them covered and heat them at 300 degrees F to your liking! Enjoy!

  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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. 🙂 https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/baking-with-yeast/

  15. I just made these tonight. The dough is great on its own and so is the sticky mixture for the topping, but I agree with a previous reviewer that the amount of pecans seems way off. I measured 250g of pecans, and in my personal opinion the rolls are quite heavy and overloaded with them. They have kind of taken over the pillowy fluffy cinnamon rolls. Maybe I’m just more of a bread person too. 🙂 Was a fun recipe to try!

  16. These were amazing Sally! I just baked them this morning after preparing them last night using your instructions and my whole family was raving. The dough was so amazingly light and fluffy and the topping was delicious! I haven’t ever tried it with maple and the flavor was perfect! Thanks for another perfect recipe!

    1. Hi Sally! I really want to try out this recipe but unfortunately I’m out of maple syrup. Do i just substitute that with light corn syrup instead? Will it affect the texture of the topping?

      1. Hi Kris! You can use light corn syrup instead. No other changes necessary. You’ll just lose the maple flavor.

  17. LOVE THIS RECIPE! I just wanted to say that I make these in two separate pie dishes (6 in each) and it really helps to cook the buns evenly!

  18. Can you freeze before baking?

    1. Yes, see recipe note #2 for freezing instructions. Enjoy!

  19. Jennifer Feltri-George says:

    I had the same problem a few people have mentioned where the middle buns didn’t cook through, so I tried again and made them in 2 separate pie plates (as someone suggested in their comment. I still found the middle bun came out very doughy. The flavor is good though.

    1. Hi Jennifer, Try moving your oven rack lower so that it’s further away from the heat source and you can cover the pan with aluminum foil if the outside is browning before the center.

      1. I will try this, for sure. The flavor is good, and we have corn allergies in my house that make the maple instead of corn syrup in this recipe a big plus. I want to get this just right! Thank you!

    2. My first time making cinnamon bins – so far, so good. They are currently on the second rise before I bake them. Regarding the comment on the soggy centre, I wonder whether the syrup topping was allowed to boil for 3-4 minutes before pouring in the pan as noted in the recipe. I’m guessing that boiling process helps thicken the syrup and would avoid a Soggy result. Happy Easter you bread bakers!

      1. Jennifer Feltri-George says:

        Yes, we did boil.

  20. Harley Grouette says:

    My wife and I have never had much luck with yeast bread dough recipes. Decided to try this recipe and it turned out fantastically. My daughter is a chef and she thought they were amazing! Will be sharing this with friends.

    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Harley- thrilled this recipe was a hit with your family!

  21. Hi Sally,

    These buns look heavenly! I really want to try this recipe but my husband hates cinnamon, unfortunately 🙁 Can I omit cinnamon in the filling?

    1. You can leave out the cinnamon without making any other changes.

  22. The initial step in this recipe uses SO MUCH SUGAR that it kills the yeast and it won’t bloom.

    1. Hi Lu! I respectively disagree. I’ve never had an issue with this dough not rising due to the yeast’s activity changing. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Have you ever added bits of background n to the filling? I know lots more calories but I love bacon! Thinking of making it for Easter

    1. I haven’t added bacon but you can and it would be delicious!

  24. These are the best! I tried making these a couple months ago but was having problems with the yeast, or so I thought. Despite this I Still thought they were really good. It turns out the yeast was fine, I was just not being patient enough with the rising. I would recommend you triple or quadruple the rising times if you’re using regular active yeast. The second batch I made today was phenomenal, the dough was unbelievably soft. Same yeast, the only difference was I let them rise longer . Thank you for this recipe!

  25. I made this today and it looked promising. I had read comments that the middle bun tended to be undercooked so I was watching for that, did end up having to tent with aluminum foil for last half of cooking and didn’t pull until the middle also felt cooked and not doughy/springy. I cooled my pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. When I inverted the baking pan, all the yummy caramel sauce, and the middle part of the roll, stayed stuck to the pan. What did I do wrong?

    1. Hi Jodie! Thank you so much for trying these sticky buns. Tenting cinnamon/sweet rolls with foil always helps promote even baking– I always make sure to do it when the rolls are baking. For the topping sticking to the pan after inverting– was your pan greased? Do you think you over-baked or under-baked the rolls? If you try making these rolls again, try inverting once they come out of the oven. If any sticks, I usually just grab a spoon and spoon it back on top of the rolls. Regardless, sorry you had trouble here!

  26. Jessica Keller says:

    I just made these using the overnight fridge method. I was nervous, as I’m super new to baking with yeast, but they turned out wonderfully! I halved the recipe (since it’s just me and my husband), and I had to use a bigger dish than I wanted to, but it turned out to be a good thing – those bad boys expanded a lot in the fridge and oven, and filled the whole dish. I’m saving this recipe for the next time I host a brunch!

  27. I made these and the entire family loved them! We even shared them with our neighbours in the attached unit of our duplex. The only question I have is about the caramel sauce. I followed the instructions but I found the caramel sauces wasn’t creamy or sticky enough. If anything it was kind of crumbly with the pecans. Where did I go wrong? I was expecting to have it run down a little over the sides but it didn’t. It was more of a solid topping.

    1. Hi Lori! It sounds like the caramel could have been over-cooked to the point that it partially solidified. It will thicken as it sits before using– did you make it far in advance by chance or change any ingredients/quantity of ingredients? If desired for next time, try adding a few more Tbsp of whole milk to help keep it thinner.

      1. I didn’t change any of the ingredients. After I made the topping and poured it into the baking dish over the pecans, I let it rest for 30-40 minutes to cool enough to put the buns on top and let them rise again for another hour before baking. The second time I made them I placed the glass baking dish on a cookie sheet to see if that would distribute the heat more and maybe the topping wouldn’t separate but that didn’t help either.

  28. Can you cut the recipe in half and bake in a square or smaller cake pan? There are only 2 of us and 12 buns is a lot!
    If the answer is yes, is it a straight half of everything (including yeast?) or are there other adjustments needed?
    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Rondi, I haven’t tested it but you should be able to cut the recipe exactly in half. Let me know how they turn out!

      1. I ended up separating into 3 baking pans and par-baking 2 and freezing them. I was worried about the yeast portioning so didn’t want to chance it. The buns were amazing! I am going to try the topping without the milk/cream next time because the topping was not as caramell-y as I had hoped and I could not taste the maple at all.

  29. Hi sally do I have to add pecans as I cant find then in stores in the UK
    Thanks in advance

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rabiya, You can leave out the nuts for just regular sticky buns!

  30. These were part of an “I’m sorry gift” for a family member and they did the trick! They are so delicious! Lucky for my husband that I held back a small pan for him (us!)

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