Breakfast has never been more indulgent than with make-ahead maple pecan sticky buns. This homemade sticky buns recipe will convert even the purist of cinnamon roll lovers. Read through all of my instructions before beginning for best results.
Why have basic cinnamon rolls when you can have brown sugar, butter-y, caramel-ish pecan sticky buns? There’s absolutely no comparison. The whole batch is better than I could imagine and give regular ol’ cinnamon rolls a run for their money. 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.
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
- What breakfast dreams are made of!
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.
Three Parts to Pecan Sticky Buns
There are 3 parts to today’s maple pecan sticky buns:
- The dough.
- The filling.
- 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– 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! 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.
How to Make Maple Pecan Sticky Buns
I have a lot of step photos to help walk you through the process– you’ll find these below the written out recipe. I include these step shots 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! I encourage you to take a peek at them. Let’s review the basics of making sticky buns:
- Make the sticky bun dough.
- Let the dough rise. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface, knead into a ball, and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
- Make the topping. Pour into prepared baking pan.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle. You want the rectangle to be about 12×18 inches. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
- Add the filling to the dough.
- 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!)
- Let the rolls rise.
- Bake. The rolls take about 25 minutes to bake, or until golden brown. Tip: halfway through the bake time, cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much.
- 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.
Maple pecan sticky buns are a great choice for holiday entertaining as they can be prepared the night before serving. To prepare the night before serving, simply place the rolls on top of the pecan topping as instructed (step 5), cover the rolls tightly, and 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. Bake and serve!Print
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment again for about 30-40 minutes.
- 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.
- Using oven mitts, carefully invert the pan onto a large serving platter. The warm topping will deliciously melt down the sides! Serve warm.
- 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.
- 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, 5qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl, Glass Mixing Bowls, Rolling Pin, Glass Baking Dish, and Melamine Serving Platter
- 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.
- 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.
- Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is strongly recommended for best flavor, but light brown can work in a pinch.
Keywords: maple pecan sticky buns, maple sticky buns
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.
Let it rise until doubled in size, usually about 1 and 1/2 hours.
While it rises though– prepare the maple pecan topping. Here’s what you’ll need, plus some whole milk.
Boil it all together on the stove, then pour over a layer of delicious pecans. Taste test, of course.
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.
Roll it up tightly, slice, and place the rolls on the maple pecan topping. You bake these sticky buns upside down!
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:
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?
Eat your heart out! Your work here is done.