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.

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.
  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. That looks amazing! If I only had more time to bake all the goodies I see on your blog…
    And congratulations all the way from Germany! I hope everything goes well and that in a little while (that’ll be a few months to years actually LOL) a little someone will enjoy your baked goods 🙂
    Take care of yourself!

  2. Hi Sally
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am so happy for all of you! God bless you, Kevin, your little “bun” and your pups!!!
    I made your maple pecan sticky buns today, and oh my Sally, they are so super, super wonderful!! I followed your directions and they were spot on!
    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with all of us! You are my go-to blog, Sal!
    Have a Happy Easter to you and yours

  3. Team Cinnamon Roll! LOL! These look FABULOUS, Sally!!! I cannot wait to try them next time I go home (where teenage boys exist and can help make these disappear so I don’t eat them all…!)

    Happy Easter to you! Hope you are feeling well! 🙂

  4. OK! If you have not made these, what are you waiting for!  I just finished the last delicious bite of my first attempt. AMAZING, warm,buttery,  pecan, sugary, melt in your mouth yumm!  I wont deny it takes some time, but the pay off… worth it.  Thank you Sally!

  5. These are resting in my fridge right this second, I can’t wait to eat them tomorrow! Question: when I take them out of the fridge to rest for 1-2 hours tomorrow morning, should I leave it covered or uncover it to rest before I bake it? 

    Thanks so much, my husband and I are so excited for these bad boys! Have a great Easter! 

    1. Oh my gosh…these are DEVILISH. I’ve had too many already and they’ve only been sitting on the counter for a few hours! My excuse is that it is Easter. A holiday, so I can over-indulge a bit…right? 
      Loved this recipe, thank you!!! Next time, I going to be making extra caramel sauce to put on my rolls after they’ve baked. 

    2. Hi Taylor! I’m just seeing your question now. I didn’t work this weekend, so I apologize for missing it before! I let them rise in the AM covered. I’m so glad you Loved them though! Just saw your follow up comment 🙂

  6. Did not have yeast to make rolls, but did hsve a package of refrigerated cinnamon rolls. Let the rolls get to room temperature. Then made toppong (cut recipe in half for number of rolls I had) per directions. Place rolls (cinnamon side down) on top of pecan mixture and baked according to directions. My husband loved these rolls. He thought I had bought them at the bakery. Thanks for the recipe. Look forward to many more delicious recipes from you.

  7. Hi Sally – these looked so great I couldn’t wait to make them for Easter morning. So I did! But I am so sad to report mine didn’t turn out. Which is a first with your recipes – you are by go-to blog for baking and have learned so much! So after my recipe fail – I re-read your recipe and looked at the pics (so helpful). I had way more topping than you picture, and my chopped pecans were more chopped than what I see in your pics (yours looked more whole). And I didn’t use Diamond – maybe that was the problem? 😉 I baked them in a calibrated 375 oven (that has an oven thermometer) for 27 minutes until golden brown. Mine looked similar to your picture above when I pulled them out. I let them cool for 5 minutes, then turned them out onto a platter. This was when I knew something had gone amiss…the entire middle sank and the topping was just a puddle of warm, maple, buttery goo (not a bad thing but not what I think we’re going for here). I stuck a knife in it and it was like stirring soup. The edges were ok-ish but also rather doughy. We got maybe 15 bites (but they were a delicious 15 bites). I am wondering if 25 minutes is really all yours took? It seemed I could have left mine in for another 25 minutes and they would have been done. I followed your recipe to a “T”, and everything else went smooth (up until it didn’t). Any hints would be great. I will likely try again in the future but if there’s anything else you could sleuth for me that would be great. I am not sure why I had so much more topping, and it seems the bake time should have been longer.
    I hope you had a lovely Easter with all your buns, both in the oven and out!

    1. The nuts wouldn’t be the problem, but I’m worried about why your topping was so thin and liquid-y. Did you let it boil on the stove? Did you use these exact ingredients and measurements for the topping? Boiling it on the stove thickens it so it shouldn’t be as thin. I feel this I the reason your rolls didn’t cook properly. Too much liquid sitting at the bottom of the pan. But I’m glad the parts you DID taste, you enjoyed!

      1. Thank you for taking the time to get back to me Sally! As far as I recall I used the correct measurements but perhaps I didn’t boil it long enough indeed. I timed it for 3 minutes but perhaps it needed more. I will pay more attention to that step the next time. Thanks again for your time and thoughts – they really were delicious! And I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into your blog – I really love it and use it addictively. 🙂

  8. Mmmm! Made these for Easter morning breakfast and they were Fabulous! Thank you for another great recipe! 
    Happy Easter, Sally!

  9. I’m not a nut lover, how would the turn out without the nuts, or nuts in half the pan??  My son really really wants a sticky bun and I love love your Recipes!  Congratulations on the bun in your oven!!

    1. You can leave out the nuts, but the maple topping will be a little liquid-y on top of the rolls, just a warning!
      Thank you for the congrats! 🙂

  10. Hi Sally. I have a problem with the topping. My mixture separated when I was cooking the mixture. It turned sort of grainy. All the ingredients were at room temperature. Can u please tell me what’s wrong and the mixture was too runny. Puzzled about the separation? Thanks. Chloe

      1. I had the same problem with my topping and also the color was lighter than in your photo.  But I used light brown sugar… was thinking that’s what’s causing the lighter color of the topping… Or could it be something else?

        Anyhow… they are in the oven and the smell is amazing!

  11. These are delicious. I made them for easter.
    This week I turned them into pineapple upside down sticky buns . I made the same dough but used honey in the caramel sauce instead of maple and used fresh diced pineapple instead of pecans.
    They are delicious!

  12. Hi Sally – Congrats on your amazing news!

    I’m going to try this recipe this weekend, but I’m slightly hesitant about using all-purpose flour. In my cinnamon bun recipe, I use bread flour and the texture is out-of-this-world amazing. Is there a reason you use A-P instead of bread flour? Thanks in advance for any info. 🙂

  13. Hi Sally,
    Just pulled these out of the oven and they look and smell amazing. Because of time constraints I’m not serving these until tomorrow. Should I wait until then to turn them over onto a platter or should turn them over today and then cover them? Thanks

  14. These were fantastic and my 2 year old loved helping me make them! He calls them sticky rolls! I didn’t have any pecans so I subbed walnuts (left over from your walnut crusted chicken) otherwise followed the recipe perfectly. Had them for dessert after some of your leftover taco spice chili, lol. Not sure what my family would eat without you! Best of luck with the new baby!

  15. Thanks for sending me the recipe for your maple syrup pecan sticky buns, I will be making them and can hardly wait. But first I will have to wait on the weather it is starting to get HOT here now
    but I definitely will be making them when it cools down. Now at least I have the recipe.
    Thanks again.

  16. Made these this morning and added two tablespoons of bourbon to the caramel sauce. Yum! This was my first successful (read:”perfect”) cinnamon roll recipe as I always bake with whole wheat and it makes it trickier for proper texture for the bread. I think its was combo of your recipe, making sure the dough was adaquately moist and added vital wheat gluten that lead to a good bun. Thanks so much for the recipe! Im in love! 

  17. Hi Sally, planning on making some sweet rolls for the Thanksgiving. I was wondering if I would be able to make them in advance and freeze them. 

  18. This recipe comes at such a perfect time for cinnamon buns! ( I just realized, there is no such thing as a bad time for them!) I can just imagine how wonderful the kitchen will smell when I make these. I am also so very much in agreement about cream cheese frosting. This will beat it in a heartbeat. I have a lot of maple syrup to use so I am always pleased to find recipes that include that as well. Yay to being Canadian!

  19. Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe! I was curious about the temperature for the yeast however as I tried it at the 95 degrees F you listed in the recipe but it was a fail, unfortunately. I started over and took it to 110 degrees and it failed again, I was really puzzled, so I did some research and found that it did need to be more in the 110 to 115 degree range and also there was a lot of info that came up saying that sometimes direct contact between yeast and sugar can harm the yeast. I had not heard of this but for my third attempt I dissolved the sugar into the warm liquid first, then whisked in the yeast (used quick rise Red Star) and it proofed perfect! I’m not sure if it has something to do with my technique, although I did follow every step as written, on my first two attempts. Regardless, I felt it worth mentioning in case anyone else has a similar issue at some point~but after reading the other comments it seems all was good with others’ experiences. Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

  20. Hey Sally! I want to make this for Christmas morning. We got to chruch at 10pm on Christmas Eve and I’m thinking I’ll be too tired to make these when we get home. Will they be okay in the fridge that long if I put them in before we leave and then bake in the morning?

  21. Hi Sally! I made these sticky buns recently they turned out right, the maple pecan topping was perfect. They were really tasty and personally thought they were even better the next day on reheat. But I felt like they turned out kind of dry not as soft and buttery like in your photos. I was wondering if there was anything I could do to make them softer?

  22. This was an excellent recipe! I will definitely be making again. I may try doubling the filling next time though. I felt like it needed my cinnamon sugar. I loved the maple pecan topping and the bread was great!

  23. I made your maple pecan sticky buns yesterday & oh my gosh how great they taste. I love the simple form you put the recipe in as it was easy to read & follow. The rolls are great even without the topping. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

      1. I have chronic pain in my hands, so I always use a bread machine to make my dough for rolls & breads. It works great. Add ingredients as instructed in the manual of your machine. Set to “dough” & remove when ready. Shape & bake dough according to recipe. I’m making these today!

  24. Hi Sally!
    I was wondering if these could be made up to 2 days in advance? Ideally, I would like to prepare the buns on Friday night and bake them Sunday morning. I’ve made so many things from your site (about 20) and each one is fabulous!!

  25. Hi Sally
    I know this may seem like a stupid question but can I use almonds or walnuts instead of pecans? They are too pricey and it’s hard to find them here.

  26. When I copied your recipe into my app I made 2 little mistakes. 1st run on the dough not good. Once I figured out my mistake all was good 2nd run. When all baked off these are the most decadent, rich and awesome buns I have ever made. Kudos to you.

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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