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

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

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

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

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

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.


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! For step-by-step photos, scroll down below the recipe.



  • 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 (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


  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or 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). 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.


  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

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

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

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

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

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

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

How to make maple pecan sticky buns on

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

Bake them.

How to make maple pecan sticky buns 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 smell divine! Who needs cream cheese icing when you have THIS?


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
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!

    1. Thank you so much!

  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

    1. Thanks so much Sally! 🙂

      So happy you loved these!

  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. Taylor White says:

    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. Taylor White says:

      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. Annie Spannie says:

    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. Mellany McMichael says:

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

  9. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Sticky buns are the absolute best! I grew up with a grandma who baked, and sticky buns were her signature holiday treat. These look like utter perfection (and bring back great memories!) 🙂

  10. 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! 🙂

  11. 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. Did you alter the ingredients or ratios in the topping? Try constantly whisking– it should stay together.

      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!

  12. Kelsey Renee says:

    These would be perfect for mother’s day brunch! Yum! I’ve never been one to resist a sticky bun!

  13. Jenny Hughes says:

    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!

    1. Oh wow, that sounds amazing!! Love that you are trying different flavors!

  14. 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. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ashley! It’s just easier since it’s more universal, but you can try bread flour if you prefer it.

  15. patti simmons says:

    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

  16. Hi, I have a problem with dairy. Would it be ok to use soy milk or almond milk instead?

  17. 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!

    1. Haha – thanks Stefaney! So happy your family is enjoying a variety of the recipes!

  18. 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.

  19. 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! 

    1. Sounds so good!

  20. Sheldon Veenstra says:

    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. 

    1. Yep. See the freezing instructions.

      1. Sheldon Veenstra says:

        Where can I find the freezing instructions? 

  21. 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!

  22. Samantha Whitson says:

    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!

  23. 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?

    1. Won’t be too long at all! Prep the dough before you go 🙂

  24. 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?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them! Next time try baking them a few minutes less and they should be perfect!

  25. 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!

    1. I’m glad you liked them, Regina!

  26. Charlotte Linsner says:

    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’m so happy you tried them and enjoyed how they turned out, Charlotte!

  27. Hi Sally, The buns look so delicious. I want to try this out. Can I use a bread machine to make the dough?


    1. Hi Alie! I haven’t personally tried it using a bread machine, but you certainly can!

      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!

  28. Arielle Shiller says:

    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!!

    1. Hi Arielle! That’s too far in advance, unfortunately. The dough would over-proof. You’d have to freeze them.

  29. 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.

    1. Hi Lila! Walnuts would be the best substitution in this pecan sticky bun recipe.

  30. 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