Go Back
+ servings
A sticky bun on a plate with a fork.
Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Pecan Sticky Buns

This overnight sticky buns recipe makes it easy to include decadent homemade Pecan Sticky Buns on a brunch menu. No one can resist these tender buns with a sweet and sticky caramel pecan topping!
Prep Time45 mins
Rising Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 buns
Calories: 641kcal


For the Sticky Buns

  • 1 cup milk I use 2%
  • cup butter cut into ½-inch slices
  • .25 ounce packet active dry yeast not instant or rapid rise
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the Caramel Pecan Topping

  • 2 cups chopped pecan halves
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make the Sticky Bun Dough

  • Heat the milk in the microwave in a small bowl for 1 minute 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and add slices of butter. Stir until butter has melted. If butter doesn’t completely melt, heat for an additional 10 seconds in the microwave. Pour the warm milk and butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface and let it sit for about 5 to 7 minutes or until you see bubbles on the surface which indicates that the yeast has been activated.
  • Using the paddle attachment, add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the sugar and salt and continue mixing to combine.
  • Remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook. Add 3 cups of flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Add additional flour in ½ cup increments, mixing in between, until you’ve added a total of 4 cups. Continue mixing and add very small amounts of flour (⅛-cup to ¼-cup increments) until the dough has come together and is mostly holding on to the hook (some will still be at the bottom of the mixing bowl). You may not need the entire amount (I usually need about 4 ½ to 4 ¾ cup total). Continue mixing to knead the dough for about 5 or 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be very sticky.
  • Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, lightly flour your hands and scrape the dough from the mixing bowl and into the prepared bowl. Form it into a ball with your hands and turn it over to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen cloth and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 to 2 hours.

Roll Out, Fill and Shape the Buns

  • Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 14- x 18-inch rectangle. Pour the melted butter over the surface of the dough and use a pastry brush to coat the entire surface evenly.
  • In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the melted butter.
  • Roll up the dough, lengthwise, into a log, forming and shaping the dough with your hands to make it as even as possible. (Check length again after rolling and compress with your hands, if necessary, so it’s 18-inches long). Trim and discard the uneven ends of the roll and then slice it in half. Then, slice each half into 6 equal size pieces for a total of 12 buns.

Make the Caramel Pecan Topping

  • Coat a 13- x 9-inch metal, glass or ceramic baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter the pecans evenly over the bottom of the pan. Be sure they are packed down evenly so the tops of the buns will all be coated with nuts.
  • Melt the butter with the brown sugar, honey, and salt in a small saucepan over LOW heat. When the butter has melted, simmer the mixture, stirring constantly, for 1 minute,until it comes together into a thin caramel mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture evenly over the pecans.

Assemble and Refrigerate

  • Place the buns over the caramel pecan mixture (3-across width of pan/4-down length of pan). Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake the Sticky Buns

  • The next morning, take the baking pan out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and let it stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 22 to 30 minutes or until golden brown (buns will cook more quickly in a metal pan than in a glass pan). Place a piece of foil lightly over the top of the baking pan for the last 5 to 10 minutes of the baking time if needed, to prevent over-browning but to allow the buns to bake through to the center.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let the sticky buns cool for 5 minutes in the pan.

Invert the Sticky Buns

  • Using oven mitts, carefully invert the pan onto a large serving platter or baking sheet (see tips below). Allow the pan to stay upside down over the rolls without lifting it for a few minutes and the warm topping will melt down the sides. Remove the pan. Serve warm.


Total time shown does not include overnight refrigeration.
To Bake the Same Day
Instead of covering and refrigerating the sticky buns, cover the baking pan with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen cloth and place it in a warm place in your kitchen. Allow the buns to rest for about an hour for their second rise before baking as instructed.
Tips for Inverting
An aluminum pan is much lighter weight than glass or ceramic and it will be far easier to invert. Place a large rimmed baking sheet or platter over the top of the baking pan. Using a kitchen towel or oven mitts (pan will still be warm), lift both the pan and baking sheet up and flip them over to invert the buns onto the baking sheet. Let the pan sit upside down for 2 to 3 minutes then lift it off. 
If you'd like, you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper before inverting the buns. Just cut a piece of parchment paper to fit to the edges of the baking sheet and place it parchment-side down over the metal pan with the buns and then invert as instructed above.
Sticky Bun Variations
  • Maple Pecan Sticky Buns - Substitute pure maple syrup in the same amount for the honey in the caramel pecan topping.
  • Bourbon Pecan Sticky Buns - Add 1 tablespoon bourbon to the caramel pecan topping.
  • Walnut Sticky Buns - Try walnuts in place of pecans for different but delicious flavor.


Serving: 1bun | Calories: 641kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 487mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 721IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3mg