When I tell you that this recipe for sticky buns is an heirloom recipe, I am not kidding.
Pecan Sticky Buns are the best hot sticky bun recipe out there, made just the way grandma on the farm made them with a caramel pecan sauce.
It has been handed down through generations of farm works and gone by many names: Butterscotch Sticky Rolls, Caramel Sticky Buns, Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls, plain old Sticky Buns and many more.
Here, the on the weathered index card, you can see my great Aunt Beverly referred to them as Butterscotch Pecan Rolls. I’ve modified the name to Pecan Sticky Buns. There is no cutting corners here.
You will make the sticky roll bread from scratch, as well as the caramel sauce. Make sure you have time to allow it to rise.
By the end, you will swear to never make another homemade sticky roll recipe, but then you will have one magical bite and realize it was all worth it.
Pecan Sticky Buns aren’t an “everyday” kind of breakfast, even for farm life. My mother and aunt have fond memories of eating sticky buns fresh from the oven nearly every weekend, when there was no guilt associated with a breakfast of bacon, eggs and sugar.
Keep in mind, they were actually working a farm. Hard core manual labor. You needed to carbohydrate load every single day just to make it through.
Nowadays, they are reserved for holidays and special occassions. Not only does making them the old fashioned way take extra time and TLC, Pecan Sticky Rolls aren’t something you should indulge in everyday.
I generally pair mine with a fruit salad, just to feel a little better about myself.
What are sticky rolls? Well, they aren’t cinnamon rolls, that is for sure, although they could be cousins.
The basic differences between sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are that sticky buns generally have a butterscotch or caramel sauce along with nuts and cinnamon rolls are without nuts and have a glaze or frosting.
The two are commonly mistaken for each other, but both delicious.
Tools needed to make Pecan Sticky Buns:
Rolling Pin– I prefer a traditional rolling pin to the French version, but it is your choice. In a pinch you can use a wine bottle.
Rolling Mat– While you can also roll dough straight onto your counter, I prefer a rolling mat. I know I just disinfected my countertops, but now my dough has the disinfectant on it!
9 x 13 Glass Baking Dish– an absolute essential for any kitchen! Use it for baking, marinating or storing. Get one with a lid, you’ll thank me later.
Heavy Bottom Sauce Pan– this will be one of your most used kitchen tools. Having something that is heavy bottom will distribute heat better and prevent burning whether you are using an electric or gas range.
More Breakfast Ideas
Old Fashioned Pecan Sticky Buns
- 3 teaspoons active yeast or 1 packet
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs whisked
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup shortening melted (not oil)
- Cooking Spray
Caramel Pecan Topping"
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons Cinnamon
- Heat whole milk in the microwave for 1 minute. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook, or a large mixing bowl, place yeast, sugar and salt, stir.
- Add hot milk and allow to sit for approximately 10 minutes, or until yeast has activated, bloomed and smells fragrant.
- Stir in whisked eggs and then half of the the flour.
- Mix with the bread hook until mixture is fully incorporated and dough drapes off of the hook. You can also use a large wooden mixing spoon and work those arm muscles!
- Stir in melted shortening and remaining flour. Continue to knead with the bread hook or hands until dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Roll dough into a ball and place into a large, well greased mixing bowl. Turn once to cover all exterior with butter or grease. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes. Dough will double in size.
- While dough rises, make the caramel pecan topping by placing butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a small sauce pan. Melt over low heat, sitting occasionally. It is very important that the mixture does not reach a boil, or even a simmer. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved and fully incorporated and remove from heat.
- Spray a 9×13 rectangular baking dish or two 9-inch circular pie plates with cooking spray. Pour caramel pecan mixture evenly into the bottom of the dish(es). Sprinkle with pecans. Allow butterscotch topping to cool while you roll the dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle, approximately 14×22 inches.
- Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Brush melted butter over dough and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Roll dough tightly from the short end. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 equal slices. Place slices directly on top of butterscotch topping (either all 12 in the 9×13 or 6 and 6 in pie plates).
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. If the tops start to brown, loosely lay a piece of aluminum foil over top.
- Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Now is the tricky part, you have to flip this bad boy onto a large platter. Choose a serving dish that is larger than your cookware and be careful not to burn yourself.
- Serve immediately and enjoy Old Fashioned Pecan Sticky Buns!
Made them for first time today. Huge hit with the family. Added a dash of pure vanilla extract I got from Mexico. ER-MER-GERD!! Amazing!!
Thanks for the yummy recipe. 😋
Love the pure vanilla- glad your family enjoyed!
First time ever making sticky buns turned out to be very easy and the family loved them!!
Thank you for coming to let us know. It makes us so happy to know others are enjoying our recipe.
Hi! I was wondering if you can make these all the way until ready for baking, but freeze them for future dates? I imagine just letting them thaw overnight in fridge then coming up to room temp would suffice but not sure bc of the topping… any thoughts? Thank you!
Hi Chelsea, I would think so, but honestly, I’d probably bake them and then freeze them. Thaw in the fridge or at room temp or even reheat them a little in the oven. Then you can even freeze them individually.
Just made these! They are excellent, dough is a dream to work with, and after baked it’s so soft and delicious. One thing I did was to double the caramel sauce and the amount of pecans. Thank you for this recipe!!! Definitely a keeper!!!
Hi Sherry! So glad you loved it- my mom also doubles the caramel sauce and pecans. 😉
Is there anything that you can use in place of the corn syrup?
Hi Judy! Sure, it will change the flavor slightly, but still be good. You can use the same amount of honey, agave nectar, molasses or even maple syrup. If you don’t have any of those, make your own simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar in 1/4 cup hot water. Stir until dissolved.
Better than any sticky bun recipe I have ever had! So easy to make and so good!
Thank you, Becky!!!! I love to hear that!
This looks really good. Do you think I can use melted butter rather than melted shortening?
In general you can swap the two out, but I’ve never tried it and it might alter the texture slightly.
Made these several times. I love this dough, so very rich, yet so easy to work with..wouldn’t change a thing..pure perfection and decadence!
I have tried a dozen recipes, this by far is the best! No more trying other recipes, a sure fire winner.
Thank you for letting us know, Birdie! We love it too!
Next time I’ll be doubling the sugar cinnamon filling and the butterscotch ‘goo’. It’s just not enough for 12 buns. Too much dough not enough ooey gooey buttery sugary-ness. The dough is great though, perfect base for cinnamon buns.
My husband has to try sticky buns wherever we go, it’s his favorite. I made your recipe last night and he said they were the “perfect” sticky bun. I’m not even allowed to share this batch with our neighbors ( as I usually do) because he’s hoarding them. I sure hope they freeze well!
Jill, thank you for swinging through to let us know! I think they are pretty perfect, too! I’ve never tried freezing them because there are never any leftovers, but I would imagine they’d freeze just fine if packaged correctly.
Do you think substitution regular flour for gluten free flour would work??
In theory, yes! However, I’ve never tried it, so let me know how it goes!
have you (or anyone else) done any of these steps the night prior? can the final rise be in the fridge overnight? thanks in advance!
I have! Just make sure to cover them tightly so the dough doesn’t dry out. It has a tendency to do so. Or lightly mist it in the morning before putting in the oven.
Jessica!!! These look amazing! I love family recipes! This is a special one! Yummed & pinned!
Do you really mean 3 Tablespoons of yeast for this recipe? A packet is usually 2 – 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast. I have baked a lot of bread and never had a recipe call for 3 Tablespoons.
Lori- you are totally right! Thanks for correcting my error!
These look amazing. It looks like your finished buns were made in a round pan–what size did you use?
Thanks, Lisa! I used a 9-inch spring form pan.
Trying out your recipe. Why are you adding salt to the sugar and yeast? Wont this slow down or stop the fermenting process??
Hi Jennifer, I honestly don’t have a reason for “why”. This was a family recipe that has been passed down through generations and it is always the way we’ve done it. You can certianly add it after if you’d prefer.
I really can’t wait to make this, I’m sure my dad will like it because he’s always telling me to add nuts to everything!
Tiara, then he will love this recipe!
These look very good and kind of similar to a recipe my mom uses! Looking forward to trying it out sometime! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Great! Let me know how it goes!
These look amazingly delicious! I just made old-fashioned cake this past week…it’s just that kind of month!