These maple pecan sticky buns are just as delicious as they sound! Light and fluffy cinnamon rolls are baked with a sweet and sticky maple syrup with loads of chopped pecans. They bake into soft cinnamon clouds with a layer of caramelized sticky goodness on top.
How are sticky buns different from cinnamon rolls?
The two aren’t very different from each other. Both are made nearly the same, but sticky buns are baked with a layer of sweet buttery syrup and chopped pecans on the bottom.
Once baked, the pan is inverted to expose the sticky caramelized pecans on top. Alternatively, cinnamon rolls are simply baked and smothered in icing.
What makes these maple pecan sticky buns so good?
Not only are these baked using my popular homemade cinnamon rolls recipe, but they’re made with EXTRA pecans and rich Danish Creamery European Style Butter.
Rolls – The base of this recipe is a bed of light and fluffy rolls baked with a flavorful cinnamon swirl. The contrast between the pillowy rolls and the rich caramelized pecan topping is absolute HEAVEN.
Topping – This recipe does not skimp on the topping. It’s made with extra butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and double the pecans. This might sound too rich, but it’s all balanced out by using Danish Creamery sea salted butter.
Danish Creamery Butter – This recipe is very butter-forward as it’s used in the dough, in the filling, and in the topping. To get the most flavor out of these rolls, I use Danish Creamery European Style Sea Salted Butter. It’s made with high quality cream which provides so much flavor and it has a high butterfat content, making it extra rich and creamy. The hint of sea salt also helps counteract the sweetness of the entire dish.
Tips for making pecan sticky bun dough
This is a foolproof recipe and the rolls turn out perfect every single time (trust me, I’ve made these MANY times). But if you’re brand new to working with yeast, or it’s your first time making sticky buns from scratch, here are a few times to follow:
- The Yeast – For the best buns, use a yeast with fast activation as it allows the rolls to rise quickly. It’s the secret to that fluffy, soft, and moist texture!
- Wet Ingredients – The water, milk and butter must be warmed before adding to the dry ingredients. This is to help activate the yeast, so it’s important that the mixture isn’t too hot. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. If it’s too cool, the yeast won’t activate. Microwave in 15 second intervals until the mixture is just warm to the touch.
- Mixing and Kneading – To make this a mixer-free recipe, we gradually add the flour in order to hydrate the dough without overwhelming it. It goes in 3 phases. The first is a few thin and wet batter. The second is a thick but very sticky dough, and the third is a shaggy dough that’s still sticky but more manageable. At this point, it’s time to knead the dough until it’s smooth.
- The Stick Test – After kneading, the dough should still feel sticky because your fingers will be covered in the dough. Give them a rinse and then with a dry finger, press it into the surface of the dough. If it sticks, keep kneading. If it bounces back with a clean finger, then it’s ready.
Once the dough is finished, let it rest for 10 minutes before filling, rolling, and cutting. This allows the dough to rise, gives the dry ingredients a chance to fully absorb, and the gluten strands to relax. After 10 minutes, the dough will nearly double in size and become much easier to roll out.
Maple pecan sticky bun topping
After the dough has been filled, rolled, and sliced, it’s time to make the sticky bun topping.
My recipe is a combination of maple syrup, light brown sugar, and Danish Creamery European Style Sea Salted Butter.
The Danish Creamery butter adds so much flavor to the topping while also balancing out the sugar and maple syrup. It cuts through the sweetness to allow that maple flavor to really come through.
All three ingredients are heated in a saucepan JUST until melted. To add even more flavor, an entire tablespoon of vanilla extract is mixed in along with another pinch of salt for good measure.
The syrup is then poured into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkled with a hefty layer of chopped pecans.
When chopping the pecans, I recommend a chop that’s between fine and rough. Too fine and you will lose the pecan texture, but too rough and the rolls will be a bit too chunky.
Now the rolls have a nest of syrup and pecans to bake in!
How to invert pecan sticky buns
The trickiest part of this entire recipe is flipping the pan over to reveal the pecan filling on top.
Luckily I’ve done this many times (and have experienced a couple spills) so we can all learn from my mistakes. Here are my top tips for flipping your sticky buns:
- Cooling – Allow the buns to cool for about 10 minutes. It’s important that the buns are still very warm, but it’s safer to flip the pan once it has had some time to cool.
- Mitts – I highly recommend using oven mitts with a grippy texture, especially if your pan is heavy on its own. The grips will stop the pan from slipping as you flip.
- Serving Tray – For these sticky buns, I like to flip them out onto my largest baking pan. This is because it’s light weight and also has a ridge to catch any of the syrup that might run off.
- Speed – Move fast! Flipping only works if it’s one quick movement, otherwise the rolls will slip and slide all around in the pan.
It’s nerve wracking at first, but revealing that delicious caramelized topping makes it all worth it in the end!
How to store pecan sticky buns
Store the buns in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for about 2-3 days, and this time can be extended by storing them in the refrigerator.
To reheat, just pop a roll in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.
For more rolls and buns, check out my:
- BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Monkey Bread Skillet
- Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
- Pecan Pie Babka
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make these maple pecan sticky buns. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print