Cinnamon Sticky Buns

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

“Elise, I absolutely forbid you from making these again,” exclaimed my father in exasperation after his fifth sticky bun from this batch. “That good, eh? I’m glad you like them,” I answered smiling. We finally had to freeze the few remaining, lest we completely destroy our appetites for the entire day.

The problem with these sticky buns, loaded with melted brown sugar and pecans, is that they are irresistible. And, once you have one, you must have another.

The recipe is adapted from this month’s (February, 2006) Oprah Magazine. (It does make you wonder, with Oprah’s ongoing emphasis on weight-loss, the logic of publishing recipes like these. But then again, moderation is the key, and if you are going to eat something sweet, better make it good!)

Cinnamon Sticky Buns Recipe




  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon. salt
  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter


  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans


1 Make the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add milk, butter, remaining sugar, egg yolks, orange zest, salt and 3 cups flour. Mix on low speed until blended. Switch to a dough hook and then, again on low speed, slowly incorporate the remaining 1 cup of flour. Increase speed to medium, kneading dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if too wet), 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Turn dough over in bowl to coat with the butter from the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or 2 hours if not in an entirely warm place). After the dough has risen, punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and let sit 20 minutes.

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2 Make the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt butter; keep separate.

3 Roll dough out into a 12" x 18" rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll dough into a cylinder. Place seam side down on a flat surface and cut crosswise into 15 slices.

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4 Make the topping. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, honey and corn syrup over low heat; stir until sugar and butter are melted. Pour mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan and sprinkle pecans on top.

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5 Place dough slices, flat side down, on top of prepared topping. Crowd them so they touch. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving room for the buns to rise, and refrigerate overnight.

6 Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven pre-heats. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake buns until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately (and carefully as not to spill hot topping on your toes!) invert onto a serving tray or baking dish. Let buns cool slightly and serve warm.

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Showing 4 of 108 Comments

  • karen

    I made this recipe last week, WOW, large generous buns! I made the dough, I forgot salt, it didn’t matter and let it rise overnight in the fridge. In the morning I rolled the dough out, filled cut and placed on the caramel nut topping. I baked them without benefit of letting them rise on the counter. OMG they grew like crazy in the oven. Thank You for a great recipe!

  • Madelyn

    Hello, just made this recipe and they came out great! I only used 3 1/2 cups of flour and 20 minutes of baking, which means you need to keep an eye after 20 mins. There’s soft and chewy on the inside and a bit harder on the edges. I recommend it! Thank you!

  • Angie

    My experience may help answer some others’ questions. I made these all in one day, rather than refrigerating the formed rolls. Everything worked fine! After forming the rolls, I let them rise in a warm place about 45 min., and then baked as usual, except mine were done in just 25 min. And FYI, I made them just as regular cinnamon rolls, without sticky nut topping, and then just topped the rolls with frosting. YUM!

  • Lucy

    I just got done eating one of these ANMAZING sticky buns. I changed it up a little though. I omited the orange zest and instead of using pecans (which I did not have on hand), I used peanuts which I roasted. They came out so yummy!!! This is a really great recipe and very elaborate method. Next time I am going to go less with the sugar because after a few bites my palet was a little overwhelmed. But that’s just me because everybody else loved them.

  • Teresa

    GREAT recipe! New family favorite! Only needed 3 cups of flour, and used the “old fashioned” methods of mixing and kneading. Turned out so tasty– need lots of self-control to only eat one at a sitting! Will make again …and again …and again!

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