Cinnamon Sticky Buns


Cinnamon sweet sticky buns, with melted brown sugar and pecans.

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

  • Yield: Makes 15 sticky buns



  • 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 out the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, roll into a cylinder, make crosswise cuts: 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 rounds, 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 Bake: Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven pre-heats. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

7 Remove from oven and invert: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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124 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Rebecca

    I just made these twice in the last week and they were delicious! I like that they can go in the fridge overnight and be baked fresh in the morning. The second time I had them in the fridge a full 24 hrs and they turned out just as good. The dough is sort of like a cinnamon roll that you can unravel as you eat it! The only change I made was for the topping, I used 4 T. of maple syrup instead of the honey and corn syrup and I made one and a half times the amount of topping because we like them gooey. I will definitely be keeping this recipe!


  2. Aurora

    I have made these before and they were wonderful! Now hubby is sugar/diet restricted and it is just the 2 of us 70 year olds. Can I cut the recipe in half w/o ruining it?


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  3. J ackie

    I made 3 batches of these, two I gave to the neighbors(unbaked) for Christmas. These buns were unbelievably good. I did make a few changes: I used 3 whole eggs, I added 1 rounded teaspoon Cardamom to the dough, and 1/4 cup heavy cream to the sugar and butter syrup. I increased the amount of flour to make the dough the right consistency. The batch I made for home I froze 2/3 of the unbaked rolls. I refrigerate any rolls that will be baked the next morning. Frozen rolls I thaw and let rise on the counter over night.


  4. Gabrielle

    So I love this recipe. I make them every year. I had a question can I make the dough and freeze it? I need to make it tonight but we won’t eat it until Christmas day…. what do you recommend ?


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  5. Emily

    I just made these and let me tell you, they are absolutely delicious! I didn’t use the pecans simply because my family doesn’t like them and it was still so flavorful. I didn’t have any cornstarch on hand so I added more honey in addition to a little white sugar and water and it worked fabulously. I also added a little cinnamon and vanillla to the topping and they were just a flavorful addition. I didn’t think it was too sweet (then again, I have a big sweet tooth) and I can’t speak for the orange zest because I subbed it for a little lemon juice and it wasn’t noticeable, which is preferred. All in all, I totally recommend trying this recipe and adding your own flair to it!


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