Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are the best sweet, gooey sticky buns recipe! Easy homemade dough with cinnamon sugar filling, rich caramel sauce, and pecans.
CARAMEL PECAN CINNAMON ROLLS
These Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are a gooey, sticky bun with cinnamon filling smothered with homemade brown sugar caramel sauce and tons of pecans. They are easy to make and ready in just over an hour for an extra special breakfast that wows! Bake Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls for a holiday dessert or brunch treat, or gift a pan of warm sweet buns to friends and family.
Gooey, delicious Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are baked a little different than our regular cinnamon roll recipes, with the frosting baking with the rolls on the bottom. They puff up into pillowy soft sweet rolls like normal, then you flip the pan after they are baked and let the sticky caramel topping ooze down the warm buns, similar to Monkey Bread. It’s a sugary, crunchy twist on a favorite bakery treat.
So what’s the difference between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun? The difference between cinnamon rolls and sticky buns comes down to the frosting. Classic Cinnamon Rolls are smothered with a thick Cream Cheese Frosting after they bake and cool. These Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns have a brown sugar caramel topping that bakes with the rolls and covers them when they are flipped over, which makes them sticky all over – hence sticky bun. Whether you call them Pecan Sticky Buns or Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls, we all call them sweet goodness!
Just because they already have a pecan caramel frosting, doesn’t mean you can’t add even more sweet toppings for dessert! Top these Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Sauce for a decadent sugary dessert. Drizzle the Pecan Caramel Rolls with Chocolate Ganache after they’ve cooled for a chocolatey, caramel bite that’s out of this world!
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Tips for Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- Use unflavored dental floss to cut the dough easily into clean slices and keep from squishing the dough as you cut. Wrap the dental floss around the rolled dough and pull strings tightly to cut.
- Be sure to use fresh dry, active yeast and make sure you don’t make the milk too hot. If the milk is too hot, it can actually “kill” the yeast and your dough will not rise properly.
- This recipe uses instant dry yeast so you don’t have to wait for it proof or activate. If you use regular yeast, warm the milk and let the yeast sit on top for 10 minutes, until it becomes bubbly on top.
- Make Overnight Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls by allowing them to do the second rise in the refrigerator for at least 8-12 hours. The next morning, remove the pecan rolls from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before baking as usual.
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VARIATIONS ON CARAMEL PECAN CINNAMON ROLLS
- Maple: To make Caramel Maple Pecan Sticky Buns, replace the light corn syrup with maple syrup and swap brown sugar for white sugar in the filling. You could also make these Honey Buns by using ½ cup honey instead of the corn syrup and only use ½ cup of brown sugar.
- Pecans: Instead of pecans, you can use other chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds, or peanuts. For fancier sticky rolls during the holidays, use hazelnuts instead of pecans.
- Fruit: Sprinkle up to a ½ cup dried fruit to the filling of your Pecan Cinnamon Rolls like raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, or dried cherries. You can also add fresh fruit, like finely diced apples or peaches, to your sweet filling.
- Mini Pecan Sticky Buns: Shape your cinnamon roll dough into a larger rectangle than normal, about 30 inches long and roll into a tight thin log when filled. Cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Make caramel mixture as usual and divide in the bottom of 2 greased 12 cup muffin tin pans. Place slices over pecan caramel mixture and bake for 13-15 minutes until golden and puffed up. Flip pan to remove Mini Pecan Sticky Buns.
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HOW TO STORE CARAMEL PECAN CINNAMON ROLLS
- Serve: Serve Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls warm or at room temperature for best gooey, delicious taste. You can keep these rolls covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, up to 2 days at room temperature.
- Store: Cool Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls completely and cover tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
- Freeze: Once cooled, wrap Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with plastic wrap and aluminum foil tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, remove plastic wrap and bake at low heat covered with foil until hot. Unbaked Caramel Pecan Rolls can be frozen for up to 2 months, then thawed overnight in the refrigerator before baking as normal.
Caramel Pecan Topping:
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cup pecan halves , roughly chopped
Cinnamon Roll Dough:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup butter , room temperature
- 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 packets instant rapid rise yeast
- 2 large eggs
Cinnamon Roll Filling:
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter , room temperature
Caramel Pecan Topping:
- In a medium saucepan, add brown sugar and ½ cup butter, whisking until fully melted.
- Bring to a boil, turn off heat and whisk in corn syrup and pecans.
- Pour into baking dish.
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- In a small saucepan heat the milk and butter to 110 degrees (warm to touch).
- Into your stand mixer add the yeast and milk and whisk and let sit for one minute.
- Add 6 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and eggs to the stand mixer.
- PRO TIP: COVER YOUR MIXER WITH A CLEAN DISH TOWEL.
- Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on speed 3-4 (low to medium).
- Let it go for 5-7 minutes, you want the dough to become a ball that doesn’t stick to the walls of the bowl.
- If you find sticking add flour ¼ cup at a time until it pulls away (no more than another cup)
- Take the dough out, grease the stand mixer bowl and put it back in.
- Cover the dough with your dish towel you used to keep the flour in the stand mixer.
- Let sit for 10 minutes while you set the oven to preheat to 350 degrees and you make the filling.
- In a medium sized bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon.
- Using a large even surface, add ½ cup of flour and roll it out onto the surface to coat the rolling pin and the surface.
- Roll out the dough into a large rectangle about a ½ inch thick (if your space is limited do this in two halves).
- Spread the butter over the dough (I use my hands) and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter.
- Roll the dough tightly to form a long log and using a piece of thread slice off pieces.
- The dough will make 18 large cinnamon rolls.
- Place the rolls into baking pans on top of caramel topping.
- Place the rolls into a warm place for 20 minutes (I have a second oven, so I heat it to warm when I start the recipe, then turn it off and open the door for a couple of seconds then close the door. The residual warmth is perfect for these rolls).
- Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the baking dish.
- Place baking sheet or serving pan over the baking pan. Quickly, and CAREFULLY, flip the pan over and slowly removing baking pan.