Sticky Buns

Recipe by PJ Hamel

Sticky buns are a quintessential American breakfast treat. Our version features soft, milk- and butter-enriched buns stuffed with aromatic cinnamon filling and glazed with a sticky, sugary topping loaded with pecans. It doesn't get any better than this!

25 mins
25 mins
3 hrs 50 mins
16 sticky buns
Sticky Buns


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  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients together — by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle — until you've made a smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 5 to 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.

  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's nearly doubled in bulk. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

  3. While the dough is rising, lightly grease two 9" round cake pans.

  4. To make the glaze: Whisk together the syrup, rum (if you're using it) and melted butter.

  5. Divide the glaze evenly between the pans. Sprinkle the sugar and pecans atop the glaze.

  6. To make the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

  7. To assemble the buns: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. It's a nice, soft dough, and pats out easily.

  8. Sprinkle filling evenly over the dough, leaving an uncovered strip about 1" wide along one long end of the rectangle.

  9. Starting with the sugar-covered edge, roll the dough into a log the long way.

  10. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 16 slices. In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices.

  11. Space eight buns in each of the prepared pans. Cover the pans, and let the buns rise till they spread out and touch one another, about 60 to 90 minutes.

  12. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  13. To finish the buns: Bake the sticky buns for 15 minutes. Tent them lightly with aluminum foil, and bake until they're a light golden brown, about 10 more minutes.

  14. Remove the buns from the oven, and loosen their edges with a knife. Carefully — the sugar is hot! — turn them out onto a rack or parchment-covered sheet pan to cool, scraping any glaze that may have stuck to the pan onto the warm buns.

  15. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Don't like nuts? Not a problem; leave out the pecans.
  • Be sure to turn the buns out of their pans immediately. If you wait, the sticky topping will remain in the pan, not on the buns
  • When making anything with yeast, including these buns, let the dough rise to the point the recipe says it should, e.g., "Let the dough rise till it's doubled in bulk." Rising times are only a guide; there are so many variables in yeast baking that it's impossible to say that bread dough will ALWAYS double in bulk in a specific amount of time.
  • Want to make these fresh and hot for breakfast? Make the dough, shape the buns, and place them in the pan (with the glaze); don't let them rise. Place the pan of buns in the refrigerator for up to 16 hours before you want to serve hot buns. Remove the buns from the fridge, and let them rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes, until they're golden brown and the filling is bubbly.