Skip to Content

Gooey Caramel Pecan Rolls (The Best Sticky Buns!)

Gooey Caramel Pecan Rolls are perfect for a special occasion brunch. They feature a soft brioche dough, cinnamon filling, and tons of caramel pecan topping. They’re seriously the best sticky buns!

photo of pecan rolls on a white plate

Tools Needed to Make these Caramel Pecan Rolls

I recommend having these tools on hand when you’re preparing this recipe for easy sticky pecan rolls. Note – this recipe does not require a stand mixer to make the dough as many sticky roll recipes often do (though you can use one if you want).

  • Large Mixing Bowl – you’ll need a large bowl to combine all of the ingredients when making the dough. Ideal if it has a lid, otherwise cover with plastic wrap or damp cloth.
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons – to measure the ingredients.
  • Wire Whisk – to whisk the eggs.
  • Wooden Spoon – to combine the dough ingredients.
  • Silicone Pastry Mat – I like to cover my work surface with a pastry mat.
  • Rolling Pin – to roll the dough out.
  • Small Mixing Bowls – to mix up the caramel pecan topping and the cinnamon filling.
  • Hand Mixer – to beat the caramel topping mixture and cinnamon filling.
  • Silicone Spatula or Off Set Spatula – to spread the cinnamon filling over the rolled out dough.
  • Serrated Knife – to cut the log of rolled up dough into individual rolls.
  • 9-inch Pans – I like to bake my pecan rolls in 9 inch sized cake pans.
  • Wire Rack – to cool the pecan rolls.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to make these caramel pecan rolls, make ahead tips and tricks, freezing and thawing instructions, and more!

What is in this Recipe for Caramel Pecan Rolls

Here’s what you’ll need to make this the 3 different components that make up this delicious recipe for pecan sticky buns:

For the Brioche Dough

  • Warm Water
  • Granulated Yeast
  • Kosher Salt
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Melted Butter
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Freshly Ground Whole Hard White Wheat Flour

For the Caramel Sauce Topping

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Pecan Halves

For the Cinnamon Filling

  • Salted Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cornstarch

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make these pecan caramel rolls, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

How to Make Sticky Pecan Rolls

Here’s an overview of the process to make this pecan roll recipe. It might look like a lot of steps, but it is actually fairly simple to prepare:

Make the Pecan Roll Dough

Combine yeast, salt, eggs, butter and water in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add both types of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined and a soft dough forms.

Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk. Transfer the covered bowl to the fridge and chill.

Make the Caramel Pecan Topping and Cinnamon Filling

Combine butter, salt, and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and beat until well creamed. Spread in a 9-inch cake pan. Arrange the pecans on top of the caramel in the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the filling ingredients and beat until well creamed. Set aside.

Assemble and Bake the Sticky Rolls

Roll the dough into a rectangle 1/8 of an inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Spread with the filling on top of the dough. Then, roll starting on the long side until it is in a log shape. Then, using a serrated knife, slice into rolls. Place on top of the prepared pan.

Cover and let rise for 40 minutes. Bake after rising is complete. When done, run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the rolls out upside down onto a serving dish.

The above is simply a quick summary of this sticky bun recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

Tips for Making the Best Pecan Rolls

  • Check the expiration date on your yeast. If I don’t remember purchasing it, then it could be pretty old. Old yeast doesn’t yield reliable rising results.
  • New to baking with yeast? Check out my 5 Tips for Baking with Yeast for my tips to help you achieve the best results!
  • The dough recipe is best prepared the day before so it can fully chill in the fridge. It makes the dough easier to work with.

Can I Prepare these Pecan Rolls in Advance?

Yes! I love to prep them in advance. It makes special brunches, like Christmas morning, much easier!

To prep these pecan sticky rolls the night before, prepare the recipe up to the point where you roll and place in the pan. Then, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove the pan from the fridge and proceed with the instructions where you left off. Rising time may be slightly longer than noted in the recipe due to the dough being cold vs room temperature.

Do these Pecan Rolls Freeze Well?

Freezing these caramel pecan rolls is a great way to prepare for your brunch ahead of time or keep this delicious recipe on hand for a later date. You can freeze the pecan rolls baked or unbaked. Here’s how I freeze them:

How to Freeze Unbaked Pecan Rolls

  1. Prepare the recipe as instructed through the step that details how to roll and slice the dough.
  2. Place the sliced pecan rolls in a freezer safe container with a lid. Transfer the container to the freezer and freeze until solid.
  3. You can store the frozen rolls in the container in your freezer if you like, but I prefer to transfer them to a vacuum seal bag to help prevent freezer burn. Store the rolls in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes: You can’t vacuum seal them until they’ve frozen solid first, otherwise they’ll be smashed). You’ll have to prepare the caramel pecan topping the day you plan to bake them.

To Bake the Frozen Pecan Rolls

Prepare the caramel pecan topping as directed and add it to the baking pan as the original recipe instructs.

Remove the frozen sweet rolls from their freezer storage container and thaw overnight in the refrigerator in the pan you plan to bake them in (cover the pan with foil so they don’t dry out).

In the morning, remove the foil and cover the baking pan with a damp towel or plastic wrap and complete the rise process draft-free place until doubled in size (this is the second rise in the instructions).

Bake according to the remaining instructions.

How to Freeze Baked Pecan Rolls

  1. Prepare the pecan caramel cinnamon rolls recipe as instructed through the baking steps, let them cool completely.
  2. Place rolls in a freezer safe airtight container with a lid. Transfer the container to the freezer and freeze until solid.
  3. Store the pecan rolls in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thawing the Frozen, Baked Rolls

Take the frozen pecan rolls out of the freezer just before bed and thaw overnight on the counter. The next day, transfer the thawed rolls to a baking dish and transfer to a warm oven to reheat.

Alternatively, you can reheat the sticky rolls one at a time in the microwave on partial power for 30-45 seconds each.

Try This Recipe for Pecan Sticky Buns at Home!

Next time you’re looking for a special occasion brunch treat, give these Pecan Rolls a try! Did you think they were amazing? Leave a comment below and give it a review for others to see what you thought of this recipe.

On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of these Pecan Sticky Rolls!

More Breakfast Roll Recipes

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect fall treat! Pumpkin spice dough is rolled with plenty of cinnamon and sugar, and then slathered with cream cheese frosting. You’ll love all the pumpkin flavor that these cinnamon rolls offer!

This Lemon Rolls recipe is a fun spring take on classic cinnamon rolls. This recipe for Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing features a lemony brioche dough topped with a delicious lemon cream cheese icing. 

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.

Get More Recipes via Email

Did you love this recipe? Sign up to receive Good Life Eats Email Updates and never miss another recipe!

Caramel Pecan Rolls

Caramel Pecan Rolls

Yield: 24 rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Gooey Caramel Pecan Rolls are perfect for a special occasion brunch. They feature a soft brioche dough, cinnamon filling, and tons of caramel pecan topping. They're seriously the best sticky buns!

Ingredients

For the Pecan Roll Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups Warm Water
  • 2 packets Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 8 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 1/2 cups melted Butter
  • 7 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

For the Caramel Pecan Topping:

  • 24 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 1/4 cups Brown Sugar
  • 90 pecan halves

For the Cinnamon Filling:

  • 12 tablespoons Salted Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons Cornstarch

Instructions

To Prepare the Pecan Roll Dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, melted butter, and warm water. Whisk eggs are lightly beaten and ingredients are well combined.
  2. Add the flour to the liquid mixture, 1 cup at a time, while stirring with a wooden spoon to combine until a smooth dough is formed.
  3. Alternatively, you may use a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix the dough.
  4. Cover the dough and transfer the dough to a warm place (such as an oven that isn't turned on) and let it rise for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
  5. Then, transfer the covered bowl to the refrigerator and chill. So the dough doesn't dry out, the covering should either be a lid or plastic wrap rather than a damp towel.

Preparing the Caramel Pecan Topping:

  1. Combine the butter, salt, and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Beat, using a hand mixer, until the butter and sugar mixture is well creamed.
  2. Divide the mixture between three 9-inch cake pans, spreading on the bottom of the pan. Arrange pecans on top of the sugar mixture, splitting between the three pans. Set aside.

To Prepare the Rolls:

  1. Combine the ingredients for the filling: sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. After the dough has chilled, lightly dust a work surface with all-purpose flour. Then, roll out the dough into 2 large rectangles 1/8 of an inch in thickness.
  3. Spread the softened butter on top of the rolled out dough using a silicone spatula or an off set spatula. Then, sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top of the softened butter.
  4. Roll the dough, starting on the long end of the rectangles, until they are in large log shapes. Cut each log, using a serrated knife, into 12 even portions. You'll have 24 total rolls
  5. Divide the individual rolls between the 3 prepared pans, placing the rolls on top of the caramel pecan mixture. Cover the pans with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.

Baking the Pecan Rolls:

  1. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. After the rolls have risen, bake them for 30 - 40 minutes. The rolls are finished when the dough is set in the middle and the tops are lightly golden brown.
  2. Remove the pans from the oven, run a butter knife around the edge of each pan. Then, turn the pans out upside down onto serving dishes. Serve while warm.

Notes

This recipe makes a lot, so I definitely recommend either freezing some or making them when you have a crowd!

How to Freeze Unbaked Pecan Rolls

  1. Prepare the recipe as instructed through the step that details how to roll and slice the dough.
  2. Place the sliced pecan rolls in a freezer safe container with a lid. Transfer the container to the freezer and freeze until solid.
  3. You can store the frozen rolls in the container in your freezer if you like, but I prefer to transfer them to a vacuum seal bag to help prevent freezer burn. Store the rolls in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes: You can’t vacuum seal them until they’ve frozen solid first, otherwise they’ll be smashed). You'll have to prepare the caramel pecan topping the day you plan to bake them.

To Bake the Frozen Pecan Rolls

  1. Prepare the caramel pecan topping as directed and add it to the baking pan as the original recipe instructs.
  2. Remove the frozen sweet rolls from their freezer storage container and thaw overnight in the refrigerator in the pan you plan to bake them in (cover the pan with foil so they don’t dry out).
  3. In the morning, remove the foil and cover the baking pan with a damp towel or plastic wrap and complete the rise process draft-free place until doubled in size (this is the second rise in the instructions).
  4. Bake according to the remaining instructions.

Recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 24 Serving Size 1 roll
Amount Per Serving Calories 601Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 138mgSodium 431mgCarbohydrates 67gFiber 2gSugar 35gProtein 7g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Skip to Recipe