Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns
These small batch pecan sticky buns are a modern update on a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipe! The buns are similar to traditional cinnamon rolls, but topped with a sticky caramel and pecan-studded topping instead of traditional frosting. The best part? This small batch recipe makes only 6 pecan sticky buns, the perfect amount for a small household. For flavor and convenience, I made the buns with butter with canola oil from my sponsor, Land O’Lakes. Learn more in the blog post, and thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Hummingbird High up and running!
When I was in college, I spent the summer biking across the country with a team of college students to raise money for a non-profit that provides affordable housing to low-income families. During our trip, we stopped by many diners and restaurants to sample some of the local offerings. The foods that stuck with me were the various baked goods in upstate Pennsylvania—it was there that I had some of the best apple pies and sticky buns of my life! Later, I found out that that particular region of Pennsylvania was renowned for its baked goods.
What Do Pecan Sticky Buns Taste Like?
Traditional sticky buns look and taste more like a decadent version of cinnamon rolls. This is mostly thanks to their signature sticky caramel topping. The topping is usually made with a combination of “sticky” ingredients like brown sugar, maple syrup or honey, and nuts like pecans or walnuts. Many traditional recipes instruct you to bake the buns on top of the sticky ingredients, and then invert the pan to turn out the buns. The sticky ingredients on the bottom then become the “topping” on the buns. This method also gives the buns their signature pull-apart, blocky look.
Why You Should Make This Pecan Sticky Bun Recipe
In addition to being extremely delicious, there are other reasons to make this pecan sticky bun recipe:
This pecan sticky bun recipe is small batch.
Most cinnamon roll and sticky bun recipes usually make enough to feed a crowd of 12 people or more. However, this pecan sticky bun recipe is small batch. What does that mean? The recipe yields only 6 rolls. It’s the perfect amount for a small household of 3 to 6 people, guaranteeing fresh buns for the morning or a couple of days.
This pecan sticky bun is a modern take on a classic recipe.
When researching recipes for pecan sticky buns, I noticed that many of them still relied on old-fashioned methods. A traditional pecan sticky bun recipe typically instructs you to make the sticky pecan topping first, pour it into a baking pan, and layer the buns on top. After baking, the entire pan is flipped over so that the sticky pecan topping falls on top of the buns.
I’m not going to lie—I tried this method a few times and it was really, really messy. Sometimes, a bun or two would get stuck in the pan. Other times, the buns would come crashing out way too quickly, splashing hot caramel everywhere. Baking the sticky topping also resulted in a very, very sweet topping. The topping was almost too intense for somebody with a big sweet tooth like myself.
So with all this in mind, I decided to modernize the recipe. How? I made it more convenient and suited for our current tastes. No more baking the sticky topping with the rolls and inverting the pan! Instead, my recipe instructs you to simply pour the topping over—it’s far less messy. Skipping the baking process for the topping also results in a less-intense-but-still-equally-delicious flavor and texture that’s not too sweet or sticky.
This pecan sticky bun recipe is easy and a good recipe for beginner bakers.
Because of my updates, these small batch sticky pecan buns are an easy recipe for beginners to tackle. The dough comes together in just 15 minutes. Similarly, the cinnamon sugar filling and sticky pecan topping each only take about 5 minutes to make. The most challenging part about this recipe is rolling the dough out and waiting for everything to proof!
This pecan sticky bun recipe is flexible and can fit into any schedule easily.
One of the things I hate most about making cinnamon rolls and/or sticky buns is how time-consuming the process can be. First, you have to make the dough and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours. After that, you then have to roll it out, shape it into rolls/buns, and then let that rise for another 1 to 2 hours. That’s before even baking the buns! By the time the buns are baked and ready for serving, 4 to 5 hours have passed!
As a result, I like to divide the work for these sticky buns over a couple of days. I make the dough the night before I plan on serving the buns. I let the dough proof overnight in the refrigerator while I sleep. By the time I wake up, the dough has doubled in size. It is now perfect for shaping into buns!
This method also turns a baking recipe from a “Big Commitment” to a more manageable one that fits into your schedule. If this is your jam, I definitely encourage you to check out my cookbook, Weeknight Baking. I break down a lot of time-consuming baking projects—like making layer cakes or butter pie from scratch—in this way to make sure you’re not stuck in the kitchen for hours at a time. But of course, I like to give you options, too. I also include instructions on how to make the buns all in one day!
Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ingredients and Substitutions
Now that I’ve convinced you to make this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe, let’s talk about its key ingredients:
This small batch pecan sticky bun recipe uses 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour to make the dough.
Can I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour in this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe?
Yes, with reservations. Bread flour contains more protein than all-purpose flour. This higher level of protein makes it ideal for making baked goods with hearty crumbs (think: loaves of rustic, artisan bread, thin and crispy pizza). So, using it in place of all-purpose flour in this recipe will result in heavier, denser sticky buns. You can kind of see what I mean with two old recipes of mine: these Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls versus these Orange, Marzipan, and Cardamom Swedish Buns. Although they’re made with the same buttermilk dough base, I swapped out a part of the all-purpose flour in the Swedish bun recipe with bread flour. See how much flatter, wider, and denser those buns are versus the buttermilk rolls? That’s because of the bread flour in the recipe.
Can I use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour in this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe?
Yes, with reservations. Technically, you can substitute ALL of the flour in the recipe with whole wheat flour. However, your rolls likely won’t be as light and fluffy as mine. I recommend substituting only half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
Does a 1-1 gluten-free all-purpose flour work in this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe?
I’m sorry, but I don’t know. I rarely bake with those types of flour replacements because they’re expensive and my household is fortunate not to have any gluten restrictions. However, if you replace the flour in this pecan sticky buns recipe with any gluten-free alternatives, please leave a comment so I can update this post accordingly!
My gut tells me that, to make these buns gluten-free, you’re going to need to make some drastic changes to the recipe. Why? After making the dough, the recipe instructs you to knead it for a good 10 minutes. Doing so creates a ton of gluten in the dough, giving the buns their signature light and fluffy texture. You likely won’t need to knead the dough for as long—or even at all!—when working with gluten-free ingredients.
This small batch pecan sticky bun recipe uses 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast to make the dough.
Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast in this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe?
Yes, but you will need to change the way you activate the yeast and mix it into the dough.
First of all, active dry yeast and instant yeast are activated at different temperatures. In general, recipes instruct you to activate active dry yeast with ingredients that are heated to between 110° and 115°F, and instant yeast with ingredients that are heated to between 120° and 130°F.
Second, in addition to these different activation temperatures, active dry yeast and instant yeast need to be activated in different ways. Bakers activate active dry yeast by soaking it in warm water with a little bit of sugar. Instant yeast, on the other hand, can be added directly to dry ingredients (like you would baking powder or baking soda) without needing to be soaked beforehand.
So, if you’re planning on using active dry yeast in this recipe, add it directly to the warmed buttermilk with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy and emitting a distinct yeasty flavor. Then, add the mixture to the recipe at the same time as the egg and Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil.
This small batch pecan sticky bun recipe uses 1 cup buttermilk to make the dough.
I don’t have buttermilk. What can I use instead?
Make your own buttermilk with whole milk. Whisk together 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) whole milk and 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice in a small liquid measuring cup. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken, then use as directed in the recipe. Although you can technically use non-fat or skim milk to make buttermilk, I don’t recommend it. These non- and low-fat versions will lead to less flavorful baked goods.
Alternatively, you can also make your own buttermilk with yogurt. I learned this neat trick from another food blogger friend of mine. She thins out 1 cup natural, unsweetened, and unflavored yogurt with ½ cup water to use in place of buttermilk. She says that you can also use a thicker yogurt (like Greek yogurt), but you’ll likely need to use more water to get it to the consistency of buttermilk. Similar to my note above, use whole yogurt if possible. Non- and low-fat yogurts will result in less flavorful baked goods.
Can I use powdered buttermilk?
Yes! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make 1 cup buttermilk. Use as directed in the recipe.
What is Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil?
Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil comes in a tub and is made with only 3 ingredients: sweet cream, canola oil, and salt. The canola oil keeps it spreadable straight from the refrigerator! That being said, note that canola oil is neutral in flavor. As a result, Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil tastes very similar to butter from the sticks you know and love. But with this product around, there’s no need to bring the butter to room temperature for spreading on toast and breakfast pastries like these pecan sticky buns!
Why You Should Use Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil In This Sticky Pecan Buns Recipe
To make your life easier—duh! Most cinnamon roll and sticky bun recipes instruct you to melt butter to fill the buns. After melting it, you then spread the butter all over the rolled out dough and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar to fill the buns. But since Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil is already spreadable straight from the fridge, you get to skip this step and save yourself time and dishes!
Another benefit? In the past, when I’ve melted butter for cinnamon rolls, I’ve been a little overenthusiastic. That is, I pretty much end up overheating the butter like 90% of the time, lol. And boiling hot butter is no bueno for spreading on rolled out dough. Because if the butter is too hot, it can potentially damage the dough and cause it to rise too quickly, negatively affecting the final flavor and texture of your rolls/buns. Using Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil straight from the fridge helps prevent this mistake!
This small batch pecan sticky bun recipe uses 1 cup pecans to make the topping.
Do I have to use pecans? Can I use another type of nut instead?
Yep, absolutely! You can use whatever nuts you prefer. I could see these sticky buns working well with other nuts like hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.
Can I mix and match the pecans with other nuts?
Yep, absolutely! You can use whatever mix of nuts you want, as long as the total volume equals 1 cup. Again, if you want a classic Pennsylvania Dutch flavor, I recommend pairing ½ cup pecans with ½ cup walnuts.
This small batch pecan sticky buns uses 4 Tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter to make the topping.
Wait, why do you also use stick butter in this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe?
While I recommend using Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil to make the dough and fill the buns, I recommend using Land O Lakes® Butter for the sticky pecan topping. Why? The topping primarily tastes like pecans, brown butter, and maple syrup. I like using stick butter for recipes and dishes where buttery flavor is the main star of the show.
I don’t want to buy two different kinds of butter! Can I just use Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil instead?
Absolutely! Between you and me, most folks probably won’t be able to tell the difference. Substitute the 4 Tablespoons of Land O Lakes® Butter with the same amount of Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil.
This small batch pecan sticky buns uses 3 Tablespoons maple syrup to make the topping.
Golden versus Amber versus Dark versus Very Dark Maple Syrup
A few years ago, maple syrup used to be sold in three grades: Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C. Most folks at the grocery store often had to make a choice between the first two grades (Grade C was often only sold to manufacturers who processed the syrup further into other products). Grade A maple syrups were lighter and had more delicate flavor profiles, making them perfect for pouring over pancakes and waffles. Grade B maple syrups were darker and more strongly flavored. Recipes using maple syrup as an ingredient often instructed home cooks and bakers to source Grade B maple syrup for the job.
However, in 2015, the USDA implemented a new grading system. Many of the maple syrups available to consumers now all fall under Grade A. This “new” Grade A divides them into four categories: Golden, Amber, Dark, or Very Dark. I recommend you use either “Dark” or “Very Dark” maple syrup for these small batch pecan sticky buns. But if you only have Golden or Amber on hand, don’t worry about it! Your buns will still be pretty tasty no matter what.
I don’t have maple syrup. What can I use instead?
In a pinch, you can use honey instead of maple syrup! Substitute out the 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup with 3 Tablespoons of honey instead. However, note that your sticky buns will taste different from mine. You’re swapping out the topping’s maple flavor with honey flavor!
How to Make Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns
Here are the basic steps to make pecan sticky buns from scratch:
First, make the dough:
- First, prep the ingredients for the dough. (Prep Time: 10 minutes)
For this recipe, it’s important that all its ingredients are at the temperature listed in the recipe. Why? First of all, remember that yeast is a living thing. If you activate the yeast at a temperature that’s too warm, you might accidentally kill the yeast and end up with a dough that doesn’t rise. However, on the flip side, the yeast won’t activate if other ingredients—like the buttermilk, egg, and Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil—are too cold. So, to really set yourself up for success, take the extra 5 minutes to make sure all the ingredients are measured out and are at the right temperatures!
- Then, make the dough. (Work Time: 15 minutes)
After you’ve prepped the ingredients, making the dough itself is a breeze. First, whisk together the dry ingredients in a stand mixer. Pour in the wet ingredients and let the stand mixer knead it into a beautiful, elastic dough for 10 minutes. That’s it!
- Let the dough rise. (Rise Time: Overnight)
Once the dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator. The fridge’s cooler temperature enables the dough to rise at a slower pace than it otherwise would at room temperature. The next morning, you end up with a perfectly risen dough that’s perfect for shaping and baking!
Then, shape, bake, and glaze the buns:
- First, prep your ingredients for the filling. (Prep Time: <5 minutes)
Thankfully, prepping the ingredients for the filling is much easier this time around. Simply set out your tub of Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, and whisk together sugar and ground cinnamon for the filling.
- Then, roll out the dough. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
For beginner bakers, rolling out the dough is the most time-consuming and challenging part of this small batch pecan sticky bun recipe. Use a strong, sturdy rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle. You may need to flour your countertop and rolling pin every so often to prevent the dough from sticking. A bench scraper also works wonders in helping shape the dough into a rectangle.
- Next, top the dough with butter and cinnamon sugar. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
Once the dough is rolled out, cover it completely with Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil and sprinkle it with the cinnamon sugar. Make sure you cover the entire rectangle with butter and cinnamon sugar—doing so ensures a perfectly filled pecan sticky bun.
- Then, shape the dough into buns. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
After you’ve covered the dough with butter and cinnamon sugar, roll it into a short, squat log of dough. At this point, it should look like a burrito! Use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the log into 6 even pieces, each about 2 inches wide.
- Finally, let the buns rise. (Rise Time: 1 to 2 hours)
Place the pieces, cut side up, on a greased baking pan or sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 to 2 hours. After this rise, the buns will look puffy with edges that have rounded significantly.
Next, bake the buns and make the topping:
- Bake the buns. (Bake Time: 30 minutes)
The buns don’t need a lot of time in the oven. Bake the buns for 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. A skewer inserted into the center of a roll should come out clean.
- Next, toast the pecans. (Work Time: 5 to 10 minutes)
When the buns are done, keep the oven on to toast the pecans. Spread the pecans out on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly toasted.
- Then, make the sticky pecan topping. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
If you can handle it, I suggest multitasking! As you toast the pecans, make the sticky topping. Combine the brown sugar, milk, Land O Lakes® Butter, maple syrup, and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir constantly to prevent any burning or charring. Once done, remove from heat and immediately stir in the toasted pecans.
- Finally, assemble the buns and serve. (Work Time: <5 minutes)
Pour the sticky pecan topping over the buns and serve immediately. At first, the pecan topping will be runny, but will firm up into a sugar glaze as it cools. Enjoy!
How To Make These Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns All in One Day
Okay, I get it. You don’t have time to wait for the dough to rise overnight. You want the sticky buns right now. I see you and respect you.
After making the dough and covering its bowl in plastic wrap, don’t refrigerate the dough. Instead, place the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot and let the dough rise, undisturbed, until doubled in size. On a 65° to 70° degree day, it should take between 1 to 1 ½ hours. Be sure to check out my baker’s tips below on how to “speed up” the proofing, especially on a cold day! Once the dough has doubled, follow the recipe’s instructions to punch it down and shape it into buns.
Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ
FAQ: Equipment to Make Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe Technique
Help! I don’t have a stand mixer. Can I still make these small batch pecan sticky buns?
Absolutely! Instead of using a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic. The recipe instructs you to knead it for 10 minutes in a stand mixer; however, you may need to do a few minutes of extra kneading when doing it by hand.
What kind of baking pan do I need to make these small batch pecan sticky buns?
Although I used this specialty 9 x 11 roasting pan (this pan is very similar), you can actually bake the buns in a variety of pans. In the past, I’ve made similar bun/roll recipes in a 9 x 13-inch casserole pan, a 10-inch cast iron skillet, a 10-inch round deep dish pie plate, and a quarter sheet pan. Although I recommended a quarter sheet pan in the recipe, you can use whatever you prefer. However, make sure there’s enough room in the pan for the unproofed rolls to grow at least 3 inches in width in any direction. If the buns are too close together, their centers will spiral upwards and outwards as they bake. They’ll still taste good, but they won’t be as cute, ya know?
FAQ: Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe Technique
Why do I need to toast the pecans?
Honestly? You can skip it to save time…but your pecan sticky buns likely won’t be as good and flavorful as mine. Why? Toasting nuts brings out more flavorful oils within the nuts themselves, leading to deeper flavors. You also improve their texture by adding snap and crunchiness. If you skip this step, you’ll be sacrificing flavor and texture.
Many stores sell “roasted” nuts. These are technically nuts that have already been toasted. However, the longer they sit, the staler and less flavorful they become. So even if you have roasted nuts on hand, I suggest you toast them anyway. You may want to toast for less time than what’s listed in the recipe below—I’d start checking for doneness at the 5-minute mark.
FAQ: Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe Troubleshooting
Help! My sticky buns aren’t as wide and/or swirled as yours. What did I do wrong?
In the recipe, I instruct you to roll out the dough and shape it into a really long rectangle. Its short side is 12 inches wide, while its long side is 20 inches long. The 20 inches seems like it’s way too long, but I promise that it’s the secret to a photogenic, perfectly swirled roll. If you skimped on the length, your pecan sticky buns won’t look as wide and/or swirled as mine.
Help! My sticky buns didn’t rise and/or don’t look as tall and fluffy as yours. What did I do wrong?
Uh oh. First things first: did you pay attention to the temperature of the ingredients listed in the recipe? I mentioned earlier that, for this recipe, it’s super important to prep your ingredients to the temperature listed in the recipe. If the buttermilk is warmed too much, it will kill the yeast—your buns won’t rise and/or be as tall and fluffy as mine. If the buttermilk, eggs, and butter are too cold, it won’t activate the yeast—your buns won’t rise and/or be as tall and fluffy as mine, either.
However, if you’re convinced that you did prep the ingredients accordingly, I believe you. It may be a matter of technique. In the recipe, I instruct you to roll out the dough, fill it with Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil and cinnamon sugar, then roll it up again to form “a dough burrito”. You then slice this “dough burrito” crosswise to form 6 rolls. Each slice ends up being about 2 inches wide. These slices look WAY too big, but again, I promise this is the secret to super tall and fluffy buns. If your slices were smaller than 2 inches, you end up with shorter, squatter buns.
Help! The centers of my sticky buns rose way more than the rest of the bun. It looks like they’ve spiraled up and outwards. What did I do wrong?
In the equipment section above, I mention the importance of using a pan big enough to allow the buns to double in size. If your pan was too small, the buns will end up competing for space with their sides squishing tightly against each other. This can also cause their centers to spiral up and outwards.
FAQ: Storing Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns
How To Store Pecan Sticky Buns
The small batch pecan sticky buns can be stored at room temperature, on a plate under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for up to 1 day. After that, transfer the pecan sticky buns to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days more. Rewarm in the microwave or oven before serving.
Can You Freeze Pecan Sticky Buns BEFORE Baking?
Yes! Follow the instructions to make the dough, and fill and shape it into buns. After slicing the dough into buns, place the buns, cut side up, in the freezer for at least 4 hours or until frozen solid. Transfer the buns to a ziptop bag and freeze for up to 1 year.
When ready to bake, follow the recipe’s instructions to prep a quarter sheet pan and follow the instructions to place the frozen rolls, cut side up, on the pan. Let the rolls come to room temperature and double in size, then follow the recipe’s instructions to bake the buns and make the sticky pecan filling. But let me warn you now—this takes a decent amount of time, especially if your kitchen runs cold. I actually defrost my frozen buns by letting them sit and rise at room temperature overnight. In the morning, I find that the rolls are perfect for baking.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to wait overnight for the buns to rise, you can try par baking them and freezing. Par baking means partially baking the buns ahead of time, freezing the partially baked buns, then baking them from frozen to finish baking them and serve. The advantage to doing so is that you get to skip the defrosting time. However, a caveat: I haven’t tried this method myself, so I can’t personally guarantee its result. This Kitchn article has more information on how to par bake cinnamon rolls that you can also apply to this small batch pecan sticky bun recipe.
Can You Freeze Pecan Sticky Buns AFTER Baking?
Yes! You can freeze the pecan sticky buns after they’ve been baked. Tightly wrap any leftover pecan sticky buns in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rewarm in the oven or microwave. The glaze will get a little sticky and melty, but that’s totally okay. You’re eating sticky buns, after all!
Best Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe Tips
Best Tips for Making This Recipe Fit Into Your Schedule
- I’ve already talked about how to make these small batch pecan sticky buns in one day. But if you don’t mind planning ahead and want to serve them for breakfast or brunch, I recommend following the recipe’s instructions and making them the night before you plan on serving them! I usually make the dough the night before I’m planning on serving them. The next morning, the dough is perfectly proofed and ready to be rolled and shaped into buns for serving.
Best Ingredient Tip
- Just another friendly reminder to make sure to pay attention to the ingredients and the temperatures they’re listed at in the recipe. Yeast is a living thing and you can easily kill it by mixing it in a liquid that’s too hot. You want the temperature to be similar to that of a warm bath and no more. Be sure to use an egg that’s at room temperature rather than straight from the fridge. An egg straight from the fridge will be too cold and lower the temperature of the overall mixture, risking dropping it to a point where the yeast won’t activate properly.
Best Technique Tips
- You may have noticed that some cinnamon roll recipes instruct you to cut the buns with a piece of unflavored dental floss. This technique prevents you from pushing down too hard on the soft dough, potentially leaking out its filling. However, I don’t ask you to do that for this pecan sticky bun recipe. Why? Turns out you don’t really need to do it. With the right technique, you can slice your buns evenly and cleanly. First, use a sharp, serrated knife—you want to use the knife you use when you cut crusty bread or bagels. Second, instead of pressing down on the dough to slice it, saw the serrated knife in a back and forth motion down the dough. This sawing motion helps prevent the dough from squishing and leaking filling!
- Dough rises fastest and best on warm, humid days. Although you can get the same effect on cold, dry days, it can take two to three times as long to proof dough. This is why professional bakeries have dedicated drawers to proof dough. The proofing drawer mimics the environmental conditions of a warm, humid day. And guess what? You can do that at home too, with the oven you already have. First, if your oven has a pilot light, turn it on—doing so increases the temperature inside the oven by about five degrees. Next, bring 2 to 4 cups of water to a boil and pour it into a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl. Place the bowl of water in the oven, then place the dough you’re trying to proof next to it. The warmth from the light and moisture from the steaming, hot water will create a warm, humid environment in the oven to proof the dough faster.
Video Tutorial for Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe
Use the video player below to watch my Instagram Story tutorial on how to make this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe! The arrows to the left and right of the frame allow you to skip through the different recipe steps. You can also hit the “pause” or “enlarge” buttons on the upper right hand side of the frame to pause or enlarge the frames accordingly.
Alternatively, head to my Instagram profile to watch these Stories on mobile! The circles underneath my bio indicate saved Instagram Story highlights depicting various recipes. Clicking on one of the circles will play the videos you see above. You may need to scroll right to find this small batch pecan sticky buns recipe.
More Breakfast Bun and Roll Recipes
- Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
- Caramel Apple Butter Sticky Buns
- Chocolate Babka Morning Rolls
- Cookies and Cream Morning Buns
- Filipino Ensaymada
- Ube Cinnamon Rolls
More Small Batch Recipes
- Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies (makes 2 large brownies, or 8 petite ones)
- Banana Nut Muffins (makes 6 muffins)
- Blueberry Muffins (makes 4 muffins)
- Chaffle Recipe (makes 1 large waffle, or 2 medium ones)
- Cinnamon Rolls (makes 4 buns)
- Dalgona Coffee (makes 1 large drink, or 2 medium ones)
- Flourless Chocolate Cookies (makes 4 large cookies)
- Very Small Batch Strawberry Cake (makes one tiny sheet cake)
Small Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Recipe
For the Dough:
- 3 ½ cups (15.75 ounces or 447 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 227 grams) buttermilk, warmed to between 120° and 130°F
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, melted and cooled to between 120° and 130°F
For the Filling:
- 3 Tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil, plus more for pan
- ½ cup (2.35 ounces or 67 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Pecan Topping:
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces or 128 grams) pecans, chopped into ½- to 1-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup tightly packed (2.5 ounces or 71 grams) dark or light brown sugar
- 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) whole milk
- 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) Land O Lakes® Butter
- 3 Tablespoons dark or very dark maple syrup
- pinch of kosher salt
Day 1: Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda, and salt. Knead on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Press a tall glass into the center of the dry ingredients to make a well.
- Pour the buttermilk, egg, and Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until a rough, shaggy dough forms. Use the mixer to knead on medium-low for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough once or twice into a rough ball. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to remove any excess dough. Spray the bowl with cooking spray and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Shape, Bake, and Glaze the Buns
- Uncover the dough and discard the plastic wrap. Tip it onto a lightly floured counter. Use Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil to lightly grease a quarter sheet pan.
- Make the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
- Shape the buns. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long. Press a bench scraper against the sides of the dough to create straight edges. Use an offset spatula to spread Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil evenly across the dough. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly on top.
- Starting from one of the short ends, roll the dough into an even log. Use a serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 6 rolls, each about 2 inches wide. Place the rolls cut-side up and at least 3 inches apart on the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Prep your oven. About 30 minutes into the second rise, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Bake the buns. Bake the buns for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean. Keep the oven on, but place the buns on a wire rack to cool slightly as you make the sticky pecan topping.
- Toast the nuts. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the pecans in a single layer across the pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted brown. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to toss the nuts every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure even toasting. Once toasted, scrape the nuts onto a plate to prevent them from cooking further.
- Make the topping. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk, Land O Lakes® Butter, maple syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, immediately add the pecans and stir until combined.
- Pour over the topping over the buns and use an offset spatula to help spread the nuts.
- Serve and store. Serve warm, or at room temperature. The pecan sticky buns can be stored at room temperature, under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for up to 1 day. After that, transfer the buns to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days more.
This post was last updated on 9/4/2020.
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NO TIME TO BAKE?!
Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.