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The Ultimate Sticky Buns

The Ultimate Sticky Buns

These buns can be assembled the night before, needing only a final rise before baking. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.



  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast (from one ¼-ounce envelope)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus ½ tablespoon, melted


  • 1¾ cups chopped pecans (about 8 ounces)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • All-purpose flour (for dusting)

Special Equipment

  • An 8x8x2" metal baking pan

Recipe Preparation


  • Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth. Combine flour, salt, and remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add ½ cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

  • Brush a medium bowl with about 1 tsp. melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.

  • Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1½ hours.

  • Do Ahead: Dough, before first rise, can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 2–2½ hours.


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1¼ cups nuts aside for buns.

  • Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3–4 minutes. Pour 1 cup glaze into baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze. Sprinkle ½ cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.


  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Set filling aside.

  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12x16" rectangle about ¼" thick. Arrange dough on work surface so 1 long side faces you. Spread cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1" border on the side farthest from you.

  • Sprinkle ¾ cup chopped pecans over cinnamon-sugar mixture. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log, tightening as you roll and patting in ends if they begin to taper. Pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal. Arrange log seam side down.

  • Using a large knife, cut log crosswise into 9 pieces (lightly flour knife between slices if dough is too sticky). Turn buns cut side up and gently pat top to flatten slightly. If needed, reshape to form round edges by cupping lightly floured hands around each bun and gently pushing and turning them in a circular motion. Transfer buns to prepared pan, spacing evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).

  • Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 45 minutes–1 hour, or 1½–2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight.

  • Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Whisk egg with ½ tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of buns registers 185°, about 50 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle ½ cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

  • Lightly sprinkle sea salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Recipe by Melissa Roberts,

Nutritional Content

1 bun contains: Calories (kcal) 830 Fat (g) 56 Saturated Fat (g) 26 Cholesterol (mg) 180 Carbohydrates (g) 78 Dietary Fiber (g) 3 Total Sugars (g) 48 Protein (g) 10 Sodium (mg) 340

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Reviews SectionThis may be the best thing I've baked EVER! It is also the most complex recipe I've used and it was the hardest thing to trust the recipe and not go off the rails but man did it pay off!! The swirls were perfect and the GLAZE?!? UGH, it was a struggle not to keep tasting it while the dough chilled.Fantastic recipe. I was a bit liberal on the nutmeg and orange zest measurements (heaping vs. exact), and it was very much worth it. The buns did bake much faster than 50 min though. Tops were fully brown after around 25 min, so I added foil over top. Pulled the buns out around 40-42 min and internal temp at the very center was over 200. So I'd suggest checking the internal temp more frequently the first time you make these.austinsegoMinneapolis, MN04/28/20Definitely a typo on the amount of flour in the dough. Needs to be 3 3/4 cup. Though I would put in 3 and add the rest till you get a slightly sticky ball of dough. May need slightly more or less flour depending on temp, humidity and elevation. Also its not an 8x8 pan you need its a 9x12 or 9x13 pan. Sometimes its better to go to the dedicated small time food websites to get the recipes because they have been tested and the recipe proof read. This site clearly does neither.Fantastic. I added yellow raisins to the filling.drfoheadPhiladelphia, PA05/22/19I made this with 2# of challah dough and it worked great. Needed to adapt a bit (dairy allergy) so I used TJ's coconut creamer instead of the heavy cream and Earth Balance (non-hydrogenated margarine) sticks instead of the butter. While it's not quite the same as dairy, it was really tasty and people were going back for thirds.Miriam GrossNew Jersey 05/12/19This was my show-stopper dish at Christmas brunch, and it did not disappoint. I am a novice baker, and followed the recipe to the letter. These sticky buns were better than ANY I’ve ever had, and my guests absolutely raved! I can’t say enough about how perfect they were! Next time, I’ll use a larger pan, as the dough spilled over the edges. Other than that - perfection!AnonymousAsheville 12/26/18I made this recipe exactly bu the directions and the dough was more like brownie batter than bread dough. I ended up adding another half cup of flour before it would even start climbing the dough hook.AnonymousPittsburgh12/22/18

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