Make your own caramel pecan cinnamon rolls from scratch with this easy to follow recipe. This yeast dough is easy to make. A sticky bun is a great Saturday morning brunch recipe! Learn how to make the dough for thick, fluffy caramel cinnamon buns! And don't miss the option to make them salted caramel cinnamon rolls!
Why You'll Love This
- Flavor: Rich and sticky cinnamon buns are full of gooey, sweet caramel and goodness.
- Time: Prep time and dough rises take less than an hour! Most of that time is hands-off. Cook time is 25 minutes, total.
- Equipment: Mix by hand or use your electric mixer with a dough hook.
- Diet: Vegetarian
TRY THIS: Want a quick cinnamon roll recipe for those days you don't have time to wait for the dough to rise? These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are made with sweet roll dough and take less than 30 minutes start to finish.
Full printable caramel cinnamon roll ingredients list and instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cinnamon Roll Dough Ingredients
This cinnamon dough can be used to make many types of cinnamon rolls. Make classic cinnamon rolls with a sugar icing, if you prefer.
- 1 cup whole milk, lukewarm. Follow instructions for heating.
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 2 ½ cups white flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cinnamon Roll Filling Ingredients
Optionally, put ¼ cup of pecan pieces in the filling as well. This will give your cinnamon rolls a bit of a pecan crunch inside.
- 4 Tablespoon salted butter, melted
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
Caramel Pecan Topping Ingredients
These caramel bits melt really well and make an easy caramel topping for the caramel pecan cinnamon rolls. If you can't find them locally you can always order them online.
- 11 oz package of Kraft caramel bits. See link for details.
- ½ cup pecans pieces (substitute walnuts or your favorite nuts, if desired)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
Full step-by-step instructions for the yeast cinnamon rolls with pecans are in the recipe card below. You can print or save to Pinterest for later.
Make Dough. Heat milk to 105 to 110°F. In a large bowl, combine active dry yeast and warm milk. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the years to sit for five minutes, or until foamy.
With a wooden spoon, mix in the canola oil, all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon until it is smooth.
Lightly flour a work surface. Place the ball of dough onto the floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Note: You can mix and knead your dough in your stand mixer with a dough hook. Use a large mixing bowl for your stand mixer. Make dough as directed. Mix the dough using the paddle attachment. Switch to the dough hook to knead the dough on low speed for 5 minutes.
Let Dough Rise. Grease the mixing bowl. Place the ball of dough back into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place dough in a warm location for 20 minutes to allow the dough to rise. Dough will double in size and be very soft. Note: keeping the dough in a warm place is essential. If your kitchen is too cold the dough won't rise well.
Preheat Oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
Roll Out Dough. Place the ball of soft dough onto the lightly floured surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle shape, about ¼-inch thick.
Make The Filling. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the melted butter. Mix until combined. Spread the cinnamon mixture evenly across the dough.
Make The Rolls: Gently roll cinnamon roll dough up into a long log shape. Cut the dough log into 16 equal pieces. Place the rolls into the greased baking dish.
Second Rise. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise a second time for 20 minutes.
Bake: Place the baking dish into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the caramel chips in the microwave in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. You can also melt over low heat in a saucepan on the stove. Add the optional salt to make a salted caramel sauce.
Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven after 20 minutes. Spoon and spread the caramel sauce over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle with pecans.
Return the cinnamon rolls to the oven. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
- Active dry yeast needs to be in temperatures above 95 degrees and below 110 degrees to activate. Use an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk when you heat it. You do not want to overheat it and scald it. I recommend heating to about 105°F.
- Do not skip kneading. Kneading is essential when making yeast breads. You can knead by hand or knead with a dough hook on your stand-mixer.
- Do not skip the first or second rise. The rises are essential to make sure the dough is not thin and dense. You want your cinnamon rolls to be full of air holes once cooked!
- Add a little sea salt flakes on top when you are finished for a salted caramel cinnamon roll.
Serve your caramel pecan sticky buns right out of the baking dish or place them on a serving platter. To remove all the pecan caramel rolls from the baking dish easily, line the dish with parchment paper before cooking.
These caramel sticky buns are perfect for:
- Christmas morning
- Holiday brunch
- Saturday mornings
TRY THIS: Make pumpkin donuts with cake mix in this easy Pumpkin Spice Donut recipe.
Store leftover cinnamon rolls in an airtight container or in the original baking dish covered in aluminum foil. Store at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. You can also store in the fridge if you prefer.
Reheat a cinnamon roll on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave for 10 seconds. If it is not warm enough microwave for 10 more seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a couple things that could have gone wrong. First, make sure your milk you combine your yeast with was warm enough. Your yeast should form bubbles when it's activated. Second, make sure you are kneading your dough well. Third, make sure your kitchen is not cold when you are doing the rise. Do not skip the second rise.
These cinnamon rolls take a total of 25 minutes cooked at 350 degrees.
Sticky buns are similar to cinnamon rolls and the name is often used interchangeably for some types of cinnamon rolls. Sticky buns are a breakfast bread made with leavened dough (yeast dough) and often combined with brown sugar or honey and cinnamon. Sticky buns are baked into a loaf shape, often like cinnamon rolls baked together into a loaf, and usually contain nuts.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp salted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon (divided)
- 11 oz Kraft caramel bits
- ½ cup pecan pieces
- In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the milk and yeast. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the yeast to sit for five minutes, or until foamy.
- Whisk in the canola oil, flour, and 1 tsp of the cinnamon until no dry clumps of flour remain. Mix with a wooden spoon or the dough hook on an electric stand mixer.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or use the dough hook on an electric stand mixer to knead on low-setting for 5 minutes.
- Place dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area to allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes. Dough should double in size.
- Place the soft dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll into a rectangle shape.
- In a small bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix completely.
- Spread the cinnamon mixture over the dough.
- Carefully roll the dough up into a log shape. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Place the rolls into a greased 8x8-inch baking dish. cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the baking dish into the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Make caramel sauce. Place caramel bits into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave again until fully melted.
- Spoon the caramel sauce over the cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle with pecans.
- Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
- You can store these cinnamon rolls in the fridge or on the counter for up to five days.
- The caramel frosting will harden a little bit if it sits for longer than about 15 minutes, but it will easily soften back up after 20-30 seconds in the microwave.
- If you do not have canola oil, you can also use vegetable oil.
- It is important to allow the cinnamon rolls to rise a second time after they are prepped to help ensure they are not too dense after baking.