Grandma’s Old Fashioned Caramel Sticky Buns are caramel pecan rolls, with or without nuts, these cinnamon flavored sticky buns are perfect for any occasion!
Old Fashioned Sticky Buns
Ken surprises me with these some mornings when I am not feeling the greatest or tired. He knows how to bring up my spirits. Some weekend, when you are in the mood for something sweet, or in need of a comfort food, these Caramel Sticky Buns are the answer!
This recipe for my Grandma’s Caramel Sticky Buns has been in our family for a very long time. Every time I eat one I smile because I absolutely adored her.
She unfortunately did not live in a time where she got all the credit she deserved for being as amazing as she was. Do you know what I mean?
Soft, sticky, sweet, with a touch of salt and the crunch of pecans, these delightful sticky buns make a special dessert treat.
This is hands down the best sticky buns recipe ever! Mix up the dough and in hours you’ll have soft, chewy buns packed with cinnamon and brown sugar filling, coated in an ooey-gooey caramel pecan sauce.
Seriously, when it comes to so sweet breakfast or brunch treats, an occasional treat or holiday breakfast it doesn’t get any better than this!
Pick up one of these sticky buns with your fingers and you’ll know this pastry is not misnamed. These buns have the perfect sticky, gooey, caramelized topping that you always hope for and almost never get.
This sticky buns recipe guarantees tender and soft buns topped with the most glorious caramel.Is there anything better than sinking your teeth into a warm, gooey cinnamon roll?
YES! Sinking your teeth into a warm, gooey, sticky bun!! Sticky buns are like cinnamon rolls more delicious cousin… full of buttery cinnamon sugar, but topped with homemade caramel and pecans!
Old Fashioned Caramel Rolls
Caramel Pecan Rolls
When it comes to making Caramel Pecan Rolls, the preparation of the dough is most important. A good dough made with good ingredients will make your rolls just perfect. Everyone will love them.
When I say good ingredients, I mean things like ensuring that your yeast isn’t expired. If it is, there won’t be the chemical reaction required to raise the dough and your whole attempt will be a disaster.
Speaking of raising the dough, I have to stress another point. It is very important that you let the dough rise twice for the full time written below. It makes the rolls less dense and more airy and lighter. Set your timer for optimum results.
Gooey Caramel Rolls Recipe
When making old fashioned sticky buns it’s good to have a cloth with soap ready. They are so gooey and sticky and delicious but they can be quite the mess when cleaning up.
My son Patrick just loved the sticky mess. He would wait by the oven for the buns to come out and could barely wait the 5 to 7 minutes for them to rest before eating them.
The caramel would just run down his face and he’d be in sheer joy. Sticky goodness all over his fingers, even dripping on his shirt. He was a disaster to look at and I dreaded having to bring him back to cleanliness.
His friend, however, was the total opposite. She would even go so far as to bring gloves with her so she wouldn’t get covered in caramel. I’d give her a fork and knife to use but sometimes she’d still get it on her.
Her need for freshness was outweighed by her love of old fashioned sticky buns and she’d always come over when I made a fresh batch!
Giant Homemade Caramel Pecan Rolls
Caramel pecan rolls are best when you make them with a stand or hand mixer.
Back when my Grandma used to make them, she’d do it by hand and it was so much work. It is possible to do but I recommend using a mixer if you can.
If you want your rolls to turn out properly, use a sharp knife when cutting them. Put as little pressure on the dough so as not so squish it and make your 1 inch slices as smoothly as possible. It’s amazing the difference it will make with the end result. I think you’ll be happy.
What is the difference between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun?
The main difference between cinnamon rolls and sticky buns is that sticky buns feature some caramel and usually pecan nuts, which are placed in the bottom of the pan.
As I said, the difference here is in the topping. Both sweet rolls are filled with a butter, brown sugar and cinnamon filling, but cinnamon rolls are generally topped with a cream cheese or vanilla icing glaze. Sticky buns are traditionally topped with caramel and pecans or other nuts.
The cinnamon roll part is placed on top of the caramel sauce and chopped nuts. After baking, the pan is inverted and the caramel and nuts then form a sticky ‘sauce’ on the top of the bun.
Also, with cinnamon rolls, the topping is added after the rolls have been baked. With old fashioned sticky buns, the topping is added to the bottom of the baking dish, then the rolls are baked on top of that. You invert the pan after baking to give them that glorious topping.
Caramel Sticky Buns
The key to making caramel sticky buns (otherwise known as Old Fashioned Sticky Buns) is to make sure they rest 5 to 7 minutes before you flip them over onto a wire rack.
If you flip them over as soon as you take them out of the oven, all of the hot caramel will run off the buns. If you leave them too long in the pan then they’ll stick to the bottom and you won’t be able to get them out.
The 5 to 7 minute window allows the sticky buns to maintain the proper consistency. Remember, that if you use option 2 (see down below) then your buns will be gooier and oh so delicious!
As I get older, I find that I’m satisfied with option 1 (see below) because I have to watch my sugar intake and whatnot. Kids, I find, prefer the second method because it’s so much sweeter and they don’t care about the calories!
Caramel Sticky Buns No Nuts
Caramel sticky buns don’t have to be made with nuts if you prefer that. As long as you cover the bottom of the pan with the caramel mixture, you’re sure to end up with a great sticky bun.
Ken’s family has a wonderfully, nut-free, delicious sticky bun recipe if you’d like to try something different. It’s called Homemade Sticky Cinnamon Buns and it’s been handed down for generations.
From one mother to her daughter and so on, throughout the years, this recipe has evolved into something that I would call almost perfection. I’d love to hear what you think.
Ingredients in Grandma’s Old Fashioned Caramel Sticky Buns
- active, dry yeast
Caramel Sauce for Cinnamon Rolls without cream
- brown sugar
- light corn syrup
- pecans, walnuts or your favorite variety
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
How to make Grandma’s Caramel Sticky Buns
In a large bowl, using a stand or handheld mixer, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine milk, water and butter.
Heat gradually until butter melts and mixture is warm.
Slowly add milk mixture to your large bowl with the flour mixture in it.
Beat until smooth.
Add the egg and enough flour to make a thick batter, about 3 cups.
Beat until smooth.
Next, prepare your work surface with flour and place the batter on top of the flour.
Knead in the remaining flour until an elastic dough forms.
You may not need all of the flour.
Place the dough inside a well greased bowl and paint melted butter all over the top.
Cover with a clean, damp towel and let the dough rise until it has almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch in the middle of the dough at about the 40 minute mark. This will remove some of the air that has built up in the dough.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees,
When you are getting ready to bake your dough prepare a medium sized bowl with brown sugar, corn syrup and butter.
Using a handheld mixer blend until smooth.
Grease a 13×9 inch pan with butter and a 9 inch round or square pan as well. (You can also use two 9 inch square or round pans as well.)
Pour caramel topping inside your prepared pan and make sure the bottom of the pan is covered.
Sprinkle with pecans, as many as you want. We always make sure the bottom is basically covered in pecans. If you want to omit the pecans, this is the point.
Again, punch in the center of your dough and divide the dough up into 3 pieces.
At your workstation flour your surface and roll out the dough until it is about 20 inches by 10 inches. A little more or a little less will not mater.
Brush each dough rectangle with approximately 2 tablespoons melted butter and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. You have the option of including more filling in your buns if you desire and I have included the recipe to use if you want to.
Using it makes your buns more sticky and ooey gooey good but I find that as I am getting older it becomes almost too sweet so I just paint on some melted butter and sprinkle some brown sugar and it is enough.
Roll up the dough, from the longer side, as tight as you can get it, into what looks like a jelly-roll.
Pinch the ends together and cut into 1 inch slices.
Place the slices into your prepared pan.
Cover with your clean, damp towel for another 45-60 minutes and let rest.
The dough should again double in size.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or a beautiful golden brown.
Allow to cool in your pans for at least 5 minutes and then dump on top of parchment paper to totally cool.
Serve warm. Enjoy!
How do you store leftover Caramel Sticky Buns?
As you would expect, these caramel sticky buns are best served fresh, out of the oven. That being said, they can be stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.
Warm in your microwave for 20 seconds or so or reheat covered in your oven on 400 degrees for between 15 and 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Can Caramel Sticky Buns be Frozen?
You bet! Baked buns can be frozen for between 2 and 3 months in an airtight container. I usually wrap the buns in parchment paper, then in tinfoil and right inside an airtight container.
Thaw the sticky buns overnight in your fridge, on your counter or in your microwave until you achieve room temperature. before warming in oven or microwave.
Other Delicious Bun Recipes
For those of you who love buns, either sticky or not, I’ve listed below some other tasty bun recipes you can find on the site. I’d love to hear which one is your favorite!
Best Blueberry Sweet Rolls COMING SOON!
Grandma’s Caramel Sticky Buns Video
Grandma's Old Fashioned Caramel Sticky Buns
- 13 x 9 inch pan
- 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch cake pan
- or 3 8x8 or 9x9 inch pans
- 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 packages active-dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter or 1 stick
- 1 large egg, room temperature, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup pecans or your favorite nuts, chopped more if necessary to cover the bottom of your pan
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- In a large bowl, using a stand or handheld mixer, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan combine milk, water and butter.
- Heat gradually until butter melts and mixture is warm.
- Slowly add milk mixture to your large bowl with the flour mixture in it.
- Beat until smooth.
- Add the egg and enough flour to make a thick batter, about 3 cups.
- Beat until smooth.
- Next, prepare your work surface with flour and place the batter on top of the flour.
- Knead in the remaining flour until an elastic dough forms. You may not need all of the flour.
- Place the dough inside a well greased bowl and paint melted butter all over the top.
- Cover with a clean, damp towel and let the dough rise until it has almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch in the middle of the dough at about the 40 minute mark. This will remove some of the air that has built up in the dough.
- When you are getting ready to bake your dough prepare a medium sized bowl with brown sugar, corn syrup and butter.
- Using a handheld mixer blend until smooth.
- Grease a 13x9 inch pan with butter and a 9 inch round or square pan as well. (You can also use three 9 inch square or round pans as well.)
- Pour caramel topping inside your prepared pan and make sure the bottom of the pan is covered.
- Sprinkle with pecans, as many as you want. We always make sure the bottom is basically covered in pecans. If you choose to omit the pecans this is the time.
- Again, punch in the center of your dough and divide the dough up into 3 even pieces. At your workstation flour your surface and roll out the dough until it is about 20 inches by 10 inches. A little more or a little less will not matter.
- You have the option of including more filling in your buns if you desire and I have included the recipe to use if you want to. You really should try Option 2 at least once!
- Brush each dough rectangle with approximately 2 tablespoons melted butter and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- In a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Paint the butter on and sprinkle brown sugar mixture all over.
- Using it makes your buns more sticky and ooey gooey good. The more brown sugar, the stickier the buns will be.
- Roll up the dough, from the longer side, as tight as you can get it, into like a jelly roll.
- Pinch the ends together and cut into 1 inch slices.
- Place the slices into your prepared pan.
- Cover again with your clean, damp towel for another 45-60 minutes. The dough should again double in size.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees,
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or a beautiful golden brown.
- Allow to cool in your pans for at least 5 minutes and then flip upside down on top of parchment paper until it is cool enough to handle. This ensures that the caramel topping won't run off the buns.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!