Grab a wet-nap because you don’t wanna miss these pecan praline sticky buns! Super soft and warmly spiced cinnamon rolls topped with a drool-worthy, authentic Southern pecan praline sauce. These sticky buns are insanely good and perfect for any brunch affair, those cozy weekends inside, and all of the holiday festivities!
For the pecan praline topping:
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/4 cup pecan pieces
For the dough:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk (whole milk preferred but 2% works, too!)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and lightly cooled
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- For the topping: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract, salt, and heavy cream together. Stir to combine and allow the mixture to simmer together until the butter melts and everything comes together, stirring every so often, about 7-10 minutes. Look for the pecan praline sauce to thicken some and coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the pecan pieces. Transfer the pecan praline sauce into an airtight container. If making these sticky buns on the same day, leave the sauce out on the counter. Otherwise, transfer the sauce into the fridge until you’re ready to use. If refrigerating, when ready to use, simply reheat the sauce in a saucepan before the next step, below.
- Pour the sauce into a 9×9 inch baking pan (or any comparable oven-safe vessel) use a spoon or offset spatula to spread the sauce into an even layer into the pan. Then set aside.
- For the dough: Make sure the milk is warmed up to around 110°F. I like to place my cold milk in a microwave safe vessel and microwave it for 45-50 seconds, it should be warm (if yours is too hot, set aside until it cools down and reaches desired 110°F temperature). In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle in the yeast and sugar and then pour in the warmed milk. Let mixture sit, undisturbed, for 7-10 minutes for the yeast to activate (when using active dry yeast)- the mixture will be bubbly and fragrant. *If using instant yeast– no need to wait for the mixture to bloom, proceed directly to the next step.
- Next, add in the melted butter, egg, flour, and salt. Place the dough hook attachment onto stand mixer and knead on medium speed until the dough begins to come together, about 6-8 minutes. Look for the dough to be smooth. Alternatively, if not using a stand mixer- knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and then a clean kitchen towel/linen- let the dough rise in a warm environment until it doubles in size, about 1-2 hours or longer depending on the temperature of your environment.
- Once the dough has risen, punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface work area. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 10×12 inches, now let’s prepare the filling.
- For the filling: Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a slight margin around the edges. I like to use my hands (with disposable gloves, if desired) to do this. Then sprinkle on the brown sugar followed by evenly sprinkling the cinnamon all over the top. Use your hand to gently pat the sugar/cinnamon mixture onto the dough.
- Roll up the dough into a tight log starting from the longest side with the seam side down. While in log position, use your hands to carefully stretch out the log, if needed. Then pinch the seam to nicely seal in the edges as much as you can. I like to cut off a bit of the ends of the dough because they are not as full in size as the other sections.
- Use a large sharp knife/unscented dental floss to cut the log crosswise into 9 pieces. Pro-tip: for precise, neat cuts >> you can score/measure out the cut markings on the dough beforehand.
- Add the rolls directly on top of the pecan praline sauce in the prepared baking dish, gently press them down into the sauce, just enough to make sure they’re touching. Cover the dish with plastic wrap/kitchen towel. Allow the rolls to rise again in a warm environment for another 1-2 hours until puffy. Towards the end of their rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Uncover the rolls by removing the plastic wrap/kitchen towel. Bake the rolls until they’re golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Very carefully, using oven mitts, invert the pan immediately onto a large plate or platter. If any sticky bits remain in the pan, simply scrape out onto the buns. Allow the buns to cool down before touching, about 10-15 minutes, as the sticky topping will be very hot. Then serve and enjoy!
- Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
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