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Caramel Pecan Rolls

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Caramel pecan rolls are an ooey gooey cinnamon roll with all the good stuff baked on. They are a perfect special occasion breakfast.

Platter of cinnamon buns with sticky caramel and pecan topping, ready to eat.

These yummy caramel pecan sticky buns feature soft dough, yummy cinnamon filling, and gooey caramel and pecans. This recipe has been a favorite in our family for decades and is sure to become a favorite of yours as well.

Whether you are looking for a show stopping holiday breakfast or a way to make any weekend more special, this caramel roll recipe is sure to do it. They are worth every bit of effort.

MiMi used to make a recipe that is double this size. She would be pecans in one pan and not the other, so people who don’t like nuts could have plain sticky buns.

Caramel pecan roll on plate, cut in half showing soft interior with plenty of cinnamon filling.

You can do the same thing. They are so good, having 2 pans shouldn’t be a problem!

Or you can just put pecans in half the pan or leave them out entirely.

That is the beauty of making your own food. You can do it however you like it!

Making the Sticky Buns

The Dough

You want to start by making the dough. Like with most yeasted doughs, there is going to be some proofing involved.

So, you will have plenty of time to get the other stuff together while your dough rises. The dough is really pretty simple to make.

Ingredients including flour, butter, yeast, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, corn meal, egg, milk, and salt ready to be made into sticky buns.

Just warm up the liquids and a little bit of cornmeal in a saucepan. Turn off the heat when it just starts to boil.

Then let it cool. Adding the liquids while they are too hot with kill the yeast, so you need to let it cool to about 120°F.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a thermometer. Once the mixture has cooled, if you can hold your finger in the warm liquid without it feeling too hot, it’s not too hot for the yeast either.

Once you add your flour, yeast, and egg, you should have a nice soft dough. Knead it for about 7 minutes, or let your mixer do the work for you.

Once you have it in a bowl to rise, go ahead and start on the next steps. The dough should about double in size.

The warmer the spot you can find to put it, the faster that will happen. So find it a nice, cozy place to hang out while you proceed.

The Caramel

If the thought of making caramel intimidates you, don’t worry. This isn’t the kind of caramel where you need a lot of patience and a candy thermometer.

This is really more of a butterscotch type recipe with brown sugar and butter. So it is easy peasy.

Go ahead and grease a 9×13-inch pan and boil together some butter, milk, and brown sugar. Once it reaches a boil, take it off the heat and pour it into that prepared pan.

Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Of course, you can leave the pecans off or substitute with your favorite nuts.

Pro Tip: MiMi loves to double the caramel recipe. It makes the sticky buns extra gooey and delicious. If you like more ooey gooey than these pictures show, I would suggest you do the same!

The Filling

Once the dough is proofed, you continue to make your cinnamon rolls. Punch the dough down and pat or roll it into a nice rectangle.

I like to melt the butter and then stir in the cinnamon and sugar. That way, you don’t have to worry about if your butter is soft enough and you won’t tear the dough trying to spread it if it is too hard.

Smear the cinnamon sugar butter over the dough and roll it up. Then, cut into 12 equal pieces.

Some people like to use dental floss to cut their cinnamon rolls, but a knife or bench scrape will also work. Arrange those beauties over the caramel in the pan and cover them with plastic wrap.

If they are in a nice warm place, they should double in size in about 30 minutes. If your kitchen is cold, preheat your oven to 200°F and then turn it off.

Place the pan in the warm oven, and they should puff up in no time. Bake them until the rolls are golden and the caramel sauce is bubbly.

How to Turn Out Homemade Pecan Caramel Rolls

The key to the success of these rolls is getting them out of the pan at the right time. You want the caramel to be just the right consistency.

If you turn them out too soon, the caramel will be too thin and will try to run off your platter.

If you wait too long, the caramel will be too thick, and the sticky buns will live up to their name and stick to the pan.

Warm caramel pecan rolls after they have been baked and removed from the pan.

Let these beauties cool for about 5 minutes before inverting them. That should give the caramel a chance to set a bit without making them stick.

If you have a large platter, you can go ahead and put it on top of your pan and flip it over. They should fall right out of the pan and onto the platter.

Otherwise, line a sheet pan with some parchment paper and invert the caramel rolls onto that. The nice thing about using a pan is that you can give it a tap on the counter if you need to help coax your rolls out.

Scrape any caramel that remained in the pan onto the rolls. You want to enjoy every last drop!

Can I make sticky buns ahead of time?

Yes, you can prep these caramel rolls the night ahead of time if you would like. Go ahead and take them to the point where you have the cinnamon rolls in the pan with the caramel sauce.

Wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up, take the pan out of the fridge and allow them to rise.

Of course, this will take a little bit longer with the cold dough. However, you can speed it up a bit if you use the warm oven trick.

Once the rolls have risen, bake as directed, and you will be enjoying tasty cinnamon buns in no time. It’s a great way to avoid the mess in the morning.

How do you reheat caramel pecan rolls?

Of course these buns are best enjoyed while they are warm and fresh. That way, the caramel is gooey and delicious.

They are also really tasty at room temperature. But, if you want to revive that gooey warm goodness, just put a roll in the microwave for about 12 seconds, and you would be right back to peak goodness.

How do you store homemade cinnamon rolls?

You can store any extra caramel pecan rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the baked rolls for up to 3 months.

Technically, you can refrigerate them for up to a week, but refrigerating baked goods like this is generally not recommended. The cold air dries them out and makes them taste stale more quickly.

Small plate with warm caramel pecan roll, ready to eat.

More Decadent Breakfast Recipes

If you are in the mood for sticky buns but don’t have the time to make them from scratch, easy maple sticky buns may be for you. They use canned cinnamon roll dough and a sticky maple caramel sauce to give you something spectacular in a fraction of the time.

Or try my potato dough cinnamon rolls for the softest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had. They taste a lot like Cinnabon with their almost doughy center.

Check out my collection of cinnamon roll recipes for more inspiration or take a look at my breakfast ideas to round out the meal.

Tray of caramel pecan rolls showing the cinnamon filling spiral, soft dough, gooey caramel, and chopped pecans, ready to eat.

Caramel Pecan Rolls

Servings: 12 Sticky Buns
Author: Carlee
Caramel pecan rolls are an ooey gooey cinnamon roll with all the good stuff baked on. They are perfect for special occasions like Christmas, or Easter. Or make them just because to make any weekend feel extra special!
5 from 8 ratings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Proofing Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients
 

Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ – 4 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • teaspoons active dry yeast 1 package
  • 1 large egg

Carmel Topping

  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup chopped pecans optional

Cinnamon Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Makes: 9 x 13inch rectangle

Instructions
 

Dough

  • In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water, sugar, butter, cornmeal, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool to about 120℉.
    1 cup whole milk, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 3 Tablespoons cornmeal, ¼ cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt
  • In your mixer bowl, combined 1 cup of flour and yeast.
    2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • Add cooled wet ingredients from the saucepan. Mix on low until smooth.
  • Add egg and ½ cup more flour. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
    1 large egg
  • Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough, about 2 more cups.
  • Knead for 6-8 minutes.
  • Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Caramel Topping

  • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • Melt the butter, milk, and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    1 cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup whole milk
  • Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture comes to a full boil, remove from the heat and pour into greased 9×13-inch pan. Sprinkle with pecans and set aside.
    ½ cup chopped pecans

Assembly

  • Once the dough has proofed, punch down. Then roll or pat into a 12×15-inch rectangle.
  • Melt butter in small bowl. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Spread over the dough.
    2 Tablespoons butter, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Roll the dough from the long side. Pinch the seam together then cut into 12 equal pieces.
  • Place over the caramel in the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375℉.
  • Remove cover and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter or sheet pan. Best enjoyed warm.

Notes

MiMi suggests you double the caramel mixture for extra sticky buns.
You can omit the pecans or substitute another nut if you would like.
Overnight Instructions:
You can prep these caramel rolls the night ahead of time if you would like. Go ahead and take them to the point where you have the cinnamon rolls in the pan with the caramel sauce.
Wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up, take the pan out of the fridge and allow them to rise.
Of course, this will take a little bit longer with the cold dough. However, you can speed it up a bit if you use the warm oven trick.
Once the rolls have risen, bake as directed and you will be enjoying tasty cinnamon buns in no time. It’s a great way to avoid the mess in the morning.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sticky bunCalories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 6gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 292mgPotassium: 144mgFiber: 2gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 361IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




Alli

Monday 11th of March 2024

I’m making these for Easter brunch! Love your suggestion for doubling the caramel topping. Yummy!!!

Carlee

Monday 11th of March 2024

You can never have too much gooey goodness on top!

EsmeSalon

Friday 26th of January 2024

Superb, outstanding, so tempting and that caramel is (not words can describe it).

Andrea Nine

Monday 22nd of January 2024

My mouth just dropped open with an “I must have these!” That caramel topping!

Carlee

Monday 22nd of January 2024

That topping definitely takes them to the next level!

Karen @karenskitchenstories

Saturday 20th of January 2024

That caramel/butterscotch sounds so decadent! Thanks for the great tips for turning out the rolls at the right time!

Carlee

Sunday 21st of January 2024

That's the most finnicky part of the whole recipe, and it really isn't that bad. They are so worth it!