Mastering Southern Sticky Buns

Decadent Delight: Mastering Southern Sticky Buns

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Indulge in the heavenly aroma and irresistible sweetness of Southern Sticky Buns with our delectable recipe. These tender, gooey buns are a beloved treat in Southern cuisine, featuring layers of cinnamon-spiced filling and a sticky caramel pecan topping. Whether enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, these sticky buns are sure to become a cherished favorite in your home. Join us as we embark on a journey to create the perfect batch of Southern Sticky Buns, bringing a taste of indulgence to your kitchen.

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For the buns:

  • 1 cup milk, heated to about 95º Fahrenheit
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 packets instant yeast
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting

For the filling:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans


  1. Prepare Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the heated milk, granulated sugar, and instant yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until foamy. Add the softened butter, eggs, salt, and 4 cups of flour. Stir until a soft dough forms.
  2. Knead Dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Prepare Filling: In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, dark brown sugar, and ground cinnamon until well combined.
  5. Roll Out Dough: Punch down the risen dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about ¼ inch thick.
  6. Spread Filling: Spread the filling mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
  7. Shape Buns: Starting from one long edge, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Pinch the seam to seal and cut the log into 12 equal-sized rolls.
  8. Second Rise: Place the rolls in a greased baking dish, cover with a kitchen towel, and let them rise for another 30-45 minutes, or until puffy.
  9. Prepare Topping: In a saucepan, combine the light brown sugar, unsalted butter, and honey or maple syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped pecans.
  10. Bake: Preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Pour the sticky topping over the risen rolls in the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and the topping is bubbling.
  11. Cool and Serve: Allow the sticky buns to cool in the baking dish for a few minutes before serving. Serve warm and enjoy the gooey goodness!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Make-Ahead Option: Prepare the sticky buns up to the point of the second rise, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, let them come to room temperature and rise for about 1 hour before baking.
  • Nut-Free Option: Omit the pecans from the topping for a nut-free version of these sticky buns.
  • Add More Flavor: Experiment with adding other spices such as nutmeg or cardamom to the filling for an extra flavor boost.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, adjustments can be made to the traditional recipe to fit your dietary preferences.

Keto Version:

  • Flour Substitute: Use almond flour or coconut flour in place of all-purpose flour to reduce the carb content of the dough.
  • Sugar Substitute: Replace the granulated sugar and brown sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or monk fruit sweetener.
  • Topping Modification: Substitute the honey or maple syrup in the topping with a keto-friendly syrup or a blend of butter and low-carb sweetener.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Portion Control: Enjoy smaller servings of the sticky buns to keep the overall carb count in check.
  • Almond Flour Dough: Use a combination of almond flour and coconut flour for the dough to reduce the carb content while maintaining a tender texture.
  • Topping Adjustment: Reduce the amount of honey or maple syrup in the topping or omit it entirely to lower the carb count.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast? Yes, you can use active dry yeast in place of instant yeast. However, you may need to proof it in warm water with a pinch of sugar before adding it to the dough mixture.
  2. How do I know when the dough has risen enough? The dough should double in size during the first rise and become noticeably puffy during the second rise. You can also gently poke the dough with your finger – if the indentation remains, it’s ready.
  3. Can I freeze the sticky buns for later? Yes, you can freeze the baked sticky buns for up to 2-3 months. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. What’s the best way to reheat leftover sticky buns? Reheat individual servings in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds or warm them in a preheated oven at 350º Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes until heated through.
  5. Can I customize the filling with other ingredients? Absolutely! Get creative with the filling by adding ingredients such as chopped nuts, raisins, or even chocolate chips for a unique twist on the classic recipe.

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Southern Sticky Buns are a true indulgence, combining the warmth of cinnamon-spiced filling with the richness of caramel pecan topping for a treat that’s simply irresistible. Whether enjoyed fresh out of the oven for breakfast or served as a decadent dessert, these sticky buns are sure to bring joy to any occasion. With our easy-to-follow recipe and helpful tips, you can master the art of making sticky buns at home and delight your loved ones with every gooey bite. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to experience the sweet satisfaction of Southern Sticky Buns. Your taste buds will thank you!

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