Better than your average cinnamon roll, sticky buns are infused with a gooey caramel pecan topping and are sure to impress! Perfect for holiday mornings with an overnight option. Pop them in the oven in the morning and enjoy a decadent breakfast!
Sticky buns are the ultimate treat on holiday mornings. They are essentially soft cinnamon rolls baked in a sweet maple pecan caramel sauce. Invert after baking and marvel over how beautiful they are!
Why I love these vegan sticky buns:
- Maple pecan caramel topping. Need I say more?
- You can prepare the buns ahead of time to make your morning easy.
- Or they can be ready in just about an hour from start to finish.
- They’re big and fluffy with just 20 minutes of rise time!
If you love sweet pecan desserts, make sure to check out my Vegan Pecan Bars and Vegan Pecan Pie.
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Unsweetened soy milk – Any other plant milk will work here, just make sure it’s unsweetened if possible.
- Granulated sugar – For the dough, adds just a bit of sweetness.
- Instant yeast – Also known as rapid rise yeast, it works quicker than regular active yeast. If needed, you can use active yeast, but you will need a longer rise time.
- Vegan butter – You will use this in the dough, pecan topping and the filling! May substitute refined coconut oil but the flavor will be a bit different.
- Flour – I haven’t tested them gluten free, but it would probably work quite well!
- Chopped pecans – For the caramel pecan topping. If needed, use walnuts. If you can’t have any nuts, you could omit them altogether for a simple maple topping.
- Brown sugar – For the topping and the filling.
- Pure maple syrup – Essential for that maple flavor.
- Cinnamon – For the filling.
Overnight sticky buns
For the make ahead, overnight option, assemble the rolls according to instructions, but instead of baking them right away, cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, let the rolls sit at room temperature for about an hour if you can, then bake as instructed.
Frequently asked questions
- Can I add some orange flavor to sticky buns? Yes, this is one of my favorite things to do! Add the zest of one large orange to the dough at the same time you add the milk.
- Will gluten free flour work? I haven’t tested it with this recipe, but I have used it in my cinnamon rolls recipe and it worked quite well. I like King Arthur Measure for Measure flour.
- What is the best way to slice the rolls? Believe it or not, plain dental floss works best for clean slices. Or a sharp serrated knife.
- How to store leftover buns – Cover and keep them at room temperature for up to 4 days. They can also be frozen. Simply thaw when ready to eat.
More sweet and decadent holiday breakfasts
Vegan Sticky Buns
For the dough
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 packets (5 tsp) instant yeast
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
For the topping
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
For the filling
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Make the dough
- Microwave the soy milk for about 1 minute and 30 seconds, until warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
- In a large bowl, add the warm soy milk, sugar and yeast. Stir a little bit; the yeast will get foamy.
- To the yeast mixture, add the melted vegan butter, salt and 4 1/2 cups of flour. Stir with a large spoon until it comes together. Add additional flour, as needed. Alternatively, use a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix on low until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should still be soft and slightly sticky.
- If using a stand mixer, simply mix with the dough hook until you have a smooth ball of dough. If not, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 3-4 minutes until you have a smooth ball of dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Here's what I do: Turn the oven to 170 degrees F. Once heated, turn it off, place the covered bowl inside the oven, and leave the oven door cracked.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (skip this for make ahead option) and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Make the topping
- Spread the chopped pecans in the bottom of the greased pan.
- Combine the rest of the topping ingredients (vegan butter, brown sugar and maple syrup) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and pour it over the pecans in the dish.
Assemble and bake
- Sprinkle a clean counter or pastry mat with flour. Punch the dough down and use a rollin pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with more flour to prevent sticking to the rolling pin.
- Spread the softened vegan butter over the dough, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log.
- Using a serrated knife (or plain floss!) cut off the two ends. Slice the rest into 12 rolls.
- Place the rolls on top of the pecan mixture in the baking dish. Make ahead: Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Or follow the next step to bake immediately.
- If you have refrigerated the rolls overnight, let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before baking. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the centers are cooked through.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and immediately invert (very carefully!) onto a serving tray or other large baking dish.
- Serve these sticky sweet buns immediately and enjoy!
- I haven’t tested them gluten free but a quality all purpose gluten free flour would likely work quite well.
- May use regular active yeast, but they will need at least an hour to rise instead of 20 minutes.
- May substitute coconut oil (refined for no coconut flavor) for the vegan butter in the dough, topping and filling. But a good tasting vegan butter (I prefer Miyokos) is best.
Do you think I could make and bake these the night before eating them? I won’t have time to bake them in the morning…
Hi Victoria. Yes, you can bake the buns the night before serving, but they’ll be a bit soggy the next day.
These sticky buns are ridiculously easy and insanely delicious!!! Highly recommend for anyone looking to impress their friends and have a yummy treat. I have made them several times and the results are so consistent. I also used this dough for making chocolate babka and it worked surprisingly well they just needed a longer baking time.
It’s so fantastic you love the buns and found an additional use for the dough! Thank you for your fabulous feedback and review!
This is my OMG your mom is the most amazing cook breakfast recipe when my kids’s friends sleepover! Incredible that it only takes 1 hour if you are well organized! I’m the only vegan mom so it’s a great lesson for impressionable teens that eating vegan & cruelty free doesn’t have to mean giving up fantastic eating. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!
You are welcome, Stefanie! It’s always fun making good food that your children’s friends enjoy! Thank you for sharing your positive review and feedback! Wishing you happy cooking!
These are incredible! I left them out overnight on my cool patio and they doubled in size. Pillowy, sticky and gooey, so sweet! Perfect.
I made them directly as your recipe says, no substitutions.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful review! We love these at our house! I’m so glad you loved them as well! Happy cooking!
If I cut the sugar and syrup in half, will that be OK?
Sure! They’ll taste less sweet but the buns should still turn out ok.
These are so easy and so delicious! Just made a batch for Christmas morning and wanted to share that I goofed: in the rush of the morning I accidentally used unbleached wheat flour instead of general purpose and they are still perfect. Yum, yum, yum!!
Hi Kristi. I’m so glad that your sticky buns turned out perfect, regardless of using a different flour! Thank you for sharing your terrific feedback!
Can I make these without nuts? (nut allergy) Or could I substitute pumpkin seeds? It seems like the nuts would raise the dough above the bottom of the pan, so it might impact the way they (without the nuts).
Even though they traditionally have nuts, you could make them without, I don’t think it would be a problem. They would just be straight up caramel rolls. 🙂 Hope that helps!
another perfect recipe—one of our friends now bribes me to make these for them! this blog has become my staple for yummy vegan recipes.
Hi Marissa. Thank you for using my recipes! Your post made my day! I appreciate you taking time to share your wonderful review and comments! I’m glad you love the sticky buns!
Can you use whole wheat pastry flour?
That should work fine, though I haven’t tried it. You might need to add more flour, I’m not totally sure. Enjoy!
WOW! These pecan sticky buns were a huge hit for my family Christmas morning. For something that looks so beautiful and tastes so good it was surprising how easy they were to make. I prepared the dough on Christmas Eve and popped the tray in the refrigerator. While we opened our stocking they were on the counter coming to room temperature and then baked and enjoyed by all (Vegan and non-vegans). I did find that I had to add a bit more flour to my recipe to achieve the best working dough for rolling. These rolls are definitely on my repeat list. Thank you Nora!
What wonderful feedback on my sticky buns! Thank you for sharing! I’m glad you guys loved the recipe, and that it is going on your favorites list! Happy cooking!
Thank you for this amazing recipe. The sticky buns were simple to prepare and tasted so decadent. These will become a new Thanksgiving morning tradition for my family.
Hi Amanda! What a fun, new tradition! I’m glad you guys loved them! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments!
Looks great can’t wait to Malle it. Love the tips.
Thanks Albert! I hope you enjoy the sticky buns!