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Pumpkin Sticky Buns

Vegetarian

These autumn-inspired pumpkin sticky buns made from scratch are sure to warm your heart. The pillowy soft pumpkin rolls are rolled up with a sugary pumpkin spice mixture and finished off with a maple pecan topping. Mmmmmm.

Close up of pumpkin pecan sticky rolls with fall decor.

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It’s that time of the year again!!!! What time you ask!?!

The time for all things pumpkin (spice), maple, apple, chai, salted caramel, and of course, baked goods!!!

I got started with fall baking early this year so I’d be ready to share some new recipes with you all featuring the above-mentioned flavors. First up, are these pumpkin pecan sticky buns. If you’ve tried my recipe for pumpkin chai cinnamon rolls you may recognize the dough recipe is essentially the same.


What’s to love about this recipe?


  • The fall flavors! These sticky buns are comprised of three quinessential fall flavors, the first of which is pumpkin. As we all know, pumpkin season is at it’s peak in October making it the best time of the year to enjoy as much of these delicious squashes as you possibly can. Maple is the second fall flavor incorporated in this recipe. Although maple trees are tapped in first quarter of the year, the flavor is often associated with fall. This is most likely because it’s often used in warm dishes, including baked goods, that are more commonly prepared in cooler months. Last but not least are pecans which begin being harvested in October.
  • The textrures! One of the things I love most about sticky buns are the different textures. You’ve go the soft and pillowy bun and the caramely topping with crunchy pecans. Perfection!
  • They can be served for breakfast, brunch, or dessert! These indulgent buns are commonly served for breakfast or brunch especially around the holidays. I personally prefer to serve them for dessert because they a bit too sweet to munch on first thing in the morning.
Finished sticky rolls on a platter with fall decor.

What are sticky buns? What’s the difference between a sticky bun and a cinnamon roll?


A sticky bun is a sweet breakfast/brunch roll that originated in Germany in the 1800’s. They are very similar to cinnamon rolls. In fact, the dough is prepared with the same techniques and ingredients. The difference is in the topping. While cinnamon rolls are typically iced/frosted, sticky buns are slathered with a gooey topping containing nuts (normally pecans). It’s poured into the bottom of the baking dish then topped with the rolls and baked. After baking, the whole pan is inverted so that the rolls are topped with the sticky sugary nut mixture.


Ingredients + notes & substitutions


Ingredients for pumpkin sticky rolls (see recipe card).
  • Milk: Warmed to 105-110 degrees.
  • Granulated sugar: For the pumpkin dough.
  • Dry active yeast: If you have any questions about properly proofing yeast, make sure to check out my tips in step one of the recipe instructions or in the notes section of the recipe card. You may sub for instant yeast. To do so, you will mix 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast in with the flour and salt.
  • Eggs: The eggs should be room temp. To quickly warm them, place them in a bowl of hot (not boiling) tap water for ten minutes.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt: For the dough and the maple pecan toppping.
  • Unsalted butter: Softened to room temperature.
  • Pumpkin puree: The consistency of the pumpkin puree is key. I have tried several different brands of pumpkin puree, one of which was thin and runny. I had to adjust the amount of flour significantly to make it work. For this recipe you will need a pumpkin puree that is thick and paste-like.
  • Pecans: You can use anywhere from one and a half to two cups of pecans. One and a half cups is equal to about five ounces.
  • Dark brown sugar: I prefer to use dark as opposed to light brown sugar because the molasses content is higher which means it’s richer.
  • Heavy whipping cream: For the maple pecan topping.
  • Pure maple syrup: Rather than using corn syrup, like many sticky bun recipes call for, I opted to use maple syrup. The inspiration came from Sally’s Maple Pecan Sticky Buns recipe. The maple syrup acts a as a sweetener and also adds some additional fall flavor to this dish.
  • Ground cinnamon: The main component of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ginger powder
  • Ground clove

How do you make these pumpkin sticky buns?


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until there is a foamy layer on top which indicates it has properly proofed. ***It is essential that the milk is up to temp to ensure successful proofing of yeast. It will need to be 105-110 degrees. You may heat milk in a saucepan over low heat or by microwaving it for 10 seconds at a time until it reaches temp. If you do not have a thermometer to gauge the temperature you can simply test it with your finger. To touch, it should feel like a nice warm bath. If the yeast does not have a foamy/frothy layer on top it has not been proofed properly. In this case, you will need to repeat this step until you have a properly proofed yeast. See the note above about the temperature of the milk and make sure your yeast has not expired. You may also need to allow the yeast to proof for an additional five minutes. 
Proofed yeast.

Once proofed, add the eggs and whisk until smooth and combined

2. Add the flour and salt and mix at low speed until just combined. Continue mixing while adding the butter one tablespoon at a time followed by the pumpkin puree 1/4 cup at a time.

Two stages of pumpkin dough.

Once all the butter and pumpkin puree has been incorporated, increase speed to medium, and mix for eight minutes. The result should be a smooth and elastic dough that is still somewhat sticky.

3. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm location for 30-minutes to one hour, until doubled in size.

Risen pumpkin dough in bowl.

4. Liberally grease a 9×13 baking dish then spread the chopped pecans in a single layer across the bottom of the dish.

5. Add the remaining ingredients for the maple pecan topping to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for two minutes whisking to combine thoroughly. Pour the sauce into the baking dish atop the pecans.

Two stages of maple pecan topping.

6. Combine brown sugar and filling spices in a medium bowl and set aside.

Brown sugar spice mixture in a bowl.

7. Once the dough has doubled in size punch it down, spread some flour onto a flat surface, and knead it a few times. Flatten the dough into a rectangle using your hands, then use a rolling pin to roll the rectangle to approximately 14×18 inches. Try to keep edges even and thickness as uniform as possible.

8. Brush the dough with the butter covering the entire surface area and then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture.

9. Roll the long end (18″) of the dough as evenly and tightly as possible and pinch the ends shut. With a sharp knife or un-waxed dental floss slice dough into 12 pieces and place them in the baking dish atop the maple pecan topping in four rows of three. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm location until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 30-minutes to one hour depending on the temperature.

Rolls in baking dish before and after rising.

9. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

10. Uncover the cinnamon rolls and place them on the middle rack of the oven; bake for 30-35 minutes until the top of the rolls are a slight golden brown. ***To avoid excessive browning you may loosely cover the dish with tin foil after 15 minutes.

Cooked pumpkin pecan sticky rolls.

11. Remove from oven, rest for five minutes, run a knife along the edges to ensure the sticky buns don’t stick to the baking dish then invert the whole thing onto a serving platter. Serve warm.


How to store


They will keep for up to two days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Freezing thoroughly cooled buns for up to three months is also an option. They will need to thaw overnight prior to reheating. Regardless, of where you store them they need to be tightly covered/wrapped to prevent them from drying out.

Can I make these without of stand-up mixer?

You sure can! Begin by preparing the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Next, whisk in the eggs. Add the flour and salt and use a wooden spoon to mix the dough until it begins to come together. Mix in the butter a tablespoon at a time followed by the pumpkin puree 1/4 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto a flat surface and knead the dough for six to eight minutes adding additional flour as needed (up to 1/4 cup) and allowing the dough to rest for five minutes at the midway point. Resting the dough allows it to absorb more of the liquid resulting in a dough that is much easier to work with. To avoid the dough sticking to your hands, you may want to coat them with a small amount of oil or water before kneading. The dough should end up smooth and elastic, although still somewhat sticky. Proceed with step three as written in the recipe card.

How do I reheat sticky buns?

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once hot, bake in a baking dish or on a sheet pan for 10-15 minutes covered loosely in tin foil. To reheat in the microwave, place the buns on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 15-30 seconds a time until warm.

Can I prepare these ahead of time?

Yes! Rather than allowing the rolls to rise a second time (step eight), you will need to cover the rolls tightly with tin foil placed directly atop them so that they are not exposed to any air. Refrigerate overnight (8-12 hours). The following morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to rise for 1-2 hours covered loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Once they have doubled in size, proceed with baking.

Pumpkin sticky rolls with maple pecan topping.
Single sticky roll on a plate with a fork.
Close up overhead shot of fall pumpkin roll.

More pumpkiny breakfast/brunch recipes you may like:


  • Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls: Here at Tao of Spice, we’re all about doing things a tad bit “extra”, thus the birth of Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls. These spirals of pumpkiny goodness are pillowy soft, packed full of fragrant chai spice, and lavishly drizzled with cream cheese icing.
  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Coffee Cake: Sandwiched between two layers of moist pumpkin-infused cake sits a luscious cheesecake-like cream cheese filling. To top that off is a crunchy pumpkin spice streusel. This perfect for fall pumpkin cream cheese coffee cake is ideal for breakfast, brunch, or dessert (or all three!!!).
  • Pumpkin Spice French Toast w/ Maple Whipped Cream: Start your day off right with this easy pumpkin spice French toast crowned with walnuts and homemade whipped cream naturally sweetened with maple syrup.

If you make these pumpkin sticky buns I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Sticky buns with fall decor in background.

Pumpkin Sticky Buns

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

These autumn-inspired pumpkin sticky buns are sure to warm your heart. The pillowy soft pumpkin rolls are rolled up with a sugary pumpkin spice mixture and finished off with a maple pecan topping. Mmmmmm.

Ingredients

For the pumpkin dough

  • 1 cup milk (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast (see notes)
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 

For the maple pecan topping

  • 1 1/2-2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, 5 ounces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5/8 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1/3 cup cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pumpkin spice filling

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground clove

Instructions

      1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk (105-110 degrees), sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until there is a foamy layer on top which indicates it has properly proofed. (See notes for additional information about proofing yeast). Once proofed add the eggs and whisk until smooth.
      2. Add the flour and salt and mix at low speed until just combined. Continue mixing while adding the butter one tablespoon at a time followed by the pumpkin puree 1/4 cup at a time. Once all the butter and pumpkin puree has been incorporated, increase speed to medium, and mix for eight minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, but still somewhat sticky. (See notes for hand mixing/kneading instructions).
      3. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, allow to rise in a warm location for one hour or until doubled in size.
      4. Liberally grease a 9x13 baking dish then spread the chopped pecans in a single layer across the bottom of the dish.
      5. Add the remaining ingredients for the maple pecan topping to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for two minutes whisking to combine thoroughly. Pour the sauce into the baking dish with the pecans.
      6. Combine the brown sugar and filling spices in a medium bowl. Brush dough with the butter covering the entire surface area and then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture.
      7. Once the dough has doubled in size punch it down, spread some flour onto a flat surface, and knead it a few times. Flatten dough into a rectangle using your hands, then using a rolling pin flatten the rectangle to approximately 14x18 inches. Try to keep edges even and thickness as uniform as possible.
      8. Brush the dough with the butter covering the entire surface area and then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture.
      9. Roll the long end (18") of the dough as evenly and tightly as possible and pinch the ends shut. With a sharp knife or un-waxed dental floss slice dough into 12 pieces and place them in the baking dish atop the maple pecan topping in four rows of three. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm location until doubled in size, about one hour. (see notes if you wish to prep ahead).
      10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      11. Uncover cinnamon rolls and place them on the middle rack of the oven; bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top of the rolls are a slight golden brown. ***To avoid excessive browning you may loosely cover the dish with tin foil after 15 minutes.
      12. Remove from oven, rest for five minutes, then invert baking dish onto a serving platter to release the sticky buns. Serve warm.

      Storage: They will keep for up to two days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Freezing thoroughly cooled buns for up to three months is also an option. They will need to thaw overnight prior to reheating. Regardless, of where you store them they need to be tightly covered/wrapped to prevent them from drying out.

Notes

  • It is essential that the milk is up to temp to ensure successful proofing of yeast. It will need to be 105-110 degrees. You may heat milk in a saucepan over low heat or by microwaving it for 10 seconds at a time until it reaches temp. If you do not have a thermometer to gauge the temperature you can simply test it with your finger. To touch, it should feel like a nice warm bath.
  • You may sub for instant yeast. To do so, you will mix 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast in with the flour and salt.
  • If the yeast does not have a foamy/frothy layer on top it has not been proofed properly. In this case, you will need to repeat this step until you have a properly proofed yeast. See the note above about the temperature of the milk and make sure your yeast has not expired. You may also need to allow the yeast to proof for an additional five minutes. 
  • Sprinkle flour onto a flat surface. Knead the dough for six to eight minutes adding additional flour as needed (up to 1/2 cup) and allowing the dough to rest for five minutes at the midway point. Resting the dough allows it to absorb more of the liquid resulting in a dough that is much easier to work with. To avoid the dough sticking to your hands, you may want to coat them with a small amount of oil or water before kneading. The dough should end up smooth and elastic, although still somewhat sticky. 
  • To make ahead: Rather than allowing the rolls to rise a second time (step eight), you will need to cover the rolls tightly with tin foil placed directly atop them so that they are not exposed to any air. Refrigerate overnight for 8-12 hours. The following morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to rise for 1-2 hours covered loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Once they have doubled in size, proceed with baking.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 470Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 3gSugar: 34gProtein: 8g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

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Gwynn Galvin

Friday 15th of October 2021

These pumpkin sticky buns will be the hit of my brunch get-together this weekend! Yum!

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