These sweet potato sticky buns are exactly what your breakfast table has been missing. Light and tender cinnamon buns covered in a caramelized honey pecan glaze will have everyone reaching for seconds.
Covered in a gooey honey pecan topping, you could easily miss the wonderfully soft and tender cinnamon roll beneath it. Just take a bite and you’ll notice how the sweet potatoes add not only some natural sweetness, but also help create a soft and tender texture to the dough that you won’t see with a regular cinnamon roll.
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, the gooey brown sugar, honey mixture caramelizes onto the bottom of the rolls so that when you flip them over, the top is covered with a beautiful caramel pecan topping. If you love sweet potatoes but want a breakfast treat that’s not as sweet, try sweet potato bread instead.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and savor an old fashioned sticky bun, they’ll become your favorite weekend brunch addition. You can prepare them the night before and just put them in the oven in the morning. If you’re in a hurry and still want something sweet, try some easy honey butter biscuits.
What can you serve with sticky buns
What’s the difference between sticky buns and cinnamon rolls?
Sticky buns are baked in a pan that is first coated in pecans and a sugary topping. Once baked they are flipped over so that the gooey pecans are on the top of the buns.
Cinnamon rolls have the gooey sweetness rolled inside the bun and typically have a glaze or frosting on top. Both are made with a yeast dough so the interior is similar. The main difference is the topping.
What makes these homemade sticky buns the best
- They’re soft, fluffy, with a sticky sweet topping that everyone loves
- You can make the dough the night before to save some time
- Sweet potatoes give them texture you can’t get with an ordinary yeast dough
- Honey rather than corn syrup makes them sticky.
Head to the pantry and grab…
- Sweet potatoes – You’ll need one large sweet potato.
- Yeast – you can use active dry or instant. Instant will allow them to rise a little quicker.
- Honey – For that authentic sticky sauce, honey is key! I would not recommend swapping with maple syrup as the texture is not the same, most recipes call for corn syrup but honey gives you more flavor.
- Raisins – Golden raisins take this recipe from great to exceptional. They need to be plumped a little with some warm water, or soak them in a couple of tablespoons of bourbon for a little added flavor.
- Pecans – You can’t forget the crunchy topping. Pecans are what are typically used for sticky buns, but you can substitute walnuts.
- Kitchen staples – The majority of this recipe is made with ingredients you already have lying around. Grab whole milk, eggs, brown sugar, unsalted butter, white sugar, all purpose flour and cinnamon from your pantry.
Pro Tip: Save some time and cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave, check it out and learn all my tips.
How to make old fashioned sticky buns
Step 1: Bake the potato
Microwave a sweet potato until cooked all the way through. Once it’s cooled, remove the peelings and mash it into a small bowl. Whisk in an egg.
Step 2: Begin the dough
Melt butter in a saucepan then add milk and sugar. After the sugar is dissolved, add it to a large mixing bowl. (you can do this in the microwave but it’s hard to just scald the milk and not boil it using a microwave) In another bowl, prepare the yeast with a little bit of sugar and warm water.
Step 3: Finish the dough
Combine the warm milk mixture and yeast until incorporated. Mix in the mashed sweet potato and once combined, slowly add the flour. Once everything is mixed, but still sticky, place the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise.
Step 4: Make the filling
After the dough rises, combine some of the brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon into a bowl.
Step 5: The sticky sauce
Add brown sugar, honey, and chopped pecans to a small bowl and combine. Spread this onto the bottom of a round cake pan.
Step 6: Roll
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface then add raisins and cinnamon-sugar mixture on the top. Roll the dough into a log and cut into 10 equal pieces.
Step 7: Bake
Arrange the pieces next to each other and then bake until golden brown.
Let the buns cool for 10 minutes then flip them over onto a platter.
How do you store sweet potato buns
Leftovers – Store leftover buns at room temperature for 2 days. Freeze any after that in an airtight container or ziplock baggie.
Freezing – Let the sticky buns cool completely then store in an airtight container and freeze for 2-3 months. Let them come to room temperature and reheat in the oven.
Sticky bun tips
- If letting the dough chill overnight, allow it to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before baking.
- You can use leftover sweet potatoes to save some time as long as they are unseasoned.
- Don’t leave the buns cool to long in the pan or the pecan coating will stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove them after 10 minutes.
More sweet breakfast treats
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Sweet Potato Sticky Buns
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast 1 package
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes 1 potatoe
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons melted butter 1 stick
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Prick the sweet potato with a fork and cook it in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes rotating half way through. Remove and let cool. Once cool, remove the skin and mash with a fork. Once slightly cooled, whisk in an egg until smooth and combined.
- In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter on medium heat and add milk. Bring it almost to boiling, you should see little bubbles around the edges. Add ¼ cup sugar and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool until it is warm to the touch. Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a small bowl, add yeast to ½ cup of warm water and add a teaspoon of sugar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until frothy.
- When the milk mixture has cooled, add the yeast mixture and stir, then add the sweet potato mixture and mix to combine.
- Add 3 cups of flour and mix until it is just incorporated, If it is too sticky to handle add a little more flour until you can handle the dough. It should still be sticky.
- Place in an oiled large bowl, cover and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Add raisins to a bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of warm water to plump them, for about 15 minutes. Drain.
- In a small bowl, combine ¾ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter and cinnamon, set aside.
- In another bowl, combine ¾ cup brown sugar, honey, and chopped pecans. Spread this on the bottom of a buttered 9 inch round cake pan.
- Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle about a ½ inch thick. Spread the brown sugar butter mixture over the top leaving about ½ inch border. Add raisins.
- Roll the dough lengthwise. You should have a 12 inch log.
- Place the log seam side down and cut into 10 slices. Place them, cut side down on top of the pecan mixture in the cake pan. The slices will be right next to each other. Let rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350º. Place the pan of rolls on a rimmed baking sheet to prevent any spills. Bake for 40 minutes, until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges and place a plate on top of the pan. Turn the dish over. Scrape any extra pecan mixture from the bottom of the pan pan over the top.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Once the dough has been cut and placed in the cake pan, you can refrigerate overnight. Let them come to room temperature while the oven preheats.
- You can use walnuts instead of pecans.
- Make sure you remove these from the pan before the topping gets hard, no more than 10 minutes.
- If you want to warm the milk in the microwave, just watch that you don’t let it boil.