Sticky Buns (small batch)

I was going to put my sticky bun recipe in my cookbook, but I really wanted to share it with all of you.  This is a scaled down version of my original recipe.  This recipe makes nine sticky buns, and will make a nice addition to any brunch or just to have with a cup of coffee with friends.

I owned a bakery 18 years ago, and these were one of my biggest sellers!  I sold dozens of them on the weekend.  People would place orders for them all the time.  I had a woman who would work the front of the bakery on Sunday mornings, and asked to be paid in sticky buns…true story!

I like using dark karo syrup in the goo (topping), but you can use honey.  I have used both and get great results with both.

Please be patient with the dough when proofing.  It may take up to 2 hours for the first rise.  This is going to depend mainly on the temperature in your kitchen.


  • ⅔ cup (160 grams) whole milk, warm to 110°-112°F
  • 1½ teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
  • 2½ tablespoons (32 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and brought to room temperature
  • 2½ cups (310 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt*

*omit the salt if using salted butter


  • ½ cup (100grams) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (21 grams) butter, melted and cooled slightly

Topping (Goo):

  • ¼ cup (56 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (41 grams) dark karo syrup (or honey)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (90 grams) chopped walnuts

Instructions for dough:

  1. Put the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the milk.  Whisk together just until combined.  Let this sit for around 5 minutes until it becomes bubbly.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and egg to the yeast mixture.  Mix on low speed to form a shaggy dough (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add in the softened butter, a few cubes at a time, and keep mixing on medium speed for around 10 minutes until the soft dough is smooth and strong and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

    Kneading by hand:

    1. Use a wooden spoon and mix the dough until it forms a shaggy dough ball. Once it forms a dough ball, pull it onto a floured surface and knead in the butter, a few cubes at a time.
    2. Knead by hand for around 10 minutes until it becomes a strong and smooth dough. 

First rise:

Once kneaded, form the dough into a dough ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, or a clean damp kitchen towel.

Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  It can take up to 2 hours. The exact rise time will depend on your room temperature.  Please do not rush this process!

If making overnight sticky buns, the dough can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to 16 hours.

Instructions for filling and topping:

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and ground cinnamon for the filling and set it aside.

Roughly chop the walnuts and toast in a saute pan over medium heat.  This step is important and makes a difference in the taste of your finished product.  Set them aside until ready to use. Prepare an 8″ x 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray or you can line it with parchment paper.  Both work well.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter, brown sugar, dark karo (or honey), and salt until the butter and sugar have melted. Stir until combined and cook until it just starts to boil.  Remove from heat.

Pour the caramel into 8″ X 8″ baking pan.  Use an offset spatula to spread it out evently on the bottom of the pan. Top it with the chopped walnuts.


Shaping and slicing dough:

Put the risen dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with some flour. If the dough has come from the fridge, it will be very stiff. You can let it warm up to room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle that measures around 9×12 inches.

Spread the surface of the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top.

Roll it up from the long end to make a 12 inch log. Cut 9 thick slices using a serrated knife.

Place the slices on top of the walnuts and caramel.

Let them rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.  This takes between a ½ hour and 45 minutes.  Again, this is going to depend on the room temperature.


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake the sticky buns buns for around 25-35 minutes until deep golden brown. If they are browning too fast, tent the top of the buns with aluminum foil.

Remove buns from the oven and carefully invert them onto a parchment lined tray.  Spoon any extra caramel from the bottom of the baking tray on the sticky buns.

Let the buns cool for around 15-20 minutes before serving.  I think this is the hardest part for me.


These are best eaten right away, but leftover sticky buns can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Baked sticky buns can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the buns overnight in the refrigerator and warm them up in the microwave before serving.

I hope you make these yummy treats, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your photos!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: