Gluten-Free Pecan Sticky Buns

Gluten-Free Sticky Bun

Teri Lee Grus

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Rise time about: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
347 Calories
21g Fat
37g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 347
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 277mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 6g
Calcium 87mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Just because you're on a gluten-free diet doesn't mean you have to give up some of your favorite treats—and because they're gluten-free doesn't mean you have to give up taste! These pecan sticky buns are not only gluten-free but also extremely decadent. Loaded with butter, sugar, pecans, milk, and eggs, these classic breakfast and brunch pastries are great for holidays and special occasions, when there are lots of people around to help eat them!

This recipe was adapted from "Extra-Sticky Caramel-Pecan Buns" by Elinor Klivans which appears in her book Fast Breads - 50 Recipes for Easy, Delicious Bread.


  • For the Dough: 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose blend flour (plus extra for rolling out dough)
  • 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup brown cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • For the Caramel Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2/3 cup brown cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Steps to Make It

  1. Grease the bottom of an 8 by 8-inch or 11 by 7-inch baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper and grease the top of the parchment. This makes for easy removable of the sticky buns after baking and easy clean up too.

Make the Dough

  1. Place milk, sugar, and softened butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, just until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Don't allow the mixture to boil.

  2. When milk mixture is lukewarm, sprinkle the yeast over the top. Make sure the milk isn't hot or it will kill the yeast. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes.

  3. Place the eggs in a mixing bowl and beat for about 1 minute.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free all purpose flour, sweet sorghum flour, salt, xanthan gum, and guar gum. Whisk to thoroughly combine ingredients.

  5. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs and beat on low until combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Beat on low until the dough mixture is combined. Then beat on high for about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl when needed. The dough should be very thick but will not form into a ball.

  6. Use a spatula to scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly knead the dough and lightly sprinkle gluten-free flour over the dough until it forms a smooth, soft ball.

  7. Use your hands to shape the dough into a thick rectangle. Sprinkle the surface lightly with more gluten-free flour.

  8. For an 8 by 8-inch baking dish, use a rolling pin to form a 12-inch-long by an 8-inch-wide rectangle. If using an 11 by 7-inch baking dish, roll dough into a 14-inch by 7-inch rectangle. Occasionally dust the rolling pin and hands with gluten-free flour to prevent sticking.

Make the Filling and Form Into Buns

  1. Gently spread the softened butter over dough, leaving about 1/2-inch unbuttered on the outer edges of the long sides of the dough. (This will help to seal the dough after it's shaped into a roll.)

  2. Place brown sugar and ground cinnamon in a small dish and mix to combine. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the buttered dough.

  3. Starting on the long side of the dough closest to you, gently roll the dough, jelly-roll fashion. Roll slowly and evenly until you get to the end and a long roll is formed. To find the seam, gently roll the dough toward you; softly press down on the seam and then press the ends of the roll gently inward until the roll is a nice even diameter.

Make the Glaze

  1. To make the caramel glaze, place the butter, honey, brown sugar, and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high until the mixture is boiling; cook at a full boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

  2. Carefully pour the warm caramel glaze into the parchment-lined baking dish. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over caramel.

Form and Bake the Buns

  1. To bake sticky buns in an 8 by 8-inch baking dish, cut the 12-inch roll of dough into 12 equal 1-inch pieces. To bake buns in an 11 by 7-inch dish, cut the 14-inch roll into 14 equal pieces.

  2. In an 8 by 8-inch dish, make 3 rows with 4 buns in each row. Leave about 1/2-inch between buns to allow for rising. If using an 11 by 7-inch baking dish, make 2 rows with 7 buns in each row. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and set in a warm location to rise for 1 hour. The rolls should touch each other when they are fully risen.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F/176 C.

  4. Bake rolls in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Carefully invert baking dish onto a large plate or platter. Serve warm. Reheat any leftovers briefly for best flavor.

Recipe Tips

The dough can be made up to two days before shaping and baking the buns; wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. The day of baking, take the dough out of the refrigerator about 2 hours before you are ready to roll it out.

To improvise a warm location for rising, pour about 1 inch of warm water in a pan that's larger than the baking dish. Carefully set the baking dish in the larger pan with water. Be sure not to overfill the large pan with water or else it will spill onto the buns!

For best results, use a kitchen scale to weigh gluten-free flours. Also, make sure to prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen. Always check your work surfaces, utensils, pans, and tools are free of gluten. And always read product labels; manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.