Bourbon Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Buns

  • Author: Cooking Up Romance
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Total Time: 360
  • Yield: 12


A classic cinnamon bun topped with decadent bourbon caramel sauce.


For the dough

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used powdered buttermilk: 3 tablespoons added to 3/4 cup of 2% milk)
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil for bowl

For the topping

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (or whiskey, or rye)

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, 4 tablespoons reserved


For the dough

  1. In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, melted butter and buttermilk.
  2. Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; stir until evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky.
  3. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

For the caramel

  1. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until it turns golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. It will boil up like crazy. Let cool for 1 minute, then stir in the bourbon. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Let the caramel sauce cool.

For the filling

  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans, reserving 4 tablespoons pecans.

For the buns

  1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper, then butter the paper as well.
  2. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long. Spread the dough with the softened butter using a knife or spatula. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar mixture.
  3. Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2 inch sections; you should get 12. Don’t press down with the knife or you’ll squish the spirals.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup of caramel in each cake pan and scatter with 2 of the reserved tablespoons of pecans in each pan. This is my rule with making stuff that has nuts in it: for allergy purposes, when I can, I always put some on top so people know what they’re getting.
  5. Arrange the buns in your cake pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours on the counter or refrigerate overnight (up to 16 hours).
  6. To bake the buns, if they’ve been refrigerated, take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (the internal temperature should read 190 degrees), 20-25 minutes.
  7. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the pans onto the cooling rack. If any of the caramel gets trapped in bunless corners, just scrape it up while it’s warm and spread it back on the inverted buns. Allow to cool for 5 more minutes. Serve warm.



  • These can be refrigerated overnight for baking in the morning after the first rise.