Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are sticky, sweet, and perfect for a weekend breakfast. A soft brioche-style dough is rolled up with a buttery brown sugar and pecan filling, then sliced and baked into the tastiest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had!
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
While you can buy tubes of cinnamon rolls at the grocery store and bake them up at home, there’s something magical about making your own from scratch. Not only do homemade cinnamon rolls taste better, you also have the ability to customize the recipe and go beyond the basic cinnamon filling and cream cheese icing.
These Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect example of this. The nutty filling has a more complex flavor than your typical cinnamon, and the sticky caramel at the bottom of the baking pan mean you don’t even have to frost them! (Of course, if you do want to frost them, you can. You can’t go wrong with a maple pecan icing or even a traditional cream cheese frosting.)
Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Despite the pecans and caramel, these are still cinnamon rolls—there’s a whole tablespoon of cinnamon in the recipe, so the flavor comes through in every bite. Your kitchen will smell amazing when these are baking in the oven!
Like any homemade cinnamon roll recipe, Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls require a little bit of work and, since they’re made with yeast, you’ll have to factor in the time the dough needs to rise. If you have kids who love to bake, they’ll have a lot of fun with this recipe. There’s something very satisfying about spreading the filling onto the dough, rolling it up, and cutting it into thick slices!
Ingredients + Variations
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Roll recipe:
For the rolls:
- Milk – It will need to be warmed up before you start baking, but be careful not to let it come to a boil!
- Butter – Take the butter out about an hour before you plan on starting the recipe so it can soften.
- Instant yeast
- Eggs – You’ll also want to take the eggs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature, which helps make baked goods fluffier.
For the filling:
- Brown sugar
- Melted butter
- Pecans – You can toast them to add another layer of flavor.
- Nutmeg – Or, swap the nutmeg for cardamom.
How to Make Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
It’s time to get started! Here’s what you’ll need to do:
1. Make the Dough
Combine the milk, half of the butter, and the sugar in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the yeast and eggs, then whisk. Use a wooden spoon to stir in 4 1/2 cups of flour, until a thick dough forms.
2. Knead the Dough
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and add the remaining butter a tablespoon at a time, kneading between each addition. You want to continue to knead until the cinnamon roll dough is elastic, soft, and bounces back slightly when you poke it; this should take about 8 minutes. If the dough feels too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time.
3. Let the Dough Rise
Coat a large bowl with oil, then place the dough inside. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen, away from drafts, so the dough can rise. You want it to double in size, which takes about 2 hours.
4. Roll Out the Dough
Place the dough on your floured work surface, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 16×20-inch rectangle.
5. Make the Filling
Combine the melted butter with the brown sugar, spices, and pecans in a large bowl. The mixture will resemble a thick caramel.
6. Make the Cinnamon Rolls
Spread a third of the caramel mixture onto the bottom of a baking pan, then spread the remaining filling over the dough. Roll it into a log starting at the short end, then use a sharp knife to cut the dough into thick rolls. Place each roll into the pan, cover with a cloth, and let the cinnamon rolls rest for 40 to 60 minutes.
7. Bake the Cinnamon Rolls
Just before the rolls are finished resting, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. You can let them cool a bit, then frost the tops, or flip them over and serve them with the caramel-coated side on top.
How do you keep Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls from getting hard?
No one likes stale cinnamon rolls! The key is to wrap the pan tightly once the rolls have cooled or transfer the rolls to an airtight container. These Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are best when eaten within a day or two of baking.
Can Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls be frozen?
Yes, these cinnamon rolls can be frozen. You can either bake them, let them cool, then freeze them in an airtight container or freeze them in the baking pan before baking, then let them thaw in the fridge overnight and bake them according to the recipe instructions.
More Crowd-Pleasing Breakfast Recipes
If you’re looking for a breakfast that will impress, pair your Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with one of these:
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- 15-Minute Bisquick Blueberry Biscuits
- Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole
- Nutella-Stuffed Pancakes
Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
For the Rolls
- 1 Cup warm milk
- ½ Cup butter softened
- ½ Cup sugar
- 2 ½ Tsp instant yeast
- 2 Eggs
- 4 ½ Cups flour + ½ Cup more if needed
For the Filling
- ¾ Cup brown sugar
- ¾ Cup melted butter warm
- 1 Cup pecans chopped
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ Tsp ground nutmeg
- In a large bowl combine the warm milk with half the butter and sugar. Stir to combine. The butter should melt.
- Add the yeast and eggs and whisk together. Add the 4 ½ cups flour and with the help of a wooden spoon, stir to incorporate. The dough should be thick.
- Transfer to a floured surface and add the remaining butter 1 tbsp at a time, kneading well after each addition. Knead for 8 minutes or until the dough is elastic and soft. If it’s too sticky add the remaining flour 1 tbsp at a time.
- Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Let the dough double in size, around 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, transfer to a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 16” x 20” rectangle.
- Prepare the filling. In a bowl combine the melted butter with the brown sugar, spices, and chopped pecans. The mixture should resemble a thick caramel.
- Spread ⅓ of the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- Spread the remaining filling over the dough. Roll into a log, starting with the short end and pressing tightly. With the help of a knife, cut out big rolls.
- Place the rolls in the pan layered with the caramel. Cover with a cloth and let it rest for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the rolls to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
They are delicious as is or served with a homemade maple frosting or a traditional cream cheese icing.