Overnight Sticky Buns

By Ann Fulton

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A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

 

The anticipation of waking up to a special breakfast always seems to heighten the holiday allure. In my family, these sticky buns are as eagerly anticipated as the Star Wars Millennium Falcon LEGO spaceship and Matchbox Car Wash once were. (Anyone remember those once “hot” items? Or Tickle Me Elmo, Guitar Hero, or Nintendo Game Boy for that matter?)

As a side note, it is fun to think back to all the popular Christmas and Hanukkah gifts of years gone by. For an entertaining walk down memory lane, you might enjoy this list of top holiday gifts dating back to 1970. Nerfball, the Apollo Moon Rocket, the board game Risk, and the Talking Viewmaster were apparently all the rage the year I was born!

In the early years, I’d assemble these sticky buns after the kids were nestled in their beds and before Santa had done his work. The clever shortcut and quick prep made the breakfast treat easy to accomplish on an otherwise busy night. 

The recipe may seem a bit bizarre both in method and ingredients. To start, frozen bread dough is topped with a simple dry mixture and left to rise on the counter overnight. In the morning, the risen dough gets popped in the oven, and voila! Sticky buns that taste-and smell-like they came from the corner bakery.

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

A wonderful woman who babysat my young boys years ago passed along this sticky bun recipe. I pull her hand-written card out of my recipe box when time is short but I want to serve a crowd-pleasing coffee cake.

 

So let’s see how easy it is!

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

The short list of ingredients is added to a greased Bundt pan at night and left to sit on the counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight. In the morning, the dough will have thawed and risen, and all that’s left to do is bake. 

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

Once baked, I let the cake set for a few minutes before carefully flipping onto a cake plate. If you let it sit too long, the syrupy  topping will firm up and the cake will be harder to remove. (Pot holders are helpful. My hands withstand a lot of heat!)

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

With a spatula, scrape out any nuts and glaze that remain in the pan after flipping, drizzling over the sticky buns. (Above, you can see a good bit remaining in the bottom of my pan.)

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

Perfect for a holiday breakfast or special brunch…or even an unexpected weekend treat. If you’re cooking for one or two and a whole cake seems like too much, consider slicing the warm sticky buns in half and delivering to a neighbor for a surprise treat!

 

Troubleshooting…

This recipe is rather foolproof, but there are a few helpful hints I can share:

  1. I can only find a three-pound bag of frozen dough: In this case, use 24 of the rolls. You will have 12 leftover, which can be thawed and baked as dinner rolls another day, used for homemade pizza or stromboli dough, or paired with additional rolls for more sticky buns in the future.
  2. I bought frozen rolls, not dough: A friend of mine mistakenly bought already-baked rolls years ago, and she tried the recipe anyway. It didn’t work! If that is all you have to work with,  I’d warm the rolls, cut them in half or break open, spread the insides with butter, and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for a variation on the ever-delicious cinnamon toast.
  3. My dough sat on the counter a little too long: See photo and solution, below. 
    A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

    This is an old photo that shows dough that has risen a bit too far, but it’s really not a problem. If the dough has risen above the top edge of the pan, gently push it down with flat hands. You don’t want to tamp it too far down-just to the rim of the Bundt pan.

     

    4. I had a few drips in the oven: (see below)

    A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

    On rare occasions, I’ve had some of the brown sugar glaze seep over and down through the hole of the Bundt pan while baking. To avoid potential drips in your oven, you may cover the hole with a piece of foil and/or place the Bundt pan on a rimmed baking sheet.

5. I need a gluten-free recipe: This is one of the few recipes on the blog for which I have been unable to provide a viable gluten-free adaptation to date. For those seeking an equally delicious breakfast or brunch treat, I highly recommend this cinnamon coffee cake or this apple crumb cake. Both require only a simple substitution of a cup-for cup gluten-free flour blend. Baked oatmeals like this Overnight Crunchy Top Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal offer other good options. To see the many other baked oatmeal offerings on this site, simply type “baked oatmeal” in the search bar and scroll back through the recipes.

 

 

How to complete the meal:

Any fruit is a lovely addition, and this Winter Fruit Salad is especially so. My family enjoys the sticky buns with my grandmother’s tried-and-true Sausage and Egg Casserole (another prep-ahead recipe, pictured below), although a frittata, omelet, or eggs cooked your favorite way are delightful, too. Smoked salmon offers a protein-rich alternative to eggs. Finally, Greek yogurt served with assorted toppings like berries, granola, nuts, and shredded coconut provides a menu addition that people can customize to taste. 

This tried-and-true casserole can be prepared in advance and is perfect for holidays and special brunches. A smaller batch option follows the main recipe and is ideal for more intimate gatherings and the occasional breakfast for dinner!  

 

Make it a gift!

Gifts of food

For a thoughtful gift, mix the pudding, sugar, and cinnamon in a quart-size, zip-top bag. Put pecans and/or raisins in a separate bag. Place both in a gift bag with the frozen dough and instructions. Deliver to friends, family, and neighbors who may enjoy. (Make sure someone is home to transfer the dough to the freezer until ready to use.) I have included a set of instructions below the recipe so that you may copy, paste, and print to include with a gift.

A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!

These homemade sticky buns are shockingly easy, yet the end result tastes just like a good sticky bun should. And the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of your favorite bakery! My family often enjoys them alongside my grandmother’s tried-and-true sausage and egg casserole, both of which can be fully prepped in advance. 

 

Overnight Sticky Buns
The original recipe calls for one cup of raisins. We enjoy the crunch and flavor of pecans, and I think a half cup is the perfect amount. Feel free to use either one or a mix of the two. The recipe should be prepared before you go to bed and baked upon rising.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or raisins (or a mix)
  • 1 (3-ounce) package vanilla pudding (Cook and Serve type; NOT instant)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (2-pound) package frozen dinner rolls (or 24 rolls from a 3-pound bag Rhodes or Rich’s brand, for example; you want to purchase the DOUGH, not precooked rolls)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
Instructions
  1. Before you go to bed, sprinkle the pecans and/or raisins in a greased Bundt pan, and evenly arrange the frozen dough balls on top.
  2. Combine the pudding mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle over the dough.
  3. Cut the butter into pieces and dot over all.
  4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise overnight on counter. (Yes, really! Not in the fridge.)
  5. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350℉. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the sticky buns are cooked through and a bit crusty on top. I like to place the Bundt pan on a baking sheet just in case there are any drips over the side. Baking time may be longer if you are using a light-colored, non-stick pan.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Place your serving plate on top of the Bundt pan and invert, holding the platter and Bundt pan together, so that the sticky buns come out nicely onto your platter. With a spatula, scrape any of the syrupy mixture that remains in the Bundt pan onto the sticky buns. (Helpful hint: if the sticky buns cool too long in the pan, they will be harder to remove. In that case, use a dinner knife to loosen the edges. At this point, if the syrupy topping that remains in the pan is too firm to drizzle, set the now-empty pan in the oven for a few minutes to remelt the mixture. That will make it easier to remove.)
Notes

If you don’t seal the plastic wrap to the side of the Bundt pan before going to bed, the dough may rise above the top of the pan by the time you wake. The same thing can happen if the kitchen is warm. Not to worry, simply press down on the wrap-covered surface until the dough is at the same level as the top edge of the pan and proceed.

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The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Originally posted on December 21, 2012

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Comments

  1. lori

    Id like to try this recipie but where I live I dont have access to frozen dough balls Not sure if I could just make dinner roll dough and procede?

    Reply
  2. Jane Link

    This brings to mind the time my friend and I made sticky buns for the entire staff at Bucher School for Teacher Appreciation Day. Between the 2 of us , we made 6 pans of buns (9×13) and delivered them to the school for the start of the day. They were homemade from start to finish.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      What a wonderful memory, Jane…and what an undertaking! I can only imagine how thrilled everyone was. Such a thoughtful treat for the people who work hard for our children every day.

      Reply
        1. Ann Post author

          Hi Arleen, I’ve also made the sticky buns with butterscotch pudding, although the vanilla has been the favorite in our house. If you try, I hope you find it to be a worthy option!

          Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Jessica, Butterscotch pudding definitely works, albeit with a slightly different flavor. Just make sure to still use the cook & serve variety (not instant) and enjoy!

      Reply
  3. Pat Ritter

    These overnight sticky buns sound yummy. This is what my family will be eating Christmas morning. Only problem now is I can’t get this to print. My printer is trying to save me the calories!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      That’s too funny, Pat! I hope your printer cooperates and that your family enjoys these as much as mine does!

      Reply
      1. Catherine Seay

        My recipe calls for butterscotch pudding instead of vanilla. It’s a recipe I cut of the Rich’s 24 count frozen rolls. I found that recipe in the 1990’s, my family loves these Sticky buns. I remember my Mother making homemade sticky buns during the 60’s when I was a child.

        Reply