These Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns are the epitome of food comfort. Completely fluffy, soft, sweet, brioche-like----these buns surely just melt in your mouth with each bite. Drenched in a delicious dairy-free praline caramel sauce and covered in pecans, and highlighting of pumpkin flavor; these sticky buns are the most perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. All dairy-free and vegan ingredients. Gluten-free option.
These Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns are truly the ultimate sweet treat. Believe me! I'm so in love with cinnamon rolls or buns so these sticky buns were a no brainer to add to my baking list. I honestly can't believe that I didn't make these sooner!
OK, so if you're still not entirely sold on these buns, then let me tell you what's so great about them. They are SOFT, FLUFFY, + BRIOCHE-LIKE in texture. Yup. I love making my cinnamon rolls more brioche-like. Who doesn't love the extra 'pillowy-ness' of it all?
Oh and these buns do live up to their name----STICKY! I created a delicious vegan caramel sauce (Super easy!), which makes these buns so gooey and sticky. Let's not forget those pecans. Oh boy, these buns are PACKING in pecan flavor. YUM.
Ingredients for Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns
Here's what you need for the fluffy brioche-style dough:
Bread flour. You can find this from King Author or Bob's Red Mill.
Brown sugar. You could also use coconut sugar.
Instant yeast. Also called Rapid Rise Yeast.
Pumpkin. I use 100% organic pumpkin puree in the can, NOT pie filling. There's a difference!
Spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg for cinnamon rolls, of course!
Almond milk. You can use regular milk, or any dairy-free milk you like.
Butter. Use warm, vegan melted butter.
Vanillaextract. The pure vanilla is the best flavor.
How to Toast the Chopped Pecans
Once you get the hang of browning butter, you'll need to then toast the pecans. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped pecans unto the baking sheet, ensuring that they are evenly spread out and toast them for 10 minutes, tossing them halfway to prevent browning on just one side.
Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns Filling
Here's what you need to make the spiced filling for your pecan sticky buns:
Butter. Again, vegan butter. Soften the butter to room temperature.
Spices. The filling is flavored with cinnamon.
Top your sticky buns with a beautiful caramel/praline sauce with:
Vegan butter. If using unsalted butter, simply add ½ teaspoon sea salt.
Coconut Milk. You can use either full-fat canned coconut milk or cream.
Pecans. You'll need chopped pecans. I like to toast them from more nuttiness.
Reasons Why You'll Love these Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns:
They're super easy to make.
Bake time is under 1 hour.
Is completely dairy-free and vegan. Entirely kid-friendly for those not allergic to nuts!
Super fluffy, soft, + brioche-like.
Makes for the perfect breakfast, brunch, or dessert situation.
Perfect Fall vibes---thanks to the pumpkin + spices!
Did I mention, it's just TOO good to pass up?
Tips and Tricks for Making Pecan Sticky Buns
Due to many delicious attempts at perfecting this recipe, I have come across some very helpful tips that will ensure a perfectly baked cinnamon roll.
NEVER OVERHEAT THE MILK!
It is so important that your milk is warm, but NOT hot! It should be warm to the touch. If you find that your milk has overheated, allow it to cool before adding the yeast. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast and you won't get the big, fluffy rise in the dough. We want these rolls super fluffy, and that's only possible when the yeast is bloomed properly.
USE VERY SOFT BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
Like in most baking, room temperature ingredients mix better than cold ingredients. Beat in your butter while it is completely room temperature for a seamless, tender texture.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT OVER-MIXING
I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. With cakes and cookies, you never want to overwork a dough because working develops the gluten in the flour. Gluten development leads to a chewy, unpleasant texture in cakes and cookies, making them dense and heavy. Because these buns use a yeast dough, it is required to develop the gluten in the dough. The yeast brings elasticity that lightens and fluffs the dough, much like bread dough. When making these buns, keep on mixing even after you think you've mixed enough!
RISE THE DOUGH OVERNIGHT
While I developed this recipe as a quick-bake sticky bun, but more flavor develops in the dough if you allow it to rise overnight. The dough has more time to rise, leading to a more developed, yeast-bread flavor. This yeast flavor is a perfect pairing with the sweet filling and frosting.
USE A BREAD FLOUR MIX
After much trial and tribulation, I have found that a mix of bread flour and all-purpose flour is the perfect combination for cinnamon rolls + sticky buns. The bread flour gives a tender, thick, brioche-like texture that I think is perfect for this dish.
ROLL THEM UP TIGHT!
A loose roll will fall apart upon slicing and bake unevenly. Instead, begin with a very tight roll and keep that momentum throughout the roll. The dough is sturdy and can handle being rolled tightly due to its elasticity.
COMMON Q + A’S ABOUT THESE STICKY BUNS.
How long will these pumpkin pecan sticky buns last for?
Leftovers can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
Can these buns be made ahead or frozen for longer?
Absolutely! You can always bake these buns the night or day before. Simply prep the buns and cover them tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. The next morning, leave them out at room temperature to rise for 1-2 hours and continue remaining steps.
In addition, these buns can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months. Simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and heat in the oven to enjoy!
Do I need to use Bread Flour?
Not at all. If you don't have Artisan Bread Flour or just don't want to use it, then no worries! Just use regular All-Purpose Flour. These buns will still be soft + fluffy, either way.
Can these buns be made Gluten-Free?
Yes! To make fluffy pecan sticky buns gluten-free, substitute both the all-purpose and bread flour with Bob's RedMill 1:1 baking flour. Reduce the amount by 1 cup and add more if necessary if the dough is too sticky.
Do I need to use canned coconut cream or milk?
I love using canned coconut cream from Thai Kitchen, however, you can always use canned coconut milk as well and refrigerate it overnight to thicken and create more creaminess.
Combine yeast and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and slowly pour in warm water while stirring frequently. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and for the yeast to activate.
Add in the room temperature milk and warm butter to the yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Add in the pumpkin puree and vanilla, whisking to incorporate.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt and add them to the wet ingredients and mix on low-speed until well combined and everything begins to form into a dough-like consistency, about 2-3 minutes.
Change “Mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed together with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is still too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
Lightly grease a large bowl with a small amount of olive oil and place the dough ball in the bowl, tossing it around until coated. Cover with plastic wrap (or a towel) and let sit for 1 hour, allowing the dough to rise and double in size.
In the meantime, you can work on the filling!
FOR THE FILLING:
Add the softened the butter (best if done at room temp. so that it's more "paste-like" in texture once smeared) in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon and brown sugar, mixing them together. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE PRALINE TOPPING:
In a medium (10-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, heat the brown sugar and stir constantly using a rubber spatula until clumps are formed. Add the butter and continue to stir until everything has melted and become a dark 'amber-like' color. Continue to stir consistently until fully melted and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.
Now, slowly whisk in the coconut cream/milk and continue to whisk until combined and the sauce has fully thickened. Add the cinnamon and salt, continue to stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before using.
ASSEMBLY + BAKE:
Once the dough has risen fully, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang from the sides.
Add a bit of flour to a surface and place the dough onto it, lightly adding a bit of flour to the top. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape (approximately 9″x14 and ½-inch thick), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
Then, generously add ¾ of the softened butter atop dough (spreading it out evenly with a spoon or knife), followed by the brown sugar-spice mixture, ensuring that the top is coated evenly. NOTE: I also use a 'pastry brush' to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
Once the praline sauce topping has cooled, pour it into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5" rolls, placing each roll (cut side down) atop the praline sauce in the baking dish. Repeat until all rolls are set.
Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls, smear the tops with remaining softened butter and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).
Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown, ensuring that the middles are baked through.
Remove the rolls from oven and wait 10-15 minutes or until it cools enough to be removed from dish.
To serve, cut out each roll desired and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
TO STORE: Leftovers can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
RAPID (INSTANT) RISE YEAST VS. ACTIVE DRY YEAST: If you’re not using the Rapid Rise Yeast for this recipe, please know that the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) since regular Active Yeast doesn’t work as quickly.
FLOUR: If you don’t have bread flour, you can always just use all-purpose flour entirely instead.
OVERNIGHT OPTION: If you don’t want to make your rolls on the same day, you can simply follow all steps (including the initial 1+ hour rise) and after cutting rolls and placing them into your baking pan, just cover them tightly (using foil paper of plastic wrap) and refrigerate them overnight or for 8-12 hours instead. The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 ½ hours.
TOASTED PECANS: Add chopped pecans to a baking sheet and toasting them in the oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10-15 minutes, tossing them halfway to avoid browning on one side.
COCONUT CREAM: I love using canned coconut cream from Thai Kitchen, however, you can always use canned coconut milk as well and refrigerate it overnight to thicken and create more creaminess.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: If you're looking to make these GF, I recommend substituting both flours with Bob's 1:1 Baking flour and slightly reducing the amount by 1 cup, slowing adding more if the dough is too sticky.