Indulge your taste buds with the mouthwatering goodness of homemade Pecan Rolls! These irresistibly delicious treats are not only a delight to eat but are also surprisingly easy to make. There’s something magical about the combination of warm, gooey caramel, crunchy pecans, spicy cinnamon and slightly tangy dough (from buttermilk) that makes these rolls an absolute delight. In this post, I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of creating these heavenly delights. I’ve got you covered, from preparing the perfect dough to achieving that irresistible pecan caramel topping. Whether you’re a seasoned baker looking to expand your repertoire or a novice in the kitchen, this guide is designed to help you master the art of making these rolls with ease.

Table of Contents
  1. Why Make Cinnamon Pecan Rolls at Home?
  2. Ingredients in This Recipe for Pecan Rolls
  3.  Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
  4. Tips for Perfecting Your Mini Pecan Rolls
  5. Variations and Additions to This Recipe for Pecan Rolls
  6. Recommended Tools and Equipment for Making Pecan Rolls
  7. Serving Mini Pecan Rolls
  8. Storing and Reheating Cinnamon Pecan Rolls
  9. Making Pecan Rolls Ahead
  10. FAQs About Mini Pecan Rolls
  11. Other Sweet Breakfast or Brunch Treats you might like
  12. Recipe for Pecan Rolls

Why Make Cinnamon Pecan Rolls at Home?

Making this recipe for Pecan Rolls at home has its own set of advantages:

  • Super fresh. There’s nothing like a warm, gooey pecan sweet roll right out of the oven in terms of alluring aroma and fresh taste.
  • Control over the quality of ingredients used. You can choose the freshest pecans, the finest butter, and the best cinnamon to create the ultimate flavor profile.
  • Customizable. You can experiment with different fillings and toppings to create unique variations (see suggestions below) that fit your tastes.
  • Fun and rewarding. Unleash your creativity and enjoy the process of baking from scratch!

Ingredients in This Recipe for Pecan Rolls

To make these delightful treats, you’ll need the following ingredients (details including quantities are in the recipe card below):

  • Salted butter
  • All-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Table salt
  • Instant (Rapid Rise) yeast – can also use Active Dry yeast. It will need to be proofed (dissolve yeast in 105 to 110-degree water) and added to the dough after Step 3 in the directions. Increase rise time by 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Buttermilk – can substitute buttermilk powder and milk. Add the buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients and add the milk when the recipe calls for buttermilk.
  • Vegetable or other neutral oil
  • Light brown sugar
  • Pecan halves
  • Ground cinnamon

And, the good news is that all of these ingredients are available at local grocery stores or online. Make sure to gather everything – and bring to room temperature – before you start the baking process.

close up of a white platter holding mini pecan rolls

 Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Here’s a detailed overview of how to prepare these tantalizing little rolls:

  1. Prep baking dish.
    Using 2 tablespoons softened butter, generously butter 36 mini-muffin cups.
  2. Prepare dough: combine dry ingredients.
    In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together 1 cup of flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.
  3. Heat buttermilk and oil, add to dry ingredients.
    In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk and oil over medium heat just until it reaches 120 to 130 degrees. Add to flour mixture and, using the dough hook of an electric mixer, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining flour, knead, set aside.
    Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and continue mixing until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Continue kneading on low (or speed 2) until dough is smooth and elastic (1 to 3 minutes). Place dough on a floured surface and knead a few times, adding additional flour if dough is too sticky. When ready, it should feel like your earlobe or a baby’s bottom. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Set aside in a non-drafty area while preparing topping.
  5. Prep caramel topping.
    In a small mixing bowl, stir together water, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Spoon around 3/4 teaspoon into each prepared mini muffin cup, using all of the butter mixture.
  6. Add pecans.
    Sprinkle around 3/4 teaspoon chopped pecans on top of butter mixture.
  7. Roll out dough, add filling.
    On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into an 8 by 14-inch rectangle. Brush with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon evenly over dough.
  8. Roll up dough, slice into rolls, place in pan.
    Tightly roll filled dough into a cylinder starting with the long side away from you (so you will have a 14-inch long cylinder when it’s rolled up). Cut off rough or uneven ends, then cut cylinder into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices (depending on the depth of your muffin cups) and place in muffin cups. Repeat with second half of dough.
  9. Let rolls rise.
    Let rise in a warm, non-drafty place until they fill out the muffin cups and are close to doubled in size (around 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hour).
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Bake, remove from pan.
    Bake rolls for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 1 to 2 minutes, then place a large piece of parchment paper or foil over the top. Place a large cookie sheet on top, and holding the muffin pan and cookie sheet together, flip them over, so the rolls end up on the parchment paper or foil. Quickly scoop any remaining pecans or sauce onto the rolls using a small spoon.
Collage of 3 photos illustrating how to stuff and roll dough, and place in muffin tins

Tips for Perfecting Your Mini Pecan Rolls

Here are my tips and tricks for ensuring your pecan rolls come out perfect:

  • Make sure the buttermilk and oil for the dough is 120 to 130 degrees. If it’s hotter, it can kill the yeast and prevent your dough from rising properly. And, if too cold, it will inhibit the rising process.
  • Knead the dough thoroughly to develop gluten, which gives the rolls a soft and fluffy texture. But don’t knead to where it becomes dense and tough to handle – your rolls will be dense and dry. When ready, the dough should feel like your earlobe or a baby’s bottom.
  • When rolling out the dough, roll the dough to an even thickness, to the extent possible.
  • To get an even sprinkle of cinnamon, place spice in a small spoon and sprinkle slowly from high up – around 12 inches above the dough.
  • After adding the filling, when rolling the dough up into a cylinder, start rolling from the long edge away from you, and roll toward you. The first roll inward should be very tight, almost like you are pinching the dough together.
  • Use a sharp knife (with a back-and-forth motion) or unscented dental floss to cut the rolls for clean, even slices.
  • Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray when they are rising, so they don’t dry out.
  • Place the covered rolls in a warm place free from drafts to rise. I use my warming drawer on “proof.” You can also preheat your oven to the lowest temperature possible (usually around 120 degrees), then turn it off when you add the rolls to rise.
  • Toast the pecans before adding, to enhance their nutty flavor.
  • If you have any empty mini muffin cups, fill them halfway with water. The water will put moisture in the oven as the rolls bake, and can also keep your pan from warping. When rolls are done, carefully sop up water with paper towel (it will be hot) in order to invert pan and remove rolls.
close up of a white platter holding mini pecan rolls

Variations and Additions to This Recipe for Pecan Rolls

While these Mini Pecan Rolls are delicious as is, you can also get creative and add some different ingredients to make them your own. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add a layer of melted chocolate or sprinkle some chocolate chips over the dough just before adding the cinnamon and sugar.
  • Add dried cranberries or raisins with the cinnamon filling.
  • You can also experiment with different spices such as nutmeg or cardamom to add a unique flavor profile.
     
    Feel free to use your imagination and create your own signature Mini Pecan Rolls!

While making pecan rolls doesn’t require any specialized equipment, having the right tools can make the process easier. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons
  2. Stand mixer or hand mixer
  3. Rolling pin
  4. Rolling mat (optional)
  5. Mini muffin tins (enough to make 36 rolls)
  6. Sharp knife or unscented dental floss for cutting the rolls
  7. Saucepan for heating the buttermilk and oil
white platter holding around 1 dozen mini pecan rolls

Serving Mini Pecan Rolls

These sweet rolls can be served as part of a breakfast, brunch or even as a dessert. Here are some ideas for brunch dishes to serve with them:

Storing and Reheating Cinnamon Pecan Rolls

These rolls are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven, but they can also be stored and reheated later:

  1. Allow baked rolls to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  2. To reheat, place them in a rimmed baking dish and drizzle with melted butter. Cover with foil and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. You can also freeze the baked rolls. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored for up to 3 months. To thaw, leave them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as described above.

Making Pecan Rolls Ahead

To make these cinnamon pecan rolls ahead, you have a few options:

  1. Make and freeze dough.
    Prepare the dough in advance (stopping before rolling it out), cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, let the dough come to room temperature and continue with the recipe.
  2. Refrigerate or freeze rolls before baking.
    After cutting the rolls and placing them in the baking dish with the topping, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. When you’re ready to bake, remove the rolls from the frig/freezer, let them thaw (if frozen), and then rise at room temperature for around 2 to 3 hours before baking.
  3. Prepare, bake ahead and reheat.
    Follow storing and reheating instructions in the section above.
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white platter holding around 1 dozen mini pecan rolls

Recipe for Pecan Rolls

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Indulge your taste buds with the mouthwatering goodness of homemade Mini Pecan Rolls! These irresistibly delicious treats are not only a delight to eat but are also surprisingly easy to make. There’s something magical about the combination of warm, gooey caramel, crunchy pecans, spicy cinnamon and slightly tangy dough (from buttermilk) that makes these rolls an absolute delight. In this post, I’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of creating these heavenly delights. I’ve got you covered, from preparing the perfect dough to achieving that irresistible pecan caramel topping. Whether you’re a seasoned baker looking to expand your repertoire or a novice in the kitchen, this guide is designed to help you master the art of making these rolls with ease.

  • Prep Time: 23 mins
  • Rise Time: 60 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 dozen 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter, melted, divided use
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (may need more), divided use
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package instant (Rapid Rise) yeast – see Note below
  • 1 cup buttermilk – see Note below
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided use
  • 1 cup pecan halves, finely chopped and toasted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Using 2 tablespoons softened butter, generously butter 36 mini-muffin cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together 1 cup of flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and yeast. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk and oil over medium heat just until it reaches 120 to 130 degrees. Add to flour mixture and, using the dough hook of an electric mixer, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and continue mixing until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Continue kneading on low (or speed 2) until dough is smooth and elastic (1 to 3 minutes).
  5. Place dough on a floured surface and knead a few times, adding additional flour if dough is too sticky. It should feel like your earlobe or a baby’s bottom. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Set aside in a non-drafty area while preparing topping.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, stir together water, 1/4 cup melted butter, and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Spoon around 3/4 teaspoon into each prepared mini muffin cups, using all of the butter mixture.
  7. Sprinkle around 3/4 teaspoon chopped pecans on top of butter mixture.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of dough into an 8 by 14-inch rectangle. Brush with 1 tablespoon butter.
  9. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon evenly over dough. Tightly roll into a cylinder starting with the long side (so you will have a 14-inch long cylinder when it’s rolled up).
  10. Cut off rough or uneven ends, then cut cylinder into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices (depending on the depth of your muffin cups) and place in muffin cups.
  11. Repeat with second half of dough. Let rise in a warm, non-drafty place until they fill out the muffin cups and are close to doubled in size (around 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hour).
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Bake rolls for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 1 to 2 minutes, then invert the rolls onto parchment paper or foil (scoop any remaining pecans or sauce onto the rolls using a small spoon). Let cool, then serve.

Notes

Note on Instant (Rapid Rise) yeast: Can also use Active Dry yeast. It will need to be proofed (dissolve yeast in 105 to 110-degree water and add to the dough after Step 3.

Note on buttermilk: Can substitute 1/4 cup dry buttermilk powder + 1 cup whole (or 2%) milk. Add the buttermilk powder to the dry ingredients and add the milk when the recipe calls for buttermilk.

Make ahead: To make these cinnamon pecan rolls ahead, you have a few options:
1. Make and freeze dough. Prepare the dough in advance (stopping before rolling it out), cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, let the dough come to room temperature and continue with the recipe.
2. Refrigerate or freeze rolls before baking. After cutting the rolls and placing them in the baking dish with the topping, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. When you’re ready to bake, remove the rolls from the frig/freezer, let them thaw (if frozen), and then rise at room temperature for around 2 to 3 hours before baking.
3. Prepare, bake ahead and reheat before serving. See storing directions in post and reheating tips below.

High altitude: Above 8000 feet, reduce baking soda by 25% (to 3/16 teaspoon). Watch rise time carefully because it may take less time. Start checking around 25 minutes. Also, filling empty muffin tins with water will add moisture to the oven while during the baking process. When rolls are done, carefully sop up water with paper towel in order to invert pan and remove rolls. Alternatively, just put a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven to add moisture.

Reheating: Place cooked rolls in a buttered baking dish, drizzle with melted butter, cover with foil, and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Author: From “Fresh Tastes” by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: breakast & brunch, make ahead
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 roll
  • Calories: 110
  • Sugar: 5.9 g
  • Sodium: 108 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 7.1 mg

FAQs About Mini Pecan Rolls

Why use both baking soda and yeast in dough?

This recipe for pecan rolls calls for buttermilk – an acidic ingredient that can inhibit yeast rise. Adding baking soda neutralizes the acidity and allows the yeast to rise properly, ensuring a well-risen and flavorful dough.

Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dough in advance and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature, and continue with the recipe.

Can I freeze these pecan cinnamon rolls?

Yes, you can either refrigerate or freeze these rolls before baking. After cutting the rolls and placing them in the baking dish with the topping, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. When you’re ready to bake, remove the rolls from the frig/freezer, let them thaw and rise at room temperature for around 2 to 3 hours, and then bake as directed.

Can I use a different type of nut instead of pecans?

Feel free to substitute your favorite nut – walnuts, almonds, or a combination will all work in this recipe.

Can I make regular-sized pecan rolls instead of mini ones?

Yes, you can adjust the size of the rolls according to your preference. Just make sure to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Other Sweet Breakfast or Brunch Treats you might like

white platter holding around 1 dozen mini pecan rolls

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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Comments

    1. Good question! I’ve only made them in mini muffin tins. You should be able to follow the recipe and place them in a single baking dish, side-by-side. I would try using a 9-inch square pan – or a 7 by 11-inch pan for this recipe, which makes 36 mini muffins.

  1. I was nervous about making these rolls, but they came out perfect! Your directions were spot on. Thank you for making me a star.