Homemade Sticky Bun Recipe – No Kneading and No Machine Needed

Rolling out dough for no-knead no-machine sticky bunsGemma Stafford

Of all the baked treats that make mornings magical, the most delicious ever has GOT to be a sticky bun. Our local bakery gets lines around the corner every morning as early as six a.m., and honestly, we can’t blame anybody in that line! How could we when these traditional sweet rolls are decadent enough to be a dessert, but still filling and satisfying enough to give us that boost we need first thing in the morning. Whether you serve them as a side option at brunch or make them the star center of your breakfast, everybody seems to agree that sticky buns are where it is at— so why don’t we hear about people making them more often?

People make cinnamon rolls all the time, and they’re pretty similar to sticky buns, so why don’t we see more sticky bun celebrations? Our theory— a) the fact that cinnamon rolls are popular comes-in-a-tube-pre-made item makes them seem a lot easier and b) people get nervous about making their own dough, fearing both the yeast and the kneading process. If you’re one of them, or if you’ve just always assumed that sticky buns are a complicated dish, it’s time to conquer your fear and learn the truth! Leading us is, of course, our favorite baking master Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking, here today sharing her “best-ever” sticky bun recipe. Watch and learn how actually simple these delicious treats are, then read on for more info!


Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 cup (8 ounces/240 grams) milk
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly-beaten
  • ¼ cup (2½ ounces/75 grams) honey
  • ½ cup (4 ounces/115 grams) butter, melted
  • 3½ cups (18½ ounces/525 grams) all-purpose flour

Caramel Topping and Filling

  • ¾ cup (6 ounces/170 grams) butter, melted, plus more for sides of the pan
  • 1¼ cups (7½ ounces/220 grams) brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup (4 ounces/115 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups (4½ ounces/105 grams) chopped pecans

Gemma’s sharing the full, printable recipe over on the Bigger Bolder Baking site. Head there for your free copy!

What a sweet start to the day! We of course love that this a dough you simply have to mix together, not knead, but we think we love even more that it’s make-ahead friendly! If you want to make the dough in advance, you can, and leave it in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also make the FILLING in advance, and leave it in your refrigerator for up to three to four days. You can also make, fill and roll the buns and put them in the tin the night before you plan to bake, then let them proof overnight and bake in the morning. With all these options, timing and planning your brunch has never been easier!

Sticky buns made with no kneading and no machineGemma Stafford

Gemma has a lot of great tips and fun facts for this recipe, of course. Here are some we want to make sure you noticed in the video:

  • When you add the dry ingredients to the large bowl, be sure to add the salt and the yeast to opposite sides of the bowl. If you add them on top of one another, the yeast will deactivate. The correct, safe method is to add them on either side of the flour, then gently mix together with a spatula.
  • Why do you want the microwaved mixture of milk, honey and butter to be at room temperature? Because yeast likes warmth! The gentle, warm temperature is one of the elements that helps the yeast grow without requiring kneading. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature for the same reason!
  • Make sure you let the buns rest for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven to let the caramel on top solidify a bit.

Delicious, adaptable, and actually pretty easy! What do you think of these sticky buns? Will you give them a try? Do you think you’ll top them with pecans, another nut, or just have caramel on top? Are there any other sticky bun recipes you’d like to try? Tell us if you give this recipe a go and how it turns out for you!