These soft, sweet Homemade Honey Buns have the same melt-in-your-mouth texture that you love from store-bought honey buns! Sticky and sweet with a cinnamon sugar filling, and creamy homemade glaze.
Perfect Glazed Honey Buns -Made from Scratch!
If you’re a fan of store-bought honey buns (looking at you, Little Debbie!) then you will go crazy for these authentic, homemade honey buns – they’re even better! And while baking your own might seem tricky, don’t worry. It’s actually a simple sweet roll recipe that anyone can make.
Made from scratch with real ingredients, these meltingly soft pastries are rolled up with cinnamon sugar before being dunked in glaze. They’re wonderful for a special snack, and are sure to be a hit. Your family will be begging you to make them again!
Are Honey Buns Just Cinnamon Rolls?
Cinnamon rolls and honey buns are definitely in the same ballpark, but they aren’t the same food. Cinnamon rolls are taller, fluffier, and more bread-y, with a buttery filling and glaze or frosting on top. Honey buns are flatter, with a soft, fine texture. The dough is flavored with honey and vanilla, while the filling is just a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Finally, honey buns are fully coated in a honey-flavored glaze that sets to a sticky crisp.
Is a Honey Bun Good for Breakfast?
To be real, this isn’t the healthiest breakfast option out there, but it is an absolutely delicious one! Honey buns are often served as breakfast pastries, similar to cinnamon rolls and donuts. They’re great for any time you want to have a special sweet treat to start your morning, especially since they get even softer after being stored overnight in an airtight container – you can make them ahead, and serve them the next day.
The List of Ingredients
These are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe. A sweet yeast dough with honey and vanilla, plus basic cinnamon sugar and a simple glaze all come together easily.
For the Dough
- Water: Warm water, not hot, for proving the yeast. You can also use warm milk, if you prefer.
- Sugar: A little granulated sugar feeds the yeast and sweetens the dough.
- Yeast: I use active dry yeast.
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour is what you need here.
- Shortening. Melt the shortening before adding it to the dough.
- Egg Yolks: For richness, and to add structure to the honey buns.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
- Oil: Vegetable oil, for frying.
- Sugar and Cinnamon: Granulated cinnamon and ground sugar are all you need to fill these homemade honey buns!
For the Glaze
- Powdered Sugar: Make sure to use powdered sugar, not granulated, for a silky-smooth, creamy glaze.
- Butter: Melted butter gives the glaze shine and extra flavor. It also helps it set.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is my go-to.
- Hot Water: Hot water is added as needed, to get the glaze to the right dipping consistency.
How to Make Homemade Honey Buns
This process is similar to making other yeast buns and rolls, but with a few special quirks to get that special honey bun mouthfeel. Here’s how to do it, step by step.
- Proof the Yeast. To get started, you’ll want to get the yeast going. Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and whisk the water with the yeast, and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes, until it’s frothy and bubbly. (If it doesn’t get frothy, then your yeast is no good – either it was too old, or the water was the wrong temperature. In this case, toss the mixture and start again with new ingredients.)
- Add the Remaining Ingredients and Knead. Swap the whisk attachment with the dough hook. Next, add the remaining sugar to the bowl, followed by the flour, honey, shortening, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Let the mixer knead this on medium speed for 8 minutes, to make a sticky dough. Test the dough by taking a small amount and stretching it. It should hold together and stretch thin enough to see through, without ripping or breaking.
- First Rise. Spray a clean mixing bowl with baking spray, and place the dough inside. Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for about an hour in a warm place, until it’s doubled in size.
- Shape the Honey Buns. While the dough is rising, make cinnamon sugar by whisking the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Then take the risen dough and roll it out on a clean, floured work surface, into a rectangle about one foot long and eight inches wide. Dust cinnamon sugar over the top, gently pressing it into the dough. Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough up into a log. Turn the roll diagonally, and cut the ends off to prepare it for slicing on the bias. Make 8 1-inch slices, scoring the dough first to get an accurate measurement. You’ll need a sharp knife for this!
- Second Rise. Lay each slice onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving at least two inches between them. Press and lightly shape each slice with your fingers, and then let them rise for about 45 minutes. Unlike the first rise, this rise is just to get them puffy, not doubled.
- Fry the Honey Buns. Part of the way through the second rise, get the oil heating up. Pour oil into a large pan or stockpot, and turn the heat to medium. The oil needs to reach 285°F – a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the pan or pot will allow you to check the temperature. Once the rolls have risen, gently flatten them down again with your fingers. Then place a few honey buns into the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry them for 90 seconds on one side, flip, and fry for another 90 seconds.
- Make the Glaze. While the buns are frying, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, honey, melted butter, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, and then add in the hot water a little at a time to get the right texture.
- Finish the Honey Buns. Line a baking sheet with paper towels, and set a wire rack over it. Once the honey buns are golden brown on each side, take them out of the hot oil and place them on the wire rack, and use a spoon or heat-proof spatula to gently flatten them. Then dip each bun into the glaze immediately, let the excess drip off, and allow them to cool and set.
- Repeat. Repeat the frying process until all the honey buns are fried, flattened, and glazed.
Want to know more about making homemade honey buns? Great – this is where I share my top tips gained from developing this recipe. Here’s the inside info:
- Watch the Temperature: When working with yeast-based recipes such as this one, it is important to have the water (or milk) at the correct temperature. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Too cold, and the yeast won’t activate, preventing the dough from rising properly. The ideal temperature is between 105°F – 110°F. This is slightly warmer than body temperature, but not scalding hot.
- Shortening: You may be wondering why I use shortening instead of butter. Isn’t shortening just a substitute? Not exactly! Shortening has a different melting point than butter, which is useful when you’re looking for specific textures in your baked goods. and Using melted shortening in the dough will give these honey buns the best bakery-style texture, but if you want to use butter instead, that will also work.
- Rising Time: How long it takes for dough to rise depends on how warm and/or humid it is. So if the place where you put it is on the warm and humid side, the dough may rise faster. If your kitchen is on the cooler side, it may take longer to rise.
- Shaping: Flattening the buns at each stage may seem odd, but it helps to create that classic, dense-yet-melt-in-your-mouth feel, rather than the fluffy, bread-y texture of a cinnamon roll.
- Serving: These honey buns are delicious warm, but I personally think they are the best after they have sat in an airtight container on the counter for a day or two! This gives them that classic softness you expect from a store-bought honey bun.
If you serve these as a snack, all they need is a cup of coffee or a glass of milk – so good! For more of a breakfast or brunch setting, try adding one or more of these recipes.
- Biscuits and Gravy: You can always whip up some homemade biscuits and a pan of sausage gravy, but for an even easier approach, try making this Southern breakfast favorite in casserole form! Biscuits and Gravy Casserole is a hearty way to start your weekend or holiday.
- Baked Bacon: You read that right! With this easy tutorial on How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, you’ll never stand over a hot skillet of bacon slices again. It turns out perfectly crispy every time, with no mess!
- Empanadas: Everyone goes crazy for empanadas, and they are so versatile – fill them with classic beef and cheese, omelet ingredients, or add another sweet option to the menu with Cinnamon Apple Empanadas.
Storing and Reheating
Honey buns can be stored in an airtight container or baggie for up to 5 days. To warm them up, I like to use the microwave. It only takes about 5 to 10 seconds to warm them up perfectly.
Can I Freeze These?
Like most yeast rolls and donuts, these can be frozen for up to three months. Seal them in airtight containers to keep them fresh, or for extra protection, wrap them individually with plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer bag.
More Tempting Homemade Pastry Recipes
- Air Fryer Donuts
- Blueberry Lemon Braid
- Texas Roadhouse Rolls
- Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- Homemade Hawaiian Rolls
- Homemade Crescent Rolls
- Easy Homemade Bread
- Brioche Buns
- Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
Homemade Honey Buns
For the Dough:
- ½ cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons active yeast
- 2 ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup honey
- ¼ cup shortening, melted
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the Cinnamon Sugar:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Glaze:
- 4 ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Warm water, as needed
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment combine water, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and yeast. Whisk together until just combined, then let sit for 5 minutes, until frothy.
- Swap the attachment to a dough hook, then add in remaining sugar, flour, honey, shortening, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Knead on medium speed for 8 minutes. The dough will be sticky once finished, but when stretched it should hold and be transparent.
- Transfer the dough into a clean bowl that has been lightly sprayed with baking spray and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, make the cinnamon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the cinnamon and sugar.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured, clean surface. Roll the dough out to 12” long and 8” wide. Dust with the cinnamon sugar mixture and gently press into the dough.
- Roll the dough up from the long side, then turn the roll diagonally. Use a knife to score 8-1” pieces. Cut the ends of the rolls off, about 1 1⁄2”, then cut the pieces you scored. Lay each piece onto a parchment-lined baking sheet with at least 2” space between them. The pieces should be oblong in shape. Press and lightly shape each one with your fingers, then let rise for about 45 minutes – until puffy, but not doubled.
- Part of the way through the rise time, pour oil into a large pan or stockpot. Heat over medium heat, until the oil reaches 365°F. Once the rolls have risen, gently press them down again with your fingers, then place a few honey buns into the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry for 90 seconds on one side, then flip and fry for an additional 90 seconds on the other side.
- While the buns are frying, whisk together the glaze. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk to combine the powdered sugar, honey, melted butter, vanilla, and salt. Then add in about 1/3 cup (or up to 1/2 cup) warm water, whisking until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Once honey buns are golden brown on each side, remove them from the oil and place onto a wire cooling rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Gently press down to flatten and then immediately dip each bun into the glaze. This will give it that crisp texture once set.
- Repeat the frying process with any remaining honey buns.
- Storage: Honey buns may be stored in an airtight container or baggie for up to 5 days. I like to microwave a leftover honey bun for about 5 to 10 seconds, just until warmed, before serving. They can also be frozen for up to three months.
- Yeast Tips: When working with yeast-based recipes such as this one, it is important to have the water at the correct temperature. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. Too cold and the yeast won’t activate, preventing the dough from rising properly. The ideal temperature is between 105°-110°.
- Shortening: Melted shortening will give these honey buns the best bakery-style texture, however, you can use melted butter instead if you prefer.
- Flatten The Buns: Flattening the buns at each stage helps to create that classic, dense but melt-in-your-mouth texture versus the fluffy bread-y texture of a cinnamon roll.
- Best The Next Day: These honey buns are delicious warm, but I personally think they are the best after they have sat in an airtight container on the counter for a day or two. This gives them that classic softness you expect from a store bought honey bun.
- Warm Milk/Water: You can use warm milk in place of the warm water in the dough, if you prefer.
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