These soft, moist, melt-in-your-mouth Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls are stuffed with a sweet pecan filling for a cozy crunch, and baked to a lovely golden brown.
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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with a Sweet Pecan Filling!
Pecan pie and cinnamon rolls are a match made in heaven, you guys. If you are like me, the crunchy, sticky sweetness of pecan pie is basically perfection. Now wrap that up in a soft, rich cinnamon roll. It’s heaven on a plate!
This decadent twist on two classic treats makes a gorgeous centerpiece for a special breakfast or brunch. Maybe a Christmas morning indulgence, alongside a hot cup of coffee? Or a New Year’s brunch, with mimosas (or an Aperol Spritz) and Overnight Ham Breakfast Casserole! But one thing’s for sure. No matter how you serve them, pecan pie cinnamon rolls are sure to be a huge hit.
What’s the Difference Between Cinnamon Rolls and Cinnamon Buns?
It depends on who you ask. A lot of sources say that they’re different phrases to describe the same food. Others insist that they are shaped slightly differently, and that a true batch of cinnamon buns should be flipped upside down before icing. Either way, this much is clear: soft, enriched dough, plus cinnamon, plus icing, equals a scrumptious baked treat.
The List of Ingredients
There are basically three components here, each with a short list of ingredients. Let’s take a closer look:
- Milk and Water: Warmed, for dissolving the yeast and sugar.
- Sugar: I use granulated sugar here.
- Yeast: Active dry yeast.
- Eggs: To make a rich, moist dough, you’ll need four large, whole eggs.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
- Flour: You’ll need regular all-purpose flour.
- Butter: Salted butter. You could substitute unsalted, and add a pinch or two of extra salt.
- Eggs: A combination of whole eggs and a couple of egg yolks – you can save the extra egg whites for an omelet.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar and brown sugar. Make sure to pack the sugar into your measuring cup for good measure.
- Corn Syrup: Light or dark corn syrup is fine.
- Vanilla Extract
- Cinnamon: If your spices have been sitting in the cupboard for a bit, make sure to check the dates on them – spices can become bland or bitter over time.
- Chopped Pecans: You can buy chopped pecans or chop your own.
- Butter: Salted butter, softened.
- Powdered Sugar: For a smooth, creamy icing. Powdered sugar is also known as confectioner’s sugar.
- Milk: Water will also work.
- Vanilla Extract
- Maple Extract: This is optional, but it does add a nice note to the flavor profile.
How to Make Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls
If you’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, don’t be intimidated by the number of steps here. Each step is simple and straightforward. I do recommend reading through this section once or twice before you get started, so you’ll be familiar with the steps from the start. Let’s make some cinnamon rolls!
Make the Dough
- Proof the Yeast. Proofing the yeast is about giving it a head start and making sure it is active. To do this, combine the warm milk and warm water with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add the yeast, give it a stir, and let this mixture sit until frothy bubbles form (about 5 minutes). If you don’t see any frothy bubbles, the yeast isn’t active, and you’ll need to discard the mixture and start again with a fresh packet of yeast. I do this in the bowl of my stand mixer.
- Add the Eggs, Sugar, and Vanilla. Next, add the rest of the sugar, vanilla, and eggs to the mixture, and mix well to combine.
- Add the Flour and Salt. Swap the mixer attachment to a dough hook. Add the flour to the bowl, and place the salt on top of the flour. Let the machine knead the dough until it starts to come together.
- Add the Butter and Let the Dough Rise. Finally, add the butter to the dough, and continue kneading the dough for 5 more minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for an hour or so, until doubled in size.
Make the Filling
- Mix the Filling Ingredients, Adding the Pecans Last. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, and mix well to combine. Next, mix in the cinnamon. Finally, fold the pecans into the filling mixture using a rubber spatula.
Assemble the Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- Roll Out the Dough. First, you’ll want to spray two large (9×13) baking dishes with baking spray, and set them aside. Then take your risen cinnamon roll dough, and turn it out of the bowl on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.
Add the Butter and Filling, and Cut the Rolls. Spread the butter over the dough, then spread the pecan filling on top of that. Roll up the dough, and cut it into 12 cinnamon rolls.
- Let the Cinnamon Rolls Rise. Lay the cinnamon rolls in the greased baking pans, and cover them with clean kitchen towels or plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise for an hour or so, until they are doubled in size.
- Bake. When the pecan pie cinnamon rolls are almost done rising, preheat your oven to 350°F. Once the rolls are done rising, place them in the oven, on the center rack. Let them bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
- Cool. Take the cinnamon rolls out of the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
Make the Icing
Mix the Icing Ingredients and Ice the Warm Cinnamon Rolls. In a clean mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and maple extract (if using). Drizzle or spread the icing over the top of the pecan pie cinnamon rolls while they are warm.
Making pecan pie cinnamon rolls is not difficult, but having a few tips and tricks up your sleeve can make it even easier. These recipe notes will tell you all you need to know.
- Yeast and Temperature: When making a yeast-based recipe like this one, it is very important to have the correct temperature of milk and water. If the milk and water are too hot, they will kill the yeast. Too cold, and the yeast won’t activate. The ideal temperature is between 105°-110°.
- Sticky Dough: If you are having trouble with your hands or rolling pin sticking to the dough, just simply rub your hands with flour and/or rub flour onto the rolling pin.
- Measuring Flour: Make sure you are spooning your flour into your measuring cup and not scooping out compacted flour. This will ensure that the dough is perfectly light and fluffy. If too much flour is used, the dough will be dense.
- Simple Glaze: To make a simple but tasty glaze for your finished rolls, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk to combine, and add more powdered sugar or milk until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Cream Cheese Option: If you would prefer cream cheese icing instead, check out the cream cheese frosting recipe on my Bacon Cinnamon Rolls.
What to Serve with Cinnamon Rolls
Serve these pecan pie cinnamon rolls with all of your favorite breakfast and brunch dishes, and don’t forget the coffee! Here are some easy breakfast and brunch dishes to help round out your menu:
- Fruit Salad: Any cool, fruity salad is a treat for breakfast, but this creamy Ambrosia Salad with pineapple, mandarin oranges, cherries, and mini marshmallows is a tried-and-true classic.
- Eggs: A savory egg dish that you can prep ahead? Can’t beat that! Try this Overnight Bacon and Sausage Breakfast Casserole – it’s a real crowd-pleaser.
- Bacon: Speaking of bacon, did you know you can bake it? This simple tutorial will show you How to Cook Bacon in the Oven. So much easier than standing over the stove, and no mess!
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating
Got leftovers? Great! Keep them as fresh and delicious as possible with these storage guidelines.
- You can store pecan pie cinnamon rolls in an airtight container or baggie for up to 3 days.
- Freeze these cinnamon rolls for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, and then packed into freezer bags.
- Reheat in the oven or microwave.
Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 ½ cup whole warm milk
- ¼ cup warm water
- ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 7 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 eggs + 2 yolks
- 1 ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup corn syrup
- 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 cups chopped pecans
- ½ cup salted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon maple extract, optional
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, combine warm milk, warm water, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the yeast. Proof for 5 minutes, until frothy.
- Add in the remaining sugar and eggs and mix to combine. Add in vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Swap the mixer attachment to a dough hook. Add in flour, then place the salt on top of the flour. Knead until the dough starts to come together.
- Add in the butter and continue kneading for an additional 5 minutes until a smooth dough has formed. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or the dough has doubled in size.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine eggs, brown sugar, and sugar. Add in corn syrup and vanilla and mix to combine. Next, mix in the cinnamon.
- Add the pecans and fold them in using a rubber spatula.
- Spray two 9×13” baking dishes with baking spray and set aside.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a clean, floured surface. Roll it out into a 19”x17” rectangle.
- Spread the softened butter over the rolled-out dough. Spread the filling evenly on top of the buttered dough. Roll the dough up, then cut into 12 equal discs.
- Place the cinnamon rolls into the prepared pans. Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Once the rolls have doubled in size, place them into the preheated oven in the center rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and place onto a wire cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk to combine the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and optional maple extract together. Drizzle or spread over the top of the warm cinnamon rolls.
More Sweet Breakfast Recipes
- Overnight French Toast Casserole
- Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Fluffy Pancakes
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Homemade Cinnamon Bread
- Brown Sugar Banana Bread
- Blueberry Scones
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