Small Batch Cinnamon Sticky Buns

3 small batch sticky buns in a pan with a bun piece swirled in caramel

Perfectly sweet Small Batch Sticky Buns filled with cinnamon sugar and bathed in salted caramel. Makes 6 buns!



For the buns:

  • 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided*
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar, plus additional for activating the yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 3/4 teaspoon (298g) white bread flour or all-purpose flour*
  • 6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, dicedat room temperature

For the caramel:

  • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (67g) brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (70g) honey or Lyle’s golden syrup*
  • 1/4 cup (58ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling

  • 1/4 cup (50g) white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Proof the yeast. In a small microwave-safe cup or bowl, warm 2 tablespoons milk in a microwave until it reaches 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, about 15 seconds. The milk should be warm to the touch. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar into the warm milk and add the yeast. Gently stir and set aside until it looks foamy, 3-5 minutes. If the yeast doesn’t look foamy, start over with new milk and yeast. 
  2. Prepare the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl if kneading by hand, whisk together the remaining milk, egg, white sugar, and 1/2 cup (65g) flour. Add the proofed yeast mixture, remaining flour, and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. 
  3. Incorporate the butter. If using an electric mixer, attach the bowl to the mixer along with the dough hook. Mix on medium speed and gradually add in the butter pieces until no visible butter pieces appear, about 4 minutes. If kneading by hand, turn the rough dough onto a work surface (do not add any more flour). With the assistance of a bench scraper, slowly incorporate the butter pieces into the dough by squeezing the dough and stretching the corners of the dough to the center and then turning the dough and squeezing and stretching again until all the butter pieces are incorporated. This is messy, but just stick with it and the dough will come together. 
  4. Knead the dough. Once the butter pieces are incorporated, continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and you can stretch a piece of dough out between your fingers without breaking (see the window pane test notes above), about 8-10 minutes. If the dough still clings to the side of the bowl or work surface after 2 minutes of kneading, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough no longer clings to the work surface or sides of the bowl.
  5. Refrigerate the dough. Shape the dough into a ball and then transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 20 minutes before transferring it to the refrigerator to rise for at least two hours, and up to 3 days.
  6. Make the caramel. About 30 minutes before removing the dough from the refrigerator, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, honey, heavy cream, cinnamon, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low and stir until the caramel has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. The caramel will thicken once it cools in the pan with the rolls, so we don’t want it too thick. Pour the caramel into the bottom of 1/8th sheet pan or 9″ cake pan to cool.
  7. Prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until it forms a buttery paste. I find a dinner fork works best for this.
  8. Roll the dough. When the dough has completed its first rise, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Place the cold dough on a piece of parchment paper and lay another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. This prevents the dough from sticking to the rolling pin without the need for additional flour. Roll the dough into a 8″ x 12″ rectangle, with the long side closest to you. The size of the rectangle is important, so I recommend using a ruler.
  9. Roll the buns. Spread the spiced butter mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough from the long end (the long end should be horizontal to you), into a tight log. 
  10. Finish the roll. Once the dough is tightly rolled into a spiral, moisten your fingertips with a little bit of water and pinch the edge of the dough between your fingertips, repeat small pinches down the entire length of the roll. Pinching seals the roll and prevents the rolls from unfurling. Turn the roll seam-side down.
  11. Cut the rolls. Using a serrated knife, bench scraper, or unflavored floss, cut the log into 6 equal pieces. To ensure the rolls are evenly cut, it is often easier to cut the rolled dough in half first, and then cut each half into thirds.
  12. Second Rise. Place the rolls evenly spaced in the pan filled with caramel. Turn the rolls so the seams face each other. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. 
  13. Preheat. While the rolls are rising, position the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  14. Bake. Once the rolls have doubled in size, bake the rolls until they are golden brown and no longer doughy, about 25 minutes. Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping.
  15. Flip the rolls and serve. Place a sheet pan over the pan with the baked rolls and in one swift motion flip the pans over. Be careful since the pan with the rolls is still hot and the caramel is still warm. The rolls will flip onto the pan and reveal the caramel bottom. Enjoy immediately! 


FLOUR. If you opt to measure by volume instead of weight, whisk the flour first to aerate it, then spoon into a measuring cup, and then level it off with the back of a knife. Use bread flour for a chewier bun texture and all-purpose flour for a softer bun texture.

MILK. 2% milk, whole milk, and unsweetened oat milk all work great!

LYLE’S GOLDEN SYRUP. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is commonly found in the UK and adds a new dimension to the caramel if you can find it. 



Keywords: Small Batch Sticky Buns, Cinnamon Sticky Buns