caramel pecan cinnamon rolls

caramel pecan cinnamon rolls_hot for food

I’m not sure what constitutes a sticky bun versus a cinnamon roll, but I would think these are more sticky bun-esque with the vegan caramel sauce and pecans. Either way, roll your love into these on Mother’s Day and say “thanks for all you’ve done, Mom!” Or just roll your love for yourself into them and treat yo’ self, cause you damn deserve it! 

Follow this caramel pecan cinnamon roll recipe to a T, or try your own version stuffed with anything you like!

Be sure to tag your photos on social with @hotforfood and #hotforfood. I love seeing the vegan love you’re always cooking up from the blog. 

vegan caramel pecan cinnamon rolls recipe for Christmas

NOTE: I’ve since changed the recipe slightly from the one mentioned in the video. However, if you switch the type of flour from all-purpose flour than you likely will need to add more flour than listed once you’re kneading. I’ve also reduced the amount of sugar in the dough.

(RECIPE updated February 2017)

caramel pecan cinnamon rolls_hot for food
4.74 from 15 votes
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caramel pecan cinnamon rolls

Sweet and sticky caramel pecan cinnamon rolls are guaranteed to be a crowd favourite!

Keyword baked goods, cinnamon, cinnamon buns
Prep Time 52 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
warm (in cool place) 2 hours
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings 12 rolls
Author Lauren Toyota



  • 2 tsp active dry yeast or quick rise yeast (different mixing procedures for each)
  • 1 1/2 C warm water (see exact temperatures depending on yeast used)
  • 1 tbsp organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil (or melted vegan butter or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour for rolling out dough


  • 2 tbsp melted vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 C organic cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

salted caramel

  • 1 C coconut sugar
  • 1/4 C nondairy milk
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • 1/3 C pecans, toasted and roughly chopped


  1. Combine active dry yeast with warm water and sugar. The water needs to be at a temperature of around 100°F for the yeast to activate so it’s best to use a thermometer. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. It should double in size and be foamy at the top.

  2. Meanwhile, melt your coconut oil or butter over low heat. Ensure it’s also not heated above 100°F.

  3. Combine flour with sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Then create a well in the middle of the flour and pour the water and yeast mixture and the oil into it.
  4. If you’re using quick rise yeast, add the yeast and sugar in with the flour and sea salt and stir to combine. In this instance you will need water between 120°F and 130°F. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add 1 tablespoon of oil and the water.

  5. In both instances, once everything is in the bowl, fold the dough gently to combine it with a spatula until it comes together to form a ball that is slightly sticky. Flour your surface and hands and place the dough on the surface. Press with your fingers and wrists and fold onto itself, kneading 10 to 15 times until the dough is slightly sticky.

  6. Again, if you’ve used a different flour you might need to add up to 1 cup of extra flour if your dough is too sticky. However, only add a small amount at a time as you don’t want to add too much flour or it will make the dough tough. If it starts sticking to you hands, lightly flour them and your surface as you knead.

  7. Lightly oil the mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of oil or vegan butter. It’s fine if there are remnants in the bowl from mixing. Lightly flour the outside of the ball of dough and place it in the bowl. If you used active yeast, you will need to proof it for 1 to 2 hours in a warm dark place. Cover it with a damp towel and place somewhere like the top of the fridge or in the oven or microwave, away from any cool drafts. The dough will double in size.

  8. If you used quick rise yeast, let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes with a damp towel over the bowl. Then proceed with making the filling and shaping the rolls.

  9. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon for the filling and set aside.

  10. Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or vegan butter in the pan you want to bake the cinnamon rolls in, then you can use the residue to grease all sides of the pan.
  11. Once dough has proofed, lightly flour a clean dry surface/countertop and roll out the dough to approx. a 16” x 16” square.
  12. Brush melted coconut oil or butter on the surface of the dough. Leave one 1″ edge clean with no oil or butter. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top. At this point, add any fillings, like more pecans or whatever you like, on top of this cinnamon sugar mixture (optional).
  13. Start at the opposite side of the clean edge and roll the dough into a log shape. Take a sharp knife and cut 12 equal rolls.
  14. Place the rolls in the greased pan leaving space between the rolls and the edge of the pan. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and a tea towel and allow the rolls to proof in a warm dark place for another 2 hours. I’ve also left them overnight in the warm dark place and they’re fine. Bake them the following morning as soon as possible. NOTE: do not put these in the fridge to rise. While I have done it once and it worked, it seems to be an unreliable method.

  15. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes.

  16. To make the caramel, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally for 7 to 8 minutes as it thickens. Remove from the heat. It will thicken as it cools slightly.

  17. When ready to serve the cinnamon rolls, drizzle the caramel on top of warm rolls and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Serve immediately.

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63 thoughts on “caramel pecan cinnamon rolls”

  1. Amazing recipe, looks so delicious I can’t wait to make it myself! I’d really love a vegan doughnuts recipe from you guys though! I hope you’ll share it soon

  2. I can’t wait to make these this weekend! Instead of using coconut oil for the dough, can I use flavourless oil?

    1. I made these for mother’s day with canola oil, and my god they were amazing. They tasted exactly like the cinnamon rolls we used to buy before going vegan. My mom even happy cried. So I testify that yes you can.
      Thanks for the amazing recipe Lauren. =)

  3. These cinnamon roles are amazing! I’ve made them for mother’s day this morning and they turned out delicious! Thank you for this great recipe!

  4. I just finished making them… First recipe I’ve tried from you guys and I’m so excited to try more. LOVE THESE

  5. I used the coconut oil for the caramel sauce, it didn’t work out. The sauce was too thick and too sweet.

  6. Its 6:48 in the morning and the cinnamons rolls are baking , like this we gonna have some before going to work . I think they have to cook a little bit longer since the were in the fridge for the night . Cant wait to try time !

  7. I made these for my mom on mothers day. Turned out AMAZING. Im trying again today with gluten free flour for my celiac boyfriend….. i made some small adjustments but i dont think this recepie is possible gluten free with just simple alterations. Ill let you know what i end up with.

    1. Hey Erica, have you tried out your gluten free version yet? Would love to hear if it worked, the rolls just look amazing 🙂 Susanne x

  8. I was so psyched to make to bake i prepared the dough. rolled it. popped it in the oven after long waiting. The result was not so great. The caramel turned rock hard and stuck to the plate when I served a slice for myself. It tasted a slight bitterness to the bread; I think the cinnamon was overpowering but I served the amount that’s written on here. When I took a bite, the caramel just came off like angel sugar hair – exactly how cheese spreads when it’s melted. I’m glad it worked for others. But for me it was a different story

    1. The caramel sauce was not supposed to go in the oven. It was meant to be poured on afterwards. That’s probably why it went rock hard.

  9. looking at using for catering, is it possible to make the dough on the tuesday and then assemble on thursday and it be okay? how should the dough be stored if yes?

    1. your oven might be hotter than it says?! I’ve always had an oven thermometer for accuracy – in my old oven when I made these – and my newer oven which tends to be cooler than it lists! SO it’s a good idea to have that. You almost always have to adjust baking times to your own oven as they’re so all over the place!

  10. I made these and stuffed them with a bit of sweet potato mash instead of butter, added the sugar and cinnamon as directed, and topped with homemade cashew cream cheese glaze. Totally decadent with a strong cinnamon flavour which gets offset by the sweet glaze. I made these in my iron pan the night before, and was nervous about them deflating in the fridge, so I set them out overnight and they overflowed the pan in a couple of places! Still though, they are delicious but I wouldn’t premake the dough again. 😁

  11. Holy carp — these are out of this world! I omitted the pecans (not a huge nut person) and made a special chocolate-rugelach-style one for my sister who is allergic to cinnamon. SO GOOD. Soft, sweet, and cinnamony. Worth the arduous 4-hour wait! Hot for Food knocks it out of the park again!

  12. I just made these and they taste absolutely delicious, even my mom who used to be a cook and therefore always is kind of septic loved them so yeah, great recipe 🙂 !!

  13. Just made these and they were great! Mine weren’t golden on the top and looked a little blah but tasted great. Also my caramel sauce didn’t work… not sure why.

  14. These look amazing, I really want to try them, but I need to know how many grams does the yeast package have? because here where I live I don’t have the same packages as in your country. Thanks in advance! Love you Lauren ♥ (Watching you from South America, Chile)

    1. Hi Jane. I just finish combining the flour, salt and yeast mixture. I followed the exact instructions and quantities, but my dough was also very sloppy/wet! I added a fair amount of extra flour to firm it up a little (although still sloppy) and is now proofing. Maybe I will post again when I have reached the final cooking stage and and tasted a roll.

    2. Finished cooking the rolls and eating one. The bread didn’t rise during cooking. Rolls were hard and dense. The salted caramel drizzle was lovely, but would not follow the recipe to make the rolls again.

    3. did you allow the dough to rise before baking? As instructed you need to let the dough proof either 1 or 2 times depending on what kind of yeast you are using.

  15. Would you be willing to provide metric measurements for your baking recipes? I find results are more easily replicated when dry ingredients like flour are weighed instead of scooped.

  16. Dough is too wet- I recommend adding or putting aside another cup of flour just in case yours turn out too wet as well. Don’t skip the rising parts for two hours, it’s very essential! They turn out really well and made the house smell so good! (Just made it and ate it with simple powdered sugar, vanilla and water icing) my partner and I both love it and I like that it’s soft after it’s baked! We used Lighthouse Bread & Pizza flour (that’s what we have on hand and we use it for cinnamon and pizza before) and they turned out perfect. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. I believe using bread flour over all purpose is what the problem is. Bread flour is finer. So it would be too wet with the measurements I have where I use organic all purpose. I myself have never had a problem with the dough whether and i’ve tried the recipe both with 3 cups of flour to 1 cup or water or 3 cups of flour to 1 1/2 cups of water. I MUCH prefer the wetter dough. It poofs up better and stays softer after baking. THE REASON I changed it is because when I first had 3 cups of flour to 1 cup of water, while it worked fine for me every time, other people were saying the dough was too dry, now everyone is saying it’s too wet! When using yeast, rising and water temp is very important AND if you switch the type of flour then all the measurements I’ve listed get thrown off.

  17. I am so confused! i’ve done this recipe like 5 times by now and sometimes it comes out as the best thing i have ever baked in my entire life, while other times its mediocre at best. and i just realized that the video says 1c of water and 1/4 cup of sugar for the dough, while the recipe on here says 1.5c water and 1tbs of sugar. I have no idea what i followed before. I guess i followed it slightly different every time, which would explain why it tends to come out so different. SO WHICH IS IT??
    Lauren, you are my vegan hero cook! I absolutely love your channel and yours are pretty much the only recipes my carnivorous husband enjoys eating haha! I’m attempting to make 2 batches of these rolls right now and just now saw this error for the first time and am slightly starting to panic.. HELP!

    1. okkkkk…. so when I was testing for the cookbook I changed the recipe to the one that is written up now. I myself have never had a problem with the dough whether it was 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar or 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of sugar – it has however, always been 3 cups of flour. BUT the first round with less water a few people were saying the dough was too dry, now everyone is saying it’s too wet! I much prefer it stickier. It poofs up more and stays softer after baking but BOTH worked out just fine for me and I’ve made oth versions more than a dozen times. When using yeast, rising and water temp is very important AND if you switch the type of flour then all the measurements I’ve listed get thrown off.

    2. got it. Thank you for the quick response! i’ve done the 2 batches i’m making the two different ways and they are both proofing right now, so i guess we will see how it comes out..

  18. I also found this dough quite wet. I had made these a few times with the "old" recipe and found them to be very foolproof, a recipe that any amateur baker could make with fab results. With this version of the recipe, I feel that people would have to be comfortable working with high hydration doughs. I am on my first proof of the dough, having added less than 1/4 cup extra flour and the dough is still very wet, I am sure these will still come out great. I just thought I would add a comment in the event you were considering which version to use in your cookbook. No matter your decision, my family and I have enjoyed this recipe (and numerous others) many times!

  19. I made these using the updated version. I had to add 3/4 cup more flour, 1/4 cup at a time and still had a very wet dough, but it was manageable. They turned out absolutely amazing and everybody loved them!

  20. Hey Lauren- just wanted to let you know I followed this new recipe and my dough turned out JUST FINE. Not too wet and not too dry. I’m doing the first proof right now. But since everyone has been saying their dough is too wet I thought I’d let you know mine is great so far. I’m sure they’ll turn out wonderful. I made them before with the recipe in the video and they were awesome, so I’m excited to see how this version goes. Will report back

  21. LAUREEEEN I just baking the first half right now and they are looking so freaking delicious!! I cannot wait to eat them!!! the other half ill bake them tomorrow morning as soon as I wake up😆 everyone is saying that the dough is too wet but mine was super easy to work with and the dough was perf!!! Thank you so much for making this recipe!! Ill post mine on Instagram and ill tag or something so wait for it😉❤️My Insta is @_veganplate_ LOOOOVE U from Victoria Bc

  22. Hi Lauren, I am making these right now and I am a bit confused – the dough was so wet! I added so much flour that I went in and also added more sugar so that the dough wouldn’t taste too bready. Maybe I got mixed up because we use the metric system in Germany and I didn’t calculate the measurements right. I’ll see how it turns out.

  23. I just made these and I’m in heaven!! Also in a food coma but who cares, the cinnamon rolls are absolutely delicious! My dough was very wet at first, I added about 2 cups of flour until I could actually knead it and the caramel sauce is also not as dark if you make it with normal brown sugar. If you don’t add the sauce but still like it sweet, you could add some sugar to the dough when mixing it all. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  24. This was definitely a higher hydration dough than other cinnamon roll recipes than I’ve made before but I still found it manageable and actually easier to work with than the stiffer, drier doughs. Mine is still proofing but this seems promising. 🙂

  25. Hey Lauren! i was following the recipe but the rolls came out quite hard outside and dry inside. they were still tasty but i was hoping for fluffy and soft buns as yours. i wonder what went wrong…?
    i checked with my mum as she always bake some yeast based cakes and she asked me how many eggs i used 😀 LOL

    1. you might have overbaked them? Check oven temp with a proper thermometer because if it was too hot and you then baked for as long as I mentioned they would harden a bit!

  26. I am a big time cinnamon roll fan. Wow, these are delicious. I have a daughter who is gluten intolerant and I am thinking about swapping out the all-purpose flour with pecan meal/flour. I found pecan meal at and have had good luck substituting it in other recipes for her. We’ll see how it turns out. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipe.

  27. Made these today and swapped out pecans for coconut flakes. They’re great – and the salted caramel is super easy and way addictive (aka dangerous!). I do note that in the video you put 1/4 cup of sugar into the yeast and as written here, it says 1 tablespoon. I went with the 1/4 cup and it seems to have turned out fine. I did put them in the fridge overnight after making them into rolls but before baking them, and I did have to spend an extra 15 minutes in my oven to get them to brown. They turned out great though. My friends are excited to eat these tonight.

  28. So good!!! I used my usual method of sticking the pre-formed rolls in the fridge overnight, taking them out the next morning for an hour to come to room temp, and then baking. I also subbed brown sugar for coconut sugar. Can’t wait to make these again!!!!!

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