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Sticky Bun Day is on February 21st, 2024!

German immigrants settled in the United States in the 18th century. They became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and they're credited for bringing with them the first recipes for those amazingly yummy sticky buns! I don't know about you, but I am hard-pressed to resist one of these tasty treats! Back in the 1800s, the ovens were brick or cast-iron, which were fueled by wood. Regulating temperature during baking and cooking had to be quite a challenge, and don't get me started on not having an electric mixer! Below, you'll find Grandma's recipe for sticky buns. Who knows how old it actually is and how much it's been tweaked a bit here and there. All I know is that these are super delicious! Enjoy!

Grandma's Recipe for Old Fashioned Sticky Buns

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 packages of active dry yeast

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 large egg

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • *Optional: approximately 1 cup pecans chopped (more if using whole)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 3-4 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  • Mix the yeast, sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of flour together and set it aside.

  • Slowly heat the milk, butter, and water in a small pan until warm and the butter is melted.

  • Add the mixture from the pan slowly to the flour mixture that you set aside and mix until the texture is smooth.

  • Add egg and gradually add flour until the batter is thick and you have around 3 cups worth.

  • Flour your counter or wooden cutting board and knead the dough on top of the floured area until its texture is elastic.

  • Grease a large bowl for the dough to sit in. Baste the dough in melted butter and cover the bowl with a clean, damp towel. Allow it to rise until it has almost doubled in size. This should take about an hour.

  • Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle

  • Mix the filling ingredients together and apply to the top of the dough.

  • Cut the dough into three even strips. Then, roll the strips up and cut them into inch-thick slices.

  • Mix the topping ingredients together except the nuts until smooth.

  • Grease a 13x9 inch pan (multiple square or round pie pans can also be used).

  • Put the topping down into the bottom of the pan evenly. If using nuts, sprinkle them onto the topping.

  • Place the cut rolls on top of the topping in the pan.

  • Cover the pan with the clean, damp town. The rolls will rise again to about double their size.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

  • Let cool for 5-7 minutes. Then, flip the pan over onto a larger dish or parchment paper.


Check it out

This recipe below is taken from the 1934 Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes: Compiled from tried and tested recipes made famous by the early Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania, by Leonard S. Davidow.

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