Whole-Wheat Brown-Sugar Sticky Buns

Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 10 mins

Buttery brown sugar glazes these morning buns and pairs nicely with the hearty nuttiness of whole wheat. For tips on rolling and assembling, see our step-by-step photo guide. Martha made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 808.



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl

  • 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

  • 1 ⅛ teaspoons active dry yeast (from half a ¼-ounce envelope)

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar

  • ½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

  • 1 large egg, beaten


  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

  • ¾ cup packed light-brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

  • ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped


  1. Dough:

    Lightly brush a medium bowl with butter; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flours, wheat germ, yeast, salt, brown sugar, water, egg, and melted butter. Mix on medium-low speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl once, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  2. Filling/Topping:

    Brush a 9-inch round cake pan with butter; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until smooth and fluffy. Spread half of mixture over bottom of pan; sprinkle with half of pecans.

  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. With an offset spatula, spread remaining brown-sugar mixture on top, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Starting at a long edge, roll up dough like a jelly roll, then cut crosswise into 10 pieces. Place pieces in pan cut-side down, spaced evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are just touching and almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake buns until golden brown and topping is bubbling around sides of pan, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. With a serving plate centered over pan, hold plate and pan together and carefully flip over. Lift off pan and scrape out any remaining topping onto buns. Serve immediately. (Assembled, unbaked rolls can be refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature 90 minutes before baking.)

    Jonathan Lovekin
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