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Easy Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls have been a family favorite for years! Simple to make with frozen bread dough and they are overnight cinnamon rolls, which means you can make them ahead of time. Brown sugar cinnamon rolls topped with a homemade gooey caramel sauce and chopped pecans. You won’t need any yeast for this easy cinnamon roll recipe!
For more cinnamon roll goodness be sure and try out my easy cinnamon roll casserole and these cinnamon roll muffins.
Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
My family loves cinnamon rolls but I don’t love waking up at the crack of dawn to make cinnamon rolls with a yeast dough and all the rising time. Which is why we LOVE these caramel pecan cinnamon rolls because you prep them the night before, refrigerate overnight, and then bake in the morning.
I am not the best baker when it comes to yeast so if you want an easy, no-fail cinnamon roll recipe then you need to try these!
Brown sugar cinnamon rolls that start with frozen bread dough, and topped with a gooey homemade caramel and chopped pecans.
What You’ll Need
Thanks to the frozen bread dough, the list of ingredients needed is pretty short!
- Frozen Bread Loaves : I use the Rhodes brand of frozen bread loaves. Thaw according to package directions but do not let the dough rise. Just thaw it.
- Powdered Sugar + Heavy Cream : This is what creates that gooey caramel sauce. Trust me, it’s delicious!
- Pecans : You need 1 cup of chopped pecans for this recipe. Chop them small or leave them larger depending on preference.
- Brown Sugar : I use light brown sugar in this recipe.
- Ground Cinnamon
- Melted Butter : I use salted butter but unsalted butter can be used if that’s what you prefer.
How To Make Easy Overnight Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
See how easy it is to make these caramel pecan cinnamon rolls! Be sure and watch the recipe video down below if you want a visual on how to make these.
Caramel : Combine the powdered sugar and heavy cream. It will be a thick paste, which is normal. Spread into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
Pecans : Sprinkle pecans over the thick paste you just spread.
Cinnamon Rolls : Unroll the thawed bread dough. In a small bowl combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Working with one bread loaf at a time, spread half of the brown sugar mixture. Repeat with the other bread loaf. Roll up the dough starting at the longer side. Cut each log into 8 pieces. Place the 16 cinnamon rolls on top of the pecans in the baking dish. Do 4 rows of cinnamon rolls with 4 in each row.
Overnight : Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap, that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, and refrigerate overnight.
Morning : Let the baking dish sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before baking in the morning. Bake according to recipe instructions below. Invert the cinnamon rolls onto a large platter or serving tray (you can also use a cutting board). Serve warm!
Tips For Success
Here are a few of my most helpful tips that will help you make this recipe in your own kitchen.
- Dry Cinnamon Rolls? : Don’t be alarmed if the top of the cinnamon rolls look dry and plain when you take it out of the oven. Once you flip those cinnamon rolls over, the gooey caramel and pecan pieces will fall into the cinnamon rolls and the top will actually become the bottom of the cinnamon rolls.
- Use Heavy Cream : I have never used a substitute for the heavy cream in this recipe so I can’t recommend anything to replace it. You want that richness and luscious texture that heavy cream offers.
- Thawing Bread Dough : Make sure that you plan ahead and thaw the bread loaves before you make the cinnamon rolls. Because these are overnight rolls, I will thaw the bread dough (using the refrigerater method that’s listed on the package) the morning of and then I will prepare the rolls that night. Don’t let the bread dough rise at all. You just want it thawed. It takes about 4-5 hours in the fridge. Be sure and cover the bread dough with plastic wrap while it’s thawing.
- How To Flip The Cinnamon Rolls : The key to this recipe is inverting, or flipping over the cinnamon rolls, before serving. To do this you can use a large cutting board or serving platter. Flip the baking dish over onto the serving platter or tray. You can either just turn the baking dish over onto the platter or tray, or place the serving tray on top of the baking dish and turn both the baking dish and tray upside down. The baking dish will end up on top and you can just take it off. Then the rolls will pull-apart for serving.
- Chopped Pecans : Chop these as small as you want or leave them larger if you want more texture in the cinnamon rolls. I use finely chopped pecans as I like the smaller bits of pecan mixed in with the caramel.
- Morning Tip : The baking dish needs to sit out at room temperature in the morning for 1 hour before baking. Plan ahead and don’t skip this step! The dish needs to come closer to room temperature and the dough will soften up slightly for baking.
I love to serve these cinnamon rolls for a relaxing weekend breakfast, when we have guests over, or my kids will usually request them for a birthday morning treat or on Christmas morning.
Serve with some scrambled eggs and bacon for a sweet & savory breakfast.
You can also make this sausage breakfast casserole to serve alongside these cinnamon rolls. I love the sweet and savory when it comes to a fancy breakfast for the weekend or a Holiday.
Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls FAQ’s
- Can I Use a Different Nut Besides Pecans?
- Yes, of course you can! Walnuts or even almonds are good substitutes. Although I am very partial to the pecan in this recipe because it really is the best! You can also use some mixed nuts if you want some variety.
- How Do I Store Leftovers?
- Store leftover cinnamon rolls at room temperature in an air-tight container. We rarely have leftovers and if we do they are only around for like a day. If you’re keeping leftovers longer than a day, then I would store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Warm up the cinnamon roll in the microwave if stored in the fridge.
- Can I Freeze Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls?
- Yes you can freeze these cinnamon rolls. I have never frozen these but I think it would work just fine. Prepare according to the recipe but instead of refrigerating overnight, tightly wrap the baking dish in tin foil. I like to do a double layer of plastic wrap and then a double layer of tin foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw the baking dish in the fridge. Let the rolls sit out at room temperature for 1 hour prior to baking. Bake according to directions below.
- How Do I Thaw Frozen Bread Loaves?
- The package comes with instructions for thawing, but here is what I do. Place the frozen bread loaves into a large loaf pan (I use a 9×5) or you can just put the loaves on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray (the side that will touch the bread loaves). Place in the refrigerator and let thaw for 4-5 hours. You don’t want the dough to rise at all, you just want it thawed but still cold.
Supplies You Need
Here are a couple supplies that you will need to make these easy overnight caramel pecan cinnamon rolls. These are an affiliate link, meaning that if you purchase, I will make a very small percentage from the sale. As always, I appreciate the support for the free recipes I post. I will only recommend things that I personally own and love! Promise.
9×13 Baking Dish : I love this bakeware from USA Brand. I own several of them and they are perfect!
Ceramic Baking Dish : I love to use pretty ceramic baking dishes when I make cinnamon rolls. I love the colors of these ones.
Rolling Pin : This is just a classic rolling pin that does the job.
Nut Chopper : One of my favorite kitchen tools ever! I can’t say enough good things about this. Easy to chop any kind of nut into small or large pieces.
Easy Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup pecans coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 frozen white bread dough loaves thawed
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. It will be a thick paste, which is normal. Spread into the baking dish using a spoon or spatula.
- Sprinkle pecans over top.
- Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl, set aside.
- On a surface, sprayed with cooking spray & lightly floured, roll out 1 loaf into a rectangle [roughly the same size as the 9x13 pan]. Pour half of the butter onto the dough and spread it out. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the butter.* You may need to let the thawed dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make it softer and easier to roll out.
- Roll up the dough [roll up from the longer side of the rectangle shape, not the shorter sides] and cut dough roll into 8 pieces. Place each piece in the pan on top of the pecans. Do 4 rows of 4 cinnamon rolls in each row.
- Repeat with the 2nd loaf of bread.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray [the part of the plastic wrap that touches the rolls].
- Leave in fridge overnight. In the morning, let the baking dish sit out, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
- Let the baking dish cool for 5 minutes.
- Carefully take your pan and turn it upside down, over a serving platter or cutting board, and serve warm.
Did You Make This Recipe?
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This recipe has been updated with better pictures and more helpful text in November 2021. Recipe is the same and has not changed. Old photo below.
Did you love this recipe?
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Recipe make two pans of cinnamon rolls or just one 9 by 13 pan?
Hi Carole. Yes, the recipe is for one 9×13 pan 🙂
Do you know if you can make plain cinnamon rolls using this dough hubby doesn’t like Carmel or nuts
This dough should work really well for plain cinnamon rolls.
Greetings! Do you whip the cream and powdered sugar first?
Nope 🙂 Just mix it together as is. Easy peasy! Hope you enjoy.
What makes the caramel without Brown sugar in the bottom mix?
It’s not a true caramel but as it cooks it turns into this caramel color and becomes thick and sticky, and sweet. So it is like caramel but if you’re comparing ingredients then no it’s not a true caramel without the brown sugar. I hope you enjoy this if you decide to try it.
I tried this recipe this weekend and was disappointed to say the least. The recipe should include brown sugar, instead of powdered, because without it you do not get the sticky carmelization like in the photo. I even baked mine for extra time, and still no brown, sticky layer. The bottom of my rolls were very raw, even after 45 min in the oven! I ended up making a caramel glaze with brown sugar, pouring over the top, then broiling for a few min. just to get the glaze without overcooking my rolls.
Oh no! I am so sorry these disappointed you. I literally just made these the other day for family that is in town for Christmas. I honestly have no idea why they would not have cooked for you…..as far as the carmelization that the picture shows, that is what mine always look like using the recipe as written. Again, so sorry! Thank you for coming back to leave your feedback 🙂
sounds like your oven rack was to high, Try lowering the rack to put more heat on the bottom of the pan.
Doubled the topping in pan, and used dark brown sugar instead of powdered sugar. So 2/3 heavy whipping cream, about 1-1.5 cups brown sugar, and 2 cups of chooped pecans. Rolls were tricky rolling out, they didn’t want to change shape… lol. So they look more like mini cinnamon rolls right now. Baking for holiday family brunch in the morning. Camt wait to try them! Would post pix if I knew how….. tech dumb
Can you substitute half and half for the whipping cream. That’s just what I have on hand.
Sorry my recipe is so late. I’ve never used anything other than the heavy cream so I can’t say for sure. It seems like it would be ok.
Made them today awesome. I just need to bake a little more inside was a bit doughy but very good.
Oh darn. Yea, the bake time can vary. I always cover mine loosely with foil on he last 5-10 minutes so that way the rolls cook but the top does not brown. So glad you liked them. I made them for Christmas too ☺️
Made them for Christmas and making them again this weekend for overnight guests. Delicious and easy!!! Thank you for this great recipe!
So glad to hear! We just had family here and I made them too….. I only got one so I think I need to make them again, haha 🙂 Thanks for coming back to let me know. Enjoy!
Is there an alternative to heavy whipping cream? My family is lactose intolerant and dairy free. Thanks!
Not that I know of. I’m sure there is something but I know nothing about substituting ingredients for lactose intolerant. Sorry! ?
do you have to wait overnight, why, then bake? can i bake right away?
That’s a good question. I’ve never tried baking them right away. As the rolls sit in the fridge overnight they rise so I would guess that’s the reason you need to keep them in the fridge overnight.
Looks so yummy! And easy! If I were to bake these and save them, serving as a dessert item, would they be ok sitting out on the counter for a few hours or would they need to be refrigerated?
I leave them out on the counter and they’re just fine 🙂
I haven’t made them yet, but do you always put them in refrigerator overnight? Just wondered if I could leave them on counter overnight to rise?
I always put it in the fridge. I probably would not leave it out on the counter because it has heavy cream in it. When you take it out of the fridge, you let it sit at room temperature for a but for it to rise. I’ve never made it any other way than the recipe listed so I just can’t say for sure.
can these be made ahead and then frozen? wanting to make for a wedding party and wont have time to make them the morning of…
I have never tried freezing these so I can’t say for sure. I would imagine they would freeze ok but then again sometimes dairy does not freeze well (from my experience) and the rolls have the heavy cream for the caramel base. This recipe is an overnight recipe so all you have to do is set them out in the morning for 1 hour before baking and then cook. There is no prep work or cooking time needed the morning you want these. Let me know if you have more questions and I hope that helps.
All I see is Rhodes frozen with 5 loaves. How big are the loaves?
I find them in a 3 pack at my grocery store. I just use 2 of them. So use 2 of the 5 loaves in the pack.
Worked great with some leftover bread dough. Used a pie pan as it was not a huge amount of dough, but it was amazing to watch the video to get a visual on how the whipped cream and powdered sugar looked. Sprinkled with some pecans and rolled the dough up and sure enough, after leaving alone for 5 min after they were done, delicious gooey pecan rolls. still good at RT after 5 hours.
I will do this after i make my own dough and enjoy another batch on a snowy day.
Re: Overnight cinnamon rolls. Wondering if I could make them two nights in advance or maybe they would raise too much?
I have never tried this so I can’t say for sure, but my best guess is that they would rise too much if left in the fridge for two nights before baking.
I’m excited to try these ! The last overnight rolls I made were growing out of the pan when I got up that morning! Lol I will let you know how they turn out.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for posting and sharing this recipe! I made it exactly as the recipe says, and my family loved them this morning!❤
Oh yay!! So happy to hear this. We love these too!
I see that you mix the brown sugar and set aside. I don’t see what to do with it.
I just went and double checked the recipe and it does say to add the ‘cinnamon & sugar mix’ over top the rolled out dough, just like you would with cinnamon rolls.
So good and easy to make! Family loved them! I followed the recipe exactly – they turned out perfect!
Oh my goodness, I am so happy reading this. Thank you for letting me know and I am so glad your family loved these.
Do you really need to let them rise for a hole hour in the morning? Would it be ok to do it sooner?
Yes they need to rise for 1 hour. They have to come to room temperature from being in the fridge all night.
Why not use the Rhodes cinnamon rolls rather than bred dough.
You could try using those. This recipe just calls for the bread dough cause you rub some cinnamon sugar mixture on top of it.
These are our second year making these for Christmas! Love them! And so easy to make….well, except for rolling the dough. But quite funny to see my husband’s reaction trying to roll out dough for it to quickly return to original shape. I have learned how to make it stretch with leaving it out per your tip. You know you have a delicious recipe when your 12 yo son asks if we can make these for Christmas morning every year!
I love hearing this! And yes rolling out the dough can be funny & tricky sometimes, haha 🙂 So happy to hear your family loves these. I made them for Christmas too.
Can I just make 1/2 with one loaf and bake in a pie plate or 9″ cake pan?
Yes, that should work just fine.
These turned out amazing! Made them exactly as the recipe states and everyone loves them. Even dropped some off on the porch for my neighbor and her family as she is a respiratory therapist working during the pandemic. Love how easy the recipe is.
What a kind thing to do! Thanks so much for your comment and review of the recipe. I appreciate it.
I want to make breakfast for dinner. I would prep in the morning and then let it sit all day in the fridge until I’m ready to bake at dinner time. How long do they technically need to sit in the fridge? 8 hours or so? Or less? Thanks!
If they are in the fridge for 8 hours then that is just fine. So maybe make them early in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day.
I made these with the Rhodes frozen cinnamon rolls and they were good, but the caramel was pale and missing the flavor of the brown sugar (the Rhodes rolls either don’t have it in the filling out not enough). I think next time I’ll add a small amount of molasses and some vanilla to the whipping cream/powdered sugar mixture to try to get closer to a traditional caramel flavor. Overall though, what an easy shortcut to caramel rolls! I’m also thinking letting them sit longer before flipping over may help the caramel stay on top of the rolls as mine mostly soaked into the roll. The family and company still loved them! Thanks for sharing your recipe!
Oh my gosh, these were by far the best sticky buns I have ever had! Followed the recipe exactly with the exception of the Rhodes bread (store didn’t have) so I opted for Pillsbury refrigerated French bread. My topping came out perfect and will definitely make these again.
I made 2 batches of these (1 with and 1 without pecans) for a going away party at work. They were a huge hit. I’ve been asked to bring them every Thursday! Yikes. haha. Several people at work and from my facebook post have asked for the recipe. These are better than the rolls at some of the popular restaurants in my town. Delicious! Thank you for this recipe! <3
I made this for Christmas morning. So so easy and so so good! Definitely will be a new tradition for us.
I added raisins before I rolled them up. Turned out perfectly, just like the picture.
So happy to hear the recipe turned out good! Merry Christmas!
Can I use Rhodes frozen cinnamon rolls for this recipe
I’ve never done that myself but I think it would work! Let me know how it turns out if you try it!