Fluffy, sticky, and ultra gooey! These gluten free and keto pecan sticky buns (with yeast!) are nothing short of dreamy!
Gluten Free & Keto Pecan Sticky Buns
Once I nailed a proper keto caramel sauce (you know, with no thickener), I knew sticky buns had to happen right away!
So these are essentially our soft ‘n fluffy cinnamon rolls, with an ultra gooey and sticky caramel-pecan topping. Ahhhh-mazing stuff you guys!
The rolls are fluffy with ultra gooey centers, and have that awesome (and incomparable!) yeast kick. I did notice, however, that when baked with the caramel the rolls fluff up a bit less (but nothing detrimental really).
The caramel-pecan topping is also a real treat guys! The caramel (surprisingly!) reduces quite well; which means that you end up with a glorious sticky mess. My guess here is that how much it reduces will vary a bit form oven to oven. For instance, mine runs suuuper hot from the bottom so it ended up almost candy-like.
Either way, these sticky buns will honestly make you question if they’re actually low carb! That good.
You might be surprised, but making these keto sticky buns is incredibly simple really. But, like with any yeasted bread, it does require you take care of a few details to ensure the best possible outcome.
And the one thing to keep in mind is that your rolls will likely fall slightly post bake. Blame it on the lack of starch (keto flours are notoriously heavy and moist) and certain missing proteins (think gluten). Just keep in mind that I’m baking at ridiculously high altitude here, so if mine got a good rise- odds are yours will be even better!
You just must ensure your rolls do almost double in size while proofing. And this dough requires a little extra warmth. For instance, I place my tray on top of my oven as I heat it up (so my tray gets slightly warm and they rise beautifully). But you must ensure you don’t overheat them or you’ll kill the yeast. Think a warm and humid day at the beach, that’s the ideal temperature.
Before ‘n after rise
The Tips ‘N Tricks
The yeast in this low carb and keto bread ensures a wonderful texture and taste. Now, how much your bread will rise (and fall!) post-bake depends quite a bit on your altitude. But note that you still won’t get that gummy and wet texture here of most low carb breads. Plus, as mentioned, I’m baking at over 7,000 feet (Mexico City here!!), so if we can make this keto buns work so can you.
Weigh your ingredients. This will forever be a staple recommendation for any sort of gluten free baking here at gnom-gnom. As aside from leading to less dirty dishes, it will ensure consistent results time and time again. Remember that gluten free (and particularly keto) baking is notoriously finicky, and measuring by cups is anything but accurate. And if you don’t own a baking scale, measure with cups by dropping the ingredients onto them rather than scooping them out (which often leads to overpacking).
Ingredients at room temperature. Self explanatory really, but incredibly important (particularly for the eggs). If you add cold eggs to the mix your bread simply won’t rise much (if at all).
Proof the yeast. This involves mixing dry active yeast with water that’s just warm to touch (between 105-110°F to be precise) and inulin or an actual sugar (think maple syrup or honey) for 7 minutes until foamy. And before you scream sugar (!!) remember that the yeast will feed on such sugar to emit carbon dioxide, so it doesn’t affect the carb count. And yes, this is a scientific fact.
Avoid abrupt temperature changes and air drafts. Like with any yeast bread, you need to cuddle your dough. Make sure it’s able to rest undisturbed in a warm space.
Baking at high altitude? Yup, so am I (Paola here!!). No changes need to be done here!
The Ingredients & Possible Subs
These keto pecan sticky buns do have quite a few ingredients, but you’ll find that most are staple paleo and keto pantry ingredients. In the list below you’ll find details on several ingredients and possible subs. But if possible, please do try and make this recipe without any subs.
Also do note that a dairy free and paleo version is totally doable with these guys! And while my heart will forever be with butter, I’ve made this dough with ghee and coconut oil and they’re both delicious on their own right.
Almond flour. You truly need a super finely ground almond flour here, as if you use meal your rolls will turn out dense and oily. Super fine almond flour brands include Anthony’s , WellBees and Bob’s.
Now if paleo, or in keto maintenance, you can lighten up the bread even more by substituting part of the almond flour (6 tablespoons) with arrowroot flour.
Golden flaxseed meal. You’ll want to use golden flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s), and regrind the flakes in your (very dry!) bullet or blender until finely powdered. Great way to avoid slimy bread. You can substitute the flaxseed meal with psyllium husk powder (NOW brand as it doesn’t turn bread purple), but do note you’ll get more whole wheat results (delicious though!).
Whey protein isolate. This one is an absolute must, as it will ensure your bread doesn’t collapse post-bake. Keep in mind that this ingredient varies tremendously from brand to brand, and I’ve only tried (and are super happy!) with Isopure’s Zero Carb Unflavored. Update: I’ve since tried this grass-fed whey protein isolate and it also works the charm (a bit pricier, but undoubtedly higher quality)!
Xanthan gum. Borrowed from molecular cooking, xanthan gum is the binding agent which makes your toothpaste jelly-like (and your cream cheese, well cream cheese-like). And it’s also the most common gluten-replacer in gluten free baking. And while we do prefer the results with it, you can sub it with psyllium husk.
Now, the powdered ginger helps to condition the dough to get an even nicer rise. Though note that you can skip it without too much detriment to the final results.
(Important note!) I recently made the connection (while at the dentist!) that xylitol inhibits yeast and bacteria growth (which is why it’s the sweetener of choice for dental products). So don’t use xylitol!!
Oh, and ‘brown sugar’ subs (such as Lakanto’s golden) work great here too. Or you can make your own by adding a hint of blackstrap molasses!
Gluten Free & Keto Pecan Sticky Buns
Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion. Though for best results we (highly!!) suggest you weight your ingredients here.
For the gluten free & keto rolls
- 58 g sour cream or coconut cream + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water lukewarm between 105-110°F
- 1 tablespoon inulin or maple sirup, honey, to feed the yeast*
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- pinch ground ginger optional (to help proof the yeast)
- 216 g almond flour **
- 45 g golden flaxseed meal or 5 TBSP psyllium husk, finely ground***
- 35 g whey protein isolate
- 4-6 tablespoons erythritol or allulose, to taste
- 2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 21 g unsalted grass-fed butter or ghee/coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- See recipe video of the cinnamon rolls for guidance (we're making the same type keto dough), and check out the post for deets, tips and possible subs!
For the caramel-pecan topping
- Line with parchment paper the bottom of a 9x9 pan. Set aside. Prepare a work station for rolling up your buns by placing a 9x9-inch place of cling film (saran wrap) on the counter. Leave handy a small bowl with water (to wet your fingers) and a touch of oil to spread the dough (avocado works great here).
- Scatter pecans onto prepared pan, make a batch of our caramel sauce and pour on top. Set aside while you make the rolls.
For the gluten free & keto sticky buns
- Mix sour cream, water and inulin (or maple syrup) to feed the yeast in a small bowl. Heat up over a water bath to 105-110°F. And if you don't have a thermometer it should only feel lightly warm to touch.
- Add yeast and a dash of ginger to a large bowl. Pour lightly warm sour cream mixture over yeast, cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 7 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly, if it isn't start again (too cold water won't activate the yeast and too hot will kill it).
- Mix your flours while the yeast is proofing. Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, whey protein powder, sweetener, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
- Once your yeast is proofed, add in the eggs, lightly cooled melted butter (you don't want to scramble the eggs or kill the yeast!) and vinegar. Mix with an electric mixer for a a minute or so until fully mixed. Add the flour mixture in one go, mixing quickly until thoroughly incorporated. The dough will become very sticky, so you want to work quickly to get it mixed properly. Use a wet spatula to gather the dough into a ball.
- Divide the dough in 3 so you work in batches, important if you've never worked with this dough (you can roll it all in one go after you get some practice!). Lightly oil the piece of cling film and place dough on top, spreading it with your wet fingertips onto a roughly 7.5x9-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to taste, leaving a 1 inch at the top untouched. Using the cling film as an aid, roll the dough as tightly as you can and sealing the edge with your wet fingertips. Carefully wet the blade of a sharp knife and cut into three if you divided the dough in thirds. Turn the rolls and lightly press them down with your palm.
- Transfer the rolls to prepared pan with caramel-pecan topping. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm draft-free space for 50-60 minutes until the dough has almost doubled in size. How long it takes depends on your altitude, temperature and humidity- so keep an eye out for it every 15 minutes or so.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C while the dough is proofing.
- Place the pan on top of a baking tray and transfer gently into the oven. Bake for 22-30 minutes until deep golden, covering with a loose foil dome as soon as they begin to brown. Just be sure that the foil isn't resting directly on them. You can do less baking time for gooey-er rolls and longer for more bready ones.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes and invert onto a serving plate (and enjoy!)