Buttermilk and Honey Buns

March 8, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Keep in mind you don't have to bake all 32 buns at once. The dough can be divided up into four 1-pound portions. What you do not use right away can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use.

If you freeze the dough, let it thaw (covered) in the refrigerator overnight before use. You can also pre-assemble the buns, cover them tightly, and freeze them. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before use. If you freeze either the dough or pre-assembled buns, leave yourself some extra time for them to rise before baking (the amount of time will depend on how warm your kitchen is).

Another option is to assemble the buns completely, cover and refrigerate them for up to 3 days until you are ready to bake. Again, leave yourself extra time for the buns to rise before you start baking. A nice way to speed up the rising process is to place the covered buns in an oven (that is turned off, obviously!) on the middle rack with a pan of hot water on the rack beneath them. A little facial before they go to the tanning bed...? Okay, that's not the best comparison :)

(Dough recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Samantha Ardry

Food52 Review: This is a solid cinnamon bun recipe. It came together easily and I liked that honey was used in both the dough and the glaze. The honey schmear topping was sweet but not too overpowering and was a nice complement to the bun. The dough was sweet and tender and very easy to work with. I definitely liked the recipe but not over the moon. Good but just not outstanding. However, this recipe works well and if you are a sucker for sweet buns, this will definitely do the trick.Anna Francese Gass

Makes: 32 small buns


For the dough:

  • 6 ounces honey
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 33 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 14 ounces lukewarm buttermilk, shaken well
  • 4 large eggs

For the filling and topping:

  • 27 1/2 ounces light or dark brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 3/4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ounces honey
  • 0.30 ounces baking soda
  • 3 ounces water
In This Recipe


  1. For the dough, melt the honey and butter together and let cool a bit.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, salt, yeast, buttermilk and eggs in that order. Add the melted honey and butter. On the lowest speed, mix until everything is just combined to form a sticky dough. You can also do this easily by hand because you don't want to knead the dough, just mix it.
  3. Let the dough rest in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a towel for about 2 hours at a cool room temperature.
  4. At this point, you can assemble and bake the buns, but the dough really gains a lot by having some rest time in the refrigerator overnight. It is also a little easier to work with the following day, after refrigeration. You can pre-assemble the buns before you cover them and put them in the fridge, or you can assemble them the following day. See the headnote for additional instructions.
  5. For the filling, combine 15 ounces of the brown sugar with the cinnamon and mix well. Set aside.
  6. For the topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and the 12 1/2 ounces of remaining brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the honey and baking soda and beat until combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the water to form a loose paste. Keep the smear at room temperature.
  7. For the assembly: Depending on how many buns you are baking at once, you can bake them in many different sizes of pans. If you are only baking 8 at a time, an 8-inch cake pan works well. Just make sure the sides of the pan you use are only about 1 1/2-inches high.
  8. Lightly grease whatever pan you've chosen with butter or spray, then spread about 6 or 7 ounces of the brown sugar and honey smear on the bottom of the pan for every 8 buns you bake. Feel free to sprinkle some toasted nuts on the smear if your heart desires.
  9. When you are ready to bake the buns, remove the dough from the refrigerator (if you let it chill overnight) and divide it into approximately four 1-pound portions. Each portion will yield 8 buns so at this point, you can bake as many buns as you'd like. Let the dough warm up for about 30 minutes if it has been in the fridge. Lightly flour your workstation and roll each 1-pound portion into a rectangle that is approximately 12- by 15-inches big.
  10. Each 1-pound portion of dough will need about 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and cinnamon filling. Spread the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough, leaving about a 1-inch border all around. Beginning in the upper right or left hand corner, roll the rectangle up like a jelly roll -- you want the log to be snug but not too tight. When you reach the bottom edge, pinch it to seal the filling inside.
  11. Divide the log into 8 equal buns and place them face up in the pan with smear. Pat them down lightly so they are touching. Cover the buns with a clean towel and let them rise in a warm spot for around1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. The buns should about double in size before you bake them. Near the end of the rising time, preheat a conventional oven to 350° F.
  12. Place the pan(s) of buns on a sheet tray (you can also place a sheet tray on the rack below the buns) -- the buns might bubble over a bit! Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a bun comes out without raw dough attached. Using your oven mitts, immediately invert the buns into a clean pan or plate. Let them cool slightly and serve.

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