Likely the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture…and they’re delicious!

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Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!

Schnecken, which means ‘snails’ in German, are essentially German sticky buns.  Except these cinnamon rolls are topped with a honey + pecan mixture that is so tasty you’ll be scraping up the bits off the bottom of the baking pan!  I first learned about schnecken back in college when a former girlfriend introduced me to these amazing pastries.  She was from Cincinnati, and apparently schnecken are a favorite in the ‘Nati.  This makes perfect sense as German immigrants were among the first people to settle in this part of the country.

Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!

I remember trying to make this recipe way back in college.  I believe it was the Christmas break during my senior year, and I was back home in Raleigh.  I decided to learn how to make schnecken in an effort to impress my girlfriend.  The plan sounded great in theory…until my bowl of yeast blew up in the fridge overnight.  Ok, ‘blow up’ is a strong term.  More like ‘gradually oozed out of the bowl and all over the shelf’ is a better description.  That was my first experiment with yeast, and it wasn’t a good one.

Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!

Schnecken: A German Cinnamon Roll Topped with Honey + Pecans

Not to be dissuaded, I tried this recipe several more times over the years.  What can I say?  I’m a bit stubborn at times.  I’m glad I stuck with this one, though, as this schnecken recipe has become one of my favorites.  Soft, pillow-y bread covered in gooey honey-coated pecans.  Are you hungry yet?  I know I am!

Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!

I took this batch into the curling club, and one of my friends just looked at me with a blank stare when I told him I made a batch of schnecken.  He said (and I quote): “That sounds like something teenagers used to do.”  He’s hilarious.

Even though the yeast monster took over my fridge when I first made this recipe, don’t let that discourage you!  Just make sure you put the dough in a large bowl as it will rise overnight.  Schnecken are a bit unique in that they get refrigerated overnight.  However, in my opinion, that actually makes this recipe easier as you can take care of the dough on Day 1.  Then on Day 2, you just need to roll it out, fill it and then let it rise for an hour.  Trust me when I say the process is worth it!  Cheers, friends!

Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!

Did you make a batch of these Schnecken at home?  Leave a comment!  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).

Looking for more tasty breakfast recipe ideas?  Check out these other favorites:

Cinnamon Rolls without Yeast
Crumb Cake Muffins
Swirled Cinnamon Bread
Mixed Berry Coffee Cake
Blueberry Crumb Donuts

Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!


Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture…and they’re delicious!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Overnight refrigration: 12 hours
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 large schnecken
Calories: 496kcal


For the dough

For the Filling


For the Dough

  • Using a microwave or stovetop, heat the milk until warm to the touch. (Note: The milk should only be warm, not hot.)
  • Using a countertop mixer fitted with dough hook, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt; stir until well combined.
  • Add softened butter, eggs and warm milk; mix on low speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium and mix for 4-5 minutes. Transfer dough into greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

For the Filling

  • The next day, transfer dough to a well-floured countertop and use a rolling pin to roll dough into a large rectangle (12” x 18”).
  • Lightly beat egg with 1 Tbsp of water and brush 1-inch of one of the longer edges with this egg mixture.
  • Brush the rest of the dough evenly with 4 Tbsp of the melted butter. Using a small bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest; mix until well combined. Spread the filling ingredients evenly on top of the melted butter. Sprinkle raisins evenly on top of the sugar mixture.
  • Beginning with the long edge that was not brushed with the egg, roll dough up into a tight cylinder.
  • Using a small bowl, combine the honey, light corn syrup and the remaining 4 Tbsp of melted butter; stir until well combined. Using a pastry brush, brush this mixture evenly onto bottom of a well-greased 9”x13” baking sheet. Spread chopped pecans evenly into bottom of the pan.
  • Cut dough into 1½” slices and place each slice cut-side down into prepared pan. Press dough lightly with hand to help push pecans into dough. Cover pan lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm location for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Remove plastic wrap and bake schnecken for 32-35 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
  • Invert schnecken immediately after baking onto a large plate or aluminum foil. (Note: This step is important! If you don’t invert the schnecken, the topping will stick to the pan instead of the buns.)
Arguably the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture...and they're delicious!

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    1. Oh man, that honey pecan topping! I’m not kidding one bit when I said that I scraped up any leftovers bits out of the pan. 🙂 Thanks, Kelly!

    1. Haha! Schnecken is a fun word to say. I only know about these magical creations thanks to my girlfriend from college…but man, am I glad I discovered them! I found schnecken in a grocery store bakery in Atlanta years ago, and I grabbed the package. It was seriously disappointing. This homemade version is way better! Definitely put this one on the radar, Kathy. I suspect the batch wouldn’t last long in your house!

  1. They’re beautiful! I love cinnamon buns made with yeasted dough. All of our first yeast experiences are so funny. Glad you persisted.

    1. Yeah, that first experience with yeast was a bad one. I had covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and I even put a huge rubberband around it. The yeast grew so much that the rubberband went flying off sometime in the middle of the night. Haha! But now I am a HUGE fan of yeasted cinnamon buns…and bread. Mmm…bread. 🙂 Thanks, Mimi!

  2. 5 stars
    Don’t be mad at me but I’ve always thought that regular cinnamon rolls/buns are a bit boring (Yet delicious). Of course those glazed with a cream cheese frosting are more exciting but not good enough to use up my calory limit. But these bad (good) boys topped with gooey and crunchy honey pecans 100% make the difference. David, pass me a few please – I’m not on a diet today 😉

    1. Oh, I am most certainly mad now, Ben. Cinnamon rolls boring? We can’t be friends anymore. 🙂 Schnecken definitely need to be on your radar, though. That honey pecan topping is seriously worth licking the pan to get it all out!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never made schnecken but they’ve been on my baking list for a long time because A) I love the name, and B) who could resist a sticky bun? These look amazing and I’m moving them up on the list, like to Friday so I can wake up happy on Saturday 🙂

    1. I agree! Schnecken is such a fun word to say. And the good news is they are even more fun to eat than to say! 🙂 Thanks, Kelsie!

  4. 5 stars
    Cinnamon ‘Snails’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it… 😉 Schnecken is such a fun word…and these look almost TOO delicious! I’d definitely be scraping all the goodies from the bottom of the pan.

    Loved your dough blow up story. In her twenties, my mom once left a bowl of dough on the mantle of her fireplace and then went to work, lol. You can imagine what she came home to…

    1. Hahaha! Cinnamon snails just don’t do it for me, either, Marissa. It makes me think of roasted grasshoppers tossed in cinnamon sugar. No thanks! (Even though roasted grasshoppers are apparently gaining in popularity.)

      Oh no! I’m imagining that dough just dripping and oozing off of the mantle. Hilarious! Although I’m sure it was anything but hilarious at the time. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Alexandra! Schnecken are seriously addicting…and seriously awesome for weekend breakfasts. Put one of these on a plate and serve it up with a nice big cup of coffee? Now that’s my idea of a fun morning! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    David, my German grandmother used to make these every Saturday. It was like a ritual, we’d sit down and eat our Schnecken and drink a glass of milk. But it came at a cost, it was my brother and my responsibility to pick up the pecans in her backyard and shell them. That’s why I always buy shelled pecans now. Thanks for the memory.

    1. Oh man, I used to pick up pecans in the backyard, too, Ron! I swear we must be related in some former life. 🙂 I actually miss picking up those pecans. Or perhaps I just miss those days hanging out with my grandparents instead. Either way, I’m glad this recipe took you down memory lane! You should whip up a batch sometime soon! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    David, I’m so glad you persevered inspite of that yeast blow up cos THESE! These look so good – the soft texture inside inspite of the rolling and stuffing looks wonderful! I used to work in a bakery when I was in college and “sticky buns” with caramelized pecans were on the menu and your “schnecken” remind me of those! I kinda like the fact that these proof in a fridge overnight – makes breakfast the next day a lot easier! Happy weekend my friend!

    1. You know, I think Schnecken and Sticky Buns are definitely related. Laura and I are traveling to Germany later this summer, and I’m excited to find Schnecken over there to compare the differences. All I know is this recipe is a keeper! That honey + pecan topping is insanely delicious! Thanks, Shashi! 🙂

    1. Yes! Schnecken and morning coffee go together like Sonny and Cher! (Well, before they broke up and all. Haha.) Thanks, Valentina!

  7. Your schnecken happen to be way better looking and sounding than the ones I’ve had in Germany. What I’ve had there were covered in a light glaze and topped with raisins instead of pecans. Not that they aren’t great, they are but how I love pecans. 😀

    1. So Laura and I are traveling to Germany this summer, and I can’t wait to hunt down some schnecken over there! All I know is this version is insanely delicious! If you make a batch, just know there won’t be many leftovers. 🙂 Thanks, Karen!

        1. We’ve been to Cologne and the Black Forest regions before, and I loved those areas! This year our travels take us along the Elbe river, and then we’ll spend a couple nights in Berlin. I can’t wait!! Thanks, Karen!

  8. 5 stars
    I love that glossy honey pecan nut topping David it looks amazing! Unfortunately I would have to clean out my fridge in order to make this recipe so I’ll save it for when I have a big clean out! Ha Ha Ha! great recipe though. I’d never heard of schnecken before either, despite having been to Germany several times. I’m always enlightened by your recipes thanks! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Neil! I think this recipe should give you an incentive to do that big fridge clean out. 🙂 Laura and I are going to Germany later this summer, and I’m excited to hunt down some schnecken over there!

      1. You mostly find Schnecken filled with raisins and custard or hazelnuts, but not with pecans (they are not very common over here and more on the expensive side). And sometimes not as fluffy but rather crisp and thin. Also fried in donut style filled with apples, depends on the area where you are. So as snails they come in all different styles. And by the way, slugs are called Nacktschnecken (naked snails) 🙂 .
        Have fun Germany where ever you go to.

        1. Hey Ulrike! Thank you so much for dropping in and giving some insight on the German version. I’ve heard that pecans are rather expensive in Europe, so that makes total sense! (On the flip side, hazelnuts are fairly expensive here in the States. I do love them, though!) I’m intrigued about the frying + filling with apples. I’m definitely going to be looking for some good schnecken when we head over there to Germany this summer! We’re doing a river cruise down Elbe finishing up in Berlin for several days. Thanks again for the insight and comment! 🙂

    1. You know, I think most people have at least one story of “when yeast went rogue”! I’m glad I stuck with it, though, as I love making yeasted doughs. Homemade breads and other treats (like these Schnecken) are one of my favorite things to make! Laura and I are heading to Germany later this summer, and you better believe I’ll be on the lookout for Schnecken there!

  9. 5 stars
    Hmmmm…snails, you say? I dunno about that, but these look divine! Never heard of, but they do look something like a cinnamon roll. Considering it’s Friday and the start of the weekend, I could totally go for a couple of these right about now. Extra honey and pecans on mine please 😉 Happy weekend!

    1. What? You don’t wanna dig into a plate of snails? 🙂 So Schnecken are indeed closely related to cinnamon rolls, although I believe this version is a bit more “Americanized” than the German version. Still quite delicious, and the honey + nuts on top is a delicious combo! Thanks, Dawn!

  10. Thank you for this recipe! Schnecken is a staple in Cincinnati bakeries where my husband and I grew up. My kids miss the schnecken Christmas coffee cakes always present during a holiday visit to my parents house. I’m using your recipe to try again as my efforts last year just didn’t pan out.

    1. Ah – the holidays sure are different this year. I hope this schnecken recipe brings some Cincinnati memories to your home, Allison! I haven’t made this recipe in a couple of years, and seeing your comment made me crave it. Perfect for the holidays! I do hope this turns out better than last year’s version. Happy Holidays!

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