The Surprising Ingredient In Ree Drummond's Sticky Buns Recipe

Ree Drummond, the culinary star known as The Pioneer Woman, is famous for her simple, family-friendly meals. Her recipes are the type of comfort food that tastes as good as curling up on the couch after a long day feels. But just because she makes classic dishes doesn't mean they're boring: Drummond brings a little extra something to everything she makes.

Take her sticky bun recipe shared by Food Network, for example. In an episode of her show, Drummond showed just how to make the recipe and said she was going to "pull out all the stops" (via Showbiz Cheatsheet). It's got all the things you'd expect to find in these delicious, gooey pastries — butter, brown sugar, and vanilla — but it's also got one unique ingredient that may surprise even the most dedicated comfort food fan. 

But what is the special twist she adds that makes all the difference?

Ree Drummond uses a little whiskey

While making the smear and base of her recipe, Ree Drummond dumped all of the usual suspects into her mixer, including a pound of butter, brown sugar, salt, and honey. Then, she threw in her special touch — a tablespoon of whiskey (via Food Network). The dark alcohol is used to give the buns a deeper flavor, per Showbiz Cheatsheet.

While whiskey may be a surprising ingredient in sticky buns, fans of The Pioneer Woman might not be that shocked. Drummond actually cooks with whiskey in several dishes. It's included in the bread pudding she shared on her website. She tops her pumpkin cake with whiskey whipped cream, according to Food Network. She's even got a seasonal hard sauce recipe with only three ingredients, one of which is the alcohol (via The Pioneer Woman).

As Chef Mark Greenway explained to The Guardian, whiskey "adds bite to traditional recipes." Maybe with that context, it's not surprising at all that someone like Drummond would use the dark flavors to spice up all some old favorites.