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Monkey Bread

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Monkey bread is a sweet and ooey breakfast or dessert made from tiny dough balls rolled in cinnamon sugar, drenched in brown sugar sauce, and baked in a Bundt pan. Every bite tastes like the warm, gooey middle of a fresh cinnamon roll!

Easy Homemade Monkey Bread

Monkey bread is made up of fluffy dough balls bursting with cinnamon sugar, baked in a Bundt pan (yes, it’s as irresistible as it sounds). Every bite tastes like the soft center of a gooey homemade cinnamon roll. Serve monkey bread pull-apart style topped with a drizzle of vanilla glaze and watch it disappear from the plate. This sweet breakfast or dessert is the best excuse for sticky fingers!

Why You’ll Love This Monkey Bread Recipe

  • Sweet and gooey. Monkey bread is the shareable version of a sticky cinnamon roll. Each piece is warm, spiced, and oozing with melted sugar.
  • Easy to assemble. The homemade dough takes a bit of rising time, and after that, the monkey bread comes together in a snap. Add your cinnamon roll bites to a Bundt pan, and drench them in buttery sugar sauce before baking. 
  • Made for sharing. Bake this easy monkey bread recipe for a special occasion, or serve it at your next weekend breakfast or brunch. It’s the perfect sharing-style treat!

What Is It Called Monkey Bread?

Monkey bread is a type of sweet Bundt cake made from small balls of dough coated in cinnamon sugar. It’s served pull-apart style, where everyone uses their hands to tear off a piece, just like monkeys pick at their food!

Ingredients for monkey bread.

Ingredient Notes

Here you’ll find some quick notes on some of the ingredients you’ll need to make this classic homemade monkey bread. You’ll find a printable ingredients list in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Milk – Whole milk is best, but you can use 2% milk also.
  • Instant Yeast – Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast doesn’t need to be activated in water water beforehand. This is a quick-rise recipe, so active yeast cannot be used.
  • Cinnamon – You’ll toss the dough balls in cinnamon sugar before adding them to the pan. It’s easy to make with ground cinnamon and granulated sugar. Other spice options are nutmeg or pumpkin spice. 
  • Brown Sugar – Combined with butter and vanilla extract for the sugar sauce. You can use dark or light brown sugar. Granulated sugar won’t work in the sauce.
  • Powdered Sugar – You’ll use powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar), milk, and vanilla to make a simple vanilla glaze to drizzle over the finished monkey bread.
  • Pecans – Optional, but I love garnishing my monkey bread with a sprinkle of chopped pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds.

How to Make Monkey Bread

Homemade monkey bread starts with a quick rich dough, prepared with milk, eggs, and butter, similar to my 1-hour cinnamon rolls recipe. Below is a step-by-step overview of what you can expect. Scroll down to the recipe card for printable instructions.

Homemade Monkey Bread Dough

  • Prepare the milk and butter. First, heat the milk in the microwave to (110°F-120°F) and dissolve sugar in warm milk. Then melt the butter in the microwave.
  • Combine the dough ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, yeast included. Add the melted butter, egg, and milk to the dry mixture, beating on low speed until combined.
  • Prepare the dough. Up the speed on your mixer and beat for about 5 minutes, until the dough comes together. It may stick to the sides of the bowl a little, and that’s fine.
  • Rest. Next, turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead it by hand into a soft, pliable ball. Let the dough rest somewhere warm for 15-20 minutes.
  • Portion the dough. Once the dough has rested, divide it into 40-50 small balls. I like to cut it into strips, then cut it into smaller pieces and roll together.
  • Coat with cinnamon sugar. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a large Ziploc bag. Working in batches, add the balls to the bag and toss to coat.
  • Assemble and rise. Arrange the coated dough balls inside a well-greased 10-cup Bundt pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and return it to a warm spot to rise. After about an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.

Brown Sugar Sauce and Glaze

  • Make the sugar sauce. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan and bring to boul. Stir in vanilla once it boils. Pour the hot sugar sauce over the risen dough balls.
  • Bake. Place the Bundt pan on a lined baking sheet to catch any overflow. Bake at 350ºF for 35-40 minutes.
  • Flip. Let the bread rest for 5 minutes once it’s out of the oven, then invert it onto a large plate. Don’t wait too long, otherwise it might get stuck in the pan.
  • Finish with glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. After the monkey bread has cooled a little, drizzle over the glaze. Garnish with pecans if you’d like, and serve while it’s still warm and gooey!
A spoon drizzling vanilla glaze over monkey bread on a white plate.

Recipe and Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re new to working with yeasted dough, it can seem a little intimidating! But don’t worry, with a few helpful tips, you’ll be enjoying this monkey bread in no time:

  • Fix sticky dough. If your dough is too sticky before you go to knead it, sprinkle in more flour, a little at a time, until it forms a ball that’s easier to handle.
  • My pan is too full, help! After rising, the dough should be about 1” from the top of the pan. If the dough balls have risen too much, pluck out a few to set aside. You can bake these separately for a special treat.
  • Why is my dough not rising? Make sure to use fresh yeast (check those expiration dates!), and also check that the milk is not heated past 120ºF. High temperatures kill off the yeast, and the dough won’t rise.
  • Place the dough somewhere warm to rise. If your kitchen is too cold, it will take a long time for the dough to rise. If needed, place the bowl in the oven with a light on. Add boiling water to a hot pan, and place this in the bottom of the oven. Just make sure to remove the dough and the pan before you preheat the oven!
  • Place the bundt pan on a baking tray. This keeps any overflow from dripping into the bottom of the oven while the monkey bread bakes. For even easier cleanup, line the pan with parchment paper or foil.
  • Press any puffed-up dough back into the pan. If your Bundt pan looks very full after 30 minutes in the oven, use a large spoon to gently push the dough down into the pan. Continue to bake until done, about another 10 minutes. Don’t do this before the 30-minute mark, otherwise the dough will deflate.
  • Invert the monkey bread after 5 minutes. If monkey bread sits for too long in the pan, the caramel can set and make it very difficult to get out. Use a plate that is larger in diameter than your Bundt pan, place it firmly over top, and flip.

Close up of baked monkey bread on a white plate.

Common Questions

How do I know when monkey bread is done?

It can be tricky to know what’s going on inside that Bundt pan, but there are ways to tell when your monkey bread is done. Most monkey bread is done baking when the outside of the dough is puffed and deep golden brown, and the sugar sauce is bubbling at the edges. 

My monkey bread is stuck in the pan, what do I do? 

Don’t panic! First, try lifting just one side of the inverted Bundt pan, and give the top a firm thump with your hand. The monkey bread should pop right out. If it’s still stuck, pop the bread back in the oven for 5 minutes. This will help soften the caramel on the outside of the pan, enough so that the bread releases.

What can I use if I don’t have a bundt pan? 

If you don’t have a bundt pan, you can still enjoy a delicious batch of pull-apart monkey bread. Instead, divide the dough between 2 round cake pans and bake at 350ºF. The baking time will be shorter, so check the bread at 20 minutes. 

Close up of a hand pulling a piece of monkey bread free from the rest of the bread.

Recipe Variations

What other flavors go well with monkey bread? So many! Feel free to play around with different spices and add-ins. Try these ideas:

  • Spice. Swap out the ground cinnamon for cardamom, nutmeg, or all-spice.
  • Citrus zest. Orange zest makes for a delicious twist (add it in with the cinnamon sugar). You can also try lemon zest.
  • Nuts. Chopped pecans or walnuts are a great add-in to this bread. Just sprinkle them in as you add the sugar-coated dough balls to the Bundt pan. As mentioned before, you can also sprinkle the top of the bread with chopped nuts as a garnish. 
  • Apple pie filling. Looking for a breakfast treat that’s perfect for fall? Try my apple pie monkey bread. The maple glaze is to die for, and you can use it for this recipe, too!
Partially torn apart monkey bread on a white plate.

How to Store Leftovers

  • To Store. Monkey bread is best enjoyed fresh from the oven on the day it’s made. It dries out quickly when stored. However, if you need to store leftovers, keep them covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2 days. 
  • Reheat. Heat individual portions in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, until softened. 

Can I Freeze Monkey Bread?

Yes. Baked monkey bread can be frozen for up to one month. Wrap it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap or store it airtight for freezing. Defrost the bread at room temperature before warming and serving.

More Sweet Breakfast Recipes

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Side view of monkey bread topped with drizzles of vanilla glaze on a cake stand.

Monkey Bread

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings

Description

Homemade Monkey bread is made with a quick-rise dough, rolled in cinnamon sugar and covered with a brown sugar sauce. Served warm with a simple vanilla glaze. 

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1 ½ cups (355ml) Milk (whole milk preferred)
  • ⅓ cup (63g) Granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (170g) Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Large egg + 1 Egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 55 ½ cups (600-660g) All-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon Baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Salt
  • 2 packets of Instant yeast (about 2 tablespoons)

For the coating

  • ½ cup (95g) Granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (7.5g) Cinnamon

For the Sugar Sauce

  • ¾ cup (170g) Unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (110g) Light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Pure vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 ¼ cup (162g) Powdered sugar, sifted
  • 34 tablespoons (45-60ml) Whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60g) chopped pecans, optional garnish

Instructions

For the Dough


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk for about 60 seconds until it reaches 110°F-120°F. Once heated, stir in 1/3 cup sugar until it’s dissolved. Melt the butter and cool.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the dry ingredients including the yeast. Then add the melted butter, egg, and stream in the milk. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes until well combined.
  3. Increase the mixing speed to medium and continue beating for another 5 minutes. The dough should be in one large ball but may stick slightly to the sides of the bowl. If your dough is too sticky, you can add in more flour a tablespoon at a time until it comes together in a ball.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Gently knead until the dough is soft and pliable in one consistent ball. Let rest in a warm place for 15-20 minutes.
  5. While the dough rests, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a large gallon-size Ziplock bag. Set aside. Thoroughly grease a Bundt pan (at least 10 cups size) with nonstick cooking spray or Crisco.
  6. Divide dough into small balls about 2-3 tablespoons of dough each. You should end up with about 40-50 balls total.
  7. Place ⅓ of the balls in the bag with the cinnamon sugar mix and shake until they are well coated in cinnamon sugar, repeat with the remaining dough. Place coated dough balls evenly around the Bundt pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough is nearly double in size and has risen to just 1 inch from the top of the pan (about 1 hour). If it looks like the pan is too full, remove a few of the dough balls, you can bake these separately for a treat.
  8. Preheat oven to 350℉.

For the Sugar Sauce

  1. While the oven preheats, mix together the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling and all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  2. Carefully and evenly, pour hot sugar sauce all over the risen dough balls in the top of the pan, letting it soak down into the cracks.
  3. Place the Bundt pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the outside is deep golden brown and puffy and the sauce is bubbling at the edges of the pan.
  4. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then place a large plate or a platter that is just wider than the tip of the bundt and flip the pan over so that the bread is upturned onto the platter. Let rest out of the pan for 10 minutes.

For the Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract. Thin out with another tablespoon of milk if needed to create a glaze that is drizzle consistency. Drizzle all over the monkey bread. Garnish with pecans if using. Serve while still warm.

Notes

  • Instant yeast is not the same as active dry yeast. Be sure to use instant or quick-rise yeast. 
  • My pan is too full, help! After rising, the dough should be about 1” from the top of the pan. If the dough balls have risen too much, pluck out a few to set aside. You can bake these separately for a special treat.
  • Place the bundt pan on a baking tray. This keeps any overflow from dripping into the bottom of the oven while the monkey bread bakes. For even easier cleanup, line the pan with parchment paper or foil.
  • Press any puffed-up dough back into the pan. If your Bundt pan looks very full after 30 minutes in the oven, use a large spoon to gently push the dough down into the pan. Continue to bake until done, about another 10 minutes. Don’t do this before the 30-minute mark, otherwise the dough will deflate.
  • Invert the monkey bread after 5 minutes. If monkey bread sits for too long in the pan, the caramel can set and make it very difficult to get out

Storing

  • To Store. Monkey bread is best enjoyed fresh from the oven on the day it’s made. It dries out quickly when stored. However, if you need to store leftovers, keep them covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2 days.
  • Reheat. Heat individual portions in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, until softened. 

 

Nutrition Information:
1
691
43.6 g
362.5 mg
31.3 g
93.7 g
3 g
10.3 g
111.1 mg
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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