This Monkey Bread is gooey, buttery, brown sugar and cinnamon coated dough balls baked into a sweet pull apart bundt cake and is topped with a sweet glaze. It’s a classic gooey cinnamon roll sweet treat in pull-apart form!
You know the inside of a cinnamon roll? It’s the best bite, right? Well this cinnamon roll monkey bread tastes like that in every bite! If you love this monkey bread recipe, then you’ll love my Mini Cinnamon Rolls, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Cinnamon Roll Cake, and Cinnamon Roll Cookies!
Why This Recipe Works
- Homemade dough! If you search “monkey bread” on Google you’ll be blasted with recipes that use store-bought canned Pillsbury biscuit dough. Ew. Not this recipe! This is the bet monkey bread recipe from scratch! And you can taste the difference!
- Every bite is a buttery, cinnamon monkey bread ball. This recipe also differs from others because all the individual pieces of dough are dipped in butter and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. Most recipes just have you toss the dough balls in a cinnamon sugar mixture and that’s it. This way, you get the buttery, cinnamon flavor throughout the entire treat and in every single bite.
- The perfect recipe for any time of day or occasion. The best part about this simple monkey bread recipe is that it’s a breakfast item, dessert, and holiday go-to. This would make the perfect Christmas morning treat because it’s perfect for a group! The pull-apart bread aspect of this monkey bread is so fun. This isa fun recipe because everyone can dive right in, pull a monkey bread ball and enjoy!
- Easy monkey bread recipe. Don’t worry about messing it up. The dough is easy to make and rises beautifully. Beginner or advanced bakers can master this in one try.
- Milk + Water: Using warm milk and warm water is important as it will help activate the yeast, helping to get a good rise in the dough.
- Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast in this recipe. Yeast is actually interchangeable. Active dry yeast will likely start bubbling after 10 minutes whereas instant yeast is about half that time.
- Unsalted Butter: This is the best monkey bread recipe because each dough ball is dipped in melted butter and then rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture.
- All-Purpose Flour: You may need more or less flour depending on your altitude (which plays a role in rising and baking). The dough should be tacky but not overly sticky and not hard/firm.
- Brown Sugar: The brown sugar is used to make the cinnamon sugar mixture. Combined with the butter you’ll get a buttery brown sugar sauce!
- Cinnamon: This adds that delicious cinnamon roll flavor! You know the middle of a cinnamon roll? This cinnamon roll monkey bread tastes just like that in every bite!
- Powdered Sugar: This is used to make the glaze. The added glaze makes a big difference and really makes these taste like cinnamon rolls!
- Prep the bundt cake pan. Use 3 tablespoons of softened butter to grease a large 12-cup bundt pan.
- Make the homemade monkey bread dough. Add 1 cup warm milk and 1/3 cup warm water to the bow of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 T melted butter, and 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast. Mix on low to gently combine. Turn off and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the flour. Add 3 1/3 cup flour and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix on low until the dough comes together then increase to medium speed and mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, be tacky but not sticky and look smooth.
- Let the dough rise. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Turn the dough over so the top is lightly coated in oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size (once it’s doubled, even if it’s less than 1 hour, continue on).
- Make the cinnamon-sugar mixture. While the dough is rising, combine 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 3 tsp cinnamon. In a separate small bowl, melt 1 stick of butter.
- Portion out into dough balls. Remove the dough from the bowl and pat it into an 8-inch square. Cut into 64 pieces and roll each of the dough pieces into a ball.
- Assemble the cinnamon roll monkey bread. Take each dough ball and dip in the butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the dough ball in the greased bundt pan and continue with each dough ball.
- Cover and let rise. Cover the bundt pan and let rise for 45-60 minutes or until puffy (the dough balls will rise to be just 1 inch from the top).
- Bake. Bake the monkey bread in a 350°F preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove and let sit for a max of 5 minutes. Turn out onto a platter. Let cool for 10 minutes. While it’s cooling, make the glaze.
- Make the glaze. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk and a splash of vanilla to a bowl. Whisk until combined. Cover the monkey bread in the glaze and serve!
When buttering the bundt pan, you’ll use about 3 tablespoons of softened butter. (Yes, it’s quite a bit of butter for greasing a pan, but the butter combined with the brown sugar + cinnamon mixture will caramelize as it bakes and you’ll get this amazing caramel sauce.)
Pull out the measuring tape to ensure you’re making an 8 inch square, and that you’re cutting 1-inch bite-size pieces of dough. If the dough balls aren’t exact, it’s really no big deal. But to prevent the balls from being overly wonky in size, a measuring tape will help!
Don’t let the monkey bread stay in the bundt pan longer than 5 minutes or the caramelized sugar will stick to the pan.
Rolling the dough into balls will not only make this monkey bread look prettier, but it will rise better and fill in the cracks better.
I like to lightly oil the surface before place the dough on it. Use a pizza cutter for easy cutting.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
You can make monkey bread in advance! Follow the instructions up to before baking. For the last rise (in the bundt pan), store covered overnight in the fridge. This process is called retarding because you are slowing down the rise process and lengthening the time. Follow the baking instructions the next morning. This is a great way to do extra prep ahead of time and still have a freshly baked morning treat!
Store the monkey bread covered at room temperature for 2-3 days. The monkey bread will last longer if stored covered in the fridge (for 4-5 days).
Freeze the completed monkey bread for up to 3 months. Flash freeze in the freezer until solid. Remove and double wrap in plastic wrap and then single wrap in aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Monkey bread gets its name since it’s a finger food. The name comes from the idea that monkeys would pick at the bread and pull the dough balls apart. It is also sometimes referred to as bubble bread due to the many dough balls baked together.
I haven’t made monkey bread in any other pan, but it technically could be made in any pan. You could make it in a bread pan or loaf pan, for example. However, the oven temperature and bake time would be different.
The monkey bread will be deep brown in color, the dough balls will look done and the juices will be bubbly.
More Cinnamon Recipes
- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Sugar Caramelitas
- Mini Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
- Cinnamon Roll Popcorn
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
Monkey Bread Recipe
For greasing the bundt pan
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter - softened
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter - melted
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast - or active yeast see note 1
- 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour - may need more or less depending on your altitude
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar - light or dark brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- splash vanilla extract
Prep the Bundt Pan
- Grease a large, 12 cup bundt pan with softened butter, use about 3 tablespoons or so.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the warm milk, water, sugar, butter, and yeast. Mix to combine. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, then add the flour and salt. Using the dough hook mix on low speed. Once the dough comes together increase the speed to medium and mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl, should be tacky but not sticky, shiny and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough over once so that the top of the dough is lightly covered in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- While the dough is rising, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl, stir to combine. Place the melted butter in a separate small bowl.
- To form the balls: Remove the dough from the bowl and pat it into an 8 inch square. Cut the square into 64 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
- Roll the balls, one at a time, into the butter and then roll into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the sugar coated balls in the bundt pan, layering, staggering, and filling in the gaps as you go.
- Once all dough balls have been dipped in the butter and sugar mixture and then placed into the bundt pan, COVER the bundt pan with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes or until puffy. (The dough should rise and be just 1 inch from the top).
- Unwrap the bundt pan and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and deep brown in color. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes (no longer!!!) then turn out onto a platter. Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour the glaze overtop.
- To make the glaze: whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and a splash of vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup.