This delicious monkey bread recipe is the best you’ll ever have! Monkey bread it’s a is a gooey bundt cake made of buttery, brown sugar, and cinnamon coated dough balls that are baked into a sweet caramel covered pull apart dough cake. Top it with a sweet glaze to round out the flavors. One bite of this monkey bread and you’ll be in a food coma. (I mean that in the best way, of course)!

A glazed cinnamon monkey bread loaf on a cake pan.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s a breakfast item, dessert, and holiday go-to. This would make the perfect Christmas morning treat.

This is an easy recipe to make, so don’t worry about messing it up. Beginner bakers or advanced can master this in one try.

How to make monkey bread

Step 1: Butter a 12 cup bundt pan

Use about 3 tablespoons of softened butter to butter a large bundt pan. 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.

Step 2: Make the monkey bread dough

Combine the warm milk, warm water, sugar, melted butter, and yeast.

You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast in this recipe. Yeast is actually interchangeable. If you use active dry yeast let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast has started bubbling. The bubbling indicates that the yeast is active.

If you use instant yeast, let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and then continue.

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 lightly oiled bowl, place the dough in the bowl and then flip it so that both sides are lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Monkey bread dough cut into 64 small squares.

Step 3: Make the Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

While the dough is rising, you can multitask and make the cinnamon sugar.

Mix 1 1/2 cups of dark (or light) brown sugar with 3 tsp of ground cinnamon.

Place a 1/2 cup of melted butter in a small bowl.

Step 4: Divide the monkey bread dough into balls

Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch the dough down with your fist and then place the dough on a lightly floured work surface.

To easily divide the dough into small balls, pat the dough into an 8 inch square. Cut the square into 64 pieces, 8 pieces across and down. (As shown in one of the photos above).

A ball of dough dipped in a bowl of melted butter.

Pro tip: pull out the measuring tape to ensure you’re making an 8 inch square, and that you’re cutting the dough into equal 1 inch pieces. 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!

A ball of dough in a bowl of brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Step 5: Roll in butter and then cinnamon sugar

Once you’ve divided the dough into 64 pieces, roll each of them into a ball and then dip them in the butter followed by the brown sugar + cinnamon.

Place the covered ball in the buttered bundt pan.

Continue dipping each ball in the butter and sugar mixture, placing each in the bundt pan layering, staggering, and filling in the gaps as you go.

A bundt pan full of monkey bread dough balls covered in cinnamon sugar.

Step 6: Let the monkey bread rise

Cover the bundt pan and let it rise for 45 – 60 minutes or until the dough balls are puffy and 1 inch from the top of the pan.

Unwrap the bundt pan and bake at 350°F and bake for 30-38 minutes or until bubbly and deep brown in color.

A baked monkey bread (pull apart loaf) baked in a bundt pan, set on a cake platter.

Step 7: Cool and Glaze the monkey bread

Remove the monkey bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Pro tip: don’t let the monkey bread stay in the bundt pan longer than 5 minutes or the caramelized sugar will stick to the pan.

Turn the monkey bread out onto a platter or cake stand. Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour the glaze overtop.

To make the glaze simply whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and splash of vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup.

A cake stand with a glazed monkey bread recipe on it.

This easy monkey bread recipe is a true keeper!

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Monkey Bread

Buttery cinnamon sugar coated dough balls are baked in a bundt cake to make the most delicious monkey bread! We love to eat this around the holidays, it makes for a great breakfast or dessert.
prep time 15 mins
cook time 35 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
total time 2 hrs 50 mins
servings: 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

For greasing the bundt pan

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

Dough

  • 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

Cinnamon Coating

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted

Glaze

INSTRUCTIONS

Prep the Bundt Pan

  • Grease a large, 12 cup bundt pan with softened butter, use about 3 tablespoons or so. 

Dough

  • 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. 

Cinnamon Coating

  • 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. 

Assembly

  • 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 inchesfrom 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.  

RECIPE NOTES

Notes:
  1. If using active yeast, let the yeast and dough mixture sit for 10 minutes rather than 5. The yeast should be bubbly before proceeding.
  2. You probably won't use all of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  3. This makes a lot of glaze, you can use all of it, or only pour on as much as you'd like. It's up to you.
Recipe source: dough recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
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