This monkey bread is a gooey bundt cake made of buttery, brown sugar- and cinnamon-coated dough balls baked into a sweet caramel covered pull apart dough cake and is topped with a sweet glaze. It’s a classic cinnamon roll flavor in your favorite monkey bread form!

For additional sweet bread favorites, be sure to try my mini cinnamon rolls recipe, homemade orange rolls, chocolate chip banana bread, and homemade brioche.

A glazed Monkey Bread Recipe on a white cake stand.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Buttery, cinnamon flavor in every bite! Since each of the dough balls are rolled in butter and the cinnamon mixture, 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 recipe is that it’s a breakfast item, dessert, and holiday go-to. This would make the perfect Christmas morning treat.
  • Easy recipe to make. 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.
  • The best party dessert. This is such a fun dessert idea for a group! The pull-apart aspect of this monkey bread is so fun. Everyone can dive right in, pull a monkey bread ball and enjoy!

Ingredient Notes

The Best Monkey Bread Recipe dough ingredients in glass bowls on a gray background.
  • 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.
Monkey Bread cinnamon sugar coating and glaze ingredients in glass bowls on a gray background.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the monkey bread dough. Scroll down to the recipe card for details!
  2. Once the dough is made, transfer it 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.
  3. Make the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Place a 1/2 cup of melted butter in a small bowl.
  5. 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. Pat the dough into an 8-inch square and cut the square into 64 pieces, 8 pieces across and down.
About 60 squares of small dough pieces on a gray background.
  1. Roll the dough balls 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.
  1. 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 with cinnamon sugar coated dough balls for making The Best Monkey Bread Recipe.
  1. 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.
  2. Remove the cover and bake at 350°F for 30-38 minutes or until bubbly and deep brown in color.
  3. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, 10 minutes out of the pan, then add the glaze.
A golden brown baked Monkey Bread recipe made in a bundt pan turned out on a white plate.

Recipe Tips

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.)

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!

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

Storing

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).

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. Following 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!

Freezing

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.

FAQs

Why is it called monkey bread?

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.

Does monkey bread have to be made in a bundt pan?

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, for example. However, the oven temperature and bake time would be different.

How do you know when monkey bread is done?

The monkey bread will be deep brown in color, the dough balls will look done and the juices will be bubbly.

Overhead photo of a glazed Monkey Bread recipe made in a bundt pan glazed with a white glaze.

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The Best Monkey Bread Recipe covered in a white glaze on a white plate.
Print Review
5 from 5 votes

The Best Monkey Bread Recipe

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.  

Notes

If using active yeast, let the yeast and dough mixture sit for 10 minutes rather than 5. The yeast should be bubbly before proceeding.
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).
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. Following 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!
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.
Recipe source: dough recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Nutrition

Calories: 684kcal (34%)Carbohydrates: 120g (40%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 12g (60%)Cholesterol: 52mg (17%)Sodium: 496mg (21%)Potassium: 194mg (6%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 78g (87%)Vitamin A: 616IU (12%)Calcium: 98mg (10%)Iron: 3mg (17%)
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
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