Monkey Bread Recipe

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This easy monkey bread recipe is a drool-worthy breakfast or dessert made with soft dough coated in a cinnamon sugar mixture and topped with decadent vanilla icing. Baked to perfection and served warm, this mouthwatering pull-apart bread is always a crowd-pleaser.

Monkey Bread Recipe

If you’ve never tried monkey bread before, get ready to fall in love. This easy monkey bread recipe is basically an elevated version of gooey cinnamon rolls, loaded into a bundt pan and topped with creamy vanilla icing. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, rich, decadent, gooey, and soft. 

There’s nothing like warm monkey bread as a delicious breakfast treat, afternoon snack, or decadent dessert at your next dinner party. This sweet treat is easy to make and bakes to perfection in about 30 minutes. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve served this monkey bread recipe to friends and family, but it’s always a massive hit.

Keep reading to learn what monkey bread is, how to make monkey bread from scratch, and key tips on how to get the best monkey bread every time. Are you ready to whip up your new favorite dessert? Let’s get into it. 

Monkey Bread

Key Ingredients

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to bring this easy monkey bread recipe to life.

  • All-Purpose Flour: While some monkey bread recipes call for canned biscuit dough, I prefer to make homemade dough with unbleached all-purpose flour for the best-tasting monkey bread.
  • Yeast: Without yeast, we wouldn’t get the signature taste of warm and doughy monkey bread.
  • Butter Shortening: Rather than using melted butter, I love using butter shortening to help the dough stay moist for days on end. If you can’t find this ingredient, you can use traditional shortening, coconut oil, or butter as a swap.
  • Cinnamon Sugar Coating: It wouldn’t be the best monkey bread recipe without the signature buttery cinnamon sugar mixture. This flavorful coating is easy to whip up and adds a ton of amazing flavor to the dish.
  • Sugar: You’ll need light brown and granulated sugar for this easy monkey bread recipe. I like to layer two types of sugar into the dish for added flavor and sweetness to make it feel like true cinnamon rolls.
  • Vanilla Icing: I love making a simple vanilla icing with powdered sugar and milk, but you could also make a cream cheese glaze if preferred. Both would work great here.

How to Make the Best Monkey Bread From Scratch Recipe

To make this easy monkey bread recipe, follow the steps below. 

Step 1: Form Monkey Bread Dough

Preheat the oven to 170°F or warm. Once hot, cut the oven off. In the bowl for your stand mixer, mix the yeast and warm milk together. Let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes. You’ll notice little bubbles gathering together.

Add the sugar, kosher salt, shortening, egg, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and 1 ¼ cup of flour to the bowl. Place the bowl in a stand mixer, attach the dough hook, and mix on low for 30 seconds. 

Add remaining flour and mix on low for 5 minutes. Then, scrape the bowl to help the dough form into a soft dough ball. If you don’t have a stand mixer, do it with a wooden spoon.

Step 2: First Dough Rise

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 20 times until the dough is smooth. Form into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and pop into the warm oven for 30 minutes; the dough should come out slightly larger in size. 

Step 3: Make Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

Heat a medium pan over medium heat and melt butter, then transfer to a small bowl. In another bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt. You should have leftover butter.

Step 4: Shape Monkey Bread & Second Dough Rise

Release any air in the dough, then use a 1 oz. cookie scoop to scoop out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll each into dough balls. 

Dip each dough ball in butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar mix before placing it in a greased bundt pan. Cover with a towel and place in the microwave for 20 minutes. The dough will rise slightly. 

Step 5: Make Butter Mixture

While the dough is rising, add the remaining butter to the medium pan with the leftover melted butter and granulated sugar. Then stir in vanilla extract and pour evenly over monkey bread before baking.

Step 6: Bake Monkey Bread

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the monkey bread for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool the monkey bread for 15-20 minutes before flipping it on a cake stand, large plate, or platter. 

Step 7: Make Vanilla Icing

While your monkey bread cools, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Pour evenly over monkey bread. Serve warm and enjoy.

Monkey Bread2

Recipe Notes & Tricks

Here are some of my top recipe notes and tricks to help you make the best monkey bread recipe:

  • Want to skip the step of kneading the dough? Add an extra 2 minutes of mixing time in the stand mixer instead. 
  • You can buy a pre-made pizza dough and start with the cinnamon coating section of the recipe.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix the ingredients by hand until the dough starts to form. Then, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes. 
  • If your oven has a proofing function, use that instead of heating the oven to 170°F to help the dough rise.
  • The second dough rise doesn’t take long, so feel free to just set the dough next to a window where it can get sunlight while the oven preheats.
  • If you’re rolling the dough balls by hand, add a little bit of flour to your hands first to keep the dough from sticking to you.
  • You can use any milk or non-dairy milk of your choice.
  • You can swap out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
  • The bundt pan I use to make my easy monkey bread recipe is a 9.75 x 3.38 inch or 24.8 x 8.57 cm.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Monkey bread is best enjoyed the day you make it. However, you can wrap the cooled monkey bread in saran wrap or foil and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days or on the counter for 1 day. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes until warm.

If you’re going to freeze your monkey bread, cut it into individual pieces or pull bread apart and place it in a freezer-safe storage bag for up to 3 months. 

Want to make monkey bread in advance? During the second rise, cover the dough tightly and place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Set out at room temperature for 30 minutes before pouring the remaining cinnamon coating over monkey bread and baking.

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Monkey Bread Recipe FAQs

Here are some of the top questions asked about making monkey bread from scratch:

What does knead the dough mean?

Kneading the dough is the process of repeatedly folding and pressing it with your hands, and it makes your bread light and airy and is often crucial when baking with yeast. 

Do you have to use a bundt pan for monkey bread?

No. While monkey bread is traditionally made using a bundt cake pan, you’re welcome to use any kind of baking dish that you have at home. You could easily use a regular cake pan, ramekins, or a baking sheet to make monkey bread.

Why is it called monkey bread?

Monkey bread gets its funky name from the method by which the dish is eaten. You eat the dish by pulling apart the bread chunks with your fingers, just like a monkey would do. 

What nationality is monkey bread?

While this dish is a popular breakfast and dessert treat in the United States, monkey bread is widely believed to have originated in Hungary. Many believe it was first brought over to the US by Hungarian immigrants. 

What’s monkey bread made of?

Monkey bread is made of yeasted dough balls coated in butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture, then baked in the oven and topped with creamy vanilla icing. It’s similar in flavor and texture to gooey cinnamon rolls but with fun pull-apart bread twist.

Monkey Bread1

More Delicious Sweet Breakfast Recipes

Looking for more ways to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try these breakfast dishes next:

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Before getting started, here are the steps I use to get organized. 

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the monkey bread on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out into individual bowls to move quicker.

Step 3: Test the mixer to make sure it works before getting started. We don’t want any surprises.

Step 4: I will make the cinnamon sugar mixture and the vanilla icing while the monkey bread is on its first rise to get those out of the way.

Step 5: Start following the recipe and get ready for the best monkey bread you’ve ever enjoyed.

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Monkey Bread3

Monkey Bread Recipe

Kenneth Temple
Topped with decadent vanilla icing and served warm, this monkey bread recipe is an easy treat to make when you have unexpected company!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 25 mins
20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 persons
Calories 487 kcal

Ingredients
  

Monkey Bread:

  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • ¾ cups warm evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup raw cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter flavored shortening
  • 1 large egg slightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour divide, plus more for kneading

Cinnamon Coating:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Icing:

  • 8 oz. 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Dough: Preheat oven to 170°F or warm, once hot, cut the oven off. In the bowl for your stand mixer, mix the yeast and warm milk together, let yeast bloom for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, kosher salt, shortening, egg, vanilla extract, cinnamon and 1 ¼ cup of flour, place bowl in stand mixer, attach dough hook and mix on low for 30 seconds. Add remaining flour and mix on low for 5 minutes, scrape bowl to help dough form to a soft ball of dough.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 20 times until the dough is smooth, form into a ball and transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and pop in the warm oven for 30 minutes, dough will be slightly larger in size.
  • Cinnamon Coating: Turn the heat to medium, in a medium sauce pan melt 8 tablespoons of butter then place in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt together. You should have leftover butter.
  • Shaping Monkey Bread: Release any air in the dough, use a 1 oz. cookie scoop to scoop out dough on a lightly flour surface. After dough is scooped, roll each into little 1 inch dough balls. Dip each dough ball in butter then roll in cinnamon sugar mix then place in a greased 10-12 cups bundt pan. Cover with a towel and place in the microwave for 20 minutes. Dough will rise slightly.
  • While dough rising. Add the remaining butter to the medium sauce pan with the leftover melted butter and granulated sugar. Once butter is melted stir in vanilla extract. Pour evenly over monkey bread before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F; bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool monkey bread for 15-20 minutes before flipping out on a cake stand.
  • Icing: While monkey bread cools, in a large bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth. Pour evenly over monkey bread. Enjoy while warm.

Notes

Recipe Notes & Tricks
Here are some of my top recipe notes and tricks to help you make the best monkey bread recipe:
  • Want to skip the step of kneading the dough? Add an extra 2 minutes of mixing time in the stand mixer instead.
  • You can buy a pre-made pizza dough and start with the cinnamon coating section of the recipe.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix the ingredients by hand until the dough starts to form. Then, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  • If your oven has a proofing function, use that instead of heating the oven to 170°F to help the dough rise.
  • The second dough rise doesn’t take long, so feel free to just set the dough next to a window where it can get sunlight while the oven preheats.
  • If you’re rolling the dough balls by hand, add a little bit of flour to your hands first to keep the dough from sticking to you.
  • You can use any milk or non-dairy milk of your choice.
  • You can swap out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
  • The bundt pan I use to make my easy monkey bread recipe is a 9.75 x 3.38 inch or 24.8 x 8.57 cm.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Monkey bread is best enjoyed the day you make it. However, you can wrap the cooled monkey bread in saran wrap or foil and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days or on the counter for 1 day. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes until warm.
If you’re going to freeze your monkey bread, cut it into individual pieces or pull bread apart and place it in a freezer-safe storage bag for up to 3 months.
Want to make monkey bread in advance? During the second rise, cover the dough tightly and place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Set out at room temperature for 30 minutes before pouring the remaining cinnamon coating over monkey bread and baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 6gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 227mgPotassium: 138mgFiber: 2gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 442IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 2mg
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