Easy Monkey Bread Recipe

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5 from 17 votes
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This easy monkey bread recipe is moist, rich, and decadent. It combines a sweet yeasted pull-apart dough with a cinnamon caramel sauce and vanilla icing. It uses simple ingredients and takes minutes to make.

monkey bread.

When it comes to sweet treats for breakfast, I’m all about it. My favorites to make are these zucchini bars, chocolate pancakes, avocado smoothies, and this monkey bread. 

If you’re unfamiliar, Monkey bread is an American pastry often served for breakfast or on special occasions. It’s made up of baked dough balls covered in a cinnamon–sugar coating and thick icing. Once baked, the cinnamon coating turns into an ooey-gooey caramel sauce. 

Essentially, it’s like cinnamon roll bites but so much more delicious!

Why you’ll love this Monkey bread recipe

Even though this recipe takes a bit of time (like waiting for the dough to rise), I assure you it is SO easy to make.

  • It’s fun. Adults and kids alike will love this pull-apart bread, plus it’s got the perfect balance of sweetness and cinnamon spice flavor that everyone is guaranteed to love.
  • It’s made with basic ingredients. Like Concha, for how fancy it looks, it’s surprisingly simple to make. You only need common breadmaking ingredients, a little cinnamon, and sugar! 
  • They are extra fluffy. Just like chocolate babka, the yeast in the dough makes for a naturally fluffy, self-risen dough.
  • You don’t need fancy gadgets. All the more reason to make this dough on a whim!
cinnamon roll monkey bread.

Ingredients needed

What I love about this recipe is getting to revisit it over a few days. Every time I pop in the kitchen, I snag a bite until it’s gone. It tastes as great on the first day as on the second and third. Here is everything you’ll need:

Dough

  • Milk. Any dairy or nondairy milk will work. We’ll be using it to wake up the yeast, so it will need to be lukewarm, around 110°F. 
  • Yeast. Instant yeast to double the size of the dough. 
  • Sugar. White sugar or a sugar substitute.
  • Egg. Makes for a richly textured dough.
  • Flour. All-purpose works best.
  • Butter. Preferably unsalted so you can better control the amount of salt in the monkey bread.
  • Salt. Just a dash, enough to balance out the bread. 

Coating

  • Butter. Unsalted is best.
  • Sugar. Both brown sugar and white sugar are used to add sweetness and a nice molasses flavor. 
  • Cinnamon. For the irreplaceable cinnamon-sugar coating.
  • Vanilla extract. Gives the bread a subtle vanilla flavor.

Icing

  • Powdered sugar. Also known as confectioner’s sugar. This will be the main component of the sugar glaze.
  • Milk. Again, any dairy or nondairy milk will work. 
  • Vanilla extract. To impart a subtle vanilla flavor to the icing. 

How to make monkey bread

Making this easy monkey bread recipe may have a few steps, but it is so hands-off!

Step 1- Activate the yeast

Prepare the dough by whisking the warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 5 minutes to help wake up the yeast. 

activated yeast.

Step 2- Make the dough

Melt the butter and add it to the yeast mixture, followed by the egg. Whisk everything until smooth. Then, fold in the flour and salt. 

making dough.

Stir everything until the dough comes together, then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Alternatively, add the dough to a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Once you have a smooth dough, cover it with plastic foil and let it rise for 1 ½- 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. 

proofed monkey bread dough.

Step 3- Make the coating

Once the time is up, punch down the dough and cut it into 40-42 equal-sized pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball. 

rolled out dough balls.

Step 4- Assemble the monkey bread

To make the coating, grab a bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon. Then, in a deep bowl, add half of the melted butter. 

Generously grease a bundt pan with some butter before building your monkey bread. When you’re ready to build the bread, dip the dough balls into the butter, then coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Arrange the coated dough balls in the bundt pan.

how to make monkey bread.

Step 5- Let the bread rise again

To make the icing, combine the remaining butter with brown sugar and vanilla extract. Drizzle the brown sugar mixture over the dough and let it rise for 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

recipe for monkey bread.

Step 6- Bake the monkey bread

Bake the monkey bread for 35-40 minutes. Then, let the bread cool for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a plate. 

baked monkey bread.

Step 7- Make the icing and serve

Before serving, prepare the icing by whisking the powdered sugar with the milk and vanilla extract. Then, drizzle the icing over the bread, slice, and serve. 

glazed monkey bread.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Invert the cake after 10 minutes. If you wait longer, the caramel will harden and not slip out of the bundt pan.
  • Let the bread rest before slicing. Just for a few minutes, the bread firms up before being sliced. 
  • Use parchment paper. Lining the bundt pan with parchment paper will make removing the monkey bread from the pan easier.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Using room temperature ingredients will help the dough to rise more quickly and evenly.

Dietary swaps and substitutions

We love making this monkey bread recipe for all our friends and family and even though some have some dietary restrictions, they can still enjoy it with a few tweaks.

  • Vegan monkey bread. Use nondairy milk and vegan butter. For the eggs, swap them out for an egg substitute (we like flax eggs).
  • Make it sugar free. Replace the sugar in the dough, the topping, and the icing with a sugar substitute.
  • Make it gluten free. If you use gluten-free flour then make sure to add xanthan gum otherwise, it won’t have a good texture. 

Storage instructions

To store: Leftover monkey bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you want it to last longer, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

To freeze:  Place slices of the monkey bread in a Ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 

Recommended tools to make this recipe

  • Bundt pan. This is my go-to, which seamlessly cooks bundt cakes and this gorgeous monkey bread.
  • Parchment paper. To line the pan for easy removal.
  • Stand mixer. As much as I love making dough by hand, using the mixer is so much better.
monkey bread recipes.

Frequently asked questions

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

If you don’t have a bundt pan, then fear not! You can easily make monkey bread in a cake pan, bread pan, cookie sheet, or Dutch oven.

How should monkey bread be served?

Monkey bread is best served warm, straight out of the oven. You can pull the bread apart into individual pieces and serve them in bowls on their own or with a drizzle of maple syrup.

What are some common toppings for monkey bread?

Some common toppings for monkey bread include chopped nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, or a drizzle of icing made from powdered sugar and milk. You can also experiment with different flavor combinations by adding ginger, nutmeg, or even holiday spices to the batter (like gingerbread or apple pie).

More sweet bread recipes to try

monkey bread recipe.

Easy Monkey Bread Recipe

5 from 17 votes
This easy monkey bread recipe yields a sweet, sticky pastry perfect for breakfast or dessert! It uses simple ingredients and needs little prep work!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/4 cups milk warmed to 110F
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the coating

For the icing

Instructions 

  • Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Cover the bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Melt the butter and add to the yeast along with an egg. Whisk until smooth.
  • Fold in flour and salt. Stir until the dough comes together. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Alternatively, just add it all to the stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  • Cover the dough with plastic foil and let it rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough and cut it into 40-42 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball. 
  • Make the coating. In a bowl, combine the sugar with cinnamon. In a deep bowl, add half the melted butter. Generously grease the bundt pan with some butter. 
  • Dip the dough balls into the butter, then coat them with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Arrange the coated dough into the bundt pan. 
  • Combine the remaining butter with brown sugar and vanilla extract. Drizzle the brown sugar mixture over the dough and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  • Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
  • Cool the bread for 10 minutes before inverting it onto the plate. While the bread is cooling, prepare the icing by whisking together the confectioners' sugar with the milk and vanilla extract.
  • Drizzle the icing over the bread and serve immediately.

Notes

TO STORE: Leftover monkey bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you want it to last longer, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
TO FREEZE:  Place slices of the monkey bread in a Ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 414kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 8gFat: 13gSodium: 89mgPotassium: 109mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 391IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 65g
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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