Try this irresistible recipe for gooey and delicious Monkey Bread that is made from scratch! Made from an easy yeasted dough and coated in buttery cinnamon sugar, this fun pull-apart treat is perfect for sharing with family and friends.
Sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little special to serve for a weekend brunch, holiday breakfast, or dessert and this seriously delicious recipe for monkey bread from scratch is just the thing!
There are loads of recipes that use readymade biscuit dough, but in my recipe, I’m making it from scratch. This is a yeasted dough and it requires some kneading, then after kneading and letting the dough rest and double in size twice, you divide the dough and form balls of any size that you prefer.
Making monkey bread from scratch does require some patience as you’ll be letting the dough rise twice, but I promise you that it is worth the time and effort!
What is Monkey Bread?
Monkey bread is made up of gooey, caramelized dough balls that pull apart effortlessly when you grab a piece. The dough itself is soft and pillowy and each piece is coated in a sweet cinnamon sugar. It’s truly an indulgent treat!
How did it get its name? No one is quite sure, but one idea is that picking apart the sticky dough balls with your fingers and popping them into your mouth is like what monkeys do when they groom each other! This bread is infinitely tastier, I’m sure! Plus, it’s so fun to eat.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Homemade monkey bread is simply irresistible and it’s not just a special Christmas treat! You can make it anytime! You’ll need some time for the prep, but there’s something so satisfying about making your own enriched dough.
Each bite is soft and fluffy and coated in delicious cinnamon sugar. Perfection! Plus, it’s fun to pull off each scrumptious bite and you’ll love sharing this treat with your friends and family!
This dough is an enriched dough which means we will be adding butter, sugar, and eggs.
I used a 9.5 or a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan for this recipe.
- Active dry yeast: The yeast is what helps your dough to rise. It is mixed with warm water and sugar to ‘activate’ it.
- All-purpose flour: This is my go-to flour for this recipe. I haven’t tried it with other flours so I’m not sure if they would work the same.
- Vanilla extract: A hint of vanilla goes well in this enriched dough.
- Sugar: I use both granulated and brown sugar here. The brown sugar adds a slightly caramelized note to the dough.
- Egg: One large egg added to the dough helps to keep it softer for longer than regular bread dough.
- Unsalted butter: I use melted butter as the fat in my enriched dough. It also helps to keep the bread soft.
- Whole milk: Whole milk has more fat in it than 2% or skim milk, so it adds to the dough’s richness.
- Coating: The simple coating is made with brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How To Make Monkey Bread
The end result is a softer and richer dough than regular bread dough. If you’ve made homemade cinnamon rolls like my Russian Cinnamon Buns or homemade sticky buns, you’ve probably used enriched dough.
- Activate yeast: Combine the yeast with warm water and sugar and let it sit until it becomes bubbly. This means it’s alive and working!
- Knead dough: Combine the dough ingredients and knead until you have a smooth round ball.
- First rise: Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour. It should double in size.
- Assemble: Tip the dough onto your work surface and divide it into small to medium-sized balls. (I was able to get 32). Dip each ball into melted butter then roll in a combination of cinnamon and sugar. Place each ball into your greased Bundt pan.
- Second rise: Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise again until double in size. This will take about 45 minutes.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and then bake for 35 minutes.
I like to let my monkey bread cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before inverting it onto a serving plate. If you try to turn it out too soon, it might not hold its shape.
- Don’t over-knead the dough! This can cause a dense and tough texture. Be sure to knead the dough just until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Remember to grease your pan. Non-stick cooking spray works well for this purpose.
- Let the dough rise properly. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size both times. Rushing the process can alter the light and fluffy texture of the dough.
Even though monkey bread tastes best when it’s served right away, warm and fresh. It’s still really good when it’s reheated and enjoyed the next day!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat individual portions, place them on a microwave-friendly plate and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds or until warm. You can also reheat in a 250°F/120°C oven for 10 minutes or until warm.
If you want to freeze your monkey bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw completely before reheating.
Once you get the hang of the basic recipe, you can go ahead and get creative with your monkey bread! Here are some ideas that might inspire you. Feel free to mix and match!
- Nuts: Sprinkle some chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts between the layers of dough balls to add a toasty crunch.
- Chocolate: Add some chocolate chips or chunks between the layers of dough balls. The chocolate will melt as it bakes creating sweet chocolatey pockets. Delicious!
- Caramel: This is a popular choice! Drizzle some caramel sauce in between the layers or as a topping after the bread has baked. It’s sticky and irresistible!
- Dried fruit: Chopped dried cranberries, raisins, or apricots can be added to the dough to add some fruitiness to your bread.
Maple glaze: Make a sweet maple glaze to drizzle over your bread. Combine powdered sugar with maple syrup and pour over the top of your baked bread for an extra treat.
Yes, you can! After the dough has risen for the first time, punch it down, reshape it into a ball, place it into a greased bowl, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl into the refrigerator overnight and then the next day, proceed with shaping the dough balls and assembling your bread.
I like to use a Bundt pan but you can also use a loaf pan, a round deep cake pan, or a 9×11 cake pan. If you’re using a pan that’s shallower than a Bundt pan, then you will have to reduce the baking time.
You want to make sure that the dough is cooked right through to the middle. I like to check the dough balls in the center to make sure they’re not still doughy before I pull the whole thing from the oven. Cook your bread for a few minutes longer if the middle isn’t quite done.
Monkey bread is at its best when you enjoy it on the day it’s made, but you can freeze it to enjoy it on another day. Once the bread has cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
Save this recipe for your next special occasion brunch. Easter, Christmas, you name it! Monkey bread is never a bad idea. Pin it for more people to enjoy too!
- ½ cup (120 ml) water warm
- 2 ½ teaspoon active yeast
- 3 ½ cups (420 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (35 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons (12 g) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2 tablespoonss (28 g) unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk warm
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter melted
- In a small cup combine warm water with yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let it set for a couple of minutes until it becomes bubbly and foamy.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer attached with a dough hook attachment, combine 1 cup of flour flour with salt, sugar, vanilla, egg, milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
- Mix well then add the rest of the flour and knead the dough until you get a smooth dough ball.
- Transfer the dough ball to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for half an hour in a warm place or until it doubles in size.
- Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and deflate it a little. Divide dough into small-medium dough balls (I did 32, but you can do more for small pieces).
- In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar with the cinnamon.
- Lightly grease a bundt pan with vegetable oil or baking spray.
- Dip each dough ball into melted butter, remove with a fork then roll in sugar mixture until it's all coated. Once all balls are coated and are in the bundt pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise for 30-40 minutes or until the dough almost doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning onto a plate and serving.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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