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My Homemade Monkey Bread Recipe is so much easier than you think! This from-scratch version of a cinnamon pull-apart is the perfect brunch recipe!
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HOMEMADE Monkey Bread Recipe
I always make monkey bread for Christmas. It’s a tradition and not worth the fight; one year I really wanted cinnamon rolls so I made both…because it was required.
In the past I’ve always made easy monkey with canned biscuits, but no more: from now on I will be making this Homemade Monkey Bread recipe!
Why you’ll love this recipe
I absolutely love the flavor of the from-scratch dough. It’s also lighter and airier than the store-bought kind. And – it’s way easier to make from scratch than I thought it would be. Working with yeast is not scary, I promise!!
If it’s your first time making monkey bread, don’t worry – you’ve got this because I’m going to explain every step.
Homemade Monkey Bread Ingredients
- Instant Yeast – To make homemade monkey bread, you need to use yeast. I’m showing you how I make this recipe using Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Yeast. It’s a fast-acting yeast that makes baking from scratch much easier and faster than if you used active dry yeast.
- Flour – just regular all purpose flour
- Sugar – granulated sugar for the dough and brown sugar for the filling
- Salt – needed for flavoring the dough
- Butter – Unsalted or salted can be used
- Milk – regular, nonfat or even nondairy milk is fine
- Water – the combination with the milk makes these light and fluffy
- Egg – adds a richness to the dough
Those simple ingredients mix to form a sweet yeasted dough. The dough is hearty enough to easily knead and work with, but it tastes light and delicate.
When you use Active Dry yeast you have to add the yeast to hot water with sugar and let it sit until it bubbles. The thing I love about using Instant Yeast is that you don’t have to proof it. This takes the guesswork out of working with yeast as well as shaves off some time.
How to make Monkey Bread without a Bundt Pan
Baking monkey bread in a 9×13 pan makes it cook more evenly and faster!
- You simply add your instant yeast in with your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, and salt).
- Milk, water, and butter get added to a measuring cup. I added slices of butter instead of a chunk, so it would melt easier. Once you have your wet ingredients in a microwave-safe dish, simply heat it until it’s about 120-130°F. This will wake up the yeast once it’s added to the dry ingredients.
- Mix the dough, adding more flour until it comes together – it will be soft and loose but cohesive. It should be soft to the touch but not have much transfer to your hands when touched.
- Once the dough is mixed turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it until it forms a ball that springs back at you.
- Then, let it rest for just 10 minutes. No need to wait for an hour to let it double in size!
- Now it’s time to form your monkey bread. If you simply rolled out this dough, you could make cinnamon rolls, but we’re going to portion the dough into 36 small balls of dough.
- Simply melt butter in one bowl and mix a cup brown sugar and cinnamon in another. Dip the pieces into the butter then roll in the brown sugar mixture and place in your pan. I used a 9×13-inch baking dish, but you can use two bread pans, a Bundt pan, or even make muffins! (Directions for all are in the recipe card.) Be sure to spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray so it doesn’t stick.
- You do have to let the rolls rise until doubled in size. It only takes about 45 minutes in a warm place. (Tip: preheat your oven and let the rolls sit on top of the stove. The warmth from the oven will help them rise faster.)
- Once they’ve risen, just bake for about 20 minutes and then serve. They pull apart easily and are sweet and fluffy. We could NOT stop eating them!
How to portion dough into monkey bread
If you’re bad at math, that means cut the dough in half once. Cut each half in thirds, then cut each third in thirds, then each piece in half.
Once you have 36 pieces of dough, it’s time to make the filling and assemble this from scratch monkey bread.
- Add a cup chopped walnuts or pecans – just sprinkle them over the dough balls in the pan.
- Make a cream cheese icing for the top to make an extra special morning breakfast.
Making a Monkey Bread Recipe from scratch is much easier than you think and perfect for brunch or even dessert, especially on Christmas morning!
- This homemade monkey bread recipe is written to be made with an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. I absolutely love my dough hook; it takes time off of having to knead my dough. If you don’t have an electric mixer, you can do this with a hand mixer or by-hand, it’ll just take longer to come together to form a ball.
- I recommend an instant read thermometer for working with yeast. It really does take the guesswork out of it, but if you don’t have one just think hot bathwater when testing temperature.
- Using a 9×13-inch cake pan is intentional: I’ve found that making monkey bread without a Bundt pan cooks faster and more evenly. I’m pretty much a pull-apart bread aficionado now after so many years of making it. While it looks gorgeous when you bake it in a Bundt pan, it takes forever to cook and I find that the top gets overdone while the inside stays raw.
- If you have leftover brown sugar sauce, pour it over the monkey bread in the pan before letting the monkey bread rise.
I normally use unsalted butter in all my recipes, but I used salted for this one, for a couple reasons. One, it was all I had and two, the recipe I was using didn’t specify unsalted. (If you’re using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the filling.)
Yes you can make this the night before. Assemble the entire thing in your baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight then take it out and place it near the oven while the oven is preheating so it can come to room temperature.
The origin of the name is because it was a finger food – people would pick it apart with their fingers like monkeys pick at other monkeys.
A tube pan or bundt pan is the most traditional but I love using a 9×13-inch cake pan for even baking. You can also use 2 loaf pans.
Leftover monkey bread can sit on the counter for up to 2 days as long as it’s in an airtight container.
Homemade Monkey Bread Recipe
For the Dough
- 3-¼ to 3-¾ cups (403g-465g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 packet Fleischmann's® RapidRise® Yeast – Instant Yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (177ml) milk whole, 2%, 1% or nonfat
- ¼ cup (59ml) water
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter sliced into tablespoons
- 1 large egg
For the Filling:
- 1 cup (200g) brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter , melted
- It’s best to use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. You can also do this by hand or with an electric mixer, but it will take longer.
- Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in a large mixer bowl and whisk until blended.
- Combine milk, water and butter in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH in 15 second increments until very warm but not hot to the touch, about a minute (120° to 130°F; butter won’t melt completely). Add to flour mixture with egg.
- Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add another 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in just enough remaining flour so that the dough will form into a ball.
- Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.
- Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place melted butter in another small bowl.
- Cut dough into 36 pieces (cut in half, cut each half in thirds and each third into thirds again, then each third in halves). Dip each piece into the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Spray pan with cooking spray. Place dough into pan. Combine remaining butter and sugar and drizzle over rolls. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. See below for pan instructions:
- 9×13-inch baking dish: place dough pieces into single layer. After rising, bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
- Fluted tube pan or Bundt pan: bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
- Two 9×5-inch bread pans: bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
- 12 monkey bread muffins: place 3 pieces in each greased muffin cup. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
- If you plan to remove from the pan for serving, cool 5 minutes in pan then invert onto serving plate.
- If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the filling.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Homemade Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Bread
- Trilogy Cinnamon Rolls – the best ever!
- Gooey Caramel Pull-Aparts
Recipe slightly adapted from this one on the Fleischmann’s website.
**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**
Cheesy Ranch Breadsticks also made with Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast!
I could live on these Buttery Homemade Rolls!
This post was sponsored by Fleischmann’s® Yeast in 2018 – Homemade Monkey Bread is the easiest yeasted recipe you’ll ever make!
Last Updated on October 11, 2022