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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 – we absolutely fell in love with this and we like it better than the ones made with biscuits.

monkey bread on a white plate with a hand holding a piece of it.


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! I absolutely love the flavor of the from-scratch dough. It’s lighter and airier than the store-bought kind. And – it’s way easier to make from scratch than I thought it would be.

What is Monkey Bread?

Monkey Bread is a delicious pastry made with either homemade yeasted dough or canned biscuits. Traditionally, it’s baked in a bundt pan. The dough is coated with cinnamon sugar and the entire thing is drenched in a brown sugar butter sauce. It gets it’s name because you pick at it (like a monkey picks at other monkeys).

Ingredients for how to make homemade monkey bread

Important Ingredients

  • Instant Yeast – It’s important to use INSTANT yeast (I always use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise). 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 is the best for this recipe.
  • Sugar – granulated sugar for the dough and brown sugar for the filling
  • Butter – Unsalted or salted can be used
  • Milk – regular, nonfat or even nondairy milk is fine
  • Egg – adds a richness to the dough

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

How to make monkey bread dough

  • 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!

How to make Monkey Bread

  • 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.
  • Make the coating: melt the butter and place in a small bowl. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl. Dip the pieces into the butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place in your pan. You can use a bundt pan, 9×13-inch baking dish, or two loaf pans. (Directions for all are in the recipe card.) Be sure to spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray so it doesn’t stick.
  • Melt remaining butter and stir it together with the brown sugar and remaining coating ingredients. Pour over the pieces in the pan.
  • 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.

monkey bread baked in a white pan with a blue border

Expert Tips

  • 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.
  • I’ve used both a bundt pan and a 9×13-inch pan for this recipe. 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.
  • If you have leftover brown sugar sauce, pour it over the monkey bread in the pan before letting the monkey bread rise.
monkey bread on a white plate.

FAQs

Can I make monkey bread ahead of time?

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.

What pans can you use for monkey bread?

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.

Do you have to refrigerate monkey bread?

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

Homemade Monkey Bread Recipe

5 from 52 votes
Homemade Monkey Bread is so much easier than you think! This from scratch version of a cinnamon pull-apart is the perfect brunch recipe!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

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 coating:

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the topping

  • ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (57g) unalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Make the coating: melt the butter and place in a small bowl. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon 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. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place  until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Make the topping: add remaining ¼ butter to the rest of the melted butter in the small bowl and heat until all melted. Add remaning cinnamon sugar mixture to the melted butter along with brown sugar and additional cinnamon. Stir to combine. Pour this mixture over the monkey bread pieces in the pan.
  • Allow to rise until about doubled in size; approximately 1 hour. It's helpful to place it in a warm place (i.e. on your stove top while the oven is preheating).
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • 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 40-50 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.

Recipe Notes

  • If you plan to remove from the pan for serving, cool 5 minutes in pan then invert onto serving plate while still hot or it will glue to the pan.
  • If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the filling.
Recipe slightly adapted from this one.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 607IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Favorite Yeast Recipes

Last Updated on December 6, 2023



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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39 Comments

  1. I’ve made this recipe twice and the first time was absolutely fantastic–my partner and I practically fought each other over the last few bites. The second time I tried the muffin variety and it was somewhat less successful; the sauce caramelized all over my muffin tin and made a huge mess. Still tasty, though!

    I’m currently in the process of making it again, and I’ve noticed something in the recipe that I didn’t notice before. Maybe it wasn’t there before? I don’t know, but it’s confusing:

    Step 8 says to combine the remaining butter and sugar from the coating and drizzle over the rolls, then let rise. But then step 9 says to add the topping ingredients to the remaining coating ingredients, then let rise again.

    How can I add the topping ingredients to the coating ingredients if I’ve already drizzled the coating ingredients over the rolls? And am I really supposed to let the dough rise twice–once for 45 minutes after the coating and again for 1 hour after the topping? If that’s true, then the total time at the top of the recipe is definitely NOT 50 minutes.

    I hope this confusion can be cleared up. Thank you, and thank you for an otherwise amazing recipe!

    1. Thank you for catching that!! I removed that line from that step – just let rise THEN mix the butter with the sugar.

  2. Can the dough be refrigerated and used later? If so, how long can it be refrigerated before using?
    Sorry, if this question was asked already 😁

    1. I usually will assemble it without the butter mixture the night before and then melt the butter and pour it over right before baking.

  3. I’m not a bread maker and this recipe turned out perfect. I used a Bundt pan and rolled dough out, cutting it with an antique biscuit cutter.

  4. Made this recipe although I have a hard time following it thoroughly. I mixed all the dough ingredients together at first. Still came out good👍🏾 also I doubled the recipe 😋

  5. Thank you so much for your detail instructions for baking this monkey bread in different pan size. I however use active dried yeast because that’s what I have. So have to wait a little longer. Thank you again for details instructions. I found many recipes for monkey bread but most of the in Bundt pan which is far more than we need.

  6. This monkey bread is delicious! It’s like cinnamon buns crossed with donut holes, and every bite has the perfect amount of cinnamon, sugar, and butter. This is my new go-to recipe instead of cinnamon buns.

    We had it for Christmas brunch, so I made it all the night before and let it rise, covered and put it in the fridge overnight, and just baked in the morning!