Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites).
Classic monkey bread is sweet pull apart bread baked in a bundt pan. And my version is made from scratch – heavy on the cinnamon sugar and sweet vanilla glaze!
Have you ever had monkey bread before? You either (1) have eaten it and love it (2) have no idea what I’m talking about.
If you fall into the latter category, let me explain what this outrageous recipe is. Monkey bread is a sweet, sticky, gooey pastry made from little balls of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked together in a bundt pan. You can have it for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Or dinner, or 2nd dessert, or lunch, or snack…
Monkey bread is a giant cinnamon roll. A mountain of cinnamon rolls, if you will. To eat it, you tear the bread piece by piece – sort of like how little monkeys pick at their food.
In other words… monkey bread is awesome. See what I mean? ↑ ↑
It’s been awhile since I made it, and to be honest – I’ve only made it with caramel before. Monkey bread is sooooo (x 100) good with caramel sauce.
Today’s version doesn’t have caramel, though. Rather, I prepared it the traditional way. This monkey bread is completely smothered with a brown sugar sauce before baking and then topped with vanilla glaze.
You’re going to make the dough from scratch. No short-cuts here, please! Pure, homemade, soft doughy goodness tastes so much better than dough you get in a can. The dough takes about 15 minutes to prepare and you can make it the night before to save yourself some time in the morning. Not too bad, right?
The next morning, set aside 30 minutes to roll the dough into balls and coat in cinnamon-sugar. Little bakers love to help out with this step! Good thing to note: the heavier the cinnamon-sugar coating, the more these little monkey bread bites will taste like gooey cinnamon rolls. That’s a good thing, trust me.
I prefer to use Red Star Platinum in my monkey bread recipe. In fact, it’s what I use in all my sweet dough recipes. Its premium formula strengthens dough, increasing puffiness and spring in your finished recipe.
Here are some step-by-step visuals for you:
All of the little cinnamon-sugar bites you pull apart are so sweet ‘n sticky! In a good way, of course. You’ll be licking your fingers clean and grabbing more and more from the big pile of cinnamon sugar goodness.
Imagine the best cinnamon roll you’ve ever tasted. This monkey bread is better than that – and you get a huge mountain of it in bite sized form. A bundt pan of heaven.
If you already love monkey bread, then you have to try this homemade recipe… and if you have never tried monkey bread, then you have to try this recipe!
Though my homemade version takes a little more time to make than shortcut versions, you will be quickly thanking yourself for going the homemade route! Once you smell the ooey gooey cinnamon sugar bubbling in the oven, you’ll know you made the right decision.
Homemade Monkey Bread
Yield: 14 servings
Prep Time: 9 hours (includes rising)
Total Time: 9.5 hours
Makes 1 bundt pan of monkey bread, about 14 servings. This is an overnight recipe you have to make ahead. Be sure to read all of the instructions before baking.
- 1 package (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (recommended: Red Star Platinum)
- 1/4 cup warm water (110F-115F)
- 1 and 1/4 cups warm 2% milk (110F-115F, 2% or higher milk fat, no lower)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream (or milk for a less creamy texture)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir it around a bit and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Add the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes (using a dough hook if you have a stand mixer or using a hand mixer). By hand add enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. About 5 cups total.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Do not over-knead, which will yield a tough, chewy bread. The dough is ready when it is smooth and when you can poke it with a finger and it springs back. Form dough into a smooth ball and place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. I greased the bowl with cooking spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Make the coating: melt 1/2 cup of butter in a small bowl. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon together in another small bowl. Set aside. You will use the rest of the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla later.
- Spray a 10-12 cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Punch the cold dough down very gently to allow the air bubbles to release. Pull apart pieces and roll into balls, about 1.25 inches in diameter. You will need 40-45 balls total, so be modest with their size. Dip each ball, one by one, in the melted butter and then generously roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat them. You may need more cinnamon-sugar depending how heavy you coat each ball. Arrange them in the bundt pan as you go. If you did not use Red Star Platinum yeast, cover the pan and allow dough balls to rise again for about 45 minutes at room temperature. If you did use Red Star Platinum yeast, move ahead to the next step and bake right away.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Pour the buttery mixture over the dough balls in the bundt pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly. Cool for 5-10 minutes and invert onto a large serving plate.
- Make the glaze: Simply whisk all of the glaze ingredients together and pour over the bread. You may either cut the bread into generous slices or let everyone pick off the gooey pieces themselves.
- Monkey bread tastes best served on the same day, but will stay fresh for 3 days if stored covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Make ahead tip: This recipe is designed to be made ahead! In step 2, you'll see that the dough needs to rise for at least 8 hours or overnight.
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Try my Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel next!