Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

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!

Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites or Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread) - this homemade version is incredible! sallysbakingaddiction.com
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.

Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites or Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread) - this homemade version is incredible! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites or Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread) - this homemade version is incredible! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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:

Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites or Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread) - this homemade version is incredible! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites or Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread) - this homemade version is incredible! sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Enjoy! Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

 

Homemade Monkey Bread

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.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 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 (measured correctly)

Coating

  • 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

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream (or milk for a less creamy texture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Try my Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel next!

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

295 comments

  1. I have some active sourdough starter leftover from baking bread. Can I add a bit of sourdough starter to the monkey bread? If so, how much would you suggest? Thanks!

  2. I want to add some apple chunks to this recipe, but am worried about the finished product getting soggy.  What would you suggest?

    • I’ve added apples to this before! I cut the apples into small square chunks and tossed with cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter. I reduced the temp to 325 and kept a piece of foil just laid across the top of the dish to let the moisture out and keep the tops from overly browning, it turned out great! Total bake time was approx 10 min longer. 

  3. How do I keep the dough from becoming hard??

  4. I made this dough Friday night and was all set to assemble and bake it Saturday morning. Well, a major snow storm hit. 10 inches…in Atlanta. Who knew? 
    I went ahead and assembled it Saturday morning even though we had no power, in hopes our power would come back.  It sat in our garage refrigerator for an entire day. Today we still have no power, so we decided to bake it on the grill.

    Even after all of that, it is amazing and wonderful and delicious!! Thank you!!

  5. I made this without waiting 8 hours, and it still turned out well.

  6. Can you substitute a different pan? I live in the Philippines and have no bundt cake pan. 

    • I used an upside-down coffee mug in the middle of a deep round pan, worked great! (Thanks, Mom, for the tip, saved the day 😉

  7. Looks yummy! I would like to make this a few days ahead of time and freeze it after it’s baked then thaw and warm up on Christmas morning. Would that be ok?

  8. Thank you so much! I know the shortcut version from my childhood, but now live in Switzerland where there’s no frozen bread dough available. My family will be trying this recipe out! 

  9. Can I halve the recipe? If I do, could I still use a bundt pan (less full)? How long would that take to bake? Any suggestions on any other changes to make a half recipe? 

  10. I only have Red Star active yeast.  Will I need to wait an additional 45 minutes before baking?  Thanks Sally and enjoy your first Christmas with your baby

  11. Made this this morning – delicious! And bonus points for being easy and a great recipe to make with kiddos.

  12. Will the dough be different if I use gluten free flour? if so, what will happen? how can I prevent it?

  13. I don’t know what I did wrong but this didn’t turn out for me at all. Maybe bad yeast? My dough was very hard, never rose, and once baked it didn’t stick together so when I flipped it there were 45 very dense balls laying in a heap. Lol but also sad. Was very eager to eat this. 

  14. I followed all the instructions exactly but the dough did not rise at all (8 hours at approx. 40 degrees) and turned out to be extremely hard. Also the balls did not stick together while baking and tasted like they would not have been baked. Any ideas what my mistake could have been? (maybe the yeast? I live in Austria and just used the kind of dry yeast we have here)
    Thank you!

  15. My trick is to put your dough in the oven (turned off!!) with a pot of pre-boiled water. It rises significantly in 45 mins. Works every time, especially in the cold winter months!

  16. Just completed the recipe and decorated it for my grandchildren’s king cake. I’m sure it will taste good. Halved the recipe to make a smaller bread. Had trouble with it falling apart, but they won’t mind.

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