Homemade Monkey Bread (aka Cinnamon Roll Bites)

Homemade monkey bread combines several tiny balls of dough coated in butter, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s basically a giant bundt pan of gooey cinnamon rolls! Finish this fun breakfast or dessert treat with vanilla icing and serve pull apart style.

monkey bread with icing on pink cake stand

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.

What is Monkey Bread?

Monkey bread is a sweet, gooey bundt cake made from balls of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. Arrange the dough balls in a bundt pan, then top it all with a buttery brown sugar sauce before baking. Invert it onto a serving plate, then drizzle with creamy vanilla icing. Each bite tastes like the sticky delicious center of cinnamon rolls. Monkey bread is served pull apart style where everyone tears off a piece– just like how monkeys pick at their food.

You can have monkey bread for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Or dinner, or 2nd dessert, or lunch, or snack. (Hey, I’m not judging! Every time is a good monkey bread time!)

I published a caramel monkey bread recipe several years ago and followed up with this traditional recipe. I decided it was time to update the photos, add a video tutorial, and include more helpful information so you can have monkey bread recipe success!

top of monkey bread

Video Tutorial: Monkey Bread Recipe

Here’s a video tutorial displaying each step. Use this as your guide.

4 Parts to Monkey Bread

There are 4 parts to this monkey bread. It sounds like a lot, but most of the ingredients are repeated in each. One thing to note is that you pour the brown sugar sauce over the dough balls before baking. It’s the secret to monkey bread’s gooey sticky texture!

  1. Homemade Dough: milk, sugar, yeast, eggs, butter, salt, flour
  2. Dough Ball Coating: butter, cinnamon, sugar
  3. Brown Sugar Sauce: butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract
  4. Vanilla Icing: confections’ sugar, milk, vanilla extract

pull apart monkey bread

Homemade Monkey Bread Dough

Before we walk through each individual step in this monkey bread recipe, let’s talk about the dough. This is the best monkey bread I’ve ever had because it starts with a rich homemade dough. Nothing compares to the flavor of homemade and you’ll be surprised how quickly the dough comes together. You can even get started on the dough the night before!

This is a rich dough, which means that it’s prepared with fat like milk, butter, and eggs. Rich doughs make soft breads such as babka, dinner rolls, and glazed doughnuts. Lean doughs, on the other hand, are made without much fat and produce crusty bread such as focaccia, bagels, and pizza dough.

You need 7 ingredients for monkey bread dough:

  1. Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. Nondairy or low fat milks are fine, but whole milk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
  2. Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. I recommend Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast, which is an instant yeast blended with natural dough improvers.
  3. Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.
  4. Eggs: Eggs provide structure and flavor.
  5. Butter: Butter promises a flavorful dough.
  6. Salt: You can’t make flavorful bread without salt!
  7. Flour: All-purpose flour is the structure of the dough.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Are you a 1st time bread baker and nervous to work with yeast? Before beginning, I encourage you to review my Baking with Yeast guide. It’s a very helpful resource for yeast beginners and yeast professionals alike!

2 images of monkey bread dough on counter and in glass bowl

2 images of rolling monkey bread dough balls and pouring coating on top of dough balls in bundt pan

monkey bread dough in bundt pan

baked monkey bread in bundt pan

Overview: How to Make Monkey Bread

  1. Prepare the dough: The dough comes together with a mixer. You can also make the dough by hand, but it requires a bit of arm muscle. After the dough comes together in the mixing bowl, it’s time to knead. You can simply continue beating the dough with the mixer for this step or you can knead the dough by hand.
  2. Let the dough rise: The dough rises in about 1-2 hours in a relatively warm environment.
  3. Punch down the dough: Punch down the dough to release the air.
  4. Shape & coat dough balls: Pull off little pieces of dough and roll into balls. Dunk the balls into melted butter, then coat with 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.
  5. Let the shaped monkey bread rest for 20 minutes: Arrange the coated balls in a bundt pan or tube pan, cover lightly, then set aside to rest as you preheat the oven. The balls will slightly rise during this time.
  6. Top with buttery brown sugar sauce: Before baking the monkey bread, mix melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together. Pour this sauce all over the dough balls.
  7. Bake: Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  8. Invert onto serving plate: Allow the monkey bread to cool for 5-10 minutes, then invert it onto a serving plate.
  9. Drizzle with vanilla icing: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Drizzle all over the warm monkey bread.

pull apart monkey bread

monkey bread serving on white plate

Imagine the best cinnamon roll you’ve ever tasted. This monkey bread is even better because it’s stickier, softer, sweeter, and piled extra high. You’ll be licking your fingers clean and grabbing more and more bites. Though from-scratch monkey bread takes longer to prepare than a shortcut version made with canned biscuit dough, the results are incomparable. Once you smell the gooey cinnamon sugar bubbling in the oven, you’ll know you made the right decision.

More Indulgent Breakfast Recipes

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monkey bread with icing on pink cake stand

Homemade Monkey Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 servings
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Monkey bread combines several tiny balls of dough coated in butter, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s basically a giant bundt pan of gooey cinnamon rolls! Finish this fun breakfast or dessert treat with vanilla icing and serve pull apart style.


  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F (43°C)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp; 70g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups (625g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)


  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp; 170g) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (130g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Icing

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*
  3. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.
  4. 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  5. Generously grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with butter or nonstick spray. (Nonstick spray is best for this recipe.)
  6. Prepare the coating: Melt 1/2 cup (115g;1 stick) of unsalted butter in a medium bowl. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon together in another medium bowl. You will use the rest of the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla later.
  7. Shape the dough: Use the video tutorial above as a guide for this step. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Working one at a time, take small pieces of dough and roll into balls (about 1.25 inches in diameter each). 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 the balls in the bundt pan as you go. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel and allow the shaped monkey bread to rest for 20 minutes. The balls will slightly rise during this time.
  8. Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the monkey bread towards the bottom of the oven so the top doesn’t burn.)
  9. Finish the coating: Melt remaining 1/4 cup (60g; 4 Tbsp) butter, then whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla extract. Pour evenly all over the shaped monkey bread.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cover loosely with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then invert onto a large serving plate or cake stand.
  11. Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together. Drizzle over monkey bread. Cut the bread into generous slices or let everyone pick off the gooey pieces themselves. That’s the fun of this treat!
  12. Monkey bread tastes best served on the same day. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature for 1 day and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 4. After dough rises, punch it down to release the air, then roll into 40-45 small balls as directed in step 7. Do not coat the balls. Place shaped dough balls on a baking sheet, then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once cold, the dough balls won’t stick together anymore. Place them in a freezer bag or freezer-friendly container, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw dough balls in the refrigerator or at room temperature, prepare the coating and bundt pan, then coat the dough balls as instructed in step 7. Continue with the recipe.
  2. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the recipe through step 3. Cover the dough tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 3 hours before you serve the monkey bread the next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours. Continue with step 5.
  3. Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use Red Star Yeast active dry yeast instead. Rise times will be slightly longer using active dry yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: cinnamon rolls, breakfast

pull-apart monkey bread

This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast.


  1. Hi! Wondering if I could use bread flour instead of all purpose as it’s all I have!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Victoria, Yes, you sure can. Same amount.

  2. Hi Sally!

    This recipe looks amazing! I don’t have a Bundt pan…can I use a bread pan?

    1. This was hands down the best treat I have ever made. Thank you Sally! It came out perfectly and it was incredible. It was also so big, I had to drop some off to the neighbor or we would have eaten it all.
      I love all your recipes but this one was something extra special. 🙂

  3. Omg! So good I made some for us, then turned around and made more for some close friends! Huge hit everyone loved these!!

  4. Hi Sally!
    I made this recipe over the holidays and we LOVED it.
    I loved the dough and would like to make a savory version for Sunday brunch – is it possible to adapt this recipe? Could I reduce the amount of sugar?

    1. Hi Helene! I would love to hear how your savory monkey bread turns out. You can reduce the sugar in the dough. I recommend 2 Tablespoons (halve the amount listed).

  5. I have always been pleased with every recipe from this site and the monkey bread was no different! It was amazing. For those of you who don’t have a Bundt pan or prefer a smaller dessert size, I cut the recipe in half and bake it in my glass 9×13 for 20-25 minutes. It turns out perfect and each piece is equally done. My husband and I along with four children licked the dish clean! Thank you for recipes from scratch!

  6. Do you know if this would work with a bread machine for the dough and initial rise?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, We don’t have a bread machine so we haven’t tested anything, but we know some readers have made this dough in one. Let us know if you give it a try!

  7. In step 9 you say to melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and whisk in brown sugar & vanilla. I did that and ended up with a paste, not a sauce. What did I do wrong?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tara, It’s possible that either there wasn’t quite enough butter or too much sugar making it too thick. If that ever happens again feel free to add just a bit more melted butter. You can watch the video above (right at the 2:44 mark) to see how thick the mixture should be. I hope this helps!

  8. Natalee Harris says:

    I make this pretty often and I always use this recipe. My entire family loves it. Every time they are over they ask me if I can make it. 100% recommend.

  9. Bergit Kahula says:

    Loved it! Made it for the nurses that took care of my husband

  10. Could you use heavy cream instead of milk?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anela, we don’t suggest heavy cream in this yeasted dough. Milk is ideal.

  11. I am in Denver Colorado and would like to make this for my daughter and her family. What do I need to adjust for the altitude of 5280

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Audrey, I wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  12. MacArthur Millen says:

    This is the second time I’ve tried monkey bread but the first with this recipe. It turned out really great – my kids are still licking their fingers! Not sure if it was my Bundt pan size (do they come in different ones?), but the brown sugar sauce started overflowing and sizzling on the bottom of the oven. I put a cookie sheet lined with foil on the most bottom rack to catch it.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi MacArthur, bundt pans do come in varying sizes, so that could definitely be why the brown sugar started to overflow (you’ll want a 10-12 cup bundt pan for this recipe). Glad you were able to catch it — and glad it was a hit with your kids!

  13. Bread machine verdict: Yes, you can make the dough in the bread machine. If left to complete the full 90min dough cycle, the dough will press against the top of the machine. The dough balls shaped nicely, but I would reduce the 20min resting time slightly, as the resulting dough volume was a little too much. I would also add a slight bit more butter to the brown sugar mixture to make it more pourable. Overall, yes, the bread machine will work for this dough, but it makes the dough rise a little too well, so reduce your rise time accordingly. Absolutely delicious and a new favorite here!

  14. With the 5 cups my dough came out very sticky. I had to add way more flour until I could hand knead it nice. Is this normal? Does the environment had something to do ( I live in the tropics)

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sol! A lot of factors go into this such as mixing time, speed, weather, yeast, and temperature of water. A humid environment can make a big difference. Feel free to add more flour to make a soft, yet workable dough.

  15. OMG! I made yesterday and this is off the charts amazing! My husband and I can’t stop it is so Yummy I can’t wait to make again for my grandkids as I’m sure they will go crazy for it. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  16. Hello! If you choose to freeze ahead – how long do you recommend leaving the dough pieces at room temperature before adding the coating? Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ro! Just a long as necessary for the dough balls to thaw. Hope you love this monkey bread!

  17. I was wondering if I can switch out the bread by scratch and use something premade? And also will I need to change any of the other ingredients as well? Thank you in advance.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kaitlynne! We haven’t tested this recipe with pre made dough. Sorry we can’t help more!

  18. Hi, I just made this following your recipe to the T. Is the finished product supposed to have the texture of fluffy bread or a little cakey? I made this for my husband, we had a few pieces but not sure what the texture is supposed to be like..I can provide photo…

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elin, The finished Monkey Bread should be more like a very soft bread – much like a cinnamon roll! I hope you both enjoyed it!

  19. I love all your recipes. You are my go to baking site. I have been searching the comments because I did have one change I’d like to make next time: I felt the end product needed just a little salt. Perhaps it’s just me, but I like a little salt with my sweet. So next time I’m going to use salted butter for the coating. Any thoughts?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenna, we’re so glad you enjoyed this monkey bread! You can absolutely use salted butter for the coating if desired. Or, you can try adding just a pinch of salt to the coating mixture. Hope this helps!

  20. Lauren Logue says:

    I really want to make this! But is a Bundt pan necessary I don’t have one but I do have bread pans and cookie sheets. Would those work?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren! You can use a bread loaf pan — simply layer the dough balls in a 9×5 pan. You’ll have enough for two loaves. Happy baking!

  21. Kristin Creighton says:


    This was an excellent recipe, but when I took it out of the pan, it collapsed. It just seemed very heavy. Any recommendations for next time? I didn’t make any changes.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kristin! Thank you so much for giving this monkey bread a try. Usually when a yeasted dough collapses, the dough has been left to rise to too long or at too high of a temperature – an easy fix for next time! Here’s more tips for baking with yeast.

  22. Hi! I was wondering if the bread would turn out okay if I used 2% milk rather than whole? 2% is all I have on hand at the moment and I’m not excited about going out in the bad weather we have right now to pick up some whole, but I’m craving monkey bread and really wanted to try out this recipe today. I can put it off til I can pick up some whole milk if I need to, but I just thought I’d ask.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nat, 2% milk will be fine for this dough. Enjoy!

  23. Were still in lockdown in Ireland so Thanks for yet another amazing recipe to keep us going. I had never heard of this, but I’ve made it a few times now for my family and everyone loves it!

  24. Could these be made into muffins?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erin, Absolutely! We’re unsure of the bake time though. Use your best judgement to determine their doneness.

  25. Would coconut oil for the butter be a good substitute? Would cashew milk be a good whole milk substitute? I’m trying to avoid diary. Love your recipes! Thanks!

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