Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

One massive, gooey cinnamon roll? Yes, please! I know this is called monkey ‘bread’ but I’m having a hard time deciding if it should be classified as bread or a cake. Or a pastry. Breakfast pastry? Oooh maybe that’s it! However you categorize it, this is all kinds of delicious. Sweetened dough is cut into small pieces, rolled into balls, dipped in melted butter, rolled in cinnamon and brown sugar, and layered int a Bundt pan. The butter and brown sugar create a caramel sauce that coats the bread once it is turned out of the pan. Drizzle the top with a powdered sugar glaze, and you have the most decadent breakfast, snack or dessert (I just love baked goods that can be eaten for a variety of meals or occasions). This is meant to be served warm so you can pull the bread apart with your fingers, but it’s also fabulous at room temperature or rewarmed in a microwave. No matter when you eat it, you’ll be licking your fingers clean!

Monkey Bread

I tried to find the origin of the name ‘monkey bread’ and it doesn’t seem that there is a definitive background, as some claim that the bread resembles the monkey puzzle tree, or that the act of several people pulling at the bread is reminiscent of monkey behavior.

Now, monkey bread does take a little bit of time to create (around 3-4 hours from start to finish), but it is well worth the effort, and when you smell the cinnamon sugar bubbling from the oven, you won’t be second-guessing your decision to make it. In fact, you’ll be giving yourself a huge pat on the back. Here’s a quick run-down of how you’ll be assembling the monkey bread:

First, you start off by greasing a Bundt pan with a liberal amount of butter. Easy peasy.

Greased Bundt pan

You’ll mix the dough together and let it rise until it doubles, then turn it out and pat it into an 8×8-inch square.

Dough patted into an 8x8-inch square

Then, with a sharp knife or bench scraper (the bench scraper worked really well for me), cut the rectangle into 64 pieces.

Dough cut into 64 pieces

Roll each piece into a ball.

Dough rolled into balls

One at a time, dip each ball into the melted butter, then roll in the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, and then layer in in the Bundt pan.

Monkey bread prep

Monkey bread, ready for its 2nd rise

Let it rise one more time, bake, glaze, and dig in!

Monkey bread ready for the oven

Monkey Bread

By the way, if you have already shattered your iPhone, it really doesn’t matter if you get flour all over it. Just sayin’. The good news? Monkey bread will make you feel better about the whole situation.

Boo boo iPhone

One year ago: Fontina-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Two years ago: Strawberry Pretzel Squares
Three years ago: Black Bean Burgers

Monkey Bread

Yield: 1 loaf, serving 6 to 8

Prep Time: 1 hour (active), 2 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees F)
1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 package instant yeast
3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 teaspoons salt

Brown Sugar Coating:
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk


1. Butter Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Set aside.

2. In a large measuring cup, mix together milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast. Mix flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, round ball. Coat large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl and coat surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free area until dough doubles in size, 50 to 60 minutes.

3. For the sugar coating: While the dough is rising, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl. Set aside.

4. To form the bread: Gently remove the dough from the bowl, and pat into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.

5. Roll each dough piece into a ball. Working one at a time, dip the balls into the melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl. Roll in the brown sugar mixture, then layer balls in the Bundt pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.

6. Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in draft-free area until dough balls are puffy and have risen 1 to 2 inches from top of pan, 50 to 70 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

8. For the glaze: While the bread cools, whisk the confectioners' sugar and milk in a small bowl until the lumps are gone. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the monkey bread, letting it run over top and down the sides of the bread. Serve warm.

*Note: To make without a stand mixer: In step 2, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, then add the milk mixture to the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough becomes shaggy and is difficult to stir. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating the shaggy scraps back into the dough. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into a taut ball and proceed as directed.

(Recipe adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated)


152 Responses to “Monkey Bread”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. notyet100 on August 27, 2010 at 1:27 am

    drooling here,..


    • Cooks of the Trade on April 22nd, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      This recipe is good, but if you really want amazing monkey bread, try Oprah’s recipe! I made some last night, and it was soooo amazing!

      Here’s the site if you guys want to try it out:


      • jenny on August 7th, 2011 at 6:03 am

        Oprahs? NO this is the real stuff – made from scratch. absolutley delicious. gorgeous pics too! thanks.


      • Mary Ellen on November 1st, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        That website just takes you to a spam site and says “you’re a winner”.

        Anyone, including Oprah, can buy 4 cans of biscuits. This recipe is the real deal!


  2. Rosa on August 27, 2010 at 2:36 am

    So yummy looking! I really have to try making Monkey Bread. *drool*




  3. Dina shahwan on August 27, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Looks so yummy and it tastes great I tried this awhile ago from cooks illustrated too it’s the best monkey bread I made.
    Meachel I am ur biggest fan , u inspire me to be a better cook , so sorry about your phone


  4. kristina on August 27, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Looks so good!! Wanna cook this for work, but do you think I can make it the day before and warm it up in the microwave at work? Hoping it will taste just as good if it came straight out of the oven.


    • Michelle on August 27th, 2010 at 10:15 am

      Hi Kristina, You can warm this up just fine, I do that with little pieces of it and it tastes fresh from the oven!


  5. sally on August 27, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Great recipe, I love those yeast bread recipes where the different sections ‘prove’ into one another. I definitely think this is a ‘breakfast pastry’ – I’d get out of bed for it!!


  6. Marta on August 27, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I love cinnamon!! It looks like a kind of cinnamon rolls, the taste is simmilar?? I love cinnamon rolls!!!!
    I will do this recipe as soon as I get the ingredients!!!!!!


  7. Lisa on August 27, 2010 at 6:10 am

    This looks fabulous! I’m going to make it right now.

    Just a question: I assume 1 package of instant yeast is about 7 grams?



    • Michelle on August 27th, 2010 at 10:13 am

      Hi Lisa, I’m actually not sure what the weight is on a packet of yeast (I buy it in jars), but 1 packet is equal to 2-1/4 teaspoons. Hope that helps!


      • foodlvr on January 4th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

        I think it is like 1.25 oz or something like that if I am not mistaken. I just looked at the new Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast and it says 3-.75 oz packets of yeast SO maybe it is 1/4 oz? I normally use SAF Red that I get at King Arthur and I buy a pound at a time so I never buy the packets anymore. I bought the Pizza Yeast to see the difference when making pizza crust (haven’t tried it yet).

        Anyway, I hope this helps.


  8. Aimee on August 27, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I loveE monkey bread, but I have never made it with homemade dough, or a glaze on top. This looks magnificent!


  9. Becka on August 27, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Wow, this looks yummy!

    Ditto the question re. the yeast – how much is a package? I buy fast-action (instant) yeast in small tubs not packages – would it be around 2 tsp?
    And how big is your bundt pan?! I have two different sized tins, don’t want to over- or under-fill it!



    • Michelle on August 27th, 2010 at 10:12 am

      Hi Becka, I am unsure of the yeast weight, but 1 packet of yeast is equal to 2-1/4 teaspoons. The size on my Bundt pan says 9.75×3.38-in. Enjoy! :)


  10. Lauren at KeepItSweet on August 27, 2010 at 7:39 am

    that looks too good!!


  11. Rodzilla on August 27, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I’m sorry to hear about the I-Phone; if it makes you feel better, I would glady throw my blackberry against the sidewalk for a loaf of that bread.


  12. Keeley on August 27, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I’m a new follower and I love your blog!

    I make a similar recipe, but I cheat and use the frozen dough balls that are typically used to create dinner rolls. I also add some raisins and nuts… actually, that’s more like sticky buns, but it’s similar. Yummy!


  13. briarrose on August 27, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Looks so good! I have never made monkey bread which is actually quite shocking given how much I adore this style sweet bread. 😉 I will have to fix that.


  14. Joanne on August 27, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I’m crying a little inside, I want this so badly. Remind me again why I started my diet this week…


  15. Lisa on August 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Well, I think 7 grams yeast was about right. My monkey bread is in the oven right now and it smells so good, like cinnamon pancakes, yum. I didn’t make it in a bundt pan (they don’t sell those here) and I didn’t think my turban mould would be big enough. So I baked it in a ring shaped mould (about 26 cm), but I think the tin should have been a bit bigger :). Anyway, thanks so much for this recipe. I wanted to try this for ages!


    • Michelle on August 27th, 2010 at 10:10 am

      Hi Lisa, So sorry I didn’t get to answer your question in time, but I’m glad it worked out! I hope you enjoy the bread, let me know what you think once you taste it!


  16. foodlvr on August 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

    This looks so delicious. I want a piece so badly. I have made Monkey Bread before with success. I have to make this for breakfast tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration.

    You know what works really well for cutting dough? A Pizza Cutter! I use it when I make my famous Garlic Bubble Loaf, a savory Monkey Bread!


  17. Tina from PA on August 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Love monkey bread(we call it Bubble Bread)! I wonder if this dough would be good for a New Years Pretzel ? I cann’t buy them here in Northeast Pa . I really miss them.


  18. Jenny Flake on August 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Awesome is all I have to say…..absolutely drooling here :) Love the messy iPhone, mine looks the same way when I am baking…well minus the shattered corner :)


  19. Lindsay on August 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

    That looks so insanely awesome and delicious.


  20. Lisa on August 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Mmmmm, it is delicious!! Everybody loves it! Thanks again for the recipe!!


  21. Katy on August 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I love monkey bread! Looks similar to the recipe I use, but I never thought about rolling it out and using my bench scraper to cut the dough…duh! Great tip!! :)

    And your poor iPhone — so sorry!!


  22. Kristin on August 27, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I’ve never made the dough from scratch for monkey bread. I may have to after seeing this post! I’ve always made one of two versions – either biscuit dough chopped and rolled in cinnamon/sugar, covered with melted butter cooked with brown sugar, or Paula Deen’s version which uses frozen, uncooked rolls that are layered with brown sugar and butterscotch instant pudding, then melted butter is poured over it all and it rises overnight. Both are so good, just a little different from each other in flavor and texture. I’ll have to try this one now!


  23. Michelle on August 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Monkey Bread is so much fun to make. Gorgeous photos!


  24. Sprinkled with Flour on August 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Delicious looking Monkey Bread! Makes me want to blow my attempts at eating healthy this weekend:)


  25. Ivy @ My Simple Food on August 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    This is really special. Great recipe!!


  26. Leslie on August 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Perfect timing! I promised my fella I would send him to work with a loaf of Monkey Bread on Monday. Now I don’t have to search for a good recipe!


  27. Jen @ How To: Simplify on August 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make monkey bread. It always looks so tasty! Your bread is beautiful!


  28. Tracy on August 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    What a gorgeous monkey bread! I’ll definitely have to try making the dough from scratch next time. Yum!


  29. RavieNomNoms on August 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Oh my I love Monkey bread! Looks so yummy!


  30. Barbara on August 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Your icing looks yummy. I never thought to ice them. I make mine the night before — up to step 6. Then put the bread in the refrigerator, let it warm up in the morning while the coffee brews and the oven heats, and then bake them. It doesn’t seem like quite as long a wait!


  31. gal's cupcakes on August 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Wow!!! That looks like a huge version of Panera’s cobblestone. Only this looks better!! I am going to make this for my husband. He will be in heaven!!!


  32. jaclyn@todayslady on August 27, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    That is the BEST Monkey Bread I have ever laid eyes on!!!! Breakfast pastry is definitely the way to describe them! I want this…..


  33. Erinsgobragh on August 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    That is so awesome! I’ve never had monkey bread before!


  34. Kim @ Two Good Cookies on August 27, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I want to eat this. Now. I think this needs to be made. Now.


  35. Liz on August 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I’m new to your blog too and just love everything I’ve made so far!! :)

    My Grandma used to make Monkey bread very similar to this, but would layer in sliced apples and a smidge of nutmeg. When she passed away, we all went through the recipes, but for some reason this recipe wasn’t among her files … I’m betting if I make your recipe and add in the apples and nutmeg it’ll be spot on! I know what I’m doing tomorrow morning!!

    Thanks so much for triggering some wonderful memories (and smells!) 😀


  36. bunkycooks on August 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    This version of Monkey Bread is one of my weaknesses. It always smells so good while it’s baking in the oven!


  37. Allison on August 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “I just love baked goods that can be eaten for a variety of meals or occasions”: my thoughts exactly! =)

    I’ve always wanted to make Monkey Bread! Thanks for the great post, it looks delicious!


  38. Amber on August 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    It’s so interesting that this one concoction can have so many versions, or so many names! The recipe my grandmother taught me is called Pluck It Cake (because you pluck the pieces off), and doesn’t have you rolling the dough balls in anything – you just cook up a mixture of brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and pecans or walnuts. You put half the dough balls into the bundt pan, cover with 1/2 the glaze, layer the rest of the dough balls, and cover with the rest of the glaze.

    Have you seen the garlic bread versions as well?

    Man, I could just lick the screen that stuff looks so good. Great post!


  39. Maranda on August 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Wow! This looks amazing!!! I make a version of monkey bread but it’s nowhere as delicious looking as this one! And I’ve never used a glaze. I will have to try yours! Thanks for sharing!


  40. heather on August 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    a childhood favorite. we’d devour a whole half in one sitting. if i were lucky enough to get some of that, i’d have to call dibs on that huge ball in the middle!




  41. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox on August 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Good any time of day for any meal, dessert, or snack!


  42. Melissa on August 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    YUM! I’m making this tonight or tomorrow! I usually make the recipe with canned biscuits but this looks much better!
    By the way, the exact same thing happened to my old iPhone (in the same spot as well)! I currently have the new iPhone but I feel your pain.


  43. torviewtoronto on August 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    delicious bread


  44. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having on August 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I love foods with good names; Monkey Bread, Boy Bait… Your monkey bread looks delicicious!


  45. Heather I. on August 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I really need to get over my fear of yeast and try this! Monkey bread made with sotre bought dough is tasty, but I’m sure homemade like this is out of this world!


  46. Amanda V. on August 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I just got a Bundt pan.. I need something to inaugurate it into my kitchen.. I think this is a winner. Thanks! :)


  47. foodlvr on August 27, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I made this this afternoon. I am going to reheat it tomorrow morning, make the icing and then serve it to my son and myself. It smelled the whole house up and it smelled soooo good. I can’t wait for a few pieces with some coffee in the a.m.

    Thanks for making me so hungry today. I thought about it all day long. I will write in with my review tomorrow.


  48. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit on August 27, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    This is so calling my name- it looks amazing and decadent. Love it!


  49. Ambika on August 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    That is so cute! I’ve never heard of Monkey bread before, looks absolutely delish..


  50. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on August 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Aww not the Iphone!! This looks delicious, I’ve always wanted to make, but am intimidated by yeast.


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