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)
ΒΌ cup granulated sugar
1 package instant yeast
3ΒΌ 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”

  1. Di on August 28, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Mmm. Now you’ve got me wanting to make monkey bread–it’s been a while. I don’t usually put glaze on it, but that looks like a great idea. And my girls love to drizzle glaze on everything. I think this would be a good recipe to make with them.


  2. Elle on August 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Oh you are EVIL. This is luscious!


  3. Cheah on August 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I posted something like this in my blog, it’s called Hungarian Coffee Cake. But to me it’s like an in between, neither a cake nor bread, how confusing! Perhaps you may like to check it out @


  4. Elisha Josephine on August 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

    YUM! I should make this immediately! My parents said they used to buy monkey bread for me and my sisters almost every week when we lived in Richmond. So I should make this for them and return the favor.


  5. Brilynn on August 28, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    The shattered iphone makes me cringe! But that monkey bread looks awesome! Some cream cheese frosting on there would be pretty good too, not that you need it though…


  6. Annie on August 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Girl, I have seen monkey bread on millions of blogs and never been that interested but somehow you just changed that completely. I really need this like, right now.


  7. Elisa Sandgren on August 28, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one that shatters my iphone! Or drops it in the toilet… Or watches her toddler throw it in the tub… geez. Am I really on my third iphone!? Love the monkey bread. I’m gonna give this recipe a go.


  8. joudie's Mood Food on August 29, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Hey this looks Insane! i had never heard of moneky bread before i had made it this year and let me tell you, you are right. It WILL put you in a good mood no matter what. I am so glad you made your own dough like me. I hate buying all that packaged stuff. This makes it more authentic. Looks absolutely DIVINE. I want to dive in!!!!


  9. Mallory on August 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I made this Monkey Bread this morning for a family dinner tonight. My mother asked me how much she could pay me to make another! Absolutely delish and very pretty. Thanks for sharing this recipe and your experience.


  10. foodlvr on August 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I made this yesterday for breakfast It was very good BUT my dough was very wet. I made it in my Kitchen Aid Mixer. The dough was extremely wet with the amount of flour that was recommended. I had to add more to get a decent consistency to the dough. I think because of this, or the fact that I was at the end of my yeast, that it didn’t rise as much as it should’ve. When I get new yeast I will try it again. It came out very pretty but it wasn’t as light inside as I expected. It was still delicious. My son liked it but not as much as I thought he would. It smelled magnificent when it was baking.

    I still have more for breakfast tomorrow! I will re-heat it and let the icing melt a bit. I still have some leftover of the icing too. I will drizzle more on it. Yummy. It makes enough for breakfast every day for a few days.


  11. Ok, so how many balls of dough were eaten before cooking? Maybe with the egg thing none, but man they look tempting and it’s not even cooked yet. Can’t wait to make this. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


  12. Camala - CC Recipe on August 30, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Thank you so much for posting this, I love monkey bread, but always find recipes using grocery store pre-packaged dough, and I am just not about using that stuff, I like making things from scratch:) So I have gone with out, but no more, I will definitely be making this, I am So Excited:)


  13. Amanda on August 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Oh yum, this looks amazing. The glaze and the cinnamon sugar look heavenly!


  14. Chloe on August 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    YUM! Can’t wait to try this out!!


  15. Cookin' Canuck on August 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Michelle, I am salivating! What a fantastic treat this would be for my family.


  16. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on September 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Monkey Bread is something I have never actually made myself… But I have had it and love it! I definitely have to make this one… In fact, I am about to go raid the kitchen and see if I have all of the ingredients to make it tomorrow morning for breakfast! :)


  17. Jenna Chenette on September 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I made this monkey bread on Sunday, because it was cold and rainy out, and it was absolutely divine! In fact my sister ate almost the whole thing while I was at work on Monday! I combined the extra brown sugar and butter and than drizzled that over the dough balls while they were rising and it made the finish product even gooier and tasty. I did not put on the glaze though so will have to try that next time I make this (my hubby says I should make it every weekend now). Thanks for sharing


  18. Shirley on September 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Sorry about your phone, but that bread looks like such comforting consolation. I love the look of the icing, and think I’ll have to drizzle it on my monkey bread next time.


  19. Stacey on September 3, 2010 at 11:19 am


    You have seriously made my winter! My fam used to make this all the time using pilsbury premade biscuits, but I’ve never gotten the motivation to experiment with making the dough myself (corn allergy) and so have very sadly missed this piece of my childhood. I can’t wait to try it (and see if I can get my bread machine to make the dough for me or not).


  20. Amanda on September 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I finally made this today! Delicious – all i can say!!


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      I totally agree! :)


  21. Melanie on September 7, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I’ve made this twice in the past week…no one can get enough of it! I have been trying to convince my husband that homemade anything is better than store bought. I finally succeeded with this Monkey Bread. It’s delicious!


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

      Melanie – So happy to hear you’ve converted your husband – homemade is definitely better! Glad the monkey bread could do the trick :)


  22. Trisha from TX on September 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I have made this twice–it is SOOO GOOD!!!! My kids are in college, and this is what they request when they are having a “cheat day” from their healthy diet! It looks exactly like the picture, and tastes like mini cinnamon rolls! Thank you so much for sharing! I love your website!!


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you for the review Trisha! So happy to hear you and your kids have been enjoying this!


  23. Wadi on October 26, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I found you via Google and your site is fast becoming my favourite foodie blog! this looks absolutely amazing! but also so cruel, torturing a 7 month pregnant woman like me…must find me a Bundt pan soon.


    • Michelle on October 28th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Wadi, Thank you for the kind words, so happy you enjoy the site!


  24. Bobi on November 6, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Hi Michelle, just found your recipe for Monkey Bread which I’d never heard of (I’m in New Zealand). I love the way you’ve written and illustrated this; it looks absolutely delicious and I am SO going to make it! Thought I might add bits of glace cherry and walnuts, maybe sprinkled over the icing. Lovely! Thanks so much for sharing. :-)


    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      Hi Bobi, Great to have you! Hope you enjoy the bread!


  25. Rachel on November 22, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Just wondering if you have another pan suggestion because I don’t have a bundt pan. Thanks :)


    • Michelle on November 22nd, 2010 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Rachel, You could use a tube pan or any other deep-style pan. If you don’t have any, I think you could probably split it between a couple 9″ cake pans.


  26. michelle on November 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Can I make this a day ahead and maybe not bake it until the day of? and I bake it a day ahead do I store it at room temperature or in the fridge? Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try this recipe!!


    • Michelle on November 29th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Michelle, I have never made it ahead but if you want to try I would store it in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. I’d then take it out of the fridge about an hour before baking, to take the chill off. Let me know how it goes!


  27. Kaylee on December 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Hi! I just wanted to say this monkey bread is so delicious. I had to make twice to get right (I just moved into a high altitude place), but I swear could have ate the whole thing at once!


    • Michelle on December 10th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      I’m glad you managed to get it right Kaylee! I agree, I could have eaten the whole thing at once too!


  28. Josh on December 8, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Been looking for a recipe for this and I literally found dozens. this is the only one that doesn’t use refrigerated biscuit dough. That stuff is just nasty. Not sure why so few people want to put so little effort into baking or cooking from scratch anymore, but it’s always worth that little bit of effort. Food always tastes better from scratch.


    • Michelle on December 10th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      I had the same problem Josh – lots of refrigerated biscuit dough! I agree the extra effort is definitely worth it – such a difference!


  29. gizelle marie on December 13, 2010 at 2:12 am

    i made this for dessert tonight and the four of us ate practically the entire thing. i added cream cheese to the glaze and it was fantastic. i’m definitely making this one again- thanks!


    • Michelle on December 13th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      Oooh cream cheese glaze sounds amazing!!


  30. Chaya on December 18, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Each photo from start to finish makes me hungry. I plan to make this tonight. It is such a tempting recipe.


  31. Linda on January 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    What is a bench scraper and where would I buy one? Thanks–can’t wait to make it!!!


    • foodlvr on January 4th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      It is a metal scraper with a wooden top. I got mine in a supermarket years ago but I know that King Arthur sells them in their catalog and online. They want 19.95 for one but I think I paid like $5 but it was a really long time ago. Theirs is #4718 in the latest catalog. It is used to scrape all the dough off your counter OR to collect it all in one place or to carry it to a bowl from your counter – in their catalog they say it “divides dough effortlessly, scrapes work surfaces clean and cuts bars or cookies evenly in an instant.” I also use it in cooking when I have onions and garlic and other veggies on the counter that need to be put in a skillet. I use it for all kinds of recipes. Hope this helps.


      • Michelle on January 13th, 2011 at 9:45 pm

        Thanks for the great description of a bench scraper! I think I got mine in the gadget bins at Williams Sonoma, but you can find them in lots of places. King Arthur Flour definitely sells one too.


  32. vikram on January 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    hey there………………
    this is my favoritism.
    i am always looking forward to how get the bread.
    Banana Nut Bread


  33. Ginnette on March 2, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hi, I did see it but im a little scared to use yeast. Could i use baking powder instead? πŸ˜€ I know i should try. I have dry yeast at home, is it the same amount? Ah something else, the rest of the sugar and butter showld i toss in in too? or throw it? Thanks!


    • Michelle on March 2nd, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Ginnette, You can’t use baking powder πŸ˜‰ But yes, you can use regular active dry yeast. When you combine it with the water and milk, just let it sit for a few minutes and bubble up before proceeding. You shouldn’t have much butter and sugar leftover, but if you do, you can just pitch it.


      • ginnette on April 30th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

        I forgot to come back and tell u that I made them!! And everybody loved them including me of course!!!
        I double the recipe, one I did it like yours and the other one I added a chocolate sauce I had home! OMG OMG OMG!!! Best thing ever!!!! :)
        Thanks πŸ˜€


  34. Kelly on April 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I’m making this recipe for my in-laws! It was hard to find a “homemade” recipe for monkey bread. Everyone wanted to use the refrigerator biscuits. I appreciate you putting a homemade one out there. I used a pizza cutter to cut my dough. It makes it easier!


  35. Pina on May 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    We had a BBQ at my sister’s for Mother’s Day. It’s been so long I’ve been wanting to make this. It would have been gone before it even got there, it smelled and looked so delicious. Everyone couldn’t wait for dessert and as soon as we put it out, it was gone in a flash! DELICIOUS!!! Will definitely make again. Thanks.


  36. Maria on May 11, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Great recipe! I made this last night but used two smaller bundt pans instead of one large and they turned out wonderfully! Both my grandparents and parents were very excited they would have something sweet for breakfast today!


  37. Sofia on May 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Hi! I love your blog and finally got around to making this monkey bread today. Had no problem following the directions and everything looked good except when I took it out of the oven after 30 minutes it still looked very undone. Put it back in for another 30 minutes and it still looked undone. I was afraid the top would start burning so flipped it out the Bundt pan onto a pie plate and stuck it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. The caramel started to stick to the pie plate of course but the bread was done. Family raved, this sure is divine even without the glaze! There’s only a quarter of it left. The bottom has hardened but I’m sure that’s because of the flipping and everything. My Bundt pan is new and is labeled 22 centimeters. Just wondering what I could have done wrong-any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! :)


    • Michelle on May 20th, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Hi Sofia, My bundt pan is 9.75 inches across (a little wider than 22 centimeters). If yours is higher that could have caused the problem, but if it still wasn’t done after a full hour (double the estimated bake time), I would check your oven to make sure it is running at the correct temperature. Also, what made you suspect that it wasn’t done?


  38. Dorothy on May 21, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I just made this monkey bread recipe for the first time and it turned out beautifully. I rehydrated some dried blueberries, cranberries and raisins and combined them. Before rolling each piece of dough, I put a combination of all three into the center of the dough. Instead of the glaze provided, I used an orange glaze.
    Orange Glaze:
    3 oz Softened Cream Cheese
    2T Softened Butter
    1t Orange Zest
    2T Orange Juice
    2 1/2 c. Confectioner’s Sugar

    After drizzling the glaze, I topped it off with some chopped walnuts. Thank you so much for your amazing recipes! You definitely have a big fan all the way in the small village of Holy Cross, Alaska.


  39. April on August 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I made this yesterday (8-5-11), and served them the next morning. Were VERY good, recommended by everyone! I’m 12 years old and were pretty easy to make. I have experience baking and cooking about my whole life! Definetley going into my recipe book!


  40. Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) on August 27, 2011 at 12:13 am

    All week I wanted to make this and I finally got around to it tonight. I am SO happy right now. I swear, it’s amazing! My boyfriend said “No need to make any other baked goods again”. I might agree with him….


  41. Leah on September 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    This looks so delicious, and I really want to try making it!! I only have one question. It’s very important for me to count my calories to avoid the diabetes and weight gain that runs in my family. Does anyone have any idea how many calories are in a piece of this monkey bread??


    • Michelle on September 6th, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Hi Leah, I don’t have the nutritional info, but I am working on including that for all recipes beginning in December, so keep an eye out!


  42. CAH on November 16, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Thanks so much for a homemade monkey bread recipe! I only recently started working with yeast but have always refused to use refrigerated dough.

    I tried halving the recipe just for the boyfriend and I using a loaf pan and it only made 2-3 layers. I will use a smaller pan next time (and there will be a next time!).

    I accidentally overbaked though–not something I ever do but the bread was ready in the smaller pan after about 20 minutes and I set a timer for 25–left tough caramel on the pan and the bottom layers–boohoo! We still happily ate around it. So to anyone looking to use a smaller pan, decrease cooking time dramatically.

    The boyfriend’s already requested I make this again in a few days. Thanks again for the wonderul from-scratch recipe!


  43. Brooke on January 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    So Delicious!! Me and my nana tried this today and it is amazing! And the directions are great!! It was our first time with yeast and it was perfect!!! Thank you!!


  44. Dyan on January 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

    We made this today and it was delicious! Didn’t need the glaze!


  45. Cat on February 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    PHENOMENAL!!!!! Just made it this morning and brought it to my daughter’s work. I put it on the table, and walked out. A minute later, the kitchen, where people had been having spirited discussions, had become deadly quiet. People were making obscene moaning sounds, and since this is a doctor’s office, (the kitchen is within earshot of the waiting room) patients had some really inquisitive expressions! I peeked in and those in the kitchen were stuffing their faces. Someone said it was the best thing she had ever eaten. Alas, I didn’t get to try it myself, but I trust the people who did, and the praise was both expansive and unanimous.

    BTW, I found that the easiest way to cut the dough up was with a pizza cutter. Thank you, Michelle, for a spectacular, easy recipe!


  46. Tony on March 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    So good, i made it this weekend only got to eat one piece though, the dog stole it as it cooled….


    • Michelle on March 6th, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Oh no! Sadly, I know what that’s like. Good thing they’re so darn cute :)


  47. Kristine on April 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Looks yummy :) I’m from Denmark, the birth-country of pastries. We call this a zinnamon bread, if directly translated.
    I ate it a lot when I was in elementary schook, you could buy half a bread at the baker, so it was cheaper, and easier to finish πŸ˜‰


  48. karen on September 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I just finished making this recipe….my three year old loves to help me in the kitchen and this was an excellent recipe for just that! She was taking the balls and dipping and “sugaring” them. We had so much fun!!!

    Thanks for the recipe:-)


  49. Jaime on October 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I made this already once this summer and it was AMAZING! I want to make it again for either thanksgiving morning or Christmas morning (or both!) but I was wondering if I can do part of the recipe the day before and then bake the day of, only because it took so long to go through all of the different steps.. If so up until which point do you think I could do the day before without ruining the recipe?


    • Michelle on October 25th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Jaime, I think you would be okay making this the day before. I would assemble it through step #5. Then instead of covering it and letting it rise again, cover it and place it in the refrigerator. The cold air will let it go through a slow rise, and then bake it as normal the next morning. Enjoy!


  50. Heather Larson on December 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    can you make this dough and let it rise over night and then put together and bake the next morning or does it have to be all done at once?


    • Michelle on December 26th, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Hi Heather, You could assemble it, then cover and refrigerate it overnight and bake in the morning.


      • Heather Larson on March 21st, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        Hi Michelle- worked perfectly! my family loved this so much, that i will be making it again for easter morning :) I do have a question though. I want to make this again ahead of time, but would like to make it friday night before easter because my daughter’s birthday is on sat and I will be busy. would it be fine if i made it on friday night up to step 5 and then covered it and left it in the fridge until i bake it sunday morning for easter or is that too long?? If it is too long then I will just have to make time to make on Saturday? Thank you


        • Michelle on March 26th, 2013 at 12:28 am

          Hi Heather, My instinct is that it would be too long.


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