Easy Monkey Bread Recipe

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This EASY Monkey Bread recipe is made with balls of refrigerated cookie dough rolled in cinnamon-sugar and coated with brown sugar sauce. Stick them all in a pan, bake and drizzle with a quick vanilla icing. Totally irresistible!

Top view of homemade monkey bread on a white plate

Easy Pull-Apart Monkey Bread

Monkey bread is one of those things that looks fancy, but is incredibly simple to make. This recipe uses refrigerated canned biscuit dough that is dipped into melted butter before being rolled in cinnamon-sugar. The dough is layered in a bundt pan, covered with buttery brown sugar sauce, and then drizzled with a quick vanilla icing after baking.

I guarantee that no one in your house will be able to resist digging into this simple pull-apart pastry!  It’s hard to stop snacking on it. The pull apart factor makes it easy to grab a few pieces and munch throughout the day and it’s so good, you’ll want to.

Monkey bread with several pieces taken out

What is Monkey Bread?

Monkey bread is a sweet bread made with layers of dough. The dough is rolled into small balls that are coated in butter and toppings like cinnamon sugar. You can also stuff each of the balls with things like Nutella, jam or chocolate before sealing up the dough and proceeding with the butter and coatings!

Everything is layered into a bundt pan, then baked and drizzled with icing. The end result is a pull-apart bread. Everyone tear off pieces and pile them on their plates.

Why is it Called Monkey Bread?

This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a definitive answer. There are theories though! The most common one is that when people gather around this pastry and pull off hunks of dough to eat they look like monkeys gathered around a treat. This dessert was one of Nancy Reagan’s favorites and in 1982 a New York Times article quoted her as saying this pastry is called monkey bread “because when you make it, you have to monkey around with it.”

Whatever the source of this dessert’s name, one thing is certain: it tastes amazing!

Side view of monkey bread with a glaze drizzle on a white plate.

What You’ll Need

This recipe uses simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Refrigerated biscuit dough – Such as Pillsbury.
  • Toppings: Melted butter, cinnamon and regular sugar
  • Vanilla sauce: Brown sugar, more melted butter and vanilla extract
  • Vanilla icing: Powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract

step by step images of how to make monkey bread

How to Make Monkey Bread

One of the things I love about making monkey bread is that it’s fun and easy, which means that kids like to help. Dipping the dough it in butter and cinnamon-sugar is a great hands-on activity for busy little ones.

Here’s how to make it:

1. Prep your baking tools. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan or bundt pan with baking spray. With all the sugar in this monkey bread, you don’t want things to stick.

2. Make the cinnamon sugar. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Prep the dough. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces and melt 1/2 a cup of the butter.

4. Coat in butter + sugar. Dip each biscuit piece into the melted butter and shake off the excess, then coat it well in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

5. Layer the dough. Add the biscuit pieces to the prepared pan.

6. Add buttery sugar sauce! Combine the brown sugar, remaining melted butter and vanilla extract and pour evenly over the top of the biscuits in the pan.

7. Bake. Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a plate.

8. Add icing. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract together and drizzle over the monkey bread, then serve warm with any remaining icing.

Tips for Success

Making monkey bread is pretty straightforward, but there are a few simple tips you can use for the best monkey bread:

  • Don’t allow it to cool in the pan for too long. Since the dough is coated in lots of sugary goodness it can get stuck in the pan if allowed to cool for too long. The sticky glaze will start to solidify and stick to the sides.
  • Variation ideas: You can add some nuts, some fresh fruit into the mix, or even swap out the biscuit dough for refrigerated cinnamon roll dough!
  • For an easy morning treat, you can make this recipe ahead. Just follow the instructions up to layering the dough balls in the pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Then in the morning you can proceed with making the buttery glaze, baking your monkey bread and drizzling it with icing.

A white plate and fork with fluffy pieces of homemade monkey bread.

Serving Suggestions

This pastry is meant to be eaten with your fingers, so you really don’t have to do anything fancy to serve it. Just walk by, pull off a piece and pop it into your mouth!

That being said, I’ve also been known to enjoy monkey bread topped with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream and fruit.

And of course it always goes well with a hot cup of coffee in the morning, or a cold glass of milk at night. This easy treat can be enjoyed anytime anywhere!


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Side view of monkey bread with a glaze drizzle on a white plate.
Recipe

Easy Monkey Bread

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy Monkey Bread recipe is an impossible-to-resist pull-apart breakfast made with refrigerated biscuit dough, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla icing.


Scale

Ingredients

Monkey Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 3 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans (16.3 oz each) refrigerated biscuit dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • 1 cup (225g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups salted butter, divided, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan or bundt pan with baking spray.
  2. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces and melt 1/2 a cup of the butter.
  4. Dip each biscuit piece into the melted butter and shake off the excess, then coat it well in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Add the biscuit pieces to the prepared pan.
  6. Combine the brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract and pour evenly over the top of the biscuits in the pan.
  7. Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a plate.
  8. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract together and drizzle over the monkey bread, then serve warm with any remaining icing.

Keywords: monkey bread, pillsbury, easy dessert, homemade, monkey bread with biscuits, cinnamon roll

 

Pinterest collage showing a top and side view of homemade monkey bread.

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Recipe rating

2 Comments
  1. Brian Tigges

    Huge fan of Lindsay’s recipes, especially the cheesecakes, and this one is another hit! Only one complaint and that regarding the butter. The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups divided- 1/2 cup for the biscuits which leaves 3/4 cup butter for the topping. The recipe should specify the numbers instead of saying “divided”. Being nit-picky I know but for someone who is anal-retentive, I like SPECIFIC instructions. Thank you Lindsay.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12