Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

A completely homemade version of monkey bread – no canned biscuit dough here! Homemade dough is rolled into balls, dipped in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then baked until bubbling and glazed to perfection. Perfect for any Sunday or holiday brunch.

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

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!

Watch How to Make Monkey Bread From Scratch

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

Why Is It Called Monkey Bread?

I tried to find the origin of the name ‘monkey bread’ and it doesn’t seem that there is a definitive background.

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.

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

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…

How to Make Monkey Bread From Scratch

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

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.

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

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

Roll each piece into a ball.

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 (From Scratch!)

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

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

Some Notes on Monkey Bread:

  • While it’s easy to make with a stand mixer and dough hook, you can also prepare this dough by hand. See step #2 in the recipe for alternate instructions.
  • You can do some prep work ahead of time by mixing together the dough and placing it in the refrigerator overnight for its first rise. Take it out and proceed with step #3.
  • Do not allow the bread to cool in the pan for longer than 5 minutes; the sticky glaze will start to solidify and the bread may break when you try to turn it out.

Monkey Bread (From Scratch!)

This part-bread, part-cinnamon roll, part-sticky bun breakfast pastry is an absolutely perfect breakfast option for overnight guests or holiday mornings. I can’t think of a better follow-up to Christmas morning present opening or Easter morning basket hunting than digging into this sweet breakfast treat.

P.S. If you’re feeling something savory, I’ve also made pepperoni pizza monkey bread!

Four years ago: Vanilla Bean Rhubarb-Ginger Scones
Five years ago: Paska Bread
Six years ago: Homemade Fudge Pops

This recipe was originally published on August 27, 2010.

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