Easy Monkey Bread Recipe

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If you’re looking for an easy breakfast idea that your family will devour, then you must make this Monkey Bread recipe! An impossible-to-resist pull-apart breakfast made with refrigerated biscuit dough, brown sugar, cinnamon and a quick vanilla icing.

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

Easy Homemade Monkey Bread Recipe

Monkey bread is one of those things that looks fancy, but is incredibly easy 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

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.

Monkey Bread was one of Nancy Reagan’s favorite desserts 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.

Recipe Ingredients

This monkey bread recipe uses simple ingredients to make an easy breakfast treat. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the monkey bread:

  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Refrigerated biscuit dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
Top view of homemade monkey bread on a white plate

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.

step by step images of how to make monkey bread

Tips for the Best Monkey Bread

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 all sorts of fun things to monkey bread. 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!


Read Transcript

Easy Monkey Bread Recipe

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

  • 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

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.

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