This EASY Monkey Bread recipe is made with balls of refrigerated biscuit 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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
Easy Monkey Bread
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 servings
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
This easy Monkey Bread recipe is an impossible-to-resist pull-apart breakfast made with refrigerated biscuit dough, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla icing.
- 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
- 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan or bundt pan with baking spray.
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces and melt 1/2 a cup of the butter.
- Dip each biscuit piece into the melted butter and shake off the excess, then coat it well in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Add the biscuit pieces to the prepared pan.
- Combine the brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract and pour evenly over the top of the biscuits in the pan.
- Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a plate.
- Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract together and drizzle over the monkey bread, then serve warm with any remaining icing.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 475
- Sugar: 63.6 g
- Sodium: 263.1 mg
- Fat: 23.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 67.5 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
- Cholesterol: 61.1 mg
Keywords: monkey bread, pillsbury, easy dessert, homemade, monkey bread with biscuits, cinnamon roll
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I made the monkey bread and I used a square baking dish a pirates small baking dish and it came out wonderful we just cut it out like a coffee cake and I dressled all the icing most of the icing on it and then we did have some on the side had it with our coffee for breakfast it was amazing amazing and easy to put together and do was very relaxing got it done and the way it was explained on the recipe ingredients and directions easy peasy anybody can make this it is the best monkey bread I have ever tasted and that I made I’m going to do it more and more and share it with my family and friends thank you for your recipe. Sincerely Christine frontino frontino. ♥️🌟🎊
So glad you enjoyed it!
Is there a savory recipe to make using the monkey bread process such as Italian garlic or even a Greek version using feta and Parmesan
Oh my, those sound delicious. I’m sure you could. I just haven’t tested them or anything.
Can you not add Icing?
I’m not sure what you’re asking. There is an icing recipe listed.
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.
Wow….that looks lovely! Monkey bread is a staple in my household, will have to try that one out.