Monkey Bread

Seriously, I hardly have any words to describe the glorious goodness of this monkey bread. And if you know me, you know it’s rare that I’m left speechless (what?? So I like to talk…sue me). But this magical monkey bread doesn’t really need any words.

Monkey Bread

It just needs your lips inhaling it as soon as possible.

And just for the record, I hate the whole snobby factor that comes with food. I’m not one to hide my feelings about cream-of-whatever soups but I really, really don’t care if you use them. And if you don’t make your own bread from scratch…guess what? We can still be friends and I’d still eat a sandwich at your house on your not-homemade bread. See? See how open minded I am? But when it comes to this monkey bread, I have to beg and implore you to run far, far away from the canned biscuits and dry pudding mix that usually appear in monkey bread recipes. Invest a tad bit more time and elbow grease and make this recipe with homemade dough. It’s unreal, people…unreal being a good thing in this instance. And you’ll come back and thank me from keeping you from the canned biscuit monkey bread (I mean, that just sounds wrong, doesn’t it?), I promise. There really is no comparison to this homemade Bundt-pan full of gooey, sweet, decadent love.

Monkey Bread

One Year Ago: Spooky Eats: Candy Corn Milkshakes
Two Years Ago: Romaine Salad with Chicken, Cheddar, Apples, Spiced Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette
Three Years Ago: Chicken Enchilada Pasta

The Best Monkey Bread

Yield: Serves 6-8

The Best Monkey Bread

Note: See below the recipe for instructions to make the dough without a stand mixer (i.e. by hand, you little pioneers!).


  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided, 2 tablespoons softened and 2 tablespoons melted
  • 1 cup milk, warm (about 110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup water, warm (about 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Brown Sugar Coating:
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Butter a Bundt pan with the 2 tablespoons softened butter. Use a pastry brush or a paper towel or anything that will really help get inside all of those nooks and crannies. Set aside.
  2. In a large measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook (see below for instructions to make the dough by hand). Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If you think the dough is too wet (i.e. having a hard time forming a cohesive mass), add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together (it should still be on the sticky side, just not overly wet). Coat a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly with the cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1-2 hours (alternately, you can preheat the oven to 200 degrees, turning it off once it reaches 200 degrees and place the covered bowl in the oven to speed up the rising time).
  3. For the sugar coating, while the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place the melted butter in a second bowl or shallow pie plate. Set aside.
  4. To form the bread, gently remove the dough from the bowl and press it into a rough 8-inch square. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 64 pieces.
  5. Roll each dough piece into a ball (it doesn't have to be perfect, just get it into a rough ball-shape). Working one at a time, dip the balls in melted butter, allowing excess butter to drip back into the bowl or pie plate. Roll the dipped dough ball in the brown sugar mixture, then layer the balls in the Bundt pan, staggering the seams where the dough balls meet as you build layers.
  6. Cover the Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and let the monkey bread rise until puffy and they have risen 1-2 inches from the top of the pan, 1-2 hours (again, you can use the warm oven approach to speed this up).
  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (remove the pan from the oven if you placed it there to rise). Unwrap the pan and bake until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the monkey bread in the pan for 5 minutes (any longer and the bread will be too sticky and hard to remove!), then turn out on a platter or large plate and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  8. For the glaze, while the bread cools, whisk the confectioners' sugar and milk together in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Using a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the warm monkey bread, letting it run over the top and sides of the bread. Serve warm.


Monkey Bread without a Mixer: 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 it out onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead, incorporating the shaggy scraps back into the dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. Shape into a taut ball and proceed as directed.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated

172 Responses to The Best Monkey Bread

  1. Katrina says:

    Just made this and it is ACTUALLY INCREDIBLE!!! Thanks Mel!

  2. Anna says:

    I love this recipe! I’ve made the monkey bread several times. But what I love so much is the dough–I have used it for sticky buns, ham & cheese pinwheels, Stromboli & pepperoni rolls. It works in both sweet and savory applications. This dough recipe has never failed me. I get compliments every time I make it–no mater how I use it.

  3. Ken says:

    Can I get this recipe with metric equivalents?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ken – I’m not an expert in converting the ingredients to metric but there are several online calculators you can google and get the equivalents. Good luck!

  4. Cindy Hovey says:

    I’m making this for the second time now. You and I know it is absolutely delicious, but I’m still converting my kids. Sadly, I have to retrain their taste buds to appreciate the homemade goodness instead of the store bought convenience. On a side note, they have finally begun to realize how good air-popped popcorn is over microwave! (that one took a couple years!)

    • Helen says:

      Air popped??? How about in a pot with olive oil! The really good old-fashioned way. Nothing beats it, Cindy; please try it if you’ve never had it. It doesn’t even need butter, just sea salt (but is extra decadent if you do use it).

  5. Madeline says:

    Mel, I just wanted to tell you that this is one of the best recipes that I have ever made. It is so good! 5 stars!!


  6. Tracy says:


    I made this a few days ago and it was such a hit. SO good. As a note, I didn’t use anywhere near a whole stick of melted butter when dipping. I probably used half a stick at most. But man, this was great. Thanks for a keeper recipe!


  7. Joyce says:

    made night before: all directions up to coating stage. Arranged in pan, covered with plastic wrap placed in fridge overnight. Next morning took out for 45 min and then followed baking time. Turned out perfectly! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Kelsey L. says:

    I am dying to make this recipe but I do not have a bundt pan! Can you recommend another kind of pan that would be next-best to the bundt?

  9. Kelsey L. says:

    Also, followup to my last comment (sorry for not being concise!) do you think you could make this recipe with almond milk instead of dairy milk?

    • Mel says:

      Kelsey – I haven’t tried it, but another reader made this in 2 loaf pans and said it worked great. Also, I haven’t tried subbing almond milk but if you have done so successfully in other bread recipes in the past, it’s definitely worth a try. Good luck!

  10. Angela says:

    I give this recipe 5 starsโ€ฆgooey, sweet, makes a full bunt pan. Delicious!! I added some cream cheese/vanilla to my frosting due to my love of cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, but I think the glaze alone would still be yummy. My kids loved helping roll the dough in sugar making it a fun family-memory-treat. I love that you can make it with ingredients I always have on-hand (although it takes a little longer) it’s a great recipe because it doesn’t require a trip to the store to buy biscuits ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for another great recipe, Mel!

  11. Audrey says:

    Wonderful recipe! I’ve always made monkey bread using the canned dough. I’m definitely going to try this recipe. I also like to sprinkle small pecan pieces throughout the bread.

  12. […] Anyway I wanted to share this recipe. It takes pretty few ingredients and if I don’t have milk (which happens here more than I’d like) I don’t use milk in a pinch and this recipe is for home made dough- not canned stuff This is NOT my recipe. It can be found HERE […]

  13. […] Monkey Bread (The Best Monkey Bread) (From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) Dough: 4 T butter divided, 2 T softened and 2 T melted 1 c milk, warm (about 110 degrees) 1/3 c […]

  14. I love to chop some pecans or walnuts and sprinkle them on each layer of dough!! so freaking good!!

  15. Jodi says:

    Kelsey, I used a round cake pan, and it worked okay… didn’t have quite the gooeyness because there was only one layer, but an 8 or 9 inch may have worked for that. Loaf pan is probably the best option for that gooeyness, though! (I actually made a savory one in the cake pan, so it didn’t need to be gooey anyway.)
    Also, for those who have done the overnight option, did you have a problem with it sticking in the pan? I buttered my pan VERY generously and was sure to get in all the nooks and crannies, but the top half of my loaf still stuck in the pan. I don’t know if there are any tricks for greasing for overnight or if I just left it in the pan 1 or 2 minutes too long. Suggestions?
    Lastly, this recipe was AMAZING! Very easy and tasted sooooo good!

    • Mel says:

      Jodi – I’ve made them several times overnight without them sticking so it might be more due to leaving them in the pan too long. I’ve done that and it is a terror trying to get them out! I am sorry they stuck. I am glad you liked the recipe though.

      • Katie says:

        I can’t seem to find the instructions for how to make these overnight. Can you please let me know? Thanks!

        • Mel says:

          It’s in the comment thread, I believe. I basically assemble the entire panful and place it covered in the refrigerator overnight (before it rises the second time). I either wake up early and take it out to come to room temperature and rise or the lazy way (which I do often) is to put it from the fridge into the oven while it preheats and then bake (maybe take a minute or so off the baking time). It doesn’t get quite as puffy as letting it rise until doubled but it’s a great shortcut.

  16. Shalon Gough says:

    Do you know how long it takes the dough to rise in the preheated oven? Or if I can let it rise overnight in the fridge? Just trying to plan father’s day breakfast, hoping I don’t have to get up at 4am ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Mel says:

      Shalon Gough – If it were me, I’d prepare the monkey bread all the way up until rising and baking the night before and cover it with greased plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight. Then pop it in the oven while it preheats and it should bake up just fine!

  17. Dani B says:

    These were so delicious! We made them the day before, just like others had posted; prepared as directed up to the second rise stage, but instead of having them rise a 2nd time, we covered in plastic & put in the fridge overnight. Next morning, heated the oven to 200, turned it off, and let them rise for 30 minutes, then baked as directed. They were GREAT!

  18. Diane Moody says:

    Hi Mel,
    I actually found you by browsing online for photos of monkey bread. Random, eh? Is there any chance you would let me use your photo of this monkey bread for a family cookbook I’m putting together? I would be more than happy to credit the photo to you. We’ll be making these available on Amazon, just so you know. No worries if you’d rather not. I’m just out of time to take my own photos at this point! Anyway, LOVE your blog!

  19. Bryn says:

    This is pretty much the best thing I’ve ever eaten!!! It is addicting!

  20. Julie meisner says:

    This was unbelievable. It was fool proof (purchased a $5 thermometer for the yeast mixture) It was devoured in less than five minutes. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    I wanted to make this to duplicate something we had as children called “pull-apart cake” from a bakery in Ventnor, NJ. I added 2 Tablespoons of room temp. whipped cream cheese to the frosting only because that was how I remembered it. Perfection!

  21. Austin S. says:

    Just made this recipe, verbatim and it was amazing! It came out really similar to yours and it was extremely tasty! Thank you!

  22. Jamie says:

    Decided to not add the glaze at the end. My family rated it a 10/10 served warm with vanilla bean ice cream on the side. 5 people devoured all but 1/8th of it. Everyone had seconds. My 15 year old is looking forward to the last pieces for her breakfast tomorrow after microwaving them a few seconds.

  23. Lisa says:

    I just made one today in a christmas tree mold. It came out very nice and it is yummy. I followed the recipe as you written. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  24. Ellen Abel says:

    Can the dough for this recipe be made in a bread machine?

  25. sherrie says:

    Made for Christmas breakfast- Delish!!!! Made the night before and stored in fridge. Solo much better than cut up biscuits that taste, l like biscuits.

  26. Julia says:

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely sublime! Truly delicious. It was all gone in 20 minutes as my family stood around gobbling it down. Thank you so much for posting this delightful recipe. I will be making it again and again.

  27. Julianne Farrey says:

    This is an amazing recipe! Mine just came out of the oven. I made your pretzel rolls and this monkey bread today! Now we just need some company to come eat some!

  28. k says:

    This really is the best! The dough is fantastic to work with. I’ve made it with instant yeast and with regular yeast following your directions in the comment section and it turned out great either way. I make it Saturday night and put it in the fridge after the first rise and then pull it out before church. Pop it in as soon as we get home and it’s just heavenly!

  29. Erin says:

    This is AMAZING!!!! Seriously this is my favorite treat right now!! Even though it doesn’t have chocolate ๐Ÿ˜‰ You’re the best source of all of the best recipes!

  30. Lisa says:

    I’m a home Baker with a pretty good reputation for making delicious stuff and this ranks up there as one of the best. I was actually shocked at how incredibly delicious (and beautiful) it was! A perfect Easter treat! As a sidenote I baked it in a springform pan which worked great and also I used almond milk instead of regular milk and it was perfect.

    • Diana Ferrell says:

      May 25th 2015 Hi Mel, I just read your recipe. I got all the ingredients out and they turned out so yummy. I will definitely make this again !!!!! They were wonderful!!!!! Thank you so much. I just didn’t want to use the biscuits

  31. Jessica says:

    Can we freeze the baked dough, then get out thaw and glaze morning of?

    • Mel says:

      I think they’ll taste best/freshest if they are baked and then glazed but I haven’t tried it the way you questioned so it’s always worth a try.

  32. Adam says:

    Hi Mel. I made your MB last night and it turned out looking beautiful (even without the glaze):

    But the non-caramelized parts at the bottom were dry once the bread had cooled. I baked for 32m in 50% humidity but had some trouble determined when to take it out of the oven, “deep brown” being a bit subjective. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Caramel never bubbled around the edges, perhaps because I was using a silicone “pan”.)

    Any ideas for avoiding a dry result next time?


  33. Kaitlyn says:

    Do you need caramel for this? If you do when do you put it in?

  34. Kaitlyn says:

    Never mind, blonde moment โ˜บ๏ธ

  35. Sinalei says:

    When I wanted to ride the dough in the oven, I put plastic wrap on the bowl and shoved it in at 93C, but obviously in hindsight the wrap melted and now I’m concerned the dough is cancerous. This is an obvious mistake but if the recipe could make it clearer how to quicken the dough rising and possibly lower the temperature to around 30-40C that would be helpful

  36. Terri says:

    I love this recipe, and serve it the morning after Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to our overnight house guests. Can I make it a few days ahead and freeze it before the second rise? Then take it out the night before and refrigerate it to final rise? Finishing the rise in a warm place if necessary before baking? It is always a chore to do all the preparation after everyone has gone to bed and I’m exhausted.

  37. Tina. K says:

    I’m a total beginner when it comes to baking. I tried this recipe today without ever having had monkey bread before, but that picture looked so enticing that I had to try.
    The dough ended up amazing: fluffy, moist and subtly sweet. The whole thing tastes like a very good cinnamon roll, BUT… I must have done something wrong, because my monkey bread was dry on the outside ๐Ÿ™ There was no wet caramel layer like in the photo, just a tiny bit of wetness on top. The sugar didn’t melt. It was hard and crystallized, but the dough was already cooked so I could not leave it in longer. Any idea what I might have done wrong?

    • Mel says:

      It sounds to me like it may have baked too long. What kind of pan are you using (dark, nonstick or light aluminum)? You might try reducing the baking temperature just a bit.

      • Tina. K says:

        It is a light metal springform pan. I used the bottom that turns the circle into a ring so it looks like a bundt pan, but it is flatter than a real bundt pan.
        I baked it for 30 minutes at 175 Celsius. It tasted really great, even with the drier sugary exterior :p can’t wait to make this right this time.
        Thanks so much for replying!

  38. Amy Yehnert says:

    Mel, I discovered your website a couple of months ago when I searched through google for “how to make homemade green enchilada sauce” (I didn’t want to pay the price it costs in the store!). I’ve enjoyed making a good number of your recipes since then and now have my sister hooked too! =)
    I realize this is a stretch but if anyone has attempted to make this recipe gluten-free (ha! good luck!), please let me know! I’m planning to make it Christmas morning for my family, but I have Celiac Disease so have to eat gluten-free quite strictly. Thankfully for my family, I derive a strange pleasure just from the feel and smell of real bread dough and bread as I make it. One of our sons is allergic to tree nuts and eggs so baking is a challenge but we’re managing. Looking forward to trying this!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Amy – I haven’t tried this with gluten-free flour. Sorry! I’m amazed at your initiative for home-baked goods despite the health challenges and allergies of your family. You are amazing!

  39. Sandy says:

    Hi, I was wondering if this recipe was okay to make a day before it would be needed? Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      If it’s made start-to-finish (including baking), it might be a bit drier on the 2nd day but you could slightly warm it in the oven and see how it fares.

  40. Laura says:

    Okay…so I followed the instructions but the dough isn’t rising. Any idea why it’s not rising? Maybe I didn’t put enough extra flour or mixed it too long?

    • Mel says:

      Those two factors wouldn’t normally cause it to not rise – usually overflouring can be a culprit as well as expired yeast, something like that.

  41. Sara says:

    Can you make this at all the night before? We were hoping to have it for breakfast (my husbans’s request!) and I can’t imagine getting up early enough for all the rising! Thanks.

  42. Rachel Russell says:

    our fav part of Christmas morning is this bread. We now make it early in the day on Christmas eve and put in the fridge covered in plastic wrap before the final rise. Then,late on xmas eve night, after all the wrapping and cleaning up (usually about 1 am ) we throw it on the counter (it is very cold after a day in the fridge) and from 1-7 am it comes to room temp slowly and does it’s final rise. At 7-8am ish when we wake up, we throw in the oven and it is PERFECT- and no fuss on Christmas morning. THANKS MEL!!

  43. Nina says:

    You do not need to allow the yeast to proof, correct?

  44. Caitlin says:

    If I have a whole bunch of melted butter left at the end of dipping the bread balls what do I do with it? Discard it or should it all be drizzled on top of the unbaked bread??

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