The Best Monkey Bread

This recipe is called the BEST monkey bread because there really is no comparison to this homemade gooey, sweet, decadent monkey bread.

Half a bundt pan of gooey, dripping cooked money 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.

But this magical monkey bread doesn’t really need any words. It just needs action. Make it, bake it, devour it.

As a quick sidenote, 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?

Five pieces of baked monkey bread on a plate.

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. 

A bundt-pan shaped mass of cooked, gooey monkey bread on a cutting board.

Now, since this recipe has been around for a while, and to save you time filtering through hundreds of comments, here are some frequently asked questions about this monkey bread: 

Can this monkey bread be made ahead of time? 

Yes! Follow the recipe through step #5. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator before letting the monkey bread rise up to 12-18 hours. A couple hours before you want to bake it, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let the monkey bread come to room temperature and rise until puffy and risen 1-2 inches below the top of the pan (this exact measurement will depend on the dimensions of the Bundt pan you are using). Bake as directed in step #7 and proceed with the recipe. You can speed up the rising process by placing the refrigerated monkey bread into a warm oven (not warm enough it will bake the bread! just warm enough to help the rising – I preheat my oven to 170 degrees and then once it reaches temperature, I turn it off but keep the oven light on). 

I don’t have a Bundt pan, can I use another type of pan?

I have never baked this in another size/style of pan, but you could definitely experiment with a 9X13-inch pan for more of a rectangular presentation or split the dough into two loaf pans. I do not recommend an angel food cake pan; I think the sugar/butter mixture will leak out the bottom and make a big mess. 
 

Can active dry yeast be used instead of instant yeast? 

If you have active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, dissolve the same amount of active dry yeast in 2 tablespoons water and a pinch of sugar. Let the mixture sit until it is bubbling/foaming and then use in the recipe in place of the instant yeast (mixing it with the butter, milk, etc).

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The Best Monkey Bread

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
The Best Monkey Bread

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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.

Make-Ahead Instructions: Make the recipe through step #5. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator before letting the monkey bread rise up to 12-18 hours. A couple hours before you want to bake it, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let the monkey bread come to room temperature and rise until puffy and risen 1-2 inches below the top of the pan (this exact measurement will depend on the dimensions of the Bundt pan you are using). Bake as directed in step #7 and proceed with the recipe.

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Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated