Monkey Bread from Scratch

This Monkey Bread from Scratch is well worth the effort. It's is a classic pull-apart bread made with homemade sweet dough and coated with plenty of cinnamon sugar! The topping is a combination of melted butter and brown sugar that makes the top pieces of this homemade monkey bread the best part of the whole thing! I also have an amazing easy monkey bread recipe using biscuits.

close up of monkey bread on a white cake plate


Monkey bread is a pretty popular dessert, at least at my house. It's an all-time favorite of mine. I'm setting aside the store-bought cans of biscuits today and making homemade monkey bread with a sweet dough that can be whipped up in 15 minutes.

I have to be real with you for one minute. Popping those cans of biscuits scares the life out of me. I hold the can as far away from me as possible, shut my eyes nice and tight, and then give it a squeeze on the seam. Please tell me I'm not the only one that hates popping cans of biscuits!!

Showing the cinnamon and sugar topping on monkey bread

How to make monkey bread from scratch

I like to add the yeast, warm water, and sugar into a bowl and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it's foamy. If the yeast doesn't get foamy, dump the mixture out and start over because your yeast didn't activate. It happens sometimes if your yeast was stored at room temperature or if your water is too hot.
While waiting for the yeast to become foamy, grab a bowl and get your milk and butter warming. I just pop it in the microwave, but it can also be done in a small saucepan. If you're doing it in a saucepan, heat it until bubbles begin to form around the outside edges. Don't let it boil.
Add the yeast mixture and milk mixture into the stand mixer bowl. Add some more sugar and stir. Dump in the bread flour and beat with the dough hook until the bread comes together and forms a smooth ball. If you don't have a stand mixer, feel free to knead with your hands on a floured surface until you have a smooth ball. Coat the dough with vegetable oil, throw a tea towel on top and let it rise until it's doubled.
Heat the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted. Pour it into a greased bundt pan and get to work on the dough. Punch the dough down and roll it out to about an inch thickness on a floured surface. Slice the dough into 1-inch strips and go the opposite direction cutting 1-inch strips. These don't need to be perfect. I just eyeballed my measurements! You should have little squares.
Roll the pieces of dough in a bowl of cinnamon and sugar and pop them into the prepared bundt. It's that easy.
fork in a chunk of homemade monkey bread

Make ahead homemade monkey bread

Make ahead sweet dough
To make the dough a day ahead, start by making the dough. After the smooth dough ball is formed, coat it in vegetable oil, cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. The next day place it in a warm area and let it rise until doubled. It will take several hours since it needs to first come up to room temperature.
Make ahead monkey bread
You can make this monkey bread ahead of time as well. Prepare the recipe just as instructed in the recipe card down below and before letting the monkey bread rise for 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the plastic wrap, place it in a warm area to rise for the 30 minutes, and bake. Just know that the ooey gooey melted butter and brown sugar will harden at the bottom of the pan and may become less ooey gooey and may be more clumpy.
small dessert plate with a serving of homemade monkey bread

Tips for making homemade monkey bread

  • If the top pieces of bread start getting too dark while in the oven, loosely cover with a piece of tin foil.
  • Only let the monkey bread rest for the maximum of 5 minutes in the bundt pan after baking it. If it goes longer, the brown sugar sticks to the bottom of the bundt pan.
  • Use a serving platter/cake plate with a raised outer edge to prevent the brown sugar syrup from pouring all over.
  • The monkey bread is even better the second day. The bread becomes soft all over and the flavors really soak into the bread.
overhead photo of monkey bread

Add fruit and nuts for different flavor variations:

  • Banana Monkey Bread: add sliced bananas on top of the butter brown sugar mixture before adding the pieces of dough.
  • Blueberry Monkey Bread: mix fresh blueberries in when adding the pieces of dough coated with cinnamon sugar
  • Raspberry Monkey Bread: mix fresh raspberries in with the pieces of dough coated with cinnamon sugar
  • Pecan Monkey Bread: add pecans on top of the butter brown sugar mixture before adding the pieces of dough.

Can I freeze monkey bread?

Yes! After the monkey bread is baked, turn out onto a freezer-safe plate or container and let cool completely. You can also turn out onto a parchment paper-lined plate if you don't want to store on a plate in the freezer. The parchment paper will make it easy for the monkey bread to be peeled off it after it's completely cooled and the top hardens. Carefully wrap the monkey bread in plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

brownie mix cookies
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You can also cut the monkey bread up and place it in freezer bags or freezer containers.

Let the monkey bread thaw and heat it up in the microwave in 3o second bursts for a soft, gooey snack.

distant picture monkey bread on white cake plate with orange checkered linen

How long will monkey bread last?

The monkey bread will last on the counter for about 4 days as long as it's tightly covered.

More Monkey Bread Recipes:

close up of monkey bread on a white cake plate

Monkey Bread from scratch

4.81 from 21 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 611 kcal



  • ½ cup salted butter cubed
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed


  • ¾ cup warm water 110°
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup butter cubed
  • ½ cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar divided
  • 5 ¼ cups bread flour divided
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil




  • In a small bowl, add in the yeast, warm water, and the 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
  • In a medium saucepan, add in the butter and milk. Place over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and the butter is completely melted.
  • Add the yeast mixture and milk mixture into a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.
  • Add the remaining sugar and whisk to combine.
  • Add in 5 cups of bread flour and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a smooth ball of dough.
  • Drizzle the vegetable oil on top of the dough. Roll the dough in the bowl until it's completely coated with vegetable oil.
  • Cover with a tea towel and place into a warm place to rise. I like to set my oven to 200 degrees and sit the bowl in the back center of the stovetop.
  • Once the dough has doubled, punch it down.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside and make the topping to go into the bundt pan.


  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add in the butter and brown sugar. Let the butter melt while stirring occasionally.
  • Once the butter is melted, pour the topping into the prepared bundt pan.


  • In a medium bowl, add the sugar and ground cinnamon. Stir to combine. Set aside.


  • Dust a clean work surface with ¼ cup of flour.
  • Roll the dough out to a 1-inch thickness.
  • Cut the dough into 1-inch squares. They don't need to be perfect!
  • Roll the 1-inch squares in the cinnamon and sugar. I usually do about 15 pieces at a time.
  • Add the cinnamon and sugar-coated dough into the bundt pan.
  • Once the dough is all coated and placed into the bundt pan, cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Place into the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes. If the dough gets too brown on top, loosely place a piece of tin foil on top of the dough.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for no longer than 5 minutes.
  • Place a platter with a lifted edge on top of the bundt pan and flip it so the platter is sitting on the counter.
  • Work the monkey bread out of the pan by first lifting one side of the pan and then the other side.
  • Let cool and serve up!


Calories: 611kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 10gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 198mgPotassium: 176mgFiber: 2gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 628IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 1mg

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

I posted this recipe for Homemade Monkey Bread first on as a contributor.

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    1. hmmm maybe your yeast is old? Older yeast does not rise as much. Also, I use active dry yeast for this recipe, not Instant yeast. Using instant yeast may not work since the warm milk sometimes kills it before baking. Make sure the milk is warm but not hot as well. I hope these tips help!

  1. This recipe is wrong when I made it taste bland because the recipe doesn't have any salt in it. It really kinda sucks. The sugar is too sugary.

  2. Can you give an approximate time for how long to knead the dough? Also, do you ever have to add more or less flour than 5 cups? I haven’t had very good luck with dough therefore I’m a little nervous to end up with a dense monkey bread!

    1. Hi Kristi! I use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment to knead the dough. I would say it takes about 3-5 minutes for the dough to come together as a smooth ball. I have needed to add a little more flour in the past to help make the dough smooth. If the weather outside is especially wet and humdid, my dough tends to be stickier. I would never add more than 1 cup of flour to the dough though. More than an extra cup would make the dough tough. I like to add about 1/4 cup of flour at a time and let the dough kneed and come back together. Then, I reassess the dough and if it is still super sticky, I add a little more.

      That being said, this recipe usually makes a very nice smooth dough with the exact amount of flour written. Don't be scared of the dough! The end result is worth the effort and I am sure you will make it perfectly.

  3. My family loved this! I will be making this again! Next time, I will double the topping amount for personal preference. I made in two loaf pans and it took a little more time in the oven, covered with foil.5 stars

  4. Miranda Please provide guidance for your recipe on making Monkey Bread from Scratch. The part that confuses me is the large amount of sugar required and the absence of any salt. I’m in no way trying to “Sharp Shoot” your recipe, just seeking clarification. I’m talking about the Bread portion of the recipe. You have sugar mentioned in two places, both calling for 1/2 C of sugar. I’m in process of doubling the recipe for my wife to make the Monkey Bread and use a Hot Butterscotch and Pecan Mix instead of your Brown Sugar mix for the Glaze. Please help me!
    My return email address is and my name is Bill Kreeger. We live in Indian Head, MD

    1. I edited the recipe ingredients list and instructions to help clarify. The first 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon of sugar will go into the bread dough. The second 1/2 cup of sugar will be combined with the cinnamon and pieces of the dough will later be rolled in that before it's baked. I would love to hear how it turns out for you! Thanks!

4.81 from 21 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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