Tasty Monkey Bread Recipe

Monkey bread — sounds fun, right? But what exactly is this viral sensation you have probably seen on social media? As recipe creator Stephanie Rapone, who blogs at Pantry to Plate, explained to Mashed, this sweet and sticky bread is a great alternative to cinnamon rolls. "Monkey bread is a weekend thing when we want a sweet treat," she said about her family, adding, "So, it gets served for breakfast or brunch with bacon and fruit salad."

And lest you feel intimidated by making your own monkey bread, you won't believe how few ingredients are needed to pull this recipe off and impress your family or friends. We're talking about just five ingredients — and just one you don't already have in the house. 

Meanwhile, we're sure this treat will go fast due to its irresistible yumminess. But just note that as Rapone told us about monkey bread, "It goes stale quickly." Her trick to extending its shelf life? "Fifteen seconds in the microwave or a dip in coffee works." Just be sure to follow her advice and "store your monkey bread in an airtight container for up to three days."

Gather just a few ingredients to make this monkey bread

To make monkey bread for your upcoming weekend enjoyment, simply take a meander over to the pantry, where you'll grab your granulated sugar, some cinnamon, and light brown sugar. Now, hit the fridge, and take out a stick of unsalted butter. To your shopping list, add 12 frozen yeast dinner rolls. Rapone told Mashed, "The Rhodes brand is recommended."

She also elaborated, "I usually do monkey bread in place of cinnamon rolls — hence why we do the yeast bread instead of the traditional canned biscuit dough." 

Once you have your ingredients set to go — nonstick cooking spray is also a must-have — you will start the process of making the monkey bread. But the first step only requires a few moments of work, and then, sorry to report, a whole lot of waiting. The payoff? This monkey bread is going to be so, so worth it!

Thaw your rolls and make the topping for your monkey bread

Step one of making this monkey bread is to spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with non-stick spray. Next, take the dinner rolls out, and place them in a casserole dish. Rapone notes the rolls should be evenly spaced. She advises home bakers to spray the tops of the rolls ever-so-lightly with the non-stick spray. Now, you'll go ahead and cover the rolls with plastic wrap — a dish towel works equally well — and set them aside. The rolls will require about two hours to thaw — but at this point, the bread will not rise, according to Rapone.

Meanwhile, during that long two-hour wait, you can grab a one-gallon zip-top bag. This is where you will mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Once the rolls are thawed, take a sharp knife and slice the rolls into quarters. The quartered rolls go right into the bag where you will shake 'em up to coat them with the sweet and spicy mixture. 

Let your bread rise and make the sauce for your monkey bread

The next step in taking your monkey bread from concept to consumption is to generously spray a 5x9-inch loaf pan with that handy, dandy non-stick spray. Rapone notes home bakers should gently layer in the dough balls. "Be careful not to squish them!" she advises. Now, cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap. This is when the dough will rise. Rapone recommends that you place the pan in a warm spot. After two to three hours, the bread will double in size and reach the top of your pan. 

Now, heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll melt your unsalted butter — in the microwave works — and then, stir in your brown sugar. Stir the butter and brown sugar to combine, and then comes the fun part! You will slowly pour the sweet, sticky sauce over the dough balls. "Stop when it looks like it's going to overflow," Rapone advises.

Before baking your monkey bread, Rapone recommends taking a small spatula or the handle of a spoon and gently sticking it between the dough balls. Do this about four to five times, which will release air pockets. Allow your sauce to settle into the cracks, and then pour in the rest of your sauce.

Bake your monkey bread

Rapone offered this tip to Mashed about baking the bread: "I like to put the pan on a baking sheet just in case anything bubbles over so there isn't a mess in my oven." Sounds like a plan to us! 

Now, you'll bake your monkey bread for 20 to 25 minutes. The way to know it's done: a toothpick should come out clean. 

Okay, we know you want to dig in, but Rapone cautions home bakers to let the monkey bread cool for about ten minutes before removing it from the pan. And there's a bit of a technique to getting your monkey bread from pan to plate: Rapone suggests you gently loosen the edges of the monkey bread from the pan with a butter knife. 

Finally, turn the entire pan upside down onto serving plate. "Make sure to get any yummy bits that may stay in the pan," Rapone notes. Now, dig in, serving your monkey bread nice and warm, pulling it apart to enjoy.

Tasty Monkey Bread Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Monkey bread — sounds fun, right? But what exactly is this viral sensation? This sweet and sticky bread is a great alternative to cinnamon rolls.
Prep Time
Cook Time
monkey bread on a plate
Total time: 5 hours, 35 minutes
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 frozen yeast dinner rolls
  • ½ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  1. Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with non-stick spray. Remove the rolls and place them in the casserole dish, evenly spaced. Spray the tops lightly with non-stick spray. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel and set aside. Allow to thaw for 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, the rolls should be thawed but not starting to rise. In a 1-gallon zip-top bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon. Cut the rolls into quarters, and add to the cinnamon sugar. Shake to coat them generously with the mix.
  3. Generously spray a 5x9-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Gently layer in the dough balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm spot for 2 to 3 hours, until they just reach the top of the pan (doubled in size).
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter and add in the brown sugar. Stir well to combine. Pour the butter and brown sugar mixture over the dough balls in the pan. Gently stick a small spatula or the handle end of a spoon/spatula, in between the dough balls in 4 to 5 places to release some air pockets and let the sauce settle in. Add the rest of the sauce.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let it cool for 10 min before removing from pan. Gently loosen edges of the monkey bread from the pan with a butter knife. Turn upside down onto serving plate. Serve warm, pulling apart to enjoy.
Calories per Serving 380
Total Fat 16.3 g
Saturated Fat 9.0 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 36.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 32.0 g
Sodium 230.5 mg
Protein 5.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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