You’ll never go back to canned biscuits again with this incredible homemade monkey bread – completely from scratch! Your family will be drooling over the fluffy dough and gooey caramel sauce from the first bite.
I can remember sitting at their kitchen table at the farm as his mom set trays of steaming goodness in front of us. Fluffy biscuits rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked in an ooey, gooey, caramel sauce. What’s not to love?
Over the years I helped make batches upon batches of monkey bread. It became a staple for nearly every holiday and family gathering. As the kids grew we would let them do the shaking of the biscuit dough in the cinnamon-sugar mixture but always made sure to take the container away before they tried to open it and spill the sugar everywhere!
Eventually I wondered if there was a different way to make monkey bread. I mean, there must be a way to make it from scratch, right? Oh don’t worry, there is!
What is monkey bread?
Monkey bread is a sinfully delicious creation that usually contains small chunks of dough, often from refrigerator biscuits, rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and baked. Some recipes call for the monkey bread to be baked with a homemade caramel sauce, others use a pudding mixture, and some get topped with a glaze.
How to make monkey bread from scratch
The good news is that we don’t need to use refrigerator biscuits anymore to make this indulgent breakfast. Now we can make the dough ourselves!
This recipe does require to be started several hours in advance, but most of that time is spent waiting for the dough to rise. Mix it up before dinner and let it rise while you eat. After a couple hours you will be ready to assemble the bread and pop it in the fridge to wait for morning. Your family will love waking up to the incredible smell of this ultimate monkey bread!
I adapted a recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe to create this recipe. I liked the texture of her dough but it was a little salty. I also really wanted the separate caramel sauce that oozes into every nook and cranny. I didn’t want to spend the time dipping each dough chunk into butter and then in cinnamon sugar. It sounded far too messy and time consuming for me! With a few changes, ommissions, and additions this is now the perfect homemade monkey bread!
Tips for success for making homemade monkey bread from scratch.
- Use warm to hot water in your dough. It should be about 110°F. A good test is if you can stick your finger in it but not for long.
- Flour the counter or work surface liberally. This dough is rather sticky. It’s needed so the cinnamon sugar will stick but you don’t want to leave a bunch of dough behind on the counter!
- Cook the caramel sauce until it’s completely smooth, but don’t let it boil. Boiling will create more sugar crystals and it won’t remain in a sauce form but start turning to candy.
Ingredients needed for Homemade Monkey Bread from Scratch
Tools needed for Homemade Monkey Bread from Scratch
- Bundt pan
- Stand mixer with a dough hook
- Liquid measuring cups
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Medium bowl
Let’s make Ultimate Monkey Bread from Scratch!
Ultimate Homemade Monkey Bread from Scratch
- 2 TBSP butter melted
- 1 cup milk warmed to 110°F
- 1/2 cup water warmed to 110°F
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp instant or dry active yeast
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray or smear softened butter into every nook and cranny.
- In a large measuring cup mix together warm milk, warm water, melted butter, yeast, and sugar.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together flour and salt.
- Turn the mixer on to low and slowly add the wet ingredients. Allow it to knead for 6-7 minutes (it may take longer) to form a single dough ball that is smooth and shiny. If the dough is too wet and sticking to the bowl, add more flour, 1-2TBSP at a time. The dough should be sticky but not overly wet
- Coat a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Turn the dough to coat all sides then cover with a sprayed piece of plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours. You can also preheat the oven to 200°F, turn it off after preheating, and set the covered bowl inside to speed up the rising time.
Caramel Sauce Instructions
- While the dough is rising, prep the caramel sauce. Melt together a stick of butter and the two types of sugar. Cook on low until all the sugar has dissolved. Try not to let the caramel boil. It will still taste good but it will be a little on the crunchy side.
- Pour ¼ of the caramel sauce into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan.
Monkey Bread Assembly Instructions
- In the medium bowl (best to use a container with a lid) mix together 1 cup of sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon.
- When the dough has doubled in size, flour your work surface and gently press the dough out into a large square. I typically go for about 12×12.
- Using a knife, bench scraper, or pizza cutter (my personal choice), cut the dough into 64 pieces. I cut it in half, then each of those in half again, and again. Then from the other direction to create a grid.
- Add dough chunks, about 8 at a time, to the cinnamon-sugar mixture. I like to use a container with a lid so I can close it and shake. You can also just roll each piece in the mixture.
- Place the coated dough chunks into the prepared bundt pan until you’ve used half the dough.
- Add half the remaining caramel on top of the first half of coated dough chunks.
- Repeat with remaining dough chunks and top with remaining caramel sauce.
To bake now
- Let the monkey bread rise for 1-2 hours until it is 1-2 inches from the top of the pan, or use the speed method with a warm oven. Once risen, heat the oven to 350°F and bake for 30-35 minutes or until dough is cooked through and caramel is hot and bubbly. Let the monkey bread cool for 5 minutes in the pan then invert onto a large plate or platter. Serve warm.
To bake later
- Place a large plate on top of the bundt pan and place in the fridge. In the morning set the pan on the counter and let rise for 30-45 minutes while the oven preheats. Follow above baking directions and enjoy!