What’s sticky and sweet on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside and best eaten with your fingers? Monkey bread (also called “pull-apart bread” and “puzzle bread”). It has the looks of a gooey cake, but it’s actually composed of rough-chopped dough bits smothered in a luscious glaze-usually golden and sugary. And if you’re lucky, there are hidden goodies like crunchy nuts or cream cheese tucked into or around each bit. Baked in a Bundt pan, this pick-apart showstopper is the ultimate appetizer for a picture-perfect brunch party.
You’d think that something so indulgent would take a lot of fuss. But truthfully, monkey bread is breeze to make. Thanks to shortcut ingredients like refrigerated biscuits and instant pudding mix, this recipe comes together in a snap. Which is great, because you won’t need a special occasion to whip up this stunner. Follow our step-by-step recipe with tips from our Test Kitchen experts to learn how it’s done.
How to Make Monkey Bread
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding mix
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, optional
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tubes (10 ounces each) refrigerated biscuits
10-in. Bundt pan
Step 1: Make the glaze
The ooey-gooey glaze is a two-step process. Start off by combining the dry ingredients (pudding mix, sugar, cinnamon and pecans) in a large bowl. Then place the melted butter in a separate, shallow bowl.
Test Kitchen Tip: Try to keep the melted butter warm so the glaze stays a little thin. If it begins to cool, it will thicken and your sugar coating will get clumpy.
Step 2: Prep the biscuits
Take your prepackaged biscuits and cut them into quarters. Their shape doesn’t need to be perfect, or even consistent. After all, monkey bread is defined by its homely, cobblestone texture. Take a handful of pieces and dip them into the melted butter. Then, just as if you were breading a chicken, place the dough into the pudding mixture. Toss to coat. Voila! You have the tiny, sugar-coated pieces that’ll make up your monkey bread.
Step 3: Layer the biscuits
Test Kitchen Tip: Since the sugar coating is prone to sticking, it’s important to make sure your Bundt pan is well-greased before you start piling the biscuits in. A poorly greased pan could turn your monkey bread into a mess. Learn how to properly grease a Bundt pan, here.
After greasing, arrange your tiny dough balls in the pan. There’s no need to be precise about this. Simply plop them next to and on top of the other. (They’ll expand into those creases in the oven.) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the biscuit pieces are coated and the pan is full.
Step 4: Bake and enjoy
Now it’s time to bake. Crank up the oven to 350° and stick your monkey bread in for 30-35 minutes. (This is my favorite part because the kitchen starts to smell of fresh cinnamon buns!) You’ll know it’s done when the top has turned golden brown. Here’s the hardest part: Once the monkey bread has baked, let it stand for 30 minutes before flipping it out onto a serving plate.
Test Kitchen Tip: Don’t be tempted to skip the cooling step. Patience is key. Cooling helps the bread stay together instead of crumbling apart. Don’t worry, it’ll stay plenty warm and gooey for serving.
Personalize Your Pull-Apart Dish
Now that you know the basics, feel free to tweak the recipe to make it your own. Drizzle it with Nutella, load on the powdered sugar or top it off with your favorite sliced fruit. For more inspiration, try our Test Kitchen’s favorite variations.
- Vanilla-hazelnut: Use vanilla pudding mix and add chopped hazelnuts in place of the pecans.
- Chocolate-orange: Try chocolate-flavored pudding and trade in fresh orange zest for the cinnamon. The bright citrus flavor packs a punch.
- Go savory: Replace the sugary toppings with add-ins like marinara sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella. For more information, check out this Pizza Monkey Bread recipe.