Monkey bread muffins are as much fun to make as they are to eat!
These homemade cinnamon sugar covered, and vanilla-glaze-coated balls are a fun and tasty way to start the day! Each “muffin” is made from 6 mini dough balls that pull apart for easy bites! Bake them in paper-lined muffin tins for portable grab-and-go breakfasts or snacks. No time to wait for dough to rise? Try it with store bought biscuit dough for maximum convenience! Add in raisins, dried fruit, or even mini chocolate chips, for fun and flavor!
What is Monkey Bread?
Similar to a Hungarian coffee cake dipped in butter, monkey bread likely gets its cute name from the fact that the little pieces are pulled apart, the way monkeys would eat their food. Other names it goes by are pull-apart bread, golden dumpling coffee cake, pinch-me cake, and sticky bread. We’ll stick with monkey bread, however, because it’s fun to watch the little ones rush like monkeys to get some!
Why We Love Monkey Bread Muffins
- This is a quick and easy from-scratch bread recipe, where little ‘monkeys’ can help shape the dough balls and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar!
- Each muffin is like a mini loaf of monkey bread made from several mini dough balls which fuse as they bake and then pull apart into bite-sized portions. So much fun for kids!
- Bake monkey bread in muffin tins (non stick or aluminum), a loaf pan, or a Bundt pan, depending on how this versatile recipe is being served. Try these Nordic Ware bundt pans, they are amazing!
- Paper muffin cups are perfect for packing monkey bread into a backpack or briefcase! Simply wrap them in plastic wrap when they are cooled.
- Serve them hot and fresh for breakfast (they make a great holiday breakfast!), or an afternoon snack, or warm them up with a little caramel drizzle, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream as a tasty dessert!
- As an alternative, make savory monkey bread using shredded cheese and herbs or garlic and serve with chicken and noodles, jalapeno popper quiche or even beef brisket. Dip or dunk them into turkey noodle soup, slow cooker chili, or serve them on their own as appetizers that even the adults can pull apart!
Ingredients and Variations
DOUGH: This basic yeast dough produces light and fluffy muffins, but if time is short and the monkeys want their muffins quickly, use plain biscuits such as Pillsbury Grands. Brown sugar can be switched out for white sugar and Greek yogurt can replace sour cream if it’s on hand.
CINNAMON MIXTURE: Adding vanilla might make the mixture seem wet, but it will return to a crumbly texture. For savory monkey bread, use any favorite seasoning like taco seasoning, chili spices, or everything bagel.
EXTRAS: Add raisins, chopped walnuts or pecans, or dried cranberries for a festive monkey bread!
GLAZE: The glaze is optional, but it does give monkey bread that sticky, gooey, lick-your-fingers quality that everyone loves. Thin the glaze out with extra milk, if desired.
How to Make Monkey Bread Muffins
Here are the basics. For the details, scroll to the recipe below.
- Prepare monkey bread yeast dough, allow it to rise, then divide into small, equal-sized balls. There will be 6 dozen in all.
- Roll balls in butter and cinnamon sugar, arrange 6 in each muffin compartment, and allow to rise a second time.
- Bake until puffed up and golden brown.
- Drizzle with glaze and serve warm from the oven.
Storing Leftover Monkey Bread
- Leftover monkey bread (if there is any!) keeps best in a covered container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5.
- Reheat portions in the microwave or enjoy them as is.
- Monkey bread muffins can be frozen, too! Foil-wrap each muffin individually and place in a large zip-top freezer-safe bag. Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw monkey bread muffins in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
Monkey Bread Muffins
- In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over warm water and let stand 5-10 minutes, until it bubbles. Using a wooden spoon, stir in melted butter, sour cream, sugar, egg, and vanilla until well combined.
- Stir in 2 cups of flour with wooden spoon until combined. Add remaining ½ cup flour and mix until dough is uniform, about 3-4 minutes.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. If the dough is sticky, add flour ½-1 teaspoon at a time. (I did not need extra flour other than my floured surface.)
- Once dough is smooth, place in the mixing bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter then add flour. Tap out excess flour.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Vanilla may seem to make it wet, but it will return to a crumbly texture.
- Melt butter in a small dish and set aside.
Make the Monkey Bread Muffins:
- Gently punch down dough, about 4-5 times. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Using a sharp knife, divide each of the 12 pieces into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
- Each muffin will use six balls. Roll each ball in melted butter to coat generously, and drop into the cinnamon mix, tossing to coat.**
- Place five balls in the bottom of the muffin tin around the outside, and nestle a sixth ball in the middle of the 5 balls snugly, pushing it in carefully so that it is even with the outer 5 balls.
- Once all muffins are prepared in the muffin tin, sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over top of the muffins. Using plastic wrap, loosely cover muffins and let muffins rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the muffins on the center rack of the oven, and turn the oven down to 325°F. Bake until golden, about 20-22 minutes.
- Transfer the muffin tin to a wire cooling rack to cool for 5-10 minutes. Carefully turn the monkey bread muffins out onto a cookie sheet (or parchment or wax paper). For any that don’t come out, carefully run a knife around the edges until they’re ready to come out. With the sugar, you may find they need a bit of help. Place on the wire cooling rack.
- In a small bowl, mix the glaze ingredients until smooth. If you prefer a thinner glaze, use 1 teaspoon of milk to thin it out. Drizzle glaze on muffins.
- Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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