This Monkey Bread Muffins recipe is the perfect way to serve a classic treat. Monkey bread is soft, fluffy, pillowy dough dipped in butter, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and topped with glaze. These are made in muffin tins for ease!
My Nana makes monkey bread every Christmas. It is such a treat and brings such happy memories to mind. However, making an entire monkey bread is daunting. SERVING an entire monkey bread is daunting. Meet the individual serving
Behind the Muffin
The other day on my Instagram, I shared a picture of Crumb Cake Muffins. HONESTY HOUR: the muffins were a complete and total fail, but they were VERY photogenic. I simply could not pass up the fabulous opportunity to showcase them. Well, making beloved crumb cake into muffins sparked some ideas. Cinnamon Rolls are already individually portioned, Coffee Cake is easy to serve as a cake... but monkey bread? Monkey bread was perfect to turn into a muffin.
Alright. Here's my warning. The recipe isn't a quick bake. It's an easy bake and PERFECT to make with little ones, but it takes some patience. It's the type of recipe that you might need to get up an hour earlier than normal to make if you want it ready by breakfast. The good news is that the majority of the time involved in making these muffins is to let the dough rise- AKA time for you to clean the house, go on a run, get some work done.
It's easy to make this recipe using store-bought dough, but I honestly think it's more rewarding and so much yummier homemade. Plus, you know EXACTLY what's in it. Big win for me. This is SUCH a good recipe to start with if you haven't used yeast or are looking for a place to start with baking that is a bit more involved than your go-to cookie recipe.
Why You NEED These
This Monkey Bread Muffins recipe is honestly heaven. I have used that term to describe too many treats, so I think it's starting to lose it's wow-factor. However, these muffins are truly SO worth your time and effort. They have a cloud-like softness, are bursting with cinnamon flavor, and are topped with the perfect glaze.
As mentioned above, these are perfect as individual servings and look SO impressive. They really aren't too hard to make. Please read the instructions thoroughly before starting this monkey bread muffins recipe. If you have any questions, please leave them below or reach out to me through Instagram. I am on there SO often, so shoot me any questions. Click here to get to my Instagram 🙂
Tips and Tricks for Monkey Bread Muffins
- Yeast: This recipe calls for instant yeast. Here is the yeast I use in this recipe. I haven't experimented with normal yeast, so I'm not sure if the dough would just need more time to rise. To be safe, I'd go with instant yeast!
- Butter: The butter needs to be softer than room temperature. It shouldn't be melted, but it will be greasy and soft. I recommend cutting your butter into pieces that are about ¼ inch thick. Place them all on a plate. Microwave the plate for 10 seconds. Flip the butter pieces and microwave for another 10 seconds. Butter will not be cold. You should be able to break the butter pieces apart when pushing your finger into the center of each butter piece. If your butter isn't like that, repeat the process with 5 second intervals rather than 10.
- Filling the Tin: The first time I made these muffins, only 4 of them came out fully intact. The rest broke into pieces, which were equally fabulous and tasty, but they weren't what I intended them to be- monkey bread muffins... they were pieces of monkey bread muffins. I left too many gaps when filling the tin. I thought the dough would rise enough to fill the gaps, but that mentality wasn't completely correct. Make sure that you line the bottom of each tin so that there are NO gaps.
- Kneading: Here is a video that can help you if you don't know how to knead properly. I honestly don't think you can mess it up. It is rather difficult to over-knead because you would be way too tired to ever reach that point. Basically, you'll fold the dough, massage it with the palm of your hand, turn the dough, and refold it. The dough will get less sticky as you work with it, but it should not be dry. The dough in the video above is much thicker and drier than the sweet dough we work with in this recipe. It should be elastic, stretchy, and a little sticky. It should have a slight shine to it. If you stretch a golf ball-sized piece of dough between the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers of each hand, it should not break.
- Dough Rise Time: Here are my top recommendations for letting the dough rise-
- In the oven: Preheat your oven to about 150-200 degrees Fahrenheit while you're preparing the dough. Once it reaches the temp, turn off the oven while you are kneading the dough. Place the bowl in the warmed oven.
- On top of the oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bowl on top of the oven, hopefully on a spot that is a bit warmer.
- In the dryer: After running your clothing dryer for a cycle, place the bowl in the dryer while it's still warm. DO NOT RUN THE DRYER.
For the Dough
- ½ cup 2% milk (warm)
- ½ Tablespoon instant yeast
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-3 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Glaze
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons milk/heavy whipping cream
For the Dough
- Heat milk to be about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I placed mine in the microwave. If you don’t have a food thermometer handy, it should be almost too hot to touch. In a large bowl, stir yeast into warm milk until combined/ dissolved.
- Add granulated sugar, egg, unsalted butter, and salt to the bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix until batter is combined. There should be small chunks of butter in the batter, so it won’t be completely smooth.
- Using a mixer, gradually add 2 cups of flour to the bowl. If batter is extremely sticky, add more flour until you can pick up the dough without your hands becoming wet. Dough should be tacky and glossy. I added about 2 ½ cups total, but the amount you’ll need to add will depend on your climate!
- On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 7-10 minutes. Dough will become easier to work with the longer you knead. Most likely, you will need to add flour to ease the process… just make sure not to add too much that the dough becomes completely dry. Dough will be ready when you can stretch a large piece between your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers of both hands without it breaking. It will be elastic and still a bit sticky.
- Grease a large bowl with vegetable oil or olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it a few times to ensure it’s covered with grease. Lay a kitchen towel on top of the bowl and place the bowl in a warm place. Read recommendations above.
- Let the dough sit for about an hour. Dough should have grown in size. If it doesn’t look much different, you may need to move it to a warmer climate or let it sit longer.
For the Filling
- Right before the dough is finished rising, prepare the filling by whisking sugar and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, melt butter in the microwave or over the stove.
- When dough has risen, push down on it slightly to deflate the bubble. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to be about ½ inch thick. The length and width doesn’t really matter too much as long as the thickness is correct. Mine looked like an unfinished rectangle.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into vertical strips that are about 1 inch wide. Then, use the pizza cutter to chop the strips into pieces that are about 1 ½ inches long. I cut these pieces diagonally, so only one side actually hit the 1 ½ inch recommendation. THEY DO NOT NEED TO BE EXACT. I had some pieces that were much smaller, some that were a bit bigger, and some that had a shape nowhere near a rhombus… which is what mine looked like the way I cut them. As long as they aren’t too too big or too too small, I found that it doesn’t matter too much.
- Dip each piece of dough into butter before rolling it around in the cinnamon sugar mixture. The dough will become a bit rounder after being rolled around in the cinnamon sugar- that’s good!
- SPRAY YOUR MUFFIN TAN WITH COOKING SPRAY. If you don’t care about the look too much and need EVERY muffin to come out in one piece, just add cupcake liners to the pan. I chose not to do that, but it will work just fine, still look fabulous, and will have the exact same taste. I’d recommend spraying the liners too!
- Place about 6 pieces of dough in each muffin. Place the first dough pieces in each muffin strategically. Make sure that there are no gaps at the bottom… you will not be able to get the muffin out in one piece if you leave gaps at the bottom. After that, place the remaining dough pieces on top, keeping in mind that they will rise again.
- Place muffin tin in a warm place to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Bake muffins at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes. You will be able to see parts of the dough that aren’t completely covered in cinnamon sugar, and they will be light golden brown in color.
- Muffins will continue to cook for a bit after being removed from the oven. As soon as you take them out of the oven, carefully use a knife to loosen the muffin from the tin. Let the muffins cool in the tin for about 15 minutes. Carefully wiggle the muffins out of the tin. If you feel like you will break a piece of the muffin off by removing it from the tin, carefully flip the muffin tin upside down with a pan underneath. This will help the muffins come out cleanly. After testing these, I only had problems removing the muffins the first time. This was because I left too many gaps when originally filling the tin with dough.
For the Glaze
- Prepare the glaze by whisking confectioners’ sugar and milk/heavy cream. Glaze will be smooth and will be slightly thick, but it will fall off of the spoon easily. Using a spoon drizzle the glaze over each muffin.
Keywords: Monkey Bread Muffins, Monkey Bread, Cinnamon Rolls