Growing up, I'd always look forward to devouring a platter of cinnamon roll monkey bread on Christmas morning. This insanely delicious caramelized cinnamon-sugar pull apart bread is super easy to make and will forever remind me of childhood. Because we've adapted it over the years, we now make it with cinnamon buns for an upgraded twist! It's one of my favorite recipes so I hope you enjoy it!
I know this is going to sound sort of unbelievable but I remember the exact moment that I first had monkey bread!
I was in preschool and we all got to make it as a group project.
It is the perfect kid-friendly recipe. Fast, easy, uncomplicated and absolutely delicious!
All we had to do was pull apart some biscuits. Make a bowl of cinnamon sugar. And then toss everything together with our little tiny hands.
The teachers handled the tricky part of making the brown sugar butter mixture.
And we focused on getting the little cinnamon sugar coated biscuit pieces into a bundt pan.
Once it came out of the oven, they put a little plate in front of each of us.
I took one bite and realized how delicious it was! Ever since then, it's been ingrained in my memory and has remained one of my lifelong favorite dishes.
Over the years, we've made it all sorts of ways but I'm sharing this cinnamon roll version because I think it's the perfect breakfast for Christmas morning.
So let's get to it, shall we?!
(scroll all the way to the bottom for the full printable recipe!)
- cinnamon roll tubes
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- salted butter
- cooking spray
- flaky salt for garnish
How to make it
The first thing you need to do to make this cinnamon roll monkey bread, is to preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Next, mix white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Then open the tubes of cinnamon rolls and separate each one. Cut each cinnamon bun into quarters then toss with the cinnamon sugar and set aside.
Next, you'll want to grab a small pot and melt a stick of butter over medium heat. Then add brown sugar and cinnamon and stir. Let this mixture bubble and simmer until it looks like it's fluffy and bubbly. It takes about 2-3 minutes for it to happen.
Meanwhile, spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray and add half of the quartered cinnamon buns.
Once the brown sugar butter mixture has thickened, immediately pour it over the first layer of chopped cinnamon buns.
Add the rest of the cinnamon buns then the remaining brown sugar butter mixture.
Place the bundt pan in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the buns are cooked through and the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately flip the dessert onto a platter so the extra sauce can run down the sides.
Sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt then place the icing from the cinnamon buns in a small bowl for dunking.
How to make it extra gooey
Although I make this recipe the same every time, sometimes the mixture is runnier or dryer than normal.
When it's too dry, I like to add more of the brown butter sugar mixture which is essentially just a toffee topping.
To do this, make an additional half batch of the brown sugar butter mixture.
One it starts to bubble and froth up (of fluff up as I like to say), then quickly remove the mixture from the heat and drizzle over the top of the monkey bread.
If you like a crispier crust on it, then you can test the brown sugar butter mixture by adding a few drops of it to a glass of ice water.
If the mixture hardens up and becomes toffee, then you've reached the perfect temperature. If not, keep trying until it does this.
Things to add
Monkey bread is one of those recipes that comes with a ton of adaptions.
Unlike the original version, I use cinnamon buns instead of biscuits which is just one example.
If you want to make it even more interesting, you can add a half cup of raisins, chocolate chips orange zest, craisins, walnuts, pecans or the like!
I've even made savory monkey breads with parmesan, garlic ,and pepperoni!
To be honest, I'm a purist when it comes to monkey bread but i love when people adapt a recipe to make it their own!
What to pair it with
So not only is this cinnamon roll monkey bread a dessert that's served year round in our household, but it's also one that is part of our Christmas morning traditions!
But If I were making it on a regular weeknight, I would probably make a big bowl of saffron cream sauce ravioli, some honey sriracha brussel sprouts, and maybe even some rustic tortellini soup if I was feeling like I needed something cozy!
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Cinnamon Bun Monkey Bread
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Mix white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl.
- Cut each cinnamon bun into quarters and toss with the cinnamon sugar and set aside.
- In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat and add brown sugar and remaining cinnamon. Stir and let it simmer and “fluff up” for about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray and add half of the quartered cinnamon buns.
- When the brown sugar butter mixture has thickened, immediately pour half of it over the first layer of chopped cinnamon buns.
- Then add the remaining cinnamon buns and the remaining brown sugar butter mixture on top and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
- Once it’s ready, the top will be golden brown and the sauce will be bubbling along the sides.
- Remove it from the oven and immediately (and carefully!) flip it over onto a serving platter.
- Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and serve with the icing packets for dunking.