Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread

published Dec 16, 2022
christmas
Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Recipe

This pull-apart monkey bread is a gooey, cinnamon-swirled tour de force.

Serves6 to 8

Prep15 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A loaf (bundt pan shaped) of cinnamon roll monkey bread with white glaze drizzled on top. Hand is pulling out a piece to eat
Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich

The sky’s the limit when it comes to hacking a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, but I personally have a massive soft spot for cinnamon roll monkey bread. Perfectly pillowy pieces of cinnamon roll and a silky caramel sauce join forces to become a sweet, warmly spiced bread you can pick at with your fingers. And, oh boy, will you and your table pick away at this festive breakfast treat until there’s nothing left. Cinnamon roll monkey bread is easy to love, share with a crowd, and, above all else, make!

Ingredients in Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread

You really don’t need much to put together this whimsical breakfast bake. In fact, I’m willing to bet there’s only one ingredient you’ll need to run to the grocery store for.

  • Canned cinnamon rolls: No dough-making necessary! Pop open a can of your favorite cinnamon rolls, like Pillsbury Grands, cut into quarters, and pile into the Bundt pan. Don’t toss the icing because it gets slathered on the monkey bread once it’s baked.
  • Brown sugar: A light or dark brown sugar will lock in moisture and provide a deeper, complex sweetness to the monkey bread.
  • Ground cinnamon: To deepen the cinnamon flavor already provided by the canned cinnamon rolls. If you want to add a different baking spice, ground cardamom, nutmeg, or ginger are great options.
  • Heavy cream and butter: In the oven, these ingredients cook up with brown sugar into a caramel sauce that gets into every nook and cranny of the monkey bread. If the viral TikTok Cinnabon hack taught us anything, it’s that heavy cream also prolongs the time cinnamon roll monkey bread is soft and moist.
  • Salt: A little salt will enhance the warm, spice-packed flavor in the monkey bread. For a fun salted caramel twist, you can take the kosher salt from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. A final sprinkle of flaky salt on top is optional, but strongly recommended for textural disruption and drama!
Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich

How Do You Know When Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Is Done?

This monkey bread turns so golden-brown and ooey-gooey that it may seem tricky to get a read on its doneness.

But you’ll know when it’s ready to take out of the oven when a tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Recipe

This pull-apart monkey bread is a gooey, cinnamon-swirled tour de force.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 (17.5-ounce, 5 count) cans

    Pillsbury Grands cinnamon rolls

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Flaky salt, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray (use a 10-cup if you want a taller monkey bread).

  2. Place 3/4 packed cup of the packed light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Remove the packaging from 2 (17.5-ounce) cans large cinnamon rolls and separate each roll (reserve the icing). Cut each roll into 4 pieces. Place in the cinnamon sugar and toss until the pieces are coated fully.

  4. Arrange the pieces in the bundt pan in layers with the cut side facing towards the center tube (there’s no need to be super precise).

  5. Place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. (Alternatively, melt on the stovetop in a small saucepan.) Add the remaining 1/4 packed cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved, then pour evenly over the dough.

  6. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

  7. Invert a large plate or serving platter over the bundt pan. Grasping both the plate and the pan together with both hands (careful, hot!), flip over. Carefully remove the pan.

  8. Using the knife or small offset spatula, spread the reserved icing from both cans of cinnamon rolls on top of the monkey bread, letting it rundown the sides and into the center of the bread. Garnish with flaky salt if desired. Serve warm, pulling pieces off with your hands rather than slicing the bread.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The monkey bread can be assembled in the pan without the cream butter mixture, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead. Thirty minutes before baking, let it sit out at room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.

Storage: Cinnamon roll monkey bread is best served immediately, but leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.