This vegan monkey bread recipe is the best! It’s easy and fun to make from scratch using refrigerator dough. The soft and fluffy cinnamon bites are a cross between the gooey, sticky sweet center of a cinnamon roll and a vegan donut hole! Perfect for brunch or a vegan holiday dessert.
Homemade monkey bread is a sweet pull apart bread made with small pieces of dough rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar then baked in a buttery brown sugar sauce and drizzled with lemon glaze.
This version is the most decadent, melt-in-your-mouth tender, sinfully delicious, gooey vegan dessert. Just like my vegan apple crisp, this easy vegan breakfast (or dessert) recipe is definitely a family favorite during holiday get togethers. Make sure you get a piece because the kids love it and it goes fast!
Another great recipe made with all purpose refrigerator dough! This vegan monkey bread recipe is the easiest (without using canned biscuits) and by far the most delicious cinnamon pull apart bread. This method is just as simple as using Pillsbury Grands, but it's vegan (dairy free, egg free, and additive free)! Really there is no comparison to monkey bread made from scratch - trust me!
Here's what you'll need:
- refrigerator dough - make a minimum of 2 hours before baking (up to 14 days in advance!). Takes only 5 minutes to mix together and no kneading required. It's a super versatile master dough recipe for making everything from sweet rolls to sandwich bread and so much more.
- granulated and light brown sugar
- cinnamon spice
- vegan butter
- confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
- lemon or vanilla extract
How to Make Vegan Monkey Bread
It's easy to make homemade monkey bread vegan! No special equipment or ingredients are needed. This is a fun Fall/Winter baking recipe to make with the kids because everyone can roll their own dough balls, and it doesn't take long to bake! Let's review the steps (details in the recipe card below):
- Prepare the baking dish: Lightly grease a 9" round baking dish or similar with butter or cooking spray.
- Twist off a piece of refrigerator dough: I use just under 1 ½ pounds of dough - about the size of a melon (see photo). Use more or less depending on the size pan you are using.
- Prepare the dough ball coating: Melt the butter. In a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Shape the dough: Divide the dough into ~30 pieces. Roll each piece into a ping pong ball size portion. They don't have to be perfect!
- Coat the dough: I like to drizzle the dough balls with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter then roll them in the cinnamon sugar coating. But you can skip the butter step and just go straight to the cinnamon sugar if preferred.
- Proof the dough: Place the balls in a single layer to cover the bottom of the baking dish. I usually have a few extra pieces and pile them on top (see photo). Cover with plastic and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place while the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Make the brown sugar sauce: Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pinch of salt to the melted butter. Stir to incorporate.
- Time to bake: Once the dough balls are puffy (around 20-40 minutes depending on your kitchen temperature), pour the brown sugar sauce evenly over the entire surface. Bake for 35 minutes, let cool.
- Make vegan glaze/icing: Optional! When ready to serve, pour (or pass) the glaze and enjoy!
- See Recipe Notes for bundt pan option. Photos below.
A Few Tips
The magical thing about making this version of monkey bread is each gooey, soft and tender piece is like plucking the center out of a Cinnabon! Here's a few tips and FAQ so your monkey bread turns out perfect too:
- All Purpose Refrigerator Dough: This refrigerator dough (master dough) recipe is a miracle! It takes 5 minutes to mix up and then waits patiently in the fridge for up to 2 weeks for you to make big or small batches of sandwich bread, vegan dinner rolls, soft breadsticks, pita bread, vegan cinnamon rolls, party appetizers and so much more. There’s no kneading, no mixer, and no mess - the bucket does all the work!
- Shaping the dough: Don't make the dough balls too big as they puff up even more while baking (see photos above). They don't have to be perfectly round or exactly the same size which is great if you have little kids helping!
- Frosting/glaze: Optional, but super indulgent. I use lemon extract, fresh lemon juice and/or lemon zest to balance out the sweetness. Pro Tip: If the glaze is too thick, add more milk a teaspoonful at a time. If it's too thin, add more confectioners sugar until desired consistency.
- Vegan cream cheese frosting: I based this monkey bread recipe off a Tik Tok video (non vegan) which stuffed the dough balls with cream cheese. An easy option is to make dairy-free cream cheese frosting instead. Store leftover vegan cream cheese frosting in the fridge all week to decorate vegan cupcakes or drizzle over vegan banana bread or brownies.
- Play with spices: For a flavor variation, sub in Chai spice or apple pie spice.
- Add ins: For extra crunch more like a sticky bun, add in ½ a cup of chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.
- MILLION DOLLAR TIP: Although I do love a traditional bundt pan monkey bread, this single layer version has me addicted because the ratio of golden crust to soft and gooey middle per bite is unmatched. Once you've tried it, I think you'll be obsessed too.
How To Make Ahead, Store & Reheat
Cinnamon pull aparts have the best texture when served fresh. But if you have any leftovers, cover tightly and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: To reheat leftover bread - warm in the microwave or wrap in foil and warm in the oven at 325ºF.
- Make Ahead Instructions: This is a great recipe to make ahead because the bread dough can be prepared up to two weeks in advance. You can also make the brown sugar sauce and frosting in the morning on the day you plan to serve it. When it's time to bake, follow the recipe.
More Delicious Vegan Desserts
Indulgent (dairy free, egg free, and some gluten free friendly) vegan desserts to try next:
- vegan peanut butter cookies (options galore)
- vegan chocolate chip cookies (s'mores)
- eggless cinnamon rolls (easy, foolproof recipe)
- vegan peanut butter cups (everyone's favorite)
- crunchy chickpea bark (high protein, epic crunch)
Best Vegan Monkey Bread (easy + indulgent)
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- 1 ½ pounds all purpose refrigerator dough recipe
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter, melted
Brown Sugar Sauce/Coating
- ½ cup vegan butter/margarine (melted)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon (more to taste)
- pinch salt
Vegan Frosting/Glaze (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
- 2 tablespoons dairy free milk (almond or oat)
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract (or vanilla extract)
- lemon zest (optional)
- All purpose refrigerator dough: (make a minimum of 2 hours up to 14 days in advance). I used ~1 ½ pounds (a piece about the size of a melon) for this recipe.
- Prepare baking dish or bundt pan: Generously grease with butter or non-stick baking spray.
- Prepare the cinnamon sugar coating: Melt 1-1 ½ tablespoons butter (in a large measuring cup). In a medium bowl stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Shape the dough balls: Pinch off or slice ~ 30 pieces of dough (roughly the size of ping pong balls) for a 9" round baking dish. If your dough is too sticky, rub a bit of butter on your hands while shaping. Roll the dough pieces into 1 - 1 ¼" balls. They don't have to be perfect!
- Dip the balls into the melted butter to lightly coat them, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Arrange in the prepared baking dish in a single layer. Any extras can be piled in a second layer (see photo).
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let proof in a warm spot until puffy (~40 minutes) while the oven is preheating.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F with rack in middle position.
Brown Sugar Sauce and Baking
- While the oven is preheating, make the brown sugar sauce. Melt the butter (microwave or stove), whisk in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until well incorporated.
- Once the dough balls are puffy, drizzle the brown sugar sauce evenly over the top. Pop into the oven for ~35 minutes* until the edges are bubbling and the top is deep golden. *Place a baking sheet on lower oven shelf to catch any drips.
- If the top is browning too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of foil.
- Remove from oven to a cooling rack.
- While the monkey bread is baking, whisk together all the glaze ingredients.
- Let the monkey bread cool for about 10 minutes then drizzle the frosting/glaze over top. Scoop onto plates or give everyone a fork and gather around the kitchen table while everyone picks off their own pieces and dunks them into frosting. Enjoy!
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