Tender apple-stuffed bites of biscuit with a sweet caramel glaze! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make this caramel apple monkey bread with biscuit dough. A loaf of sweet, pull-apart bread is a perfect treat for the holidays or weekend morning!
When the air gets just that little bit of morning crisp, even this savory-breakfast girl can’t resist the siren song of a piping hot mug of coffee with a sweet treat. This easy apple stuffed monkey bread recipe is no exception! The best part is, anyone can make it because we use canned biscuits as a shortcut dough!
If you want a totally-from scratch monkey bread recipe, hop over to my sweet potato monkey bread. It’s another good one. You can even make it with Thanksgiving leftovers!
Today we are not making everything from scratch though. We are taking a time-saving step and using canned biscuit dough. It still counts as homemade. We made it, in our homes, and there you go. Busy people bake too!
We do still take a minute to make the apple filling. I’ll explain why when we get there. It’s an absolutely worthwhile step for picture-perfect results.
Anyway, one bite of this sweet stuffed bread will have you feeling all the fall vibes, no matter the weather! So let’s get to it!
Why is monkey bread called monkey bread?
Since childhood, I wondered about this. In Girl Scouts, it was explained to me that the name comes from how you eat the bread. Since you “pick” individual pieces off of the larger cake, it’s similar to how monkeys “pick” their food. So… that’s kind of gross.
The internet has not offered me a new explanation.
But I did learn that this treat goes by other names! Monkey bread is also called pull-apart bread, plucking cake, or bubble bread. Personally, I think these names sound a little more appealing, but who am I to break with tradition?
Have you ever heard it called by any of these other names?
Maybe the other names are regional? If you’ve heard/used them, I’d love to know and know where you’re from!
A fun thing I did learn, thanks to Wikipedia, is that monkey bread has Hungarian origins! It’s based on a Hungarian coffee cake called arany galuska. It appeared in a 1970’s Betty Crocker cookbook but gained popularity in the 1980s when Nancy Reagan served it in the White House for Christmas.
Which baking pan should I use for monkey bread?
I bake this recipe in a 12-cup bundt pan because the ring shape allows for a slightly shorter cooking time. Can you bake monkey bread in a loaf pan or cake pan? Absolutely!
One of the great things about this dish is that you don’t need any special equipment. You can achieve great results with the everyday pans you have in your kitchen.
A loaf pan or 8-inch round cake pan is ideal when you are making just half the recipe. Which – in case you were wondering – you can!
Can I make caramel apple monkey bread with one can of biscuits?
The recipe as written uses 2 cans of biscuit dough. If you want to make monkey bread with one can of biscuits, go for it! In fact, this is what I do when making this recipe for my little family.
When you make this recipe with one can of biscuits bake it in a loaf pan for a “full” look. The loaf pan is small enough that you get a good mix of edge and middle pieces.
If you’re someone who loves all the edge pieces, bake your biscuit monkey bread in an 8-inch round cake pan. Square works too if that’s what you have. The biscuit pieces will be in a single layer for the most part, but you’ll get lots of caramelization at the bottom.
What kind of biscuits should I use for monkey bread?
Since this is a shortcut monkey bread recipe, we aren’t making dough from scratch. That way, we skip all the proofing steps so we can enjoy our tasty treat that much sooner!
The kind of biscuits you’ll need are found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. You know, the ones in the cans that “pop” and make you jump every time? Those are perfect!
You’ll want to use a classic flavor so it blends seamlessly with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. The original Pillsbury Grands biscuits are what I use most of the time since they’re easy to find.
Can I make dairy-free monkey bread?
Since I have both family members and readers that ask about dairy-free options for various reasons (allergies, intolerances, nursing moms), I like to include them for you. This recipe is *very* easily made dairy-free just by swapping the butter for non-dairy butter sticks and buying a vegan brand of refrigerated biscuits.
If you live near a city, chances are you’ll be able to find a “certified” vegan refrigerated biscuit variety in your grocery store. Annie’s Organic and Immaculate are two that come to mind.
But did you know that many other “regular” brands are also dairy-free? For example, the Pillsbury Grands! Southern Homestyle Original biscuits are dairy-free, as is the Great Value brand sold at Wal-mart. This website has a breakdown with package pictures so you know what to look for. Of course, check the labels because companies do change recipes and ingredients from time to time.
Dairy-free butter sticks work best. Country crock, Earth Balance, and Wegman’s store brand are three I’ve used with great results.
How to make stuffed monkey bread…
Probably my favorite thing about this monkey bread is the surprise inside every bite! Yes, each and every little bite of dough is stuffed with a bit of apple pie filling! So fun, yes?
The best part is, even though you need to roll the dough and work with it a bit to make each stuffed bite, the bread still bakes up tender and soft.
Here’s how to make stuffed monkey bread. First, remove your refrigerated biscuits from the package. Then, cut each biscuit into 4 equal sections.
Press each section into a small circle and place a scant teaspoon of filling in the middle. Shape the dough over the filling, pressing the edges together to make a seam.
Dip the ball in butter and roll in your cinnamon sugar before placing it into your prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Easy!
This is the most time-consuming part of the recipe, and while it’s relaxing, this is a good opportunity to call in kids or helpful family members to speed up the process.
Caramel apple monkey bread filling notes…
If you can, make the apple pie filling! It’s as easy as chopping some apples and cooking them in a skillet. In fact, you could even make the filling a day or 2 in advance and refrigerate until it’s time to assemble your monkey bread.
Here’s why you should make the filling. First of all, this is a pretty sweet recipe. Canned apple pie fillings have varying levels of sweetness, so unless you know your preferred brand, you might end up with one that’s not right for you.
The other reason to make your own is that the apples need to be chopped on the smaller side. As you read in the previous section, you don’t have a lot of space in each biscuit bundle. Maximize that space with the most apple per bite!
Finally, you want to keep the liquid level low. When I first tested this recipe, I tried to get extra caramel in the stuffing with the apples and it was a mess! I had biscuits busting everywhere! So an apple pie filling with more apple and less of the thickened “gel” in the can is neater. I mean, look at those pictures! Gorgeous.
The size of apple “chunk” I find ideal is about the same as what you’d make for a breakfast hash. So somewhere between 1/4-1/2-inch square.
You can make the filling up to 2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
A few final caramel apple monkey bread recipe notes…
I haven’t made this recipe for a Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast yet – it’s totally on the menu for breakfast this Thanksgiving! But, we all know how busy those mornings can get. If I’m not last minute as usual (haayyy procrastibakers), I plan to assemble this stuffed monkey bread the evening before and refrigerate it before baking.
You can assemble monkey bread the night before you intend to bake. Place the bread into the refrigerator in the bundt pan, covered with plastic wrap. The next morning, remove the bread from the fridge, preheat the oven, remove the plastic, and bake away!
You can also add nuts to the recipe! I don’t typically, but I have a pecan apple sticky bun recipe coming your way that is amazing. So I recommend the addition if you’re a fan of a little crunch and don’t have kids that will decide you “made it wrong”. Pecans or walnuts are my suggestions.
Finally, don’t forget the dipping sauce! It doesn’t really need it, but the extra caramel adds a little something special. I whipped up a quick batch of my stay soft caramel sauce. You should probably have some of that on hand anyway.
Of course, if you’re feeling really fall-festive, go for the apple cider caramel sauce! This one doesn’t stay soft in the fridge, but you can heat it slightly. For the best experience, whatever caramel you use should be room temperature or slightly warm.
I really hope you love this recipe, darlings! Happy baking!!!
- 1 pound apples, peeled and diced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 16 ounce cans of refrigerated biscuit dough
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 12 tablespoons butter, browned or melted (see notes)
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)
Glaze and Dipping Sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons caramel sauce, plus more for dipping
- Peel and dice the apples.
- In a medium skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and apples, stir to combine.
- Cook the apple mixture for about 5 minutes until the apples have softened, stirring occasionally. Transfer the apples to a heat-proof bowl and set them aside to cool (see notes).
- Melt the 12 tablespoons of butter (or brown), mix with the brown sugar, and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F, then grease a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick spray or brush with melted butter. Don't forget the center column!
- In a mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon (see notes).
- Open both cans of refrigerated biscuit dough and cut each of the 16 biscuits into 4 pieces (quarters). Gently press each biscuit section and place a scant teaspoon of apple filling in the center. Fold up the edges and press to seal.
- Roll the stuffed biscuit ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place it in your greased bundt pan. Repeat with the remaining biscuits. If you're adding nuts to the bread, sprinkle them in the bundt pan periodically for even distribution.
- Once all the biscuit pieces are stuffed, rolled in sugar, and in the pan, pour the melted butter and sugar mixture evenly over the biscuit pieces.
- Place the cake pan in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown, extra fragrant, and not doughy.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes in the pan, covered with a clean tea towel (this helps with the release).
- After 5 minutes, use a rubber spatula to gently loosen the edges of the bread and flip the monkey bread over onto a serving place. If you have a piece or two stuck to the bundt pan, remove it and pop it into place. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of caramel over the top of the monkey bread for flavor and extra shine!
- Serve warm with extra caramel sauce for dipping!
- You may make the apple filling up to two days in advance. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your stuffed monkey bread.
- I used unsalted butter in this recipe, but you can use salted if you prefer.
- The butter for the bread can be simply melted in the microwave, *but* if you have a minute to melt it on the stovetop, brown it for an extra little something in your monkey bread! Browned butter adds a depth of flavor and nuttiness regular melted butter doesn't have. To brown the butter, melt it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it smells fragrant and brown specks form (about 3-5 minutes). Immediately remove it from the heat and transfer it to a heat-safe container. Mix with the brown sugar and carry on with the recipe as written.
- Don't feel like making caramel sauce for dipping but want to dip? Use your favorite store brand and heat it in the microwave for about 10 seconds so it's warm.
- If you have it on hand, swap the ground cinnamon for apple pie spice! It's even more fall goodness! Don't have apple pie spice but want to really bump up the apple pie flavor? Use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice.
- To prepare the monkey bread in advance: You may assemble the monkey bread the evening before you intend to bake and store it in the refrigerator, loosely covered with plastic wrap, overnight. Remove from the fridge when you start to preheat the oven.
- To reheat monkey bread: If you have leftovers you'd like to reheat, use your microwave in 10-second bursts! If you'd rather bake the entire monkey bread in advance and reheat the whole thing before serving, keep the cake in the bundt pan, if possible, cover in foil, and bake in a 200 F oven for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. If you'd rather not invert, then flip again (I get it), just make sure the bundt pan is on an oven-safe surface, cover in foil, and heat.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 774mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 3gSugar: 38gProtein: 6g
These nutrition values are estimates. Exact values will vary depending on the ingredients, brands, and quantities used.