Apple Pie Monkey Bread is a soft, sweet, sticky, and flavorful dessert made from scratch with homemade dough and apple pie filling. Every bite of this treat is packed with warm fall flavors created by ingredients like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
Want to get your kids involved in the kitchen? They’ll love helping you bake this Apple Pie Monkey Bread almost as much as they love eating it with their little fingers!
Honestly, even fellow grown ups will love treating their inner child to a sweet and sticky dessert that you can eat with your hands. If there’s ever an excuse to lick your fingers, it’s because you don’t want to miss out on a single speck of this autumnal delight!
It’s full of fall flavors and with a fun name like Monkey Bread, you know it’s sure to bring plenty of smiles to all those who make it and try it. Speaking of making it, this dessert is so very easy to concoct! There might be quite a few steps to making the homemade dough and apple pie filling, but they’re all delightfully simple.
The end result is a sticky and sweet autumnal dessert that can be served on a casual day at home with your family or as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving dessert spread. Warning – this might garner even more attention that your favorite Apple Pie.
What is Monkey Bread?
Monkey Bread is basically a pull-apart sweet and soft bread sometimes also called bubble bread or plucking cake. The fun name comes from the way you eat it: pulling off small pieces at a time and eating it like a little monkey! This sweet bread pastry is usually made in a bundt pan with lots of brown sugar and cinnamon.
We elevated the classic Monkey Bread recipe with spiced apple pie flavor. This pull apart bread features homemade dough that’s flavored with apple pie spice and loaded with apple pie filling and sauce.
Many people make Monkey Bread as a breakfast treat, but you can also serve it as dessert with ice cream or just as a sweet snack. Really, there’s no bad way to enjoy a dessert this good.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the dough:
- Butter – It needs to be unsalted and melted.
- Whole Milk – whole milk is best for the rich dough and you will need to warm it.
- White Granulated Sugar
- Yeast – Instant or rapid rise yeast is what we use for this dough.
- All Purpose Flour
- Coarse Salt
- Apple Pie Spice – This is used in the dough itself and in apple pie topping
- Light Brown Sugar – you can use light or dark brown sugar but I do notice that light coats the dough better.
For the apple pie topping:
- Sweet Apples – Gala, Honeycrisp, or Fuji apples all work well.
- Apple Juice
- Butter – unsalted is better to use.
- Light Brown Sugar
- Apple Pie Spice
Substituting Apple Pie Spice Mix:
Apple pie spice is a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. You can buy this seasoning mixed at the store or make your own.
To make your own apple pie spice, simply combine 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon with 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of ground allspice. Mix it all together and store in a small glass jar with a lid.
Make the dough. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, and 1 1/2 tsp of the apple pie spice. Heat the milk, water, and butter over medium heat until it reaches 110°F. Slowly mix the warm milk mixture into the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Sprinkle flour into a separate bowl, then transfer the dough into it. Cover and let rise for an hour.
Make the apple pie topping. Peel, core, and dice the apples. Melt butter in a pot over medium heat and stir in the apples, sugar, and apple pie spice. Lower the heat to low, cover the pot, and let cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and use a strainer to separate the syrup from the apples. Reserve the syrup in a cup.
Assemble the monkey bread. Rub a bundt pan with butter. Mix together brown sugar and apple pie spice – you’ll dip the dough balls into this. Spread a third of the cooked apples in the bottom of the pan. Pinch off the dough into 1-inch balls, dip them in apple syrup, and roll them in the brown sugar mixture. Layer them into a single layer on top of the apples in the pan. Spread another third of the apples on top of the dough. Repeat the dough ball process again to create another layer. Spread the remaining apples on top.
Let it rest, then bake. Cover the bundt pan with plastic wrap and a towel. Let the dough raise again in a warm place for 45-60 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Let it rest in the pan after baking for 10-15 minutes.
Serve! Flip the bundt pan onto a serving plate. Tap the pan to loosen it, then carefully lift the pan. Serve your Monkey Bread with the remaining apple syrup, and enjoy!
Make Ahead Tips:
You can easily prepare both the dough and the apple pie syrup ahead of time. Please note that you STILL need to give it time to rise first! Prepare the dough as the recipe instructs and let it rise. After the dough has had the proper time to do the initial rise, punch it down, then gather it into a lightly floured large zip-top bag. Seal it tightly and refrigerate.
You can also refrigerate the dough in the same bowl where you made it, just make sure to punch it first and cover it airtight with plastic wrap. When you’re ready to make the Monkey Bread, take the dough out of the bag and place it into a bowl (if using a bag), and let the dough warm up on the counter first for 30-45 minutes.
For the apple pie topping, just prepare it using the recipe instructions and store it in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator. When ready to use, warm it up first and then separate the apples from the syrup. Proceed as the recipe instructs.
Frequently Asked Questions:
While homemade dough will always be best, we all have those days when we just want to open a can of biscuits and bake! To make this recipe, use 2-16.5oz. cans of Grands buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky biscuits). No need for the raising of the dough.
I anticipate this question because I’ve gotten it in other recipes, so I want to address it. I do not recommend using canned apple pie filling. It’s a completely different texture and there is not even close to be enough sauce in the canned filling. This part of the recipe should be made by you.
The ideal temperature for the dough to raise is about 78°F. You don’t want the dough to raise too fast, or the flavor will be wonky. Try to find a warmer place in your kitchen. If you keep your house cool, you can create a warm place. Sometimes, I turn on my oven and close the door to create warmer ambient temperature around the oven. Then, I just place the bowl with the dough close to the oven and let it raise.
You can also create a warmer temperature inside the oven by simply turning on the light inside the oven, NOT the oven. This will warm up the over a couple of degrees, but make sure that it doesn’t warm it up too much. Remember each oven is different.
Apple Pie Monkey Bread
For The Dough:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup whole milk warmed
- 1/2 cup water warmed
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 oz instant (or rapid rise) yeast
- 3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp coarse or sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2-3/4 cup light brown sugar for dipping
- 1/2 tsp apple pie spice for dipping
Apple Pie Topping:
- 3 medium sweet apples
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp apple pie spice
To Make the Dough:
- Combine flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast and 1 1/2 tsp of apple pie spice in the bowl if the stand up mixing bowl and whisk it together.
- Heat up milk, water, and butter in the small sauce pot over medium heat until it reaches 110°.
- Fit the dough hook attachment to the mixer and start mixing on stir. Slowly pour in the warm milk mixture into the bowl.
- Keep slowly mixing until the dough comes together completely. Stop and scrape the dough hook and the sides when needed.
- Sprinkle a large mixing bowl lightly with flour and transfer the dough into it. Cover it with plastic wrap and a clean towel and place into the warm place to raise for about an hour. Note: the ideal temperature for the dough to rise is around 78° degrees. That is warmer than I like to keep my house so I usually find or create a warm place. I turn on the oven and place the bowl with the dough near it, that way it stays in the warmer ambient temperature.
Apple Pie Topping:
- Peel and core the apples and then dice them into small pieces.
- Melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat and add diced apples, sugar, and apple pie spice. Gently mix everything until apples are evenly coated and mixed.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid and let apple cook for about 15-20 minutes, until completely softened. Remember to stir once in a while. (NOTE: to get a lot of nice juices out of apples, make sure to cook them covered with a lid.)
- Take the lid off and gently simmer another 5 minutes or so. Take off heat. Separate the apples from the syrup by straining it though the fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup. Note: separate half of the apple sauce to pour over the monkey bread later. You will use the other half to dip the dough.
Preparing the Monkey Bread:
- Rub all over the inside of the Bundt cake pan with softened butter.
- In a small bowl, mix together light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp apple pie spice to dip the dough balls into.
- Once the dough is beautifully raised, punch it and take it out of the bowl, onto a lightly floured surface.
- Have the apples, half of the apple sauce, brown sugar mixture, and prepared Bundt cake pan all near the work station.
- Spread about a third of the cooked apples in the bottom of the Bundt pan.
- Pinch off even pieces of dough, enough to roll the balls that are about 1-inch in size.
- Dip the dough balls in the apple sauce and then lightly roll them in brown sugar mixture. Place into the prepared Bundt cake. Repeat with half the dough, make sure to create one even layer in the pan.
- Spread another third of the apples over the dough balls. Reheat rolling the dough balls, and dipping them in sauce and sugar, and spread them in another layer in the pan. Spread remaining apples over the top.
- Cover the Bundt pan with plastic wrap and then with a towel and set it aside in a warm place to raise. Let it rise for another 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Once the dough is raised in the pan, place the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Note: If you're not sure when your bread is done, use an instant digital read thermometer to measure internal temperature in the center. Bake the breads to internal temperature of 190°.
- Once the bread is done, take it out and set aside to rest about 10-15 minutes before taking out.
Finishing Monkey Bread:
- Place a serving place over the Bundt pan and turn it over. Tap gently on the pan to loosen the bread and carefully lift the pan.
- Pour the remaining apple sauce over the Monkey bread and serve.