The Ultimate Healthy Monkey Bread
Yields: 20 servings
This recipe for pull-apart “monkey bread” is much healthier than traditional ones, but it tastes just as delicious! The cinnamon-spiced caramel-like coating is absolutely irresistible! Although it’s best if eaten the same day it’s made, leftovers will keep for at least three days at room temperature if lightly covered with plastic wrap—if they last that long!
  • for the dough
  • 1 ¼ cups (300mL) warm nonfat milk (100-110°F)
  • ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp (36g) coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 ½ tsp (14g or two ¼-oz packages) dry yeast
  • 3 ½ – 4 ½ cups (240-300g) whole wheat flour
  • for the coating
  • ½ cup (120mL) warm nonfat milk (100-110°F)
  • 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup (144g) coconut sugar
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. To prepare the dough, stir together the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, and wait 10-15 minutes or until the mixture turns frothy. Mix in 3 cups of flour. If the dough is still wet, continue stirring in flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes or until the dough springs back most of the way when you gently press your index finger into it. Shape the dough into a ball, and let the dough rest while preparing the filling.
  3. Coat a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. To prepare the coating, whisk together the milk and butter in a small bowl. Stir together the coconut sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl.
  4. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the dough into 16 pieces (cut in half, then half again, then half again, then half one more time). Roll each piece into a short rope, and cut each rope into at least 5 pieces. (Re-flour your hands and work surface if the dough is too sticky!) This should yield 80+ small pieces of dough.
  5. Working with one small piece of dough at a time, dip it into the bowl with warm milk and butter with one hand. Let the excess drip off; then roll it around in the bowl of cinnamon and coconut sugar with your other hand. Place into the prepared bundt pan. Repeat with the remaining small pieces of dough, layering them evenly into the bundt pan.
  6. Lay a clean, dry towel over the top of the bundt pan, and place it in a warm draft-free place to let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size or fills ¾ of the bundt pan.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the sides of the dough pieces on top feel firm to the touch. Cool for 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.
Notes: For a vegan version, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk and Earth Balance buttery sticks (for the best flavor) or coconut oil in place of the butter.

Any milk may be substituted for the nonfat milk.

Brown or granulated sugar may be substituted for the coconut sugar, but the monkey bread will no longer be clean-eating friendly. I do not recommend using any liquid sweeteners (i.e. honey, pure maple syrup, or agave) or stevia.

I highly recommend Red Star Yeast! Their yeast works the best out of any yeast I’ve tried, and I absolutely love their “Quick Rise” yeast. Active dry yeast, rapid or quick rise yeast, and bread machine yeast will all work.

I’ve found that Gold Medal whole wheat flour and Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour typically work the best because they rise better when letting the rolls double in size compared to other brands.

White whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or all-purpose flour may be substituted for the whole wheat flour.

I have not found a good gluten-free flour blend or gluten-free substitute that will work in this recipe.

When allowing the dough to rise, I prefer to start preheating the oven to its lowest temperature (typically around 150°F) for about 3-4 minutes. When the inside of the oven feels warm (similar to the temperature you’d feel if you stood underneath a heating vent!), turn off the oven, place the towel-topped pan into the center of the oven, and shut the oven door completely.

{clean eating, low fat, low calorie, vegan option}
Recipe by Amy's Healthy Baking at