This vegan monkey bread is the perfect addition to any breakfast or brunch. The soft and fluffy dough is baked in a skillet rather than a bundt pan. This yields a crispy cinnamon sugar crust on top, pillowy dough in the center, and a gooey caramelized button in every bite. It’s also swimming in delicious buttery flavor using Miyoko’s European-style salted vegan butter!
How to make vegan monkey bread dough
This yeasted dough takes about 10 minutes to make and just an hour to rise before shaping and baking. It’s also incredibly easy to make by using the right ingredients at the right temperatures:
- Yeast – Instant yeast (or rapid rise yeast) makes this dough quick and easy. Not only does it need less time to rise, but it can be mixed directly into dry ingredients. Because of this, the yeast is added to the flour, sugar, and salt before activating.
- Flavor – Much of the flavor of this dough comes from Miyoko’s European-style vegan salted butter. It’s creamy and rich, just like traditional butter. Just 1/4 cup is enough to add the right amount of fat to the dough, creating a soft and pillowy texture.
- Temperature – To activate the yeast, it must be hydrated. This is done so by combining plant-based milk and Miyoko’s butter. The two are heated in the microwave for about 1 minute – just enough to be warm to the touch but not piping hot. The yeast feeds off of this heat, so if it’s too cold it won’t wake up and if it’s too hot, the yeast will die.
- Mixing – The recipe starts by using just one cup of flour along with the rest of the dry ingredients. Once hydrated, it should turn into a very thin and almost pudding-like consistency (which is clearly not what we want). To bring the dough together, flour is mixed in one cup at a time (roughly 3-4 cups total). This gradual mixing allows the yeast to activate, and each cup to fully hydrate the dough before the next is added.
Finalizing – The dough is ready when it no longer appears wet, and turns into a shaggy dough just like the photo below. This is when it’s ready to knead and proof.
How to prep vegan monkey bread dough
The entire process of making the dough should only take a few minutes, as the bulk of this recipe is in waiting for it to rise. In order to get it there, here’s what to do:
- Knead – The dough should appear very shaggy, so kneading will bring it together. This can be done inside the bowl or on a flat surface, as long as the end result is a smooth ball of dough. Work the dough, kneading in any dry pieces that may have collected at the bottom of the bowl. Continue kneading until it starts to form a large and smooth mass. Shape it into a ball and press two fingers into the surface. If it slowly bounces back, the dough is ready to proof.
- Contain – Store the dough within its mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. It’s important to cover the dough, as air can create a skin on the surface. If a skin forms, the dough will struggle to rise.
- Proof – Yeast loves warmth, so proofing in a warm spot yields the best results. To make your own proofing station, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature possible. Once preheated, turn the oven off and place the covered bowl inside. This provides just enough heat to warm the dough without cooking it. After an hour, the dough should double in size.
Shaping monkey bread bites
To shape the dough into the perfect bite-sized pieces, punch down the puffed dough and remove it from the bowl.
Pat it down into a rough rectangular shape and use a large knife to chop it into tiny 1-inch pieces.
As the dough sits out, it will quickly form a skin on the surface. In order to get perfectly rounded bites, it’s important to remove this skin. This is all done within the shaping of each dough bite.
Take a piece and stretch the top surface of the dough. Stretch, pull, and gather everything underneath the dough to form a ball. Now you should have a smooth rounded surface (where the flat and dry surface once was) with a gathering of dough underneath. Pinch the dough at the bottom to finish the dough ball before dunking in butter and sugar.
If you need a demonstration, watch the video at the bottom of this post (just before the recipe card) for the entire process.
Buttery vegan monkey bread
Classic monkey bread has a strong flavor of butter and cinnamon sugar. And since this is a vegan recipe, it’s very important to nail down the butter portion!
Butter is such a crucial ingredient in monkey bread, both for flavor and texture. That’s why it’s important to use the right vegan butter. Unlike dairy butter, vegan butters can vary depending on the ingredients used to make it. Some can taste like the real deal, while others land a bit too oily and bland.
That’s why I use Miyoko’s European-style vegan salted butter. It tastes just like dairy butter, but it’s made with coconut oil and cashew milk. These two main ingredients provide just the right amount of fat and creaminess, and the cashew milk is cultured to mimic classic butter flavor.Just like traditional monkey bread, the dough is doused in melted butter and sugar before baking. Using Miyoko’s salted butter not only ensures the best monkey bread flavor, but the hint of sea salt helps balance out the cinnamon sugar in this recipe.
When to eat skillet monkey bread
This vegan monkey bread is best served warm, but not hot. It’s important to allow the monkey bread to cool for about 20 minutes as the residual heat will continue to cook through the center of the dough.
Once cooled, a drizzle of icing is added on top. Now the monkey bread should be at just the right temperature, where every bite is warm and easy to grab but still remains rich and fluffy.
To make ahead and bake straight away in the morning, shape the dough in the skillet but do not pour over the butter mixture just yet. Cover in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
The next morning, keep the skillet covered but allow the dough to rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. When the oven is ready, pour over the warm butter and sugar mixture and bake as instructed. Note that the monkey bread may need a few extra minutes to bake through.
What to do if you don’t have an electric mixer
An electric mixer is suggested for this recipe, but it is not mandatory. The dough can be mixed by hand using a wooden spoon. Once the dough becomes too thick to mix with the spoon, work the dough with your hands.
I used a similar method for my homemade cinnamon rolls. Check out that recipe for more details on how to mix the dough by hand.
For more vegan recipes, check out my:
- Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Salted Caramel Brownie Vegan No Churn Ice Cream
- Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make this vegan monkey bread. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!