Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread! This pull-apart loaf is layered with fresh apples and drizzled with an apple cider caramel. The dough can be made ahead.

  • Prep time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 to 15 servings


For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups (237 mL) whole milk, warmed (not hot)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar, divided
  • 4 cups (560 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the apples:

  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sweet-tart apple, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups; I used honeycrisp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch kosher salt

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (118 mL) apple cider, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

To assemble:

  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Special equipment:


1 Make the dough: Whisk the warmed milk with the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a measuring cup. Set it to the side to become foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the remaining sugar, flour, salt, 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Add the yeast-milk mixture. Mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, then turn the mixer up to medium-low and knead for 10 minutes (set a timer!). When done, the dough should form a ball and spring back when you poke it.

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

2 Let the dough rise for one hour, or overnight: Gather the dough into a ball with your hands and place into a greased bowl. Cover well with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise on the counter for 1 hour, until doubled in size, or place in the fridge to rise overnight. (The dough may not quite double in size if you're refrigerating overnight, but it should look risen and puffed.)

3 Make the apples while the dough rises (or before assembling, if you've chilled the dough overnight): Melt the butter for the apples in a medium skillet. Add the diced apples, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes until the apples are just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. (The apples can be made up to a day ahead and kept refrigerated.)

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

4 Make the caramel sauce: In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup of the apple cider, and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-low, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Continue to boil (without stirring!) until the sugar turns a deep golden caramel color, 320F to 330F. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, followed by the salt, cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons of cider. Whisk until smooth. (Caramel sauce can be cooled and refrigerated for several days; warm briefly in the microwave or on the stovetop, until it's a "drizzle" consistency, before assembling.)

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

5 Assemble the monkey bread: Grease a bundt pan well and set aside. Melt the butter needed for assembly. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

Tear off walnut- or golf ball-sized pieces of dough and roll into balls between your hands, They don’t have to be uniform! Dip each dough ball into the melted butter, roll in cinnamon sugar, and place in the bottom of the prepared bundt until there is a good layer on the bottom of the pan (using up about half the dough).

Spoon all of the apples over the dough, followed by a third of the caramel sauce. Continue rolling the remaining dough and layering in the pan. Drizzle another third of the caramel sauce over the top. (Save the rest of the caramel sauce for serving).

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

6 Let the monkey bread rise for 30 to 60 minutes: Cover the monkey bread with plastic wrap. Room temperature dough will take about 30 minutes to rise; dough that's cold from the fridge will take 30 to 60 minutes. Let the monkey bread rise until the top looks slightly puffed and pillowy.

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

7 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

8 Bake the monkey bread: Uncover the bundt pan and transfer to a sheet pan (to catch butter drips!). Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the top should have risen slightly over the top of the pan and the bread should be a deep golden brown.

9 Cool and serve! Cool the monkey bread in the bundt pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Place a serving plate over the pan, and using oven mitts, flip the pan over to unmold the monkey bread onto the plate.

Drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce and serve. Be careful, the bread will still be hot!

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

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  • Claire McGehee

    Do you think this would work in another kind of baking pan or casserole dish?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Claire! Managing editor of Simply Recipes, here! I think this would be fine baked in a bread loaf pan or a cake pan. I think a more shallow casserole dish would work, but the monkey bread might not hold together as well when you turn it out. Baking times might also be a little different, so I’d start checking after 20 minutes. Let us know how it turns out!

      • Claire

        Thank you! I made it for Christmas breakfast in an 8×8 glass baking dish. Worked great! 25 minutes did the trick.

  • bridget Peterson

    I’m not sure what “shaggy dough” looks like for someone that never makes bread. Also, is the medium high speed a kneeding speed. You keep it on med/high for 10 minutes?
    “Mix on medium speed until a shaggy dough forms, then turn the mixer up to medium-high and knead for 10 minutes (set a timer!).”

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Bridget! “Shaggy dough” is when there’s no more loose flour at the bottom of the bowl and it’s mostly been mixed into the rest of the ingredients, but the dough still looks clumpy, floury, and “shaggy.” It looks kind of like the fur on a big shaggy dog! And yes, med/high speed when kneading with a stand mixer. If you’re kneading by hand, it might take you a little longer. Hope you like the recipe!

    • Emma Christensen

      Also, if you do a Google image search for “shaggy dough” you’ll get some pretty good images that will show you what to expect!

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi (again!) — I kept thinking about your question about the kneading speed and talked it over with Cindy, the recipe’s author. After discussing, we think that “medium-low” is probably a better kneading speed for most mixers. You can be a bit more aggressive with this dough, but the idea is really just to keep it moving and kneading at a good clip. I’ve updated the recipe. Thank you!

  • Dana

    Does the recipe call for Apple Cider Vinegar?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Dana! No, you just need apple cider (unfiltered apple juice) for this recipe. Enjoy!

  • Chad

    I like the over night Idea, maybe I just leave it in the oven with the light on and use my sour dough starter.

    • Emma Christensen

      Chad, I love the idea of making this with sourdough starter! Let us know how it works out!