Slow Cooker Monkey Bread from Scratch

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Slow Cooker Monkey Bread Before Frosting

Ooey gooey, soft and buttery, cinnamon sweet Slow Cooker Monkey Bread from scratch is a great make ahead breakfast for the weekends or special holidays!

Why is cinnamon sugar so delicious? When it comes to some of my favorite breakfasts, many have that yummy flavor combo. One of my favorites is this Slow Cooker Monkey Bread made from scratch.

To make it, roll light and fluffy pieces of dough in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Then, the layer the pieces in a slow cooker and bake. After it’s cooked, top it with homemade cream cheese frosting! Yum!

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread is the Best

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting on White Plate

This recipe is great for so many reasons!

First, everything is made from scratch–including the dough! Even though it is more work, it’s totally worth the effort! The flavor will be far superior than if you used refrigerated dough. Although, you could totally do that too if you want!

Second, with this recipe, you do not need to proof your dough! Because it cooks slowly in the slow cooker, it rises as it cooks!

Third, you can prepare this recipe in advance and store it in the fridge. When you are ready to bake, all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge.

Finally, when oven space is limited (especially on the holidays), you can make this in the slow cooker. Plus, you don’t need any special pans, and it won’t heat up the whole house.

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread Equipment

For the best results, I recommend using an oval 6 quart slow cooker. My Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker is over six years old, and it’s still going strong! You definitely want an oval shaped slow cooker though because it will allow the dough to cook evenly. If you use a circular slow cooker, it may not fully cook in the middle.

Whenever I make homemade dough, I like to use my Stand Mixer. It’s just so much easier than doing it by hand. It’s okay if you don’t have one though. You’ll just need to mix everything by hand, and then, knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

Finally, you’ll need an Instant Read Thermometer. I use it to ensure my water is the perfect temperature for proofing the yeast. Additionally, it will also help you know when the Slow Cooker Monkey Bread is fully cooked. Seriously, it is such a small investment, but it will make your life so much easier!

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread Prep Tips

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread Process Shot

Properly Measuring Flour: Spoon and Sweep

To get the proper amount of flour without a scale, use the spoon and sweep method.

To use this method, stir the flour in your container to loosen and fluff it up. (You don’t want to pack your flour in any way). Then, using a spoon, add spoonfuls of flour into your measuring up. Continue to add flour until it is mounded. Using the flat edge of a knife, level off the excess flour mound by running the knife along the top edge of the measuring cup.

Then, you’ll have the perfect amount of flour!

Techniques for Perfect Yeast Dough

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a recipe that says to proof your yeast with warm water. What does that mean?! Well, you never have to guess again.

The perfect water temperature to proof yeast is 110 – 115 degrees.

At this temperature, it is warm enough for the yeast to activate, but it’s not too hot. So, you don’t have to worry about killing your yeast. To get the proper temperature, I will turn on my water faucet and place my thermometer in the middle of the water stream. I keep adjusting the temp until it’s in the 110 – 115 degree range. Once it is, I measure out the amount of water I need.

After you sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, it should look foamy and bubbly after 5 – 10 minutes. If your mixture does not look right, your yeast may be dead. And, you’ll need to start over with new yeast.

While this recipe does not require the dough to rest and double in size. It is better if you allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes after kneading. This will allow the gluten in the flour to relax which will make the dough easier to work with. While the dough is resting, you can melt the butter and prepare the cinnamon sugar mixture. So, it really shouldn’t take much more time.

How Do I Make Even Dough Balls?

You may be wondering why you want even dough balls. Well, it’s because it will allow everything to cook at the same rate. If you have different sized balls, the larger ones may not be done when the smaller ones are overcooked.

So, to get the evenly sized dough balls, use this trick I found from America’s Test Kitchen. First, place prepared dough on a lightly floured counter. Then, press the dough into about an 8-inch square. Next, use a pizza cutter or chef’s knife to cut the dough into 6 even strips. Then, cut 6 even strips in the opposite direction to create 36 pieces. To keep the dough soft, loosely cover the dough with greased plastic. Then, you can roll each piece into a dough ball.

Tips for Cooking the Slow Cooker Monkey Bread

Pull Apart Monkey Bread - Slow Cooker

Sometimes, when cooking with a slow cooker, condensation will form on top of the lid, and fall back down onto your food. For most recipes, this isn’t a big deal. But when baking, you don’t want the excess moisture because it will make the monkey bread soggy. To absorb excess moisture, place a clean kitchen towel underneath the slow cooker lid.

Cook the slow cooker monkey bread on HIGH for 2 hours. Resist the urge to peek on the bread. If your slow cooker tends to run hot, go ahead and check it at the 1 1/2 hour mark. But, mine was perfect at 2 hours.

The monkey bread is done when the dough is set and registers 190 degrees. Additionally, the top of the monkey bread will be pale and slightly tacky to touch.

Want More Cinnamon Sugar Recipes?

If you love cinnamon sugar recipes as much as I do, give these recipes a try too:

Or check out this other slow cooker dessert that only requires 4 ingredients:

  • Cherry Cheesecake Dump Cake

Or you can find all of my slow cooker recipes, here!

Love what you are seeing, and want more? I typically publish a new recipe once or twice per week. If you want to be the first to know what’s new at Clean Fingers Laynie, SUBSCRIBE here, and never miss another recipe!

Slow Cooker Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ooey gooey, soft and buttery, cinnamon sweet Slow Cooker Monkey Bread from scratch is a great make ahead breakfast for the weekends or special holidays!

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Cream Cheese, Entertaining, Holiday, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 480kcal
Author Clean Fingers Laynie

Equipment

  • 6 Qt Slow Cooker
  • Stand Mixer
  • Instant Read Thermometer

Ingredients

For the Bread

  • 1 1/3 cups Warm Water 110 – 115 degrees
  • 2 1/4 tsp Instant or Rapid Rise Yeast 1 Packet
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour*
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Butter Softened, Salted

For the Coating

  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar Packed
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 8 tbsp Butter Melted and Cooled

For the Frosting

  • 2 tbsp Cream Cheese Softened
  • 4 tbsp Butter Softened, Salted
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Margarine Optional

Instructions

Bread Preparation

  • Line a slow cooker with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with cooking spray.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the hook attachment, add the sugar and water. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let stand for 5-10 minutes until the yeast blooms (it should appear dissolved and foamy around the edges).
  • Add the flour, salt, and butter to the bowl of the stand mixer, and mix on low. Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer. Continue to knead the bread on low for 8-10 minutes. After kneading, the dough should no longer stick to the sides of the mixing bowl, and it should feel soft but not sticky. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Coating Preparation

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add butter, and melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Allow butter to cool.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pinch off 2 tablespoon-sized portions of dough and shape them into balls.** Roll each dough ball in the melted butter then in the sugar mixture to evenly coat. Arrange the dough balls in the bottom of the prepared slow cooker. Pour any leftover butter and brown sugar on top of the dough balls.
  • To absorb excess moisture, place a clean kitchen towel underneath the slow cooker lid. Cook monkey bread on HIGH for 2 hours.

  • Using the parchment paper, remove monkey bread to a cutting board. Place a serving plate on top of the monkey bread, and invert the cutting board to set the monkey bread onto the serving plate.

Frosting Preparation

  • Using an hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until lump free. Add in vanilla and salt, and continue mixing until combined. Gradually, add powdered sugar continue mixing until smooth and fluffy. As needed, add 1 tbsp of milk, at a time, to thin the frosting if it gets too thick.
  • Spoon the frosting on top of the warm monkey bread, and serve!

Notes

Estimated Nutrition (per serving):  Calories 480, Fat 19 g, Carbohydrate 73 g, Dietary Fiber g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 315 mg
*Measured correctly with the spoon and sweep method. See post for more detail. 
**For evenly-sized dough balls, see post above for tips.
 
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