“Light” Monkey Bread

My family is obsessed with monkey bread.

Forget birthday cakes, my brothers ask for these yummy warm doughy globs dripping in cinnamon sugar. Every year.

Same with Christmas morning breakfast… Father’s Day… Valentine’s Day….

I’m not kidding, in high school my younger brother wrote a paper on monkey bread.

Needless to say, when I told them I was trying a not only ‘new’ monkey bread recipe, but a ‘lighter’ monkey bread recipe… there was an uproar in my house. How could you perfect the perfected??

Well it happened.

This recipe is awesome and I swear its even better than our original recipe. I made the dough from scratch (we usually just use frozen store bought bread- defrosted, saves so much time but can’t beat fresh). Also, this is a great recipe to start incorporating whole grains into your baked goods. I did a combination of both all-purpose flour and whole wheat white flour. This helped introduce whole grains into the dough without sacrificing the delicate texture or sweet flavor of an all-white dough.

If you can’t find whole wheat white flour in your local grocery store, whole wheat will also work great (the original recipe calls for whole wheat). I like to use whole wheat white with this recipe because it gives the dough a sweeter and lighter texture than original whole wheat would. If you’re a little skeptical of using whole wheat flour in baked goods its usually because it makes baked goods tougher and gives their flavor a more nutty taste – not usually ideal for fluffy cakes and sweet doughs.

If you’re looking for some more information on the differences between whole wheat and whole wheat white flour, check out this blog post I found from Food Blogga (click here).

Also, by rolling the dough in a combination of milk and butter rather than just butter, it slashes the calories and fat in traditional monkey bread by more than half. These taste like they were smothered in yummy butter…. only they weren’t!


“Lighter” Monkey Bread

Adapted from Cooking Light


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup very warm fat-free milk (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup very warm orange juice (120° to 130°)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups. Combine flours, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached; mix until combined.
  2. With mixer on, slowly add 1 cup milk, juice, honey, and 2 tablespoons butter; mix dough at medium speed 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
  3. Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Combine 3 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.
  4. Punch dough down; divide into 8 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll into an 8-inch rope. These don’t have to be pretty. Don’t worry if your ropes are not perfectly symmetrical. 
  5. Cut each dough rope into 8 equal pieces, shaping each piece into a 1-inch ball. Dip each ball in milk mixture, turning to coat, and roll in sugar mixture. 
  6. Layer balls in a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining 7 dough ropes. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°.
  8. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert onto plate. 
  9. Combine powdered sugar, remaining milk, and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over bread. Serve immediately.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Yields 16 servings (serving size: 4 pieces and 1 teaspoon sauce)

Nutrition per serving; Calories: 234, Fat: 3.4 grams


  1. Oh my goodness, this looks SO good! I have a serious weakness for monkey bread, so thanks for sharing this healthier recipe! I loove Cooking Light, they have the best recipes.

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks Amy! Me too! I love Cooking Light, I make most of my dinner’s out of their magazine!

  2. Oh I LOVE this! I saved this from my Cooking Light magazine and still have yet to make it…you’ve inspired me to make it ASAP!! Gorgeous photos!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks Kelly! You totally should! It is a little time consuming….but the fresh dough is soo worth it, let me know how it goes!

  3. Yummy! My family is a huge fan of monkey bread to although come to think about it we haven’t had some for a while. We never top it with glaze though. I love the addition! Cannot wait to try out this recipe.

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Let me know how you like it! The way we usually make it at home doesn’t include the glaze too, but this version was a sweet update!

  4. I have never had monkey bread, but it looks delicious. And lighter is always better :)

    • Whipped Baking says:

      You need to try some! Even if you don’t make your own go find a friend who will :) This stuff is addicting!

  5. I have never seen a moister or lighter monkey bread before! Looks delicious and I am definitely craving it :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. I’ve loving this version -it looks incredible!