Make these little monkey bread muffins in just minutes with cinnamon roll dough, butter, and cinnamon sugar! Top them with a vanilla glaze for a delicious treat that you can serve at a party or just enjoy for a sweet breakfast treat!
If you’ve ever had monkey bread, these monkey bread muffins are like a little muffin version of those. If you’ve never had monkey bread, you should totally try my pineapple monkey bread (and also these muffins).
Monkey bread typically uses biscuit dough cut up into small pieces. The biscuit pieces are then baked together and covered in some sort of topping – often melted butter and cinnamon sugar but sometimes other things.
Once everything is baked together, those pieces of biscuit dough become easy to pull apart and get little individual pieces of the monkey bread. It’s one of our family’s favorites and this muffin version is even easier to make and perfect for serving at a party or for a crowd!
The only difference is that instead of baking in a large bundt pan or dish, you’ll bake them in muffin tins instead giving you smaller portions that make a perfect breakfast or brunch food! (Save that bundt cake pan to make this chocolate chip bundt cake – it’s full of chocolate chips).
Oh and these use cut up cinnamon roll pieces instead of biscuit dough to add even more cinnamon sugar flavor!
The pieces bake together into these cute little muffins and then get topped with a vanilla glaze. They’re easy to make and so tasty!
Make them for your next baby shower, bridal shower, or even just breakfast at home! They’re a great brunch or breakfast food when you’re looking for something a bit sweet!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Individual servings – these are perfect for a party because each one is baked together individually, so you can just give people one (or two) muffins instead of everyone having to grab pieces out of the same big monkey bread.
- Simple ingredients – everything you need you can get our of your pantry, your fridge, or at any local grocery store!
- Busy morning recipe – these are so easy to make that they’re a great thing to quickly make, throw in the oven, and have on the table in just minutes! Perfect for those busy mornings when you don’t have time to make something that takes a bit longer like these egg breakfast muffins.
- Cinnamon rolls – make sure to get the 8 count cinnamon rolls that have the little cinnamon flakes on them, the ones that aren’t actually cinnamon rolls at all (meaning they don’t unroll) but are great for recipes like this! You’ll need two eight count packs.
- Brown sugar – light brown sugar is best for these. I also recommend brown sugar over granulated sugar (aka white sugar) to get that nice cinnamon roll flavor.
- Butter – I recommend unsalted butter for the glaze and high-quality butter is always best!
- Milk – you’ll want to use whole milk (or cream if you don’t have milk) for the icing to keep it nice and thick. Using something with less fat content may make the icing more watery than you really want.
- Cream cheese – any cream cheese works, just make sure to take it out of the fridge so that it can soft to room temperature! Also, you’ll only need about two ounces of the cream cheese for this. Use the rest in this cream cheese fruit dip to serve with fresh fruit alongside the muffins!
How to make monkey bread muffins
If you’ve made monkey bread in the past, the process for making these muffins is pretty similar. If you haven’t, the basic idea is that you’re going to cut the cinnamon rolls, toss in cinnamon sugar, top with a melted butter glaze, and bake!
Then you’ll finish them off with a little icing for good measure! It’s a little more complicated than that but not much.
1 – Make the monkey bread
Prepare the oven by placing a sheet of foil or a large baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch drippings, then preheat it to 375°F. Even if you don’t think you’ll have drippings, I’d do it anyway. The glaze almost always oozes over the edge of the muffin cups.
Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
First, add the brown sugar and cinnamon to a large ziplock bag, close, and shake it up to combine well.
Then separate the cinnamon rolls out and cut each one into 6 equal pieces so you have little dough balls, well maybe not balls, but little cinnamon roll dough pieces.
Now, add them to the ziplock bag and shake gently to coat all the pieces with the cinnamon sugar mixture. No need to add any liquid or anything – when you cut the cinnamon rolls into smaller pieces, the outer edges get pretty sticky!
Place eight pieces of coated dough into each muffin cup in a regular muffin tin and press them gently into the cups.
2 – Make the Caramel Glaze
Combine butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Don’t let it boil for too long, immediately move onto the next step once it starts to boil.
It’s kind of like a homemade caramel sauce and if you let it boil too long, it’ll seize up and you’ll have to start over.
Pour the melted butter mixture over the top of the muffins trying to get an even layer of the butter mixture over top of them.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and crisp. It’s likely they will bubble over the edges so make sure you’ve put something under it to catch the overflow before you start baking.
Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5-8 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and gently lift the muffins out of the pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
3 – Make the Monkey Bread Icing
If you want to ice them, you can use the icing that came with the cinnamon rolls or you can make your own using the instructions below.
Beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth, then add the vanilla and mix again. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until it is all smooth and creamy. Add enough milk to get a good consistency to drizzle the icing.
Drizzle the icing over the tops of the muffins slowly, trying to get the icing over most of the muffin without adding so much that they’re just really messy.
Let the icing dry for a few minutes then serve warm muffins! They’re also good at room temperature and even cold, similar to other cinnamon rolls, but they’re best warm.
And try your best not to each the whole pan yourself – they’re a fun treat but you’re probably going to want to share these ones!
Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds or just eat at room temperature.
Make sure the muffins have cooled sufficiently before adding the icing on top. If the muffins are too warm, the icing will just slide right off.
Be gentle when taking the muffins out of the muffin tins to cool. They sometimes want to fall apart if you’re not gentle.
Make these an even cuter dessert by serving in colorful cupcake liners – also a great way to keep them together if they do seem like they might fall apart!
Monkey bread is meant to be picked apart in little pieces, similar to how a monkey would pick apart their food with their fingers.
Monkey bread is still delicious the next day! Just store in an airtight container overnight and warm up again in the microwave or oven the next day. It may not be quite as gooey as the first day, but it still tastes delicious.
More Easy Muffin Recipes
If you liked these monkey bread muffins, you have to try out these other muffin recipes too!
- Blueberry muffins with yogurt – these delicious muffins are stuffed full of fresh blueberries and kept moist with a little creamy yogurt!
- Lemon blueberry muffins with streusel topping – these muffins are bursting with bright blueberry and lemon flavor, made even better with a sweet streusel layer on top!
- Cranberry orange muffins – my top rated cranberry orange bread turned into muffins then finished with a vanilla glaze!
- Nutella muffins – chocolate muffins stuffed with a dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread inside!
- Chocolate chip banana muffins – a recipe we’ve been making for 20+ years – these banana muffins are a classic!
Monkey Bread Muffins
- 2 cans refrigerated cinnamon rolls (8 count size)
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 TBS milk
- Prepare the oven by placing a sheet of foil or a large baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch drippings, then preheat it to 375°F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to a large ziplock bag, close, and shake to combine well.2/3 cup light brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Separate the cinnamon rolls out and cut each one into 6 equal pieces, add pieces to the ziplock bag. Shake gently to coat all pieces with the cinnamon sugar mixture.2 cans refrigerated cinnamon rolls
- Place 8 pieces of coated dough into each muffin cup and press gently into cups.
- Combine butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil.1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- Pour melted butter mixture over each muffin then bake for 14-16 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp. It's likely they will bubble over the edges so make sure you've put something under it to catch the overflow.
- Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5-8 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and gently lift the muffins out of the pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add the vanilla and mix again.2 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until it is all smooth and creamy.1 cup powdered sugar
- Add just enough milk to get a good consistency to drizzle the icing.1-2 TBS milk
- Drizzle the icing over the muffins and serve!