Go ahead, monkey around


You probably know monkey bread as the ooey-gooey sweet pull-apart bread. Much as I love a sticky brunch treat, monkey bread can become so much more when you swing in with some savory seasonings. Crunchy, spicy, funky spice blends—I’m talking dukkah, za’atar, hawaij, furikake, Old Bay, and so many more—pair delightfully with buttery monkey bread dough. While you could follow a classic recipe for monkey bread (yeast, kneading, proofing dough for hours), canned biscuit dough works like a dream. Starting with ready-made dough takes away the guesswork of monkey bread. In fact, a perfect way to make multi-seasoned savory monkey bread is to bring a few friends into the kitchen and set up a little monkey bread assembly line–just divvy up the simple tasks and you’ll be prepped in no time.

First, you’ll want to plan your seasonings. You can go simple, with a few fresh or dried herbs, or a little more exciting, like cumin, chili powder, and sweet paprika. Make a bagel version with poppy seeds, salt, sesame seeds, and dried chopped onion. Better yet, go haywire: round up a bunch of your favorite spice blends and make one massively seasoned monkey bread. Here are just a few ideas: sumac, za'atar, dukkah, hawaij. vadouvan, nutritional yeast, ras el hanout, curry powder, furikake, Tajín, Old Bay.

Grease a bundt pan with cooking spray or butter and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Melt ¼ cup butter and stir in ½ teaspoon salt and, if you'd like, ½ teaspoon garlic powder.

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Credit: Photo by rebecca Firkser

Unwrap a large tube of jumbo biscuits and cut each one in half. Dunk each biscuit ball in the butter mixture, then dredge in your desired seasoning. Arrange the biscuit balls in the prepared pan, alternating the dunked seasonings.

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Bake the monkey bread for 35-45 minutes, or until the biscuits are fully cooked (if the top is getting very dark, but the inside is still raw, cover the pan with a bit of foil).

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When the bread is done, let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the monkey bread onto a serving platter. If you’ve found that the dough balls have puffed up really high, pull a few off (a snack for the chef) to ensure that the bread lays on a flat surface.