This is chai spice monkey bread is decadent and almost too easy to make. Using frozen dinner rolls, this is a great recipe for kids of all ages to get their hands dirty in the kitchen.
Now, I don't know about you, but I’ve been eating monkey bread with abandon for years. Often it calls for refrigerated biscuit dough, but like 4 cans of it. It’s also hard to find a kosher version, and really hard to find non-dairy. So I started thinking (as happens most times I want to create something simple that works for us) and realized that frozen dinner roll dough should work in almost the same way.
So I got to work testing it, but found I wanted something a little bit more special than just sugar flavor without any more work...and then it hit me. Chai spice! This spice brings a nice depth of flavor to treat that can sometimes be overly sweet...we didn’t lose the gooeyness, just stepped up the flavor profile a bit...and it’s been a hit!
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Can monkey bread be made ahead of time?
This is not one of those recipes that I suggest making ahead of time. It doesn’t take that long to put together, and it best served within an hour or two of coming out of the oven. You want to take full advantage of the gooey warm pieces of bread that you can easily pull apart from the whole.
Here are a few steps you can do ahead of time so that assembly goes faster:
- Mix the brown sugar, salt and chai spice together and store in a ziploc bag
- Let the frozen dough rise in the fridge overnight so that you are ready to put it all together in the morning you want to eat it.
What can I use to make this monkey bread other than frozen dinner rolls?
There are many recipes out there that call for biscuit dough and that will certainly work in this recipe, too. You'll need at least three cans of it.
You can really use any kind of bread like dough that you want though. Canned cinnamon roll dough would be over the top, homemade bread dough would definitely work as well.
Because I like to keep things simple, frozen dinner rolls work best for me and I think they also balance out the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients the best too.
Do I really need a bundt pan to make monkey bread?
Monkey bread is traditionally made in a bundt pan, but it doesn’t have to be. The benefit of the bundt pan, however is both presentation and the ability for it to really cook evenly throughout. I must say that the caramelized sides of the finished product in that beautiful domed shape really make this special.
Now, I’ve not tried to make this chai spice monkey bread (or any monkey bread for that matter) in any other type of pan, but I’ve seen it done in a large round pan, and even in a 9x13 casserole dish before. A tube pan could also work well, since it still provides that extra space in the middle for more caramelization!You’ll need to adapt the cook time when you use these other types of pan so that you don’t overcook the monkey bread, but it’s doable.
How do I make chai spice monkey bread?
First you’ll start by following the directions on the package to defrost the frozen dinner rolls. I use Rhode’s brand dinner rolls and they thaw in about 3 hours (in my warmish house). Spread them on a parchment lined baking sheet and give them room to rise. Once they have warmed up and start to rise slightly, I cut them each in half. You’ll want lots of surface area for the good stuff!
You’ll want to spray your bundt pan LIBERALLY with nonstick baking spray. When the sugar caramelizes in the oven, you could get a lot of stickage, making it tough to get out of the pan. Spray it well for best results. At the same time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Then the fun part. You’ll want to mix the brown sugar, chai spice and salt together. I like to do this right on a cookie sheet so I can keep the mess contained.
Melt the stick of butter in a small bowl (I use a cereal bowl) and place it on the baking sheet as well.
Now, roll each of the balls of dough in the butter then in the brown sugar spice mixture and toss into the pan. Keep going dipping in butter and rolling in sugar/spice mixture until the pan is about ¾ full (no more or you’ll be cleaning your oven for hours, trust me).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto your serving platter and enjoy. Be careful, those middle pieces stay hot for a while!
Tips and Tricks:
- If you can’t find these frozen dinner rolls at your grocery store, feel free to substitute any canned biscuit dough you like and keep on hand. You could also substitute refrigerated cinnamon roll dough for a real punch of flavor in this monkey bread.
- DO NOT overfill the pan. I made this mistake in testing this recipe and let me tell you that it wasn’t worth the hour I then spent cleaning my oven with easy-off (this is not a not sponsored plug, but trust me, it works like a charm!)
- Want to make your own chai spice blend? I make my own (3 parts cinnamon, 1 part ginger, 1 part cardamom, ½ part nutmeg, ½ part cloves, ¼ part allspice, ⅛ part fine ground black pepper) Check out this recipe where I give you the exact directions.
Looking for other easy brunch recipes? Check these out!
Simple Chai Spice Monkey Bread
- 1 package frozen dinner rolls you will use about ¾ of the package, 20-25 balls
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chai spice blend
- 1 teaspoon salt
- following directions on package, defrost frozen dinner rolls
- when dinner rolls are defrosted, cut each one in half
- preheat oven to 350 degrees and liberally spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray
- melt a stick of butter in a bowl
- mix together the brown sugar, chai spice and salt
- dip each dinner roll ball into the butter then roll in brown sugar mix, then place in bundt pan
- fill pan about ¾ full
- bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the top is well browned
- take out of oven, let cool about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate and enjoy!
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