Gluten Free Monkey Bread with Brown Sugar and Pecans

Way back in the ancient days of eating gluten, life was different. My roommate at the time (fellow newbie teacher) baked bread as a stress reliever. I could determine the stress load by the number of loaves on the counter when I got home. Our tiny apartment always smelled good. We loved baking and cooking. We had to. We were substitute teachers and that budget allowed for many nights of lentils and fresh bread for dinner.

One year I received a “monkey bread” ceramic pot for a gift. I never knew such a thing existed and to be honest, I don’t recall monkey bread (or kuchen or pull-apart bread) from my youth at all. So this thing just *had* to be experimented with. Which it was.

And then I was diagnosed with Celiac. It has sat on the top of my cupboards in two states now and moved over 2,500 miles with us. This summer, I’ve made it my duty to investigate every nook and cranny of our no-storage-space kitchen and rid us of pots, pans, etc that we don’t use. When I saw this cute little dish today, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t throw it out. Not because of the gift-sentimental value (that relationship is long since over) but because of the mere-idea of baking bread with friends.

What the heck. Time to experiment with it again. If you don’t have a little monkey bread pot calling your name, you can easily use any pan or bundt cake pan (if the “ring” shape of Monkey Bread is important to you.)

Do let me know how this experiment turns out for you! And do adjust the flavors of the items in which you roll your bread rolls. Consider: rosemary and thyme, sea salt, garlic and tarragon, cinnamon sugar, etc. The list is endless.

Most Monkey Bread recipes call for refrigerated biscuits or dough. Obviously, that was not a choice. So while this looks daunting, it’s really not. Don’t be scared – Jump in and try it!

Monkey Bread Recipe
Dough Ingredients
1 1/4 cup low fat milk, heated slightly (as you would for a baby)
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup GF Flour Mix (includes xanthan gum, if your mix does not, add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum to recipe)
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (see above note about GF Flour mix)
1 teaspoon gelatin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dough Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup of the milk. Add 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 Tablespoon yeast. Set aside in a warm place to proof.
  2. Mix together your other dry ingredients with a whisk in a small bowl (GF flour mix, sorghum, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, gelatin, and salt)
  3. Heat the remaining milk a little higher and add the 4 Tablespoons of butter to melt it. Pour the butter/milk mixture into your mixing bowl.
  4. Mix on low speed the milk/butter with your proofed yeast/milk/sugar. Add one egg. Blend together well on low.
  5. Stop the mixer. Add your dry ingredients. Restart the mixer on low. The dough will come together a bit and is a bit heavy.
  6. Mix on medium-high for 5 minutes.
  7. While the bread is mixing, butter and sugar the inside of your chosen pan.
  8. Once done mixing, scrap the dough together and divide into small balls (about 1/2 the size of a golf ball).
  9. You’re now ready for rolling and topping your Monkey Bread.

Topping Ingredients
1/2 cup crushed toasted pecan pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoon butter, melted

Topping Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the pecan pieces, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix together well.
  2. In another small bowl, melt the butter.
  3. Working with each of the small dough balls you made, roll each first into the butter bowl and then into the pecan/brown sugar bowl.
  4. Place each dough ball into the pan. Allow yourself to push the pieces together a bit but not too much (GF bread is dense enough without our help! LOL).
  5. Continue rolling the balls until you have finished either (1) filling your pan or (2) using all the dough balls. (If you have extra dough balls that don’t fit into your pan, coat them as you did the others and fill another small baking dish.)

Rest, Rise, Bake, and EAT!

  1. Cover your Monkey Bread loosely with plastic wrap (coated with butter). Set aside in a warm place and allow to rise for 40 minutes.
  2. 10 minutes before the rising time ends, preheat your oven to 375F.
  3. Bake your Monkey Bread for 25-30 minutes (depending on the depth of your pan/bread).
  4. When you remove the bread, allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then dump out onto a serving dish. If the bread is too “doughy” for you, put it into a large baking dish and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.


PLEASE NOTE: These treats need to be enjoyed warm and can be reheated. Some people also like to add a powder sugar-glaze to the top of them before serving.


  1. Wow!

  2. =)
    Yeah. Made my night too.
    What was better?
    Having my husband tell me that he was going to pick up treats from a local bakery for his colleagues because he was craving more Monkey Bread on his way to work – but when he got to the bakery, NOTHING looked as good as the Monkey Bars. LOL! He bought nothing there and called me to see if I would make some more this weekend.
    Silly guy.
    I’ll do anything for him! Monkey Bread? You betcha =)

  3. yum, this is so going on my list of things to make.

  4. This looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe – I printed out a copy for my recipe box : )

    Thanks! I love the picture too. Although.. the sad side effect here is that I want to eat MORE of them than I should! LOL – Kate

  5. YUM-O!!! WOW! Monkey bread gluten-free… pigs must be flying these days! I can’t wait to try this!

    LOL -This is such a cute comment! It cracks me up because about 2 years ago my husband and I found this small bronze statue of a pig with wings. It now sits along side our spices on the kitchen counter as a reminder that all things are possible… especially if accompanied by a bit of humor! LOL -Kate

  6. Just made these this morning. They are delicious! Thanks for the fabulous recipe. I ended up putting mine in a 9×9 pan, since I don’t have a monkey bread type of pan or a bundt cake pan. It worked well. I also increased the topping part by 50% since I always love extra sticky pecan sauce. I did have a hard time “rolling” my dough into balls. When it was done mixing it was very sticky, I couldn’t even handle it. I put it in the fridge for 5-10 min and that helped some. Still it was a very sticky dough and I didn’t roll so much as form the balls quickly. Great recipe though!

    Thanks again


    Oh good! I’m glad you liked it. And the cooling before rolling into balls is a good tip. Hmm.. I wonder what made it stickier. Or maybe I’m just so used to GF stickiness, I don’t remember the pre-sticky hands days. LOL. Great tips, Kate! Thank you for sharing them and again, I’m very happy you enjoyed them! =) -Kate

  7. ok,
    i am new to baking and just tried your recipe and failed TWICE!!!
    what am i doing wrong???
    i tried using bob’s redmill baking mix first, and it never rose.
    so then i worried that there was already baking powder in it, so i made your brown rice flour mix and tried that and got the same result!
    i don’t know what i did.
    maybe some more detail would help me?
    what type/brand of yeast? maybe i bought the wrong kind? can that happen?
    i know you like pamela’s mixes, is that what you used?
    i’m totally at a loss and really sad 😦
    please help me make the monkey!!!!


    Hello Charlesanne!
    I’m so bummed that the recipe didn’t work out! I’m no expert about baking, especially GF baking, just a Public Explorer. LOL. However, I can share a few things that might help. Maybe these will help:
    1. GF things don’t always noticeably “rise” and sometimes the rest period is just that – slight rise, mostly rest
    2. The 5 minutes of beating after mixing is super critical to the forming of the faux “gluten”.. LOL.. in other words, that is what beats the gelatin etc together to help the bread stick together better.
    3. The proofing of the yeast is good – but some bakers don’t think it’s necessary.

    I use Red Star yeast – just their regular rapid rise yeast…nothing special.

    I’ve never tried using Pamela’s for anything other than pancakes or muffins… so I’m not much help there.

    Did your bread sink or not rise as much as you anticipated? How tightly/loosely are you making the small balls? (I gently formed mine like I would for cookies.)

    There is one other thing that I have done to help my breads rise. I have a rather chilly kitchen, so I have a plant light/small desk light that I shine into a corner to warm it up. Then I put a towel down on the counter and set the bread pan on that so I can keep the bottom warm. I leave the small lamp shining throughout the entire rising time and frequently visit to turn the pan a bit of a rotation to avoid having one side start cooking in the heat of the lamp. (I hope this makes sense.)

    We’ll figure this out, no worries. =)

    UPDATE: I think this has been resolved. Some dead yeast killed the Monkey Bread. =( Hopefully the next attempts will have her swinging in the vines with us! LOL. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!) -Kate 10/1/07

  8. Here’s a bit of an email Charlesanne just sent to me:

    I made it again last night, using red star yeast and a paddle instead of the whisk and hook.
    It turned out great!
    My husband made himself sick, LITERALLY, eating it last night.
    He took some to work to heat up with his lunch and people were trying to steal it from him!
    Live yeast makes all the difference! (duh charlesanne!!)

    =) HOORAY!

  9. I tried the recipe this morning and they did turn out pretty good. I had some issues with not seeming to have enough flour in there to make the dough a dough and not just a batter….added a tiny bit more of the flour mix at a time til it seemed about right- mixed/kneaded it for 5 minutes in the stand mixer and everything else went smooth as clockwork!

    I would maybe use 4 tablespoons of butter instead of three and then pour what is left of melted butter over the rolls in their pan.

    Still no complaints here and my husband at three of them right off the bat 🙂

    Thanks for this option 🙂

    Here is another thought. Instead of the sweet monkey bread mixture (brown sugar,etc)- use 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Increase the butter to one stick, dip the balls in the melted butter and then into the parmesan, stacking the balls around the pan. Pour leftover butter over top and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

  10. julieinmaine says:

    just made them! yum!

    • Oh! Good! I’m glad you enjoyed this. I love sweet Monkey Bread – or even garlic parmesan Monkey Bread with lasagne! MMMMM! Carbs! LOL 🙂 – Kate

  11. this is amazing, I had only had the real thing once before i knew i had allergies. I was so glad to find this. I made a batch last night and is so delicious. mine also tastes good cold. nomnom

  12. I would love to try this recipe for GF Monkey Bread but I can’t seem to find Tapioca Starch only Flour in the stores. Are these interchangeable or should I order the starch from an on-line source.

    Thanks for your help.

  13. Rosa Menchen says:

    Wow! I cannot wait to make this for my family. I have a 17 yr old son who is gluten free, and the only time I make wheat stuff is when I am almost out of Brucie safe stuff, to save the stuff gf just for him, but have goodies for the rest of the family too. Otherwise, I cook gluten free for all. The one thing that I have not mastered, was the monkey bread. Bruie has been wanting some ever since a neighbor made some for his little brother. I am making this today for him.
    I have book marked this page to come back for more!
    Thank you so much. I have been taking classes to become a certified teacher, and have been so busy that I have not had much time to experiment, so I am greatful for this blog.

  14. Growing up my mom made this for Christmas morning breakfast (well, the gluten filled version) and i was wanting to do the same for mine but was wondering about making it the way she did. She always bought frozen yeast roll dough at the store and then let them rise over night and the was able to just throw them in the oven in the morning instead of having to spend lots of time in the kitchen. Is there any way this would work with this recipe?

  15. Heather King says:

    I was wondering if I can make this the night before and bake it in the morning?

  16. Can you use rice milk as an alternative to low fat milk??

  17. I’m allergic to eggs. Would an egg substitute like egg replacer or flax eggs work here?


  1. […] Gluten-free monkey bread Tagged as: cooking, eating, farmers' market, fennel, food, fresh, fresh food, health, organic, produce, recipes, turnips, vegetables […]

  2. […] 4. Original recipe posted by Katie Chan over @ Gluten Free Gobsmacked […]

  3. […] 5. Original recipe posted by Katie Chan over @ Gluten Free Gobsmacked […]

  4. […] of “pins” (as they are called) for pull-apart breads.  Exactly like a Monkey Bread (I have an early (2007) gluten free recipe for a monkey bread here).  The difference is mainly that pull-apart breads seem to be savory rather than sweet (although I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: