Monkey bread

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Monkey bread
Alternative namesPull-apart bread, bubble bread, Christmas morning delights
TypeBread or pastry
Place of originHungary
Main ingredientsbread flour[1]
Food energy
(per serving)
352 kcal (1474 kJ)
Nutritional value
(per serving)
Fat15 g
Carbohydrate51 g

Monkey bread (also known by other names including plucking cake, pull-apart bread, and bubble bread)[2] is a soft, sweet, sticky pastry served in the United States for breakfast or as a treat. It consists of pieces of soft baked dough sprinkled with cinnamon. Often a midmorning/breakfast food. It is often served at fairs and festivals.[3]


Monkey bread having been pulled apart with a fork

The origin of the term "monkey bread" is unknown. Some food historians suggest that it comes from the pastry being a finger food, and that those eating it pick apart the bread with their hands as a monkey might. Others suggest that it comes from the pastry's resemblance to the monkey puzzle tree Araucaria araucana.[2]


What most people know as monkey bread today in the United States is actually the Hungarian dessert arany galuska ("golden dumpling"). Dating back to the 1880s in Hungarian literature, Hungarian immigrants brought this dish with them when they immigrated to America and began introducing it into the country's food landscape when Hungarian and Hungarian Jewish bakeries began selling it in the mid-twentieth century.[4]

In 1972, a cookbook published by Betty Crocker included a recipe for arany galuska, which they referred to as "Hungarian Coffee Cake". As it became more popular in America, arany galuska came to be confused with monkey bread in which the balls of dough are not dipped in cinnamon and sugar but only in butter. "Monkey bread" soon became the more common name for this Hungarian Jewish dessert.[5]

Recipes for the bread first appeared in American women's magazines and community cookbooks in the 1950s. During the 1980s, Nancy Reagan popularized serving monkey bread during Christmas by making it a staple of the Reagan White House Christmas.[6] Mrs. Reagan acquired the recipe from her fellow actress Zasu Pitts. According to food historian Gil Marks, she arranged for monkey bread to be served to President Reagan on the night before his testimony before Congress for the Iran-contra hearings. As legend goes, Ronald Reagan said, “Mommy, I may go to prison, but I’ll always remember this monkey bread.”[6]


The bread is made with pieces of sweet yeast dough (often frozen), which are baked in a cake pan at high heat after first being individually covered in melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Chopped pecans are also commonly added.[7] It is traditionally served hot so that the baked segments can be easily torn away with the fingers and eaten by hand.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Monkey bread recipe". 7 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Olver, Lynne. "The Food Timeline: history notes". The Food Timeline. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
  3. ^ "House of the Rising Bun". Good Eats. Season 10. Episode EA1003. April 7, 2006. Food Network.
  4. ^ Romanow, Katherine (2011-03-30). "Eating Jewish: Aranygaluska, or "Hungarian monkey bread"". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  5. ^ Gil Marks (17 November 2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. HMH. ISBN 978-0-544-18631-6.
  6. ^ a b Atwood, Food for Thought Heather (2016-03-08). "Remembering Nancy Reagan and her monkey bread". Salem News. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  7. ^ Brown, Alton (2006). "Overnight Monkey Bread". "Good Eats" Recipes. Food Network. Archived from the original on September 20, 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  8. ^ Boodro, Michael (2003). "Just Say Dough". "FOOD" Magazine. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2016-09-11.