The Fridge Staple Ree Drummond Uses For Easy Monkey Bread

Celebrity chef Ree Drummond is an expert at cooking for a crowd. The host of Food Network's "The Pioneer Woman" often cooks for her family, friends, and ranch hands employed on her Oklahoma ranch, using her renowned Southern recipes. One crowd-pleasing dish she recommends is monkey bread: flavored balls of biscuit dough baked in a Bundt pan, then pulled apart to eat.

If you don't have the time to make dough from scratch, Drummond knows where you're coming from. The chef suggests grabbing a few cans of biscuits from the grocery store, instead. This shortcut may have been born out of her aversion to cooking bread at all costs, and if you feel similarly, you need not suffer for some tasty monkey bread. All you'll need to do is pop open the can and separate the biscuits — no mixing, kneading, or proofing dough required.

Although Drummond's monkey bread recipe can work with flaky canned biscuits, she notes that she prefers a non-flaky kind. Biscuits meant to separate into layers may be a little more fragile than their non-flaky counterparts, which could make your monkey bread recipe a bit harder to handle. Each individual biscuit gets sliced into smaller pieces once separated, and Drummond suggests quartering them for perfectly-sized bread bites. Once coated in seasonings, the whole thing is baked into one big pull-apart treat.

Customize monkey bread with different flavors

Ree Drummond's sweet, sugary monkey bread involves tossing the biscuit dough in cinnamon, sugar, and butter before baking. For a chocolatey option, some cocoa powder can be added to the seasoning mix, as well. The dish can be finished with a drizzle of icing, caramel sauce (Drummond's personal choice), or hot fudge as a garnish on top.

The bready base of this recipe is pretty versatile and can be used with a wider range of flavors, too. Drummond has also shared a hearty breakfast variety that combines scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, seasonings, and herbs with the cut-up biscuit dough. If you're looking for a savory snack or appetizer, make this cheddar-herb monkey bread with the Pioneer Woman's biscuit shortcut. Seasoned with herbs like thyme and parsley, along with shredded cheese, this shareable appetizer or snack couldn't be more easy to make or fun to eat.

If you find that you like the results of using store-bought biscuit dough, stock up on your favorite brand and keep it frozen for up to two months, for all your future monkey bread needs. Just be sure not to make a mistake that can ruin biscuit dough: defrosting it too quickly. It should instead be thawed overnight in the fridge to soften up slowly and gently.

Other desserts made with biscuits

Beyond monkey bread, you can use readymade biscuit dough in a more simple way, too — just bake the biscuits as-is and dress them with delicious toppings. To sweeten things up, Ree Drummond suggests serving biscuits topped with a honey syrup, made with butter, honey, cinnamon. You can it drizzle on top of the biscuits or use it as a dipping sauce.

The chef has also sung the praises of another biscuit-based dessert: pineapple upside-down biscuits. Drummond makes this dessert from scratch, but you can easily use store-bought dough instead. The biscuits are baked on top of caramel-coated pineapple, making for a delicious treat that's like a rustic pineapple upside-down cake. 

Drummond has also put her own spin on the recipe by swapping in apples in place of the pineapple, making the dessert more suited for fall than summer. For even easier portioning, try baking the biscuit dough in cupcake tins. However you choose to make it, this fruity biscuit-based delight can be finished off with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an extra special touch.