Copycat Monkey Bread Pizookie Recipe

My spin on BJ’s Monkey Bread Pizookie pairs low fat cinnamon sugar biscuit pieces with a lightened up mixture of caramelized brown sugar, butter, and walnuts to make two layers of decadent pull apart bread. And in place of the vanilla ice cream on top, you’ll find a sugar free glaze.

While it’s not the healthiest recipe on my blog, it’s gotta be one of the tastiest!

monkey bread in a cast iron skillet

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How to Make the Monkey Bread Pizookie

Below you’ll find a walkthrough of the recipe with photo examples of each step, notes on ingredient modifications and nutrition facts, and a printable recipe card—in that order. If you have recipe questions I miss, leave a comment at the bottom of the post and I’ll help you out as best I can! 

Okay, time to stop monkeying around. Let’s dive in. 

Step 1: Make the low fat biscuit dough.

If you’ve made my Greek yogurt biscuits, this will be a breeze! (There’s also a video tutorial in the original recipe if you’re into that sort of thing.)

All you’ll need to do is mix all purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt with a tiny bit of light butter and fat free Greek yogurt. Never made dough from scratch? Have no fear, you can mix everything together with a fork. Easy peasy. 

And by mix everything together, I mean just barely. As soon as you no longer have any visible portions of Greek yogurt, dump everything on a flat surface and bring the dough together with your hands. 

One of the most common errors in my original biscuits recipe is overworking the dough, which prevents the biscuits from rising. If you want light and fluffy monkey bread pieces, don’t overwork the dough! 

Once you have the crumbly beginnings of dough, it should take about 30-60 seconds of working it together with your hands to form a ball of dough like you see in the photo below.

Side note: The dough should be easy to handle. If it’s sticking to your hands, your measurements were off somewhere. Get a food scale!

And that’s it for the dough. You’ll need to pinch off pieces for the next step. I used 15 pieces for my monkey bread, but you could make smaller or larger pieces if you’d like. 

Step 2: Toss pieces of the dough in cinnamon sugar, layer with walnuts (optional), cover with butter and brown sugar, and bake.

The hard part is over. Now it’s time to assemble and get your monkey bread pizookie in the oven. 

Don’t sweat the technique too much in this step. Any left over cinnamon sugar will go on top before the melted butter, and you’ll end up with candied walnuts regardless of placement accuracy. 

One thing worth mentioning here is the skillet. The recipe calls for the same 6.5″ cast iron skillet I used for my chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bake and protein skillet cookie. While you can use a similar sized baking dish or another oven-safe skillet, you may need to modify the bake time. If you use a larger skillet and put everything in one layer, for example, your pizookie will bake faster due to the increase surface area.

Once it’s all assembled, give the butter and brown sugar a whirl, pour it over, and throw the skillet on a baking sheet to catch any run off. 

While the original Monkey Bread Pizookie from BJ’s is served with ice cream, I went with a glaze consisting of powdered sugar or Swerve Confectioners (more on this ingredient in a second) and water. Though ice cream is NEVER a bad move. And if you’re on a calorie budget, this stuff is tasty enough on its own if we’re being honest. 

monkey bread in a cast iron skillet with a sugar free glaze on top

All right, that’s the from-start-to-finish walkthrough. Let’s talk ingredient substitutions and how to make your pizookie a bit lower calorie if need be.  

Ingredient Modifications and Nutrition Information Notes

If you’re wondering about all purpose flour substitutes, I’ve not had much luck with other types of flour for the biscuit recipe. However, I’d encourage you to check out my Facebook group where you’ll find tons of hands-on research from the 13,000 home cooks there. 

Aside from the flour, I’d like to touch on the granulated and brown sugar. I used Swerve products to replace both. If you’re unfamiliar with Swerve, they make zero-calorie, all-natural sugar substitutes that measure and taste just like sugar. Using these substitutes saves around 400 calories in this recipe! 

What if I don’t have Swerve?

You can try using other sugar substitutes as long as they measure 1:1 for sugar. Though you may lose some of the caramelization effects that Swerve produces like real sugar. 

And if you’d rather use the real thing, go right ahead. If you use real granulated and brown sugar, the entire recipe has 1,627 calories, 40g protein, 239g carbs, and 59g fat.

How do I track Swerve in MyFitnessPal or calorie trackers?

This can get confusing since Swerve products are zero-calorie products but still have a few carbs on the label. My approach is to ignore them completely, but that’s totally up to you.

I ignore them because erythritol has around 0.2 calories per gram. That means this entire recipe has about 19 calories from the Swerve. I think I burned 19 calories just doing the math. 

Whatever you decide to do, just stick to that consistently and you’ll be good to go. It’s not that serious. 🙂 

More Ideas for Reducing the Calorie Count

  • omitting the walnuts saves 200 calories 
  • swap some flour for protein powder (full notes at the bottom of the post)
  • you could try replacing some of the butter and brown sugar with a sugar free pancake syrup (though I haven’t tested it)
  • cutting the butter and brown sugar mixture in half saves 100 calories (last resort)

And I’ll end on this. Don’t cut too many calorie corners. Save this pizookie for a time you want to treat yo’ self a little.

Monkey Bread Pizookie

Monkey Bread Pizookie

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Light and fluffy cinnamon sugar biscuit pieces baked with caramelized brown sugar and walnuts.

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1 1/2 C (180g) All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbsp (24g) Granulated Sugar*
  • 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 2 Tbsp (28g) Light Butter (Land O' Lakes with Canola)
  • 3/4 C (170g) Vanilla Fat Free Greek Yogurt (Chobani)

For the Topping

  • 2 Tbsp (24g) Granulated Sugar*
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C (30g) Walnuts, crushed
  • 1/4 C (56g) Light Butter
  • 1/4 C (48g) Brown Sugar*

Instructions

For the Dough

  1. Preheat an oven to 350º F.
  2. Mix the dry dough ingredients together in a large bowl before cutting the butter in with a fork (until slightly crumbly). Add the Greek yogurt and mix until a dough begins to form. Don't over mix. There should be some remaining flour in the bowl.
  3. Empty the dough and remaining dry ingredients onto a flat surface. Use your hands to work everything together until no crumbs remain. Set aside.

Assembling and Baking the Pizookie

  1. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a separate bowl. Divide the dough into small pieces (I did 15, but you could make them smaller/larger.) Toss a few at a time in the cinnamon sugar to coat.
  2. Fill the bottom of a 6.5" cast iron skillet or similar sized baking dish with the dough pieces. Sprinkle some of the crushed walnuts on top and place another layer of the dough pieces on top with more walnuts. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.
  3. Microwave the butter for 10-15 seconds before stirring in the brown sugar. Stir and pour over the top in an even layer.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the the dough pieces have risen and the bottom layer is cooked through. Different dishes or different sized dough pieces may affect bake time.

Notes

For the Optional Glaze

Mix 1/4 C (36g) powdered sugar (I used Swerve Confectioners*) with 3-4 tsp water and pour over the top.

*I used zero-calorie Swerve Granular, Swerve Brown, and Swerve Confectioners in place of the sugar. The nutrition facts do not include any nutrition info from the Swerve replacements. More notes included in the post above.

Each serving of the original recipe has 6 WW SmartPoints (blue plan).

The notes for making a high protein version are below this recipe card.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Servings Serving Size: 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210Total Fat: 9gCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 7g

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Update: How to Make High Protein Monkey Bread

Thanks to members of my Facebook group, Amanda Megan and Meredith Henson, we now know you can swap 1/2 C (60g) of flour for 2 scoops (62g) of PEScience Select protein powder. This is my go-to protein powder for recipes, and you can use my affiliate discount code ‘mason’ to save 15% on PEScience products.

Everything else in the recipe remains the same. In my testing, I under baked by about 5 minutes and it was perfect! 

Total nutrition facts with for the high protein version: 1,270 calories, 82g of protein, 102g of carbs, 61g of fat, and 33 WW SmartPoints (6 per serving) on the blue plan. 

Can you use another protein powder?

It’s risky. They are all a bit different and any time you have to handle dough, it can be unforgiving. PEScience is a whey and casein blend so if you try another protein, try to stick to the same blend of protein.



24 thoughts on “Copycat Monkey Bread Pizookie Recipe”

  • Just made these today and they’re sooooooo good!!! I think they might be my favorite recipe from Mason that I’ve tried so far! The dough was easy to handle but it just took me a long time to get all the crumbles to stick. Probably me not working it properly.
    And the glaze I had to use like 6 tsp of water but I think I should have added some more. Oh and it was kinda only one serving for me lol. 😂 Too good not to eat the whole thing!
    Definitely recommend!

    • Amazing recipe. Very easy instructions. Read the extra stuff he wrote before and you can’t go wrong. Also, it does say 2 teaspoons of cinnamon for the topping not tablespoons…. It still tasted good though! Just a little exxxxtra flavor.

  • My fav recipe from you by far. I made these right now and they taste better than BJ’s version. Im so impressed on how effortless this truly was. I omitted the walnuts and cut it into 4 servings so cal were around 265 a piece. My fav dessert no question.

  • THE best recipe ever. I couldn’t handle how tasty these were! And so easy to make. My dad is a big cinnamon roll guy (makes them every Saturday- pillsbury of course) and he loved these just as much! 5 starts

  • So I made several mistakes on this. I realized that my baking powder had expired last year so it didnt get fluffy at all. Second, my pan was way too big and the balls were hard to stay in place, so maybe if you only have a big pan double the recipe. Third, I didnt have vanilla yogurt so I used cherry flavored. The flavor was delicious but I felt it needed to bake a little longer, so I turned off the oven and left it in, my mistake was not timing it so I forgot about it and burned it. I’m determined to try again with good baking powder and a smaller size pan. Otherwise the flavor and smells were in point.

  • I tried to make this for Easter but the grocery store was out of flour… I tried it out with gluten free flour and the consistency wasn’t great. Amazing flavor though but ended up more like a bread pudding. Will definitely try again once I can find some real flour

  • OK I have never baked anything – OKay small lie- i made cookies once and burnt some bread to hell every thanksgiving.
    During the quartine, i decided i needed this in my life AND OMGAWD IT WAS EVERYTHING I NEEDED. I added closer to 200 grams of yogurt. This was so easy and I felt like a CHAMP when I finally got to bring it to my boyfriend and watch him be surprised and excited for me to cook! I willl never ever fear ever again pot lucks! or volunteering to make a dessert!

    AGAIN THIS WAS VERY VERY SIMPLE

    Q for Mason- think we could add macros for weight of items, instead of pieces?

  • THESE ARE INCREDIBLE. I did not have Swerve, so I substituted Stevia. I think the Swerve is probably a better ingredient, and I look forward to remaking and comparing. Also, don’t be dissuaded from making this recipe if you don’t have the right size pan. I have a 9″ cast iron skillet, so the dough balls were just one layer around the bottom. This made it harder when pouring the glaze over the dough, and I had to keep a closer eye when cooking to not overcook them, but the end result was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. Definitely eat with ice cream! And these beauties also rewarm well!

  • Tried these today & I don’t think I’ll ever eat anything else for breakfast. I didn’t have any vanilla greek yogurt so I used plain and added some vanilla extract in. Loved them!

  • Best “healthy” dessert I’ve had in a long time! While there are a bunch of steps and it might seem daunting, it’s super easy to make. I bought the swerve trio and so glad I did so now I can make all of Masons desserts.

  • Absolutely loved these guys! I might have kneaded my dough a little too much, so they didn’t fluff up as much as I wanted, so be advised!

  • I used a brown sugar substitute and made these in a cake pan instead of a skillet. These were really tasty and I’d definitely make them again. Mine were super sticky and caramelized on the bottom which hardened after they cooled. I am not sure if this is because of the substitutes I made or the pan but they were still really good! Next time, I will try them in the skillet.

  • These were so easy to make, and my kids loved them! I opted to leave out the nuts, and I only had regular sugar but plan to try it with Swerve next time. I might add a bit of milk to the powdered sugar drizzle next time just to thicken it a bit. The batch size was perfect too – enough for 4 pieces for everyone in the family. They were gone before they were even cooled off!

  • I just have to say that I am a huge lover of the original monkey bread recipe but with so many carbs/fats etc. it makes it difficult to make those treats when I’m on a macro cut. The directions are so easy to follow and laid out that I had no issue baking as intended. So. freaking.Tasty. Thank you for your awesome creativity!!!! You are appreciated!!’

  • I used 120 grams flower and 60 grams protein and it worked out really good. I do recommend getting the exact ingredients, tried to use Stevia and the dough was a little wet. I added a bit more flower to compensate

  • Made this for Easter. It was so easy. I substituted 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of PEScience Cake Pop protein powder. They came out great! Like a cinnamon roll donut hole! I will definitely make these again!

  • OMG! This was absolutely fantastic! I loved the smell as it was baking. It was hard to resist eating right away but I needed to let it cool down so I didn’t burn my mouth. I made a 1/2 batch to limit my portion control. I did make some alterations because of what I have available–regular butter vs light, plain fat free Greek yogurt vs vanilla, added vanilla paste to help with the missed vanilla from the yogurt, used Truvia brown sugar vs regular brown sugar, and swerve granulated sugar vs regular granulated sugar, and gluten free flour vs regular all purpose flour. Worth every calorie!! Can’t wait to make it again.

  • I made this for Easter breakfast and I can’t believe how good it is. Obviously the kids LOVED it but my husband who isn’t a huge sweet water loved it. We divided this into four and had it with eggs and turkey sausage. Would have been way to much to have even half of it. It’s definitely a sweet treat. Maybe would decrease sugar a bit but overall was wonderful and easy to make! I would try the protein exchange for some added benefit next time.

  • For Easter, I made this for my family. After they’d demolished it all, my husband said, “Man, this was so much better than the healthy desserts you’ve been making lately.” Joke’s on you, bro.

  • Not the most macro friendly of his recipes, but definitely a fraction of og monkey bread!! And honestly delicious!! I didn’t have a cast iron skillet, so I baked it in a small round glass Pyrex bowl. I had to bake it longer because of the different material, but still turned out great! Probably missed out on some better textures that the skillet would create, but still delicious nevertheless!

  • Delicious!! Made these last Saturday morning and my kitchen smelled amazing. Modifications included: didn’t have vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt, so used plain and added a Tsp of vanilla instead. Baked them in a ceramic glazed stone pan instead of cast iron pan, which required me to bake them a little longer. Super easy- Definitely will make these again!!

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