North Carolina Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Bread

North Carolina Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Bread

Looking for a simple, bright breakfast to get you through winter? Try this delightfully soft and sweet Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart bread for your next brunch or family breakfast. It’s just like the classic “monkey bread” with a sweet cran-orange twist!

Pull apart bread, also known as “Monkey Bread”, is one of our favorite ways to serve up a simple and delicious treat at breakfast or even a sweet appetizer. Though its origin isn’t well known, some say Monkey Bread was first inspired by Parker House Rolls in the 19th century and baked in a sheet pan. Others claim it began in 1946 when silent film actress ZaSu Pitts and her neighbor, Ann King, a Texas housewife, made the concoction. The women reportedly named the bread after the neighborhood children, little meddling “monkeys” who couldn’t keep their fingers out of the steaming fresh-from-the-oven bread.

Today, there are more variations than we could list. Recipes can be sweet, savory, individual servings, or in uniquely-shaped casseroles. One thing that hasn’t changed? The enjoyment we all get from the combination of soft and chewy carbs paired with sweet and buttery toppings. 

Our version takes a note from flavors like orange zest and dried cranberries that are paired perfectly with the sweet cinnamon dough. Serve this with a drizzle of icing or a dusting of powdered sugar and extra orange zest for the perfect winter warming treat!


Cranberry Orange Pull-Apart Bread Recipe

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20-30 min


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾  cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, plus more to garnish
  • 1-8 count can biscuit dough*
  • ⅓  cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray your North Carolina plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe medium size bowl. In a separate medium bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest. Rub the sugar between your fingers or with a fork to work the zest though the mixture. Set aside. 
  3. Separate the biscuit dough and remove three of the biscuits (we are only using 5 to fill the NC plate). You can bake these on a cookie sheet to enjoy later or along with your breakfast. 
  4. Using a sharp knife, cute each biscuit into 6 equal pieces. Dip each piece into the melter butter, then roll it in the cinnamon sugar until completely coated, then place in the prepared dish. Repeat with the remaining biscuit pieces, layering in a few cranberries and some of the chopped pecans as you go. 
  5. Once the dish is full, bake for 20-30 minutes. If the top is overbrowning before the biscuits are done, tent the dish with foil.
  6. Serve warm topped with more orange zest. 

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