Garlic bread is one of the tastiest and easiest sides you can add to any meal. Italian bread is loaded up with garlic, butter, olive oil, cheese, and parsley, baked in the oven, and broiled for the last couple of minutes to ensure an ultra crispy golden top yet soft interior. Serve this with soup, salads, Sunday dinner, or really any meal you can think of and you're set!
Garlic bread is something I grew up eating. It's often served complimentary at many Italian restaurants in New York and is definitely a favorite alongside Sunday sauce and really any pasta!
Garlic bread is also a great first thing for kids to make because it's so simple and uses just a few basic ingredients.
And because we're using already made Italian semolina bread, garlic bread can be ready and on your table in about 20-25 minutes. Perfect for weeknights!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Using a grater or zester, grate 5 cloves of garlic. Be careful to not grate your fingers! Mince a ¼ cup worth of flat leaf Italian parsley, and grate about 3 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350f and set the first rack in the middle and the other rack to the top ⅓ of the oven. Add 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the garlic to a pan and saute over medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Note: You could definitely use salted butter here. Just don't add any more salt later on.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the parsley, ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional), and a pinch of salt (to taste).
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Split a loaf of seeded Italian bread lengthwise. If you want larger piceces, just cut it like a book without going all the way through. Pour the garlic butter over the bread making sure that it's evenly distributed. Note: you can use any bread you like, such as baguette, ciabatta, semolina, etc.
- Sprinkle with the grated Pecorino Romano and cover it with foil. Bake for 12 minutes on the lower rack.
- After 12 minutes, remove the foil and move the bread to the higher rack. Broil for 1-3 minutes or until the bread is golden around the sides and sizzling but watch very carefully to prevent burning. Once finished, slice the garlic bread and serve. Enjoy!
Top tips for better garlic bread
- The bread. As mentioned above, any long loaf of crusty bread can be used here. French baguette, semolina, and ciabatta would all work well. When slicing the bread, you can opt to close the loaf so each person gets a top and bottom slice.
- Additions and substitutions. You can use Parmigiano Reggiano in place of Pecorino if you prefer. Also, if you wish to add mozzarella you can do so right before you broil. If you want to up the umami flavor, a few minced anchovy fillets added to the garlic butter would be fantastic!
- The importance of foil. One of the best things about good garlic bread is the juxtaposition of the crispy outside and the chewy inside. The best way to achieve this is by covering your garlic bread with foil during the first 12 minutes of baking. This ensures that the bread stays moist from all the butter and oil. Only when you're ready to broil should the foil be removed. And at that point, it's essential to watch the semolina garlic bread closely to prevent burning and ensure a beautiful golden exterior. Failure to foil will yield a dry only, not chewy and crunchy, garlic bread.
Our favorite ways to serve garlic bread
The moment you add some Italian-style garlic bread as a side to any dish, it instantly becomes so much better! These are our favorite ways to enjoy garlic bread.
- Dipped in marinara. Garlic bread dipped in a simple marinara is definitely a favorite snack.
- With soup. Lentil soup and pasta fagioli are wonderful choices to serve with garlic bread. Throw a green salad in there and you have a full meal!
- With Sunday dinner. In addition to our Sunday sauce mentioned above, garlic bread goes so well with other "Sunday" meals such as baked ziti, braciole, stuffed shells, or chicken parm.
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- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic grated
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley minced
- salt to taste
- 1 loaf seeded Italian bread
- 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano grated
- Preheat oven to 350f and set the first rack in the middle and the other rack to the top ⅓ of the oven.
- Saute the garlic in the butter and oil for 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat or until fragrant. Turn off the heat and add in the crushed red pepper flakes and parsley along with a pinch of salt (to taste).
- Split the bread lengthwise and open it up like a book. Brush or pour the garlic butter all over the bread making sure to evenly distribute it. Sprinkle with the Pecorino then cover with foil.
- Bake for 12 minutes on the lower rack then remove the foil and move the bread to the higher rack. Broil for 1-3 minutes or until the bread is golden around the sides and sizzling but not burnt. Watch the whole time and be prepared to remove it quickly.
- Once finished, slice the bread and serve. Enjoy!
- Any type of bread can be used. Ciabatta, baguette, and all types of crusty bread work well.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese can be added during the broiling stage.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and should be reheated in the oven.