Try this no-fail recipe for how to make garlic bread perfectly every time! Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and packed with big flavor thanks to a delicious extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, and garlic mixture.
Garlic bread is one of the easiest little appetizers to make, yet I’ve eaten my fair share of greasy, limp garlic bread. Even worse, I’ve had some where the bread had an okay bite, but the garlic was too burned and bitter, leaving an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Have you been there?
If you’re after an easy recipe for how to make garlic bread perfectly every time, this one is for you!
The secret to perfectly crispy homemade garlic bread
This ciabatta garlic bread recipe starts with a simple olive oil sauce made of good extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and herbs. You’ll apply the olive oil sauce to your bread using a brush – this will evenly spread the olive oil on the bread, giving it good flavor and ensuring the best texture, none of that greasy stuff.
And to achieve that “crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside” result we’re all looking for, and without burning the garlic (very important), you’ll first wrap the loaf of bread in foil to bake for the first 10 minutes. Then, you’ll unwrap it to finish baking with the “flesh” side of the bread exposed. (I like to add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese at this point before putting the bread back in the oven, but you can omit the cheese for a vegan option.)
When you see lightly charred edges on your homemade garlic bread, and bits of the cheese turning a nice golden brown, your bread is ready!
Best bread to make garlic bread
I used a loaf of ciabatta bread (about 1 pound). Traditionally, ciabatta is baked with a hard crust while maintaining a softer texture on the inside. Shaped like a slipper, hence the name "ciabatta," it's a sturdy bread that offers a wide, flat surface (wider than French baguette), so it offers more room to spread my herby olive oil, plus the holes in the bread are perfect for catching the bits of garlic and herbs for great flavor.
If you can’t find ciabatta, any rustic long loaf bread or French baguette will still work in this garlic bread recipe. Your baking time may vary a little depending on the bread you choose.
Ingredients: what you need to make garlic bread at home
- Bread- Look for a long loaf of ciabatta, French baguette or something similar. Day-old bread is okay too, if you have some to use up.
- Italian parsley – Also called flat-leaf parsley. Trim off some of the excess stem, but not all of it.
- Dried rosemary – Peppery, piney rosemary pairs well with the other flavors in the pungent oil.
- Dried oregano – Adds earthiness and a hint of spiciness.
- Garlic – You need 4 to 5 large peeled garlic cloves, but adjust the amount depending on how garlicky you want the garlic bread.
- Extra virgin olive oil – I used our Italian Nocellara EVOO, which is a medium-intensity oil with a delicious, subtle aroma of freshly picked tomatoes. If you like something more intense and peppery, try our Greek Early Harvest EVOO.
How to make garlic bread
With just a few ingredients, you can have homemade garlic bread in 20 minutes or so! Here's how you make it (printer-friendly recipe below):
- Make the garlic and herb oil. Add ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried rosemary, and 4 to 5 whole cloves of garlic to a small food processor. While it blends, drizzle in ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil. Once blended (it does not need to be a totally smooth mixture), season the garlic oil with a little kosher salt and black pepper.
- Prepare the ciabatta loaf. Place a 1-pound loaf of ciabatta on a cutting board and slice the bread in half horizontally. Place your non-dominant hand on the bread as you slice to keep it in place. Spoon the herby olive oil mixture onto both halves of the bread and spread it all over.
Put the halves back together, so the crust is facing outward and the oil-covered sides are touching each other.
Grab a large sheet pan and line it with aluminum foil. Place the bread on the pan and cover with another sheet of foil. Close the foil edges together so the bread is completely covered in foil.
- Bake the homemade garlic bread. Bake the rosemary garlic ciabatta bread on the center rack of a 400 degrees F heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the top piece of foil so the bread is uncovered. Separate the bread halves and place them side by side on the sheet pan, oil side up. Sprinkle ¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese onto each half. (You’ll need ½ cup total parmesan cheese.)
Return the garlic bread to the oven and bake for another 10 or so minutes, until the bread has crisp, golden-brown edges and the cheese is also slightly golden.
- Serve. Cut the ciabatta garlic bread into 1-inch slices and serve warm.
Tips for the best garlic bread
- Select the right bread. Ciabatta, French baguette, or another long loaf of bread with a good crust and chewy texture on the inside is good to use in this recipe.
- Ditch the butter and use extra virgin olive oil instead to brush your bread. Olive oil will give you a lighter garlic bread that is perfectly crunchy and not greasy or limp.
- Use the right amount of garlic. I found that about 4 large cloves per 1-pound loaf of bread gives good flavor without overwhelming the bread. Play with the amount to your liking, but 3 to 4 cloves is a good place to start.
- Use fresh garlic, not the pre-minced stuff in jars. I don’t advise using pre-minced jarred garlic because it often tastes bitter and sharp, not spicy and vibrant like fresh garlic.Since you pop the cloves into a blender whole anyway, there is virtually no prep for the garlic aside from peeling it.
- Wrap the bread in foil for a crunchy outside and chewy inside. By baking the bread in foil for the first 10 minutes, you allow the ciabatta to soften, which will give you a pillowy, chewy inside. Wrapping the bread also keeps the garlic from burning. Unwrapping the bread and baking it more adds color and will crisp up the crust for the perfect crunchy outside.
- Freshly grate or shred the parmesan cheese. I don’t recommend buying bagged grated parmesan or powdered parmesan. Both are very dry, and taste quite different to freshly grated parmesan, which is rich and nutty.
Vegan garlic bread option
By swapping out parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast, you can easily turn this recipe into vegan garlic bread. Follow the recipe as is, but instead of sprinkling parmesan cheese, sprinkle ½ to 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast on each half of your ciabatta. Since this garlic bread recipe uses extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, the rest of the recipe stays the same.
Alternatively, since so little cheese is used, you can leave it out altogether. The garlic bread will taste just as rich and flavorful!
If you want something a little different that is vegan from the get-go, try out my focaccia recipe with garlic and rosemary!
Serve garlic ciabatta with
This easy garlic bread recipe is the perfect starter to a comforting Italian dinner like cacio e pepe, spaghetti puttanesca, chicken piccata, scallop pasta or shrimp fra diavolo. By itself, it's great with my homemade spaghetti sauce for dipping.
Can I freeze homemade garlic bread? Storage tips
Yes, you can freeze garlic bread! In fact, freezing is the best option to store garlic bread long-term. Wrap the bread in foil and place it in freezer-safe zip-top bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, place garlic bread on a baking sheet (directly from the freezer; no need to thaw) and warm in a 375 degrees F heated oven until hot and crispy.
If you know you’ll be finishing up any leftovers within a few days, keep the homemade garlic bread on your kitchen counter. Garlic bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped in foil, for 2 days. It should not be refrigerated. It sounds counterintuitive, but refrigerating garlic bread dries it out faster and makes it stale.
More bread recipes
Homemade Ciabatta Garlic Bread Recipe
- 1 pound loaf ciabatta bread
- ½ cup Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated or shredded parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, and parsley to a small food processor and blend. Drizzle in the olive oil from the top opening of the food processor while everything is blending. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Place the bread flat on a cutting board. Place your non-dominant hand on top of the bread. Take a knife and slice the bread in half horizontally.
- Spoon the herb and garlic oil equally onto both halves of the bread and spread it all over. Put the bread halves back together.
- Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the bread flat on the pan and cover with another piece of foil. Crimp the foil sides to close tightly.
- Bake the foil-wrapped bread on the center rack of the heated oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and uncover it. Separate the two halves of bread and place them side by side on the sheet pan.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan onto the bread.
- Return the sheet pan with the bread to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the bread crisps with golden edges and some of the cheese is slightly golden.
- Cut into 1-inch slices and serve immediately.
- Best bread for garlic bread: I used a 1-pound loaf of ciabatta, but another rustic Italian bread that is long with a crusty shell or French baguette will work.
- Tips for the best garlic bread: Use fresh garlic, don't forget to wrap the bread in foil for the first 10 minutes of baking (for a crunchy outside and chewy inside), and use freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese.
- For vegan garlic bread, omit the cheese or swap it out for ½ to 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast.
- How to serve garlic ciabatta? As an appetizer, serve garlic bread by itself or with homemade spaghetti sauce for dipping. It's also delicious with Italian-style dishes like (creamy tomato pasta and pesto chicken) or thick sauces or soups, like Crockpot beef stew, sausage and lentil stew, tomato basil soup, or shrimp fra diavolo.
- How to freeze and store homemade garlic bread: If you will be finishing leftovers within 2 days, store the garlic bread at room temperature wrapped in foil. To save it for longer periods, freeze the bread. Wrap the garlic loaf in foil, place it i a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen in a 375 degrees F heated oven.
- Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients, including extra virgin olive oils (like our Nocellara Italian EVOO).