How to Make Garlic Bread 4 Ways For the Ultimate Easy Dinner Side Dish

Grab a loaf of bread at the supermarket or bakery, pull out your sheet pan, and get ready for one tasty, garlicky side dish that's as easy to whip up as it is to love.

Whether it's paired with an Italian pasta recipe, a simple sheet pan dinner, a holiday menu, or nothing at all besides our hearty appetites, we have a tough time resisting garlic bread. The semi-homemade side dish is a breeze to make and customize in a matter of minutes using just a handful of affordable ingredients. Ahead, we'll explain several variations for how to make garlic bread so you can choose your favorite depending on your available refrigerator and pantry staples, timeline, and flavor preferences.

Garlic-Herbed Bread
Alison Miksch

How to Make Garlic Bread 4 Ways

To make any of these variations, you'll need two essential garlic bread ingredients: garlic and bread. From there, you can add ingredients as desired, like butter or oil, Parmesan or mozzarella, dried or fresh basil or parsley. (We're dishing up more ways to customize your garlic bread below our complete guide for how to make garlic bread.)

How to Make Garlic Bread With 2 Ingredients

For the easiest and fastest garlic bread ever, slice a loaf of any crusty bread (Italian, French, baguette, or whatever you have on hand) into pieces. Using a toaster, toast the bread slices, then rub each piece with a cut clove of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Test Kitchen Tip: No toaster? You can also add the slices to a sheet pan and "toast" the bread under your oven's broiler until golden brown, or for about 2 minutes.

How to Make Buttery Garlic Bread

To boost the flavor and lend an extra rich element, say "cheese."

In a small bowl, make a simple compound butter by combining 4 tablespoons of softened butter with 4 cloves of minced garlic, a pinch of salt, and ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Slice a baguette in half lengthwise or into slices, then spread the cut surface with the cheesy compound butter. If desired, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.

Transfer to a sheet pan and bake at 425° F or until the edges are golden brown, or for about 10 minutes.

How to Make Hasselback Garlic Bread

For an eye-catching yet easy garlic bread, start by rounding up a couple of chopsticks, your cutting board, and a loaf of Italian bread, French bread, or a baguette. On top of the cutting board, position one chopstick on each side of the loaf of bread, with the sticks running parallel to the bread. Use a bread knife to slice ¾-inch pieces of bread, stopping when the knife hits the chopsticks. You should get accordion-like pieces that aren't cut all the way through.

In a small bowl, make compound butter by combining 4 tablespoons of softened butter with 4 cloves of minced garlic, a pinch of salt, and ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Slather this butter between the slices. If desired, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and a little more shredded Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese.

Wrap the Hasselback garlic bread in foil, then transfer to a sheet pan. Bake at 425° F for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

How to Make Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

Similar to the Hasselback method but even better for feeding a crowd, go the pull-apart route. Start with a boule (a large round loaf like this Everyday Artisan Bread or Artisan Sourdough) on a cutting board. Use a bread knife to slice 1-inch pieces accordion-style—leaving about ¾ inches connected at the bottom of the loaf. Turn the boule 90 degrees and slice 1-inch pieces perpendicular to the first cuts, again, leaving about ¾ inches connected at the bottom of the loaf. This should leave you with square-shaped bites of bread.

In a small bowl, make compound butter by combining 8 tablespoons of softened butter with 8 cloves of minced garlic, a large pinch of salt, and ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Use the knife to carefully pry apart the pieces enough to stuff the butter between the slices. If desired, sprinkle with ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, top with more shredded Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese, and/or brush the top with more melted butter.

Wrap the pull-apart bread in foil, then transfer to a sheet pan. Bake at 350° F for about 20 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

How to Make Garlic Bread Your Own—Tips and Variations

Now that you know several ways to make garlic bread, here's how to customize any of the above garlic bread recipes to meet your flavor preferences, on-hand ingredients, and any family dietary restrictions.

  • Get salty. Only have unsalted butter? Just add a pinch of salt to the softened butter.
  • Grate fresh. If you're using shredded Parmesan, mozzarella, or another type of cheese, grate it fresh from a block (rather than buying pre-shredded cheese in a bag from the supermarket). Pre-shredded cheese is often coated in anti-caking agents so it doesn't stick together. This also impacts the cheese's ability to melt as well as the freshly-shredded kind.
  • Mix up your herbs. Fresh or dried basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and/or oregano all play nicely with the rest of the garlic bread ingredients.
  • Make it mini. For single-serving garlic bread or enough for a date night dinner, try any of the above options for how to make garlic bread with ciabatta rolls instead of larger loaves of bread.
  • Remember this garlic conversion. If you're out of fresh garlic, feel free to swap in garlic powder. About ½ teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to 1 garlic clove.
  • Crank up the heat. If you like spice, mix a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes into your butter or oil mixture, if using.
  • Brighten things up. For fresher-flavored garlic bread, add a little microplaned lemon zest to the butter or oil mixture, if using.
  • Go vegan or gluten-free. Opt for vegan butter for dairy-free garlic bread. For gluten-free garlic bread, simply swap in a gluten-free baguette or roll.

How to Make Garlic Bread Ahead

To get a headstart on garlic bread, we recommend preparing any of the above recipes through all of the steps prior to baking. Wrap the unbaked garlic bread tightly in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When you're ready to enjoy the garlic bread, you can bake it straight from the freezer. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Unwrap the garlic bread and transfer it to a sheet pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the garlic bread are golden and the center is done to your liking.

Now that you have this guide for how to make garlic bread in your side dish recipe arsenal, the only tough part will be deciding which method to try first. The plot thickens even more if you're willing to bake the bread from scratch. Then you can bake the garlic right inside the bread itself, as we do in this showy Garlic and Herb Swirl Bread, easy No-Knead Skillet Focaccia, and ultra-cheesy Rosemary-Parmesan Bread with Garlic Butter.

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