Homemade Garlic Bread

published Dec 4, 2023
Garlic Bread Recipe

Use both fresh and powdered garlic for the ultimate homemade garlic bread.

Serves6 to 8

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook5 minutes

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Overhead shot of two loaves of garlic bread, the loaf on the left is sliced into six slices.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

A slice of garlic bread makes every meal so much better. It’s a natural partner to classic Italian pasta dishes like spaghetti with meat sauce and cheesy lasagna (BTW, you have to try this weeknight-friendly skillet lasagna), and it also makes crunchy green salads and cozy soups feel like a complete meal. 

The best part is that this homemade garlic bread is better than anything that you can buy in the frozen aisle at the grocery store because it’s made with real butter, a double dose of garlic, and bakery-fresh bread. Here’s how to make the very best garlic bread. 

What Ingredients Are in Garlic Bread?

  • Bread: Pick up a loaf of unsliced Italian or French bread (not thin baguettes) from your grocer’s bakery. Most of these loaves are between 12 and 16 ounces with an open, chewy crumb, and a thin, crackly crust.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of seasoning in the garlic bread. If you only have salted butter on hand, omit the kosher salt. 
  • Fresh garlic: Mince three fresh garlic cloves for just the right amount of garlicky flavor. 
  • Garlic powder: Using both fresh and powdered garlic gives the bread a balanced garlic flavor that‘s not overwhelmingly sharp.
  • Fresh herbs: Mix chopped fresh parsley or scallions into the garlic butter for an herby, well-rounded flavor that also adds a pretty sprinkle of green across the top. 
  • Red pepper flakes: A small amount of red pepper flake gives the garlic bread the suggestion of spice, but omit it for kids or folks who are spice-sensitive.

If you’re looking for a cheesier take on garlic bread, this gooey, cheesy garlic bread is sure to become a family favorite. 

How to Make Garlic Bread

  1. Slice the bread. Use a serrated knife to cut the loaf of bread into four pieces. The easiest way is to cut crosswise across the center of the loaf, then cut each of those in half, exposing the bread’s soft interior. 
  2. Make the garlic butter. Mash softened unsalted butter, minced fresh garlic, garlic powder, kosher salt, fresh parsley or scallions, and red pepper flakes (if using) together in a small bowl until combined. Spread the garlic butter evenly — and generously — over the cut-side of the bread. 
  3. Bake garlic bread. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet and bake in a 425°F oven until the butter melts and the edges are toasted and light golden brown.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Tips for Making the Best Homemade Garlic Bread

  • Use softened butter, not melted. It’s easier to evenly coat the entire loaf of bread with softened garlic butter than haphazardly drizzle melted butter over it. Plus, the butter melts quickly in the oven, so there’s no need to take that extra step when prepping the garlic bread.
  • Use fresh garlic and garlic powder. The flavor of fresh minced garlic is sharp, but the process of drying and grinding garlic into powder mellows the allium, giving it a sweeter, well-rounded flavor. 

What to Serve with Garlic Bread

How to Freeze and Reheat Garlic Bread

Keep a loaf of garlic bread in your freezer to add a homemade touch when all you can muster is pouring a jar of marinara over spaghetti. Plus, there’s no need to plan ahead because frozen garlic bread doesn’t have to thaw before baking. Here’s how to do it. 

  • Freeze garlic buttered bread cut-side up on a baking sheet. The bread will take longer to bake if it is sandwiched together as a solid loaf before freezing. Get it on the dinner table faster by freezing the bread halves separately before storing.
  • Wrap tightly. Once frozen, wrap garlic bread tightly in aluminum foil or transfer to a freezer zip-top bag individually or sandwiched together (the halves will pop apart easily if they are frozen first). 
  • Freeze. Frozen garlic bread is best eaten within three months.
  • Reheat. Unwrap and bake from frozen, at 425°F, until thawed and slightly browned around the edges. 
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Garlic Bread Recipe

Use both fresh and powdered garlic for the ultimate homemade garlic bread.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1

    (12- to 16-ounce) loaf unsliced Italian or French bread (not baguette)

  • 3

    cloves garlic

  • 2

    sprigs fresh parsley or 1 small scallion (or a combination), plus more for garnish if desired

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into 8 pieces. Place a small bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened, about 30 minutes.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  3. Cut 1 loaf Italian or French bread in half crosswise with a serrated knife, then halve each piece lengthwise for a total of 4 pieces. Place the pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet.

  4. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of butter as you complete it: Mince 3 garlic cloves. Finely chop the leaves from 2 fresh parsley sprigs or thinly slice 1 medium scallions until you have 2 teaspoons, then chop more for garnish if desired.

  5. Add 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the butter. Smash and stir together until combined into a spreadable paste. Spread the garlic butter evenly onto the cut side of the bread.

  6. Bake until the bread is toasted and golden brown around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a serrated knife to slice the bread into 1 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Top with more fresh herbs if desired.

Recipe Notes

Freezing: After spreading the garlic butter onto the bread, freeze cut-side up on a baking sheet. Once solid, transfer to a freezer zip-top bag or wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake from frozen, unwrap and bake cut-side up at 375°F until heated through and slightly browned around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make Ahead: The garlic butter mixture can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Let sit at room temperature until softened before using.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.