Ooey gooey melty cheese on garlic bread?! There are few things better than garlicky pull-apart breads draped in melted cheese.
Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread is a garlic cheesy bread recipe taken to new heights with cheese. It will be your new favorite go-to side.
Pull Apart Bread aka Crack Bread
Some call this type of bread “crack bread” due to the addictive nature of it, but also the cut sides that creates space for a garlic butter mixture and of course CHEESE! It’s a shortcut to fully homemade bread- think of it as semi-homemade, taking store bought bread to a new level.
Cheese and bread go hand in hand. Garlic and bread go hand in hand. It only makes sense to put them together for garlic cheese bread. The essence is that of family dining and sharing. Instead of passing the bread bowl, this glorious blooming loaf sits in the middle and you reach in to tear a piece off, much like a blooming onion.
They come in many varieties, sweet and savory. In fact, many people know one of the most popular versions as monkey bread, which uses bits of biscuits dough stuffed into a bundt pan. Other types of sweet breads require a from-scratch dough, rising time and and of course kneading (or at least a stand mixer with a bread hook!)
What You’ll Need
- Bread- You need a good thick loaf of bread that is sturdy enough to hold onto all those fillings and not get soggy or fall apart. I love the look of a circular loaf, but a long, thick Italian loaf works as well. Any flavor of bread works, focaccia, sourdough or even artisan flavors like sundried tomato or olive can be a good twist.
- Cheese– For this cheesy pull apart bread we used monterey jack cheese and parmesan romano cheese. Both have bold flavors and good metlability. I do suggest freshly grating your own to et the best melty factor. Pre-shredded cheese is tossed in starch which can prohibit the glossy melt and result in a grainy texture.
- Garlic– For full garlicky taste, fresh garlic cloves are the only way to go. Bottled minced garlic is good for saving time or toning down the garlic punch because it is often sweeter. Use a garlic press or grate the cloves to evenly distribute it throughout the butter mixture. In a pinch, use garlic powder or granulated garlic.
- Unsalted Butter– Using unsalted gives you control over how salty the finished dish is. If you use salted butter, opt for cutting back or eliminating the additional salt in the seasoning mix.
- DIjon Mustard– This is my secret ingredient that helps my garlic pull apart bread stand out from the others. Mustard has a unique acidic zing that people just can’t put their finger on…
- Seasonings– Italian seasoning, coarse kosher salt and black pepper. If using fine sea salt, reduce the volume by at least half.
How to Make Pull Apart Bread
Making your bread is super easy and after you’ve done it once or twice, it will be second nature.
- Preheat your oven and tear off an oversized piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the whole loaf. If using a round loaf, crisscross the pieces to a large “+”.
- Score the bread loaf crosswise and lengthwise into 1 inch squares, cutting almost through to the bottom, but leaving it intact. Use a serrated knife for the easiest cutting. Place the loaf on your prepared aluminum foil. This should go without saying, but do not use plastic wrap- it melts in the oven!
- In a small bowl, combine the cheeses and garlic, it will be dry, it just makes it easier to stuff. Stuff the cheese blend evenly into all of the slits, nooks and crannies. I like using my hands, it is the easiest way to get it down in there deep. Food grade latex gloves will prevent your hands from smelling like garlic all day long.
- In another small bowl combine the melted butter and seasonings. Spoon or pour mixture evenly over stuffed cheese slits. It will drizzle down in on its own.
- Wrap entire bread loaf in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove loaf and open the top of the aluminum foil to expose the top of the bread so it browns nicely. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and tops are golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and cool for several minutes before serving.
There are endless possibilities in what stuff inside your cheesy garlic pull-apart bread. I also regularly make buffalo chicken pull apart bread and jalapeno popper pull apart bread. I did stick with Italian flare for this one.
- Cheese- Switch up the type of cheese! As stated above, I resist the urge to buy a pre-shredded blend, but often mimic their flavor profiles. Low moisture mozzarella cheese, fontina, gruyere, parmesan cheese, gouda, cheddar or any other melty cheese works and using a blend just makes the flavor that much more sophisticated.
- Seasonings– Swap the Italian blend for anything you desire. Cajun seasoning, seasoned salt or even Thai seasoning are all fun. Make is spicy with a taco seasoning. Everything But The Bagel has been popular recently too.
- Something green- Consider adding chopped parsley, scallions or chives to the mix.
- Something red- Minced roasted red bell peppers or sundried tomatoes make excellent additions, just make sure they are well drained and don’t introduce unneeded moisture into the bread.
- Dipping sauce– Although is stands alone perfectly, I do love a good dipping sauce and marinara is a perfect match.
What to Serve it With
I like to serve it alongside pasta, a salad, soups or stews, or as a starter or a side dish. My favorites are carbonara, garlic parmesan linguine and mom’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs. But it doesn’t have to be paired with any Italian meal.
Make Ahead & Storage
Can I make garlic bread in advance? I would suggest making the topping ahead of time, but waiting until you are ready to eat before actually cooking it. Fresh garlic bread is so much better.
Can I freeze garlic bread? You sure can! Haven’t you seen frozen garlic bread in the freezer section of the store? Freeze it with the topping on it and before you make it.
What is the best way to reheat garlic bread? As with most bread, the best way to reheat it is in the oven on a low setting or with a quick broil (watch is closely!). Bread reheated in the microwave gets gummy and chewy fast.
More easy bread recipes:
Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread Recipe
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Score the bread loaf crosswise and lengthwise into 1 inch squares, cutting almost through to the bottom, but leaving it intact. Place the loaf on an oversized piece of aluminum foil (enough to wrap around the whole loaf).
- In a small bowl, combine the cheeses and garlic, mix. Stuff the cheese blend evenly into all of the slits, nooks and crannies.
- In another small bowl combine the melted butter, mustard, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Spoon or pour mixture evenly over stuffed cheese slits.
- Wrap entire bread loaf in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove loaf and open the top of the aluminum foil to expose the top of the bread. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and tops are nicely brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and cool for several minutes before serving.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.