Is there anything better than fresh bread? This cheesy pesto stuffed garlic bread is one of my go-to sides with pasta, pizza, steak, and more! Make this bread for a dinner party or bring it to a potluck. It’s easy, savory, buttery, and so flavorful!

Sliced cheesy pesto stuffed garlic bread on a wood board next to brown bowls of parmesan, pesto, and garlic on a tan counter.

It never fails that spring gives us a little sneak peek right before one final, major snow storm. I fall for it every damn time. Sitting on patios. Drinking rosé. Planning my spring garden. And then? Snowmageddon.

So I guess I’ll lean into winter, make yet another cozy stew, and continue Pinterest-ing tips for keeping basil alive for longer than 1 week. Because how else will I continue feeding my obsession with basil lemon pesto this year?

I mean, truly, cover any carb in pesto and I’m happy. Pasta, pizza, polenta? Yes, yes, and yes. But bread is perhaps my favorite. And this recipe combines pesto with another fan favorite. Garlic bread. 🙌 It’s ridiculously good, buttery, cheesy, and makes for a lovely, simple side dish for a crowd.

Why you’ll love this bread

I mean honestly, what’s not to love about garlic bread? Especially when it’s stuffed with homemade basil pesto, melty mozzarella, and nutty parmesan. Like, I could eat this as a meal. And this recipe has been a long time coming because I’ve been making it ever since my culinary school days.

  • This recipe seriously takes about 5 minutes to prep.
  • It’s garlicky, buttery, cheesy, & has a pop of fresh basil.
  • Serve it with steak, pasta, soup, or salad. It goes with everything.
  • Make this pesto bread recipe for dinner parties or chill Sunday dinners.

Ingredients you’ll need

A wood board with a loaf of bread next to white and brown bowls of pesto, garlic, butter, cheese, and salt on a white counter.
  • Bread – any crusty loaf of bread will work. Baguette, ciabatta, sourdough, country bread. Use your favorite!
  • Pesto – store-bought or homemade pesto will work. But of course, I always recommend homemade pesto, it’s just too good.
  • Butter – a bit of unsalted butter will add richness and flavor to the bread.
  • Garlic – fresh garlic is a must in this recipe if you want the full garlic bread experience.
  • Mozzarella – use fresh, whole milk mozzarella for the best flavor and melt.
  • Parmesan – a bit of parmesan will give this bread a salty, umami flavor.
  • Salt & pepper – I recommend Morton’s Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Ingredient variations

  • Pesto – any pesto will work in this recipe! Try pesto Calabrese, sun-dried tomato pesto, or arugula pesto.
  • Roasted garlic – use roasted garlic instead of fresh for a sweet, caramelized flavor.
  • Cheese – try provolone, asiago, pecorino romano, or grana padano. I just always recommend a bit of mozzarella for meltiness.
  • Gluten free – replace the regular bread with a loaf of crusty gluten-free bread.

Pro tip

Make sure you’re freshly grating the cheeses for the best flavor and texture! Pre-shredded has additives that will give the melted cheese a grainy, rubbery texture.

How to make this recipe

Two steps to making pesto filling. In photo 1, a white bowl has pesto, garlic, and butter. In photo 2, the filling is mixed together.

Pesto filling

  1. Add the pesto, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to a small bowl.
  2. Using a rubber spatula or fork, mix everything together until it’s well-combined. A few lumps are ok!
Three steps to making cheesy bread. In photo 1, a loaf of bread is sliced in half. In photo 2, the bread is sliced. In photo 3, the bread is topped with filling.

Prep & bake the bread

  1. First, slice the bread in half horizontally.
  2. Then, cut the bread into thick slices, leaving about 1/2-inch of the bottom uncut.
  3. Using a small rubber spatula, spread about half of the pesto mixture in-between the slices getting it in all the nooks and crannies. Spread the other half on top.

Quick tip

If your bread loaf is extra large, feel free to use more pesto. Just don’t get too wild, or the bread could end up soggy instead of soft in the center and crisp on the edges!

Three steps to making cheesy bread. In photo 1, bread is topped with cheese. In photo 2, the cheese is melted. In photo 3, the bread is sliced.
  1. Evenly spread the mozzarella and parmesan over the bread.
  2. Then, bake the bread until it’s hot and the cheese is melty and starting to bubble in some spots.
  3. Lastly, let the bread cool for 3-4 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Pro tip

If you like softer garlic bread, here’s how to get it! First, you’ll want to start with a softer loaf like French bread. Then, mix the cheese into the the pesto-garlic mixture. After you spread the bread with the filling, sandwich it back together and wrap it in tinfoil. Bake until the bread is hot and the cheese is melty. Slice and enjoy!

Serving ideas

If ever I need a side dish that 1. takes 5 minutes of actual work and 2. is a big crowd-pleaser, this bread is it. It goes with everything from pasta to pot roast. Make a big loaf for dinner parties with friends, bring it to a BBQ, or halve the recipe for a cozy, quiet dinner at home. Here are some of my favorite meals to go with this garlic bread!

Topping ideas

I mean, this bread is amazing on its own. But sometimes, I like to add extra toppings for a little appetizer or snack situation! Here are some good ones:

  • Roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, or sliced olives
  • Fresh tomato slices, sun-dried tomatoes, or roasted tomatoes
  • Chicken, bacon, or prosciutto
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • A drizzle of olive oil or balsamic glaze

Quick tip

This recipe can be repurposed for French bread pizzas! Instead of cutting the loaf into slices, leave the bread halves whole. Spread the bread halves with the filling, sprinkle with cheese, and add your favorite toppings. Bake, slice, and enjoy!

Sliced pesto stuffed garlic bread on a wood board next to brown bowls of parmesan, garlic, and pesto with a beige background.

Storing, make-ahead, & reheating

To store leftover bread, wait until it’s fully cooled. Then, wrap the cooled bread slices in tin foil or place them in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

You can also prep this bread up to 2 hours in advance. Just assemble the bread and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Then, bake or broil the bread right before serving.

To reheat the leftovers, you can microwave or bake them. Microwave slices for about 30-60 seconds until heated through. Or, sandwich the bread halves (or slices) cheese-side together. Then, wrap in tin foil and bake at 350°F for 5-10 minutes until the bread is heated through and the cheese is melty.

Pro tip

Don’t prep the bread more than 2 hours in advance. Otherwise, it could get soggy. The fresher, the better!

Helpful tools

Stuffed pesto garlic bread on a wood board next to brown bowls of bread, parmesan, garlic, and pesto on a tan backdrop.

Tips & tricks

  • Now is the time to use a good quality bread. It holds up all of the toppings and tastes so much better!
  • Feel free to adjust the garlic to your tastes. Some pestos have more garlic than others, so taste the pesto and add more or less fresh garlic if needed.
  • It’s important to get into all of the nooks and crannies of the bread for the best flavor. I like to use a mini rubber spatula or a butter knife.
  • If you like crustier bread, broil the cheese for 1-2 minutes after baking. Just don’t over-broil or the bread will be crunchy and hard to eat!

Recipe FAQs

What is the best bread for this recipe?

That totally depends on what you like best! Personally, I like a good crusty Italian loaf. But you can also use sourdough, French bread, baguette, ciabatta, or a country loaf. For a softer garlic bread, I would use a loaf of French bread. But if you like crispy edges, go with a baguette or ciabatta.

Do I have to top this bread with cheese?

Nope! If you don’t want to add the cheese, you can leave it out. The pesto filling is delicious on its own!

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Sure! Just use a loaf of gluten-free bread instead of regular. Look for gluten-free baguettes or French bread at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or in the freezer aisle of the grocery store.

Can I freeze this bread?

I would not recommend freezing this bread because the cheese does not defrost well. It comes out rubbery and a bit soggy.

Stuffed pesto garlic bread on a wood board next to brown bowls of bread, parmesan, pesto, and garlic with a white background.

More pesto recipes

Fried Burrata with Roasted Peppers & Pesto
White Lasagna with Pesto & Pancetta
Roasted Veggie Breakfast Casserole with Pesto

If you make this recipe, I would love it if you left a star rating and review! I read every single comment and love hearing what you think about my recipes. Thank you for supporting Sunday Table!


5 from 1 vote

Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Garlic Bread

Yield: 20 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Is there anything better than fresh bread? This cheesy pesto stuffed garlic bread is one of my go-to sides with pasta, pizza, steak, and more! Make this bread for a dinner party or bring it to a potluck. It's easy, savory, buttery, and so flavorful!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought (180 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (57 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (4 large cloves)
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 loaf of crusty Italian bread (about 1 pound/454 grams)
  • 1 cup freshly-shredded whole milk mozzarella (110 grams)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-shredded parmesan (35 grams)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Add the pesto, butter, and garlic to a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Use a rubber spatula or fork to combine the filling until it's well-mixed. A few small lumps are ok.
  • Next, use a bread knife to cut the loaf of bread in half horizontally. Then, cut the bread halves into thick slices, leaving the bottom 1/2-inch of the bread uncut. You want the loaf of bread to stay intact so the filling stays put.
  • Using a small rubber spatula or butter knife, spread about half of the filling in-between the slices of bread. Then, spread the rest of the filling on top of the bread halves.
  • Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella and parmesan over the tops of the bread halves. Bake the bread for 10-15 minutes, until the bread is hot and the cheese is melted and starting to bubble on top.
  • Let the bread rest at room temperature for 3-4 minutes. Then, slice the bread all the way through. Enjoy!

Notes

Now is the time to use a good quality bread. It holds up all of the toppings and tastes so much better!
Feel free to adjust the garlic to your tastes. Some pestos have more garlic than others, so taste the pesto and add more or less fresh garlic if needed.
It’s important to get into all of the nooks and crannies of the bread for the best flavor. I like to use a mini rubber spatula or a butter knife.
If your bread loaf is extra large, feel free to use more pesto. Just don’t get too wild, or the bread could end up soggy instead of soft in the center and crisp on the edges!
If you like crustier bread, broil the cheese for 1-2 minutes after baking. Just don’t over-broil or the bread will be crunchy and hard to eat!
If you like softer garlic bread, here’s how to get it! First, you’ll want to start with a softer loaf like French bread. Then, mix the cheese into the the pesto-butter mixture. After you spread the bread with the pesto-butter-cheese mixture, sandwich it back together and wrap it in tinfoil. Bake until the bread is hot and the cheese is melty. Slice and enjoy!
This recipe can be repurposed for French bread pizzas! Instead of cutting the bread into slices, leave the loaf halves whole. Spread the bread halves with the pesto filling, sprinkle with cheese, and add your favorite toppings. Bake, slice, and enjoy!
Cuisine: American, Italian
Course: Bread & Dough, Side Dish
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 116kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.2g, Protein: 4.4g, Fat: 5.2g, Saturated Fat: 2.6g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 220mg, Potassium: 36mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 0.8g, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 1mg
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xo Sara Lynn

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