Bread Dipping Oil Recipe - Foolproof Living (2024)

Home / Recipes / Appetizers / Bread Dipping Oil

Published on December 31, 2023 · · By Aysegul Sanford

Learn how to make bread dipping oil with just a handful of everyday ingredients in 5 minutes. Plus, we cover everything you need to know, including what spices and herbs to use, along with the ideal oil and bread for dipping for the best olive oil bread dip. Serve this easy restaurant favorite as a quick appetizer for any time of the year.

Yields: 6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Total: 5 minutes mins

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Bread Dipping Oil Recipe - Foolproof Living (1)

So, you know how you go to your favorite Italian restaurant, and as soon as you sit down, you can’t wait for the olive oil dipping sauce and crusty bread to be placed on your table. It’s restaurant-style at its best (I’m looking at you, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bertucci’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Olive Garden, Maggino’s, and Macaroni Grill!) That is this recipe!

With the right mix of bread dipping seasoning and the best olive oil you can find, you can make restaurant-style food in your home kitchen. It serves as the perfect appetizer for those get-togethers with family and friends. Who knew bread and olive oil could taste so good?!

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Table of Contents show

Ingredients You Will Need

You need a handful of basic ingredients to make this olive oil dip for bread. The good news is that the recipe itself is so forgiving that if you are missing an ingredient or two, you can easily substitute it with another ingredient. Below is what you’ll need, including the best oil for bread dipping:

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  • Fresh or Dried Herbs: You will need fresh or dried basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary to make this olive oil dip. If you decide to use dried herbs, I recommend using half the amount as they tend to be stronger. You can find the correct measurements in the recipe card below.
  • Seasoning and Spices: I know it may seem a bit basic, but the salt and pepper you use make all the difference. If you can, avoid table salt and pre-ground black pepper. Use flaky sea salt or kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper for the best flavor. However, if you do not mind your olive oil bread dip being a little bit spicy, you can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes (or red chili flakes) for some heat.
  • Olive Oil: There are so many olive oils on supermarket shelves these days, and it’s hard to know which one is the best olive oil for dipping bread. A general rule of thumb is to purchase cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil from one supplier or country. These are the fruitiest and most flavorful. Avoid olive oil blends or refined versions.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a big flavor provider and enhancer in this olive dipping oil recipe. When mixed with spices (or fresh herbs), it infuses oil with additional Mediterranean flavors. However, it is also such a delicate ingredient. Use this list as a guide depending on how strong you want the garlic flavor when whipping up your own garlic bread cheese dip.
    • Minced Fresh Garlic cloves: Using fresh minced garlic will provide a strong garlic flavor. I recommend using this version right before you are going to serve.
    • Oven Roasted Garlic – Roasted garlic olive oil dip is my absolute favorite! When you roast garlic, it brings out a natural, caramel sweetness that is simply divine. Once the garlic cloves are roasted, you should be able to easily mash them with a fork and mix them in. Use the moment you are going to serve.
    • Garlic Powder – A good substitute if you want to make olive oil dip ahead. Use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder to replace the fresh.
  • Cheese: Grated Parmesan cheese is a classic ingredient in any restaurant-style Italian dipping oil, but it is an optional ingredient here. You can omit using it if you want to make it vegan or dairy-free. If you do not have Parmesan cheese, you can also use grated Pecorino Romano, cubed feta, or those small mozzarella balls for fresh, cheesy flavor.
  • Acid: Acid gives it a fresh flavor and a nice tang and balances the richness of the olive oil, so don’t skip it! My favorite is freshly squeezed lemon juice. But you can make an olive oil and balsamic vinegar bread dip with a splash of balsamic vinegar as well. If you decide to go with balsamic vinegar, simply use a tablespoon of balsamic in place of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions:

  • Olives: While it is not a traditional ingredient, a handful of chopped green or black (such as Kalamata) olives would take this Italian olive oil bread dip up a notch, especially if you are a fan of olives.
  • Italian Seasoning: For those times I am short on time, I keep a jar of homemade Italian seasoning in my pantry so that I can make this in minutes. Below is my go-to Italian seasoning recipe:
    • 1 tablespoon dried basil
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • ½ tablespoon dried rosemary
    • ½ tablespoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Shallots: Thinly sliced shallots would be a great substitute for garlic if preferred.
  • Other spices: While the combination of basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme is often used in Italian restaurants, you can also use other olive oil dipping spices such as paprika, dried dill, dried sage, parsley, and even fennel seeds whenever you want to switch it up.

How to Make Olive Oil Bread Dip?

This olive oil dipping sauce for bread comes together quickly and easily. Below are the steps:

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  1. Mix the herbs and spices: To make it, mix together dried or fresh rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a shallow bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil: Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar). Add in the garlic and parmesan cheese.
  3. Add the spices: Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir it well to make sure that everything is fully mixed.
  4. Rest (Optional): If you have the time, let it rest in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to meld together nicely.
  5. Serve: Place the bowl of seasoned oil on a large plate with sliced bread around it. Serve!

What Kind of Bread Do You Dip in Olive Oil Bread Dip?

When it comes to choosing the best bread for dipping in oil, you have so many options. While any fresh bread would work, below are a few suggestions:

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  • Italian bread: The classic Italian breads like fresh focaccia and ciabatta would be wonderful to dip into this homemade bread dipping oil.
  • French Bread: With its crispy crust and chewy interior, French baguette is a wonderful option. It also has a long and thin shape, which makes it ideal to slice and dip. Alternatively, if you prefer a soft bread for dipping, you can serve it with storebought or homemade brioche.
  • Sourdough Bread: The tangy flavors of sourdough pair beautifully with this garlic bread dip. Plus, its dense texture holds the oil well.
  • Homemade bread: If you do have the time, I highly recommend making my No Knead Bread or Rustic Olive Bread (my personal favorite bread to serve it with.) They are both wonderfully crusty with a hearty texture and robust flavor.
  • Garlic Bread: The rich and savory flavor of garlic bread compliments the taste of herb and oil bread dip. If you need a good recipe, try my Air Fryer Garlic Bread.
  • Pita Bread: Widely used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, pita’s soft and slightly chewy texture is a good choice for dipping.

How To Make Ahead and Store This Dipping Oil?

While making this Italian dipping sauce takes no more than 5 minutes, with a few adjustments, you can make it ahead and store it for serving later. Here is how I do it:

  • Make Ahead: If you prefer to make this bread dipping oil a few days ahead, I recommend using dried herbs and spices instead of fresh herbs. Also, it is best to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, as when raw garlic sits in oil for an extended period of time, food-borne illness can occur. To make ahead, mix all the ingredients (except cheese) in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it at room temperature. Finally, I would add the parmesan cheese right before serving.
  • Storage: If you are making this olive oil dipping recipe with fresh herbs and fresh garlic, it is best to consume it on the day it is made or store it in an airtight container for an additional day or so. However, if you are using dried herbs and garlic powder, you can store the oil mixture for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Expert Tips:

There is a reason why this recipe went viral on social media. It is not only super easy to make but also ready in minutes.

With that being said, during our recipe testing, we learned a few lessons that I’d like to share so that you can have the best olive oil garlic dip for bread on your first try:

  • Adding Salt: While we listed salt as an ingredient, it is best to taste the mixture first before adding it, especially if you are using Parmesan cheese since it can already be quite salty.
  • Let it rest: If you have the time, let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so. Doing so helps the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve at room temperature: Olive oil tends to become cloudy and thicken when refrigerated. Therefore to maintain its ideal, fluid consistency and make it easier (and more pleasant) to dip, I recommend serving this bread oil dip at room temperature.
  • Warm the bread: If you have the time, serve your dipping oil with warm bread as they do in fancy Italian restaurants.
  • Serving children: This easy bread dip is perfect to serve to family and friends, especially during the holiday season. To adjust the recipe for children, omit the red pepper flakes and use less of the overpowering dried herbs like rosemary and thyme.
  • Dip it “well”: If you let the bread sit in the oil for a good minute or so, it absorbs even more of its delicious flavor.
  • Serving suggestions: While you can serve this bread and olive oil appetizer by themselves, for a special occasion, you can also make it a part of your meat and cheese platter. And if you want to amp up your weeknight dinner, try drizzling it on fish before roasting it in the oven.
  • Salad Dressing: I am pretty sure that you won’t have leftovers, but if you do, this olive oil bread dip makes a great salad dressing.
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What kind of oil do you dip bread in?

The most commonly used and recommended oil for bread dipping is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). A good olive oil for bread dipping is one that uses olives from a single origin. EVOO is preferred for its fruity and peppery flavors that pair well with various types of bread. However, while it is not common, you can also use commercially sold infused olive oils, avocado oil, or walnut oil to make this dipping oil for bread.

How to season olive oil for dipping bread?

Seasoning olive oil for dipping bread involves infusing it with a variety of flavors. In most cases, olive oil is infused with a combination of dried or fresh herbs (such as thyme, basil, rosemary, and oregano), spices and seasonings (like red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper) and acid (like lemon juice, red wine or balsamic vinegar.)

How long does bread dipping oil last?

If you make a version of this recipe using dried herbs and seasonings, you can store it for a long time, potentially up to a month. However, if you use fresh ingredients such as fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese, it should be used within 5 days.

Why dip bread in olive oil?

Dipping bread in olive oil is a practice enjoyed in Mediterranean cultures, often a part of the dining experience, reflecting the region’s culinary heritage where olive oil is harvested and produced locally. Additionally, olive oil adds a rich flavor to the bread. The fruity and peppery flavors of oil paired with bread create a delightful experience.

If you try this bread dip recipe, please take a minute torate the recipeand leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them onInstagramusing #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

Bread Dipping Oil Recipe

By Aysegul Sanford

Yields: 6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Total Time: 5 minutes mins

Homemade Bread dipping oil just like they do in your favorite Italian restaurant! Made with extra virgin olive oil, dried spices (or fresh herbs), lemon juice, and parmesan cheese, this Italian-restaurant-style olive oil bread dip is guaranteed to impress.

Bread Dipping Oil Recipe - Foolproof Living (7)

4.89 from 36 votes

Print Recipe


  • ½ tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced or one teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese shredded (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Place dried basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Pour in the olive oil. Give it a mix.

  • Add in the garlic, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and serve with crusty bread on the side.


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  • Yields:This bread dip oli recipe makes a cup of dipping oil, which is ideal for 6 servings when served as an appetizer with bread on the side. The calorie information below is per serving.
  • Fresh herbs: If you are growing your own herbs, you can use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs following the measurements below. Be sure to chop them before using in the recipe.
    • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • Storage: If you are making this recipe using dried herbs, you can store the oil mixture for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If using fresh herbs and fresh garlic, I would recommend storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Adding Salt: While we listed salt as an ingredient, it is best to taste the mixture first before adding it, especially if you are using Parmesan cheese since it can already be quite salty.
  • Let it rest: If you have the time, let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so. Doing so helps the flavors to meld together.


Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Course: Appetizer

Cuisine: Italian

Diet: Vegetarian

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About Aysegul Sanford

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Hello Friend! I’m Aysegul but you can call me “Ice.” I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

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Reader Interactions

    Leave a Reply

  1. Carol Cuevas

    Bread Dipping Oil Recipe - Foolproof Living (15)
    Excellent and Easy. Makes happy husband and guests.

    I used the fresh recipe, as I grow those spices. I served it with fresh shaved pecorino on the side. Next “Ladies Lunch”, I’ll probably serve the oil and olive bread with burrata, which will make it an even heartier appetizer…..Always trying to impress at Ladies’ Lunch LOL.

    It turns out I make an olive bread that looks exactly like the one you featured, and it is just perfect with the dipping oil.

    Thanks! Looking forward to perusing your other recipes.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Hi Carol,
      How can I be invited to the next “Ladies Lunch”?? I am SO trying the burrata version next time I make this. Genius!
      Thanks for coming by and taking the time to leave a review!
      Have fun with the ladies.


    • Audrey

      I’m considering making jars of this for Christmas gifts and wanted to know what the shelf life would be?


      • Aysegul Sanford

        Hi Audrey,
        While I think it is a great idea, I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Since this dip has cheese in the mixture it wouldn’t do well if it is not refrigerated. And even with refrigeration, I would recommend consuming it within 4-5 days of making it.
        I hope this answers your question.

  2. Toth

    A must do. Fry some chopped garlic in oil til just golden brown and put it in your dipping oil.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      I am happy to hear that you liked the recipe Toth. Thanks for coming by and taking the time to leave a review.


  3. Sheryl Chiaramonte

    This would make such a wonderful hostess gift or bottle up the seasonings add a bottle of EVOO and give as a Christmas gift. Thank you.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      I cannot agree more!


    • Carol Cuevas

      Excellent idea!


  4. Sarah

    Bread Dipping Oil Recipe - Foolproof Living (16)
    I had all the fresh herbs except basil. This turned out fantastic and I reluctantly offered my husband some. Normally he’s opposed to olive oil bread dip but, unfortunately for me, he actually enjoyed this recipe. I ended up making a second batch for us to eat.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      I laughed out loud when I read this. I am so happy to hear that you guys both enjoyed it. I hope he is no longer opposed to olive oil bread dip. I think it is one of the most delicious things in the world. 🙂
      Thanks for coming by Sarah and taking the time to leave a review.


  5. Janet

    I love all the details you provided! This is a simple recipe, but using quality ingredients makes a big difference and I for one don’t always know the different nuances between fresh/dried herbs, when to add ingredients, etc. Thanks for going the extra step.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Thanks Janet.


  6. M

    Trader Joe’s sells really great olive oils for cheap. I really like their Greek one. They also used to have toasted minced dried garlic, but you can get them from other spice purveyors along with minced dried onion and shallots. You could soak your spices and dried alliums in a little bit of warm olive oil to soften them up before serving.

    You can freeze fresh herbs in olive oil, so I bet you could do that for this recipe. I’m going to try it.

    My mom loves olive oil bread dip, so I’m going to make a big jar of the spice mix for her and gift it with a bottle of olive oil and some fresh bread from the local French bakery. Thank you so much for the recipe.


    • Aysegul Sanford

      Great suggestions. Thank you M.


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