Bread Stick Recipe (Olive Garden Mimic)

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My favorite home Bread sticks recipe! These are always perfectly soft, fluffy, and chewy and no one can resist that garlic butter topping! And because they're freshly made from scratch, they're even better than Olive Gardens!

Wondering what to serve with these? I recommend Pasta e Fagioli, Zuppa Toscana, Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup or Minestrone Soup.

Bread sticks stacked in a wicker basket lined with a green tea towel.

These are the perfect accompaniment to all your favorite soups. And you can't go wrong with that classic combination of soup, salad, and breadsticks for dinner.

Or spaghetti and breadsticks if you're looking for Heaven carbs.

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I love them because in restaurants the breadsticks can be unpredictable. Especially restaurant chains. Sometimes they taste great, while others are overcooked and dry, soft or too salty.

When you make them at home, they are always perfect following this easy recipe! And if you want, you can serve with your favorite Italian sauce for dipping.

Also here I will share the easy way to turn them into sugar coated sweet cinnamon breadsticks or bread sticks sprinkled with salty cheese.

Bread stick ingredients and possible substitutes

  • All-purpose flour – Use preferably unbleached to obtain the best flavor. Bread flour will also work very well.
  • Active dry yeast – Instant yeast or even fast rising yeast will work (where it would reduce rise times). If you use any of these then you don't need to try first, just mix with dry ingredients, mix with wet ingredients.
  • Granulated sugar – This slightly sweetens the breadsticks so they don't have such a one-dimensional taste. Honey can be substituted, although you will only need 1 1/2 tablespoons.
  • Salt – Don't forget this or they will taste as bland as possible. It is amazing what salt does for a recipe. Table salt or fine sea salt will work.
  • Vegetable oil – To make them more authentic, Italian breadsticks use olive oil. Canola oil will also work well here.
  • Butter – If you want to make these vegans, then go with a vegan butter.
  • Garlic powder – This makes the perfect garlic bread sticks. For a fresher garlic flavor, you can press 1 clove of garlic through a garlic grinder, mix with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, strain the garlic for a milder flavor if you prefer, and then spread the butter on the bread sticks. Alternatively, they would be delicious with a roasted or sauteed garlic butter.

Steps showing how to make homemade breadsticks

How to make homemade breadsticks

Once you realize how easy it is to do this, you will want to do it all the time!

  • Yeast tested: To start, dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Let stand and activate 10 minutes.
  • Mix the remaining sugar, a portion of flour, salt and oil: Add the granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 3/4 teaspoon of salt and vegetable oil, then mix with an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until combined.
  • Switch to hook accessory, add remaining flour and knead: Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and knead the mixture on low speed, adding up to 1/4 cup of additional flour as needed, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Transfer and let the dough grow: Transfer the dough to the greased bowl, cover and rest 1 1/2 hours.
  • Divide into 12 pieces, form a rope: Punch the lifted dough down, divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each piece onto 9-inch string on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to lined trays.
  • Let it pop a second time: Cover and let rise 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees near the end of the survey.
  • To bake: Bake 11-13 minutes until golden brown, then butter, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.

Butter the breadsticks on a baking sheet with a stick of butter.

How to make a variation of cheese breadsticks

If you want to make cheese breadsticks, then:

  1. Brush with butter and garlic powder after the breadsticks have risen just before baking (skip the salt finish).
  2. Sprinkle with cheeses such as provolone, parmesan, asiago cheese before baking. Bake in the center of the oven.

How to Convert to Cinnamon Sugar Sticks

Looking for a sweet dessert stick recipe instead of tasty? The recipe will be easy to convert.

  1. To do this, reduce the salt in the breadstick recipe to 3/4 teaspoon.
  2. Bake as instructed, then omit garlic powder and salt topping, and sprinkle 1/2 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon instead.
  3. Then go smoother and drizzle with a vanilla or cream cheese frosting or use it as a sauce!

Tips for the best breadsticks

  • If the yeast does not bubble with the 10 minute break, it has deteriorated, throw it away and start with new yeast (make sure it has not expired).
  • Make sure to let the dough and breadsticks fit long enough for them to rise and become fluffy.
  • If you want them to be browner on top, you can move the oven rack one level higher.
  • Take care to bake so they are not pasty and are not too long or dry.
  • Serve hot! Bread sticks are always better hot. If you need to reheat, wrap them in foil and heat them in a 325 degree oven until hot, about 5 minutes.

The breadsticks are spread out on the parchment with the sides of the marinara sauce.

Can breadsticks be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze the dough (before molding or after molding), thaw and let the second rise finish and bake. Or you can freeze after baking.

What sauces to serve with breadsticks?

There are many dip options for breadsticks if you choose to serve with something, which is totally optional. Try:

Overhead image of stack of breadsticks in basket.

More easy bread recipes to try

Bread Stick Recipe (Olive Garden Mimic)

Perfectly smooth, fluffy and chewy and finished with a buttery garlic dressing. No one can resist these! And because they're freshly made from scratch, they're even better than Olive Gardens!

Servings: 12

Preparation time 25 minutes

Cook time 11 minutes

Rest time 2 hours 30 minutes

Total time 3 hours 6 minutes

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil


  • 2 butter spoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together warm water, yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar until the yeast has dissolved. Let rest 10 minutes.

  2. Add the rest of 1 tablespoon + 2 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 3/4 teaspoon of salt and vegetable oil, then place the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix the mixture until is well combined.

  3. Change mixer to dough hook attachment, add 1 1/2 cups remaining flour and knead mixture on low speed, add up to 1/4 cup additional flour as needed, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic *.

  4. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl with butter, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Hit the dough up, divide it into 12 equal portions (2 ounces by weight), keep them covered with plastic wrap as you work. Roll each piece onto 9-inch string on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets.

  6. Cover and let rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 during last 10 minutes of rise.

  7. Bake in preheated oven 11-13 minutes until golden brown **. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt and garlic powder.

  8. Remove the breadsticks from the oven and roll a stick of butter over the hot breadsticks (using 2 tablespoons, or spread with melted butter) and immediately sprinkle with the garlic salt mixture.

  9. Serve warm. Let any rest cool and store in an airtight container.

* The dough should separate from the sides of the bowl but should still be slightly tacky. If you add too much flour, the dough becomes too difficult to shape and the breadsticks will be drier and denser.

** If you want browner rolls on top, you can move the oven rack one level for baking. Just keep an eye on them too, each oven varies.

Recipe first published on November 7, 2012. Last updated on February 19, 2020.

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