Dunk warm slices or chunks of crusty carbs in this Bread Dipping Oil for a restaurant-like appetizer that pairs well with pasta, grilled meat, soup, or salad. Pantry staple spices, olive oil, and 5 minutes of prep time are all you need for this easy appetizer.

Ripped pieces of bread on a platter with dipping oil in a bowl.

I grew up with bread baskets full of pillowy soft rolls, butter packets, saltine crackers, and sesame breadsticks. I wasn’t super impressed when, as an adult, I started going to restaurants that served me a bowl of dipping oil with bread.

I wasn’t off the mark, either, because so many of them were bad. There is nothing more unappetizing than a bowl or plate of flavorless olive oil (plain or dotted with low-effort mix-ins).

With a little bit of experimentation, I transformed the humble bread-and-oil into my ideal appetizer. It’s all about choosing just a couple of high-quality ingredients and keeping them on hand. Then all you have to do is grab a loaf of crusty bread and you’re ready to go!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Bread Dipping Oil Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for bread dipping oil.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Olive oil: If you’ve never had good olive oil, it’s hard to understand the sentiment of “use one you would enjoy plain.” Because maybe there isn’t one, right? There is, but you just haven’t discovered it yet. If you think this might describe you, I personally use and recommend Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil from California.
  • Dried marjoram: The most underrated Italian spice that you never knew you needed. Put it in your dipping oil, yes, but also add it to other Italian recipes that you might be cooking (spaghetti sauce, bean stews, red wine vinaigrette).
  • Balsamic vinegar: Seek out a variety made in Modena (like Giuseppe Giusti). The natural sweetness of this high-quality vinegar is worth the extra investment. (Plus, you can use the rest of the bottle in my French Onion Soup, Balsamic Chicken and Tomatoes, Balsamic Mushrooms and Onions, and of course Balsamic Vinaigrette.)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: Omit if you’re not fond of spicy food.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together, olive oil, dried marjoram, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes, allowing for flavors to develop. Drizzle balsamic vinegar when serving.
Dipping oil in a clear bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Bread Dipping Oil recipe makes about ¼ cup, or 4 servings, 1 tablespoon each.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored for up to 4 days.
  • Mix-up your mix-ins: Use different herbs such as dried oregano, thyme, or basil (or your favorite Italian seasoning blend). Or, add a pinch of garlic powder or lemon pepper.
  • Beyond-bread uses: Once you’ve mastered the easy Bread Dipping Oil recipe to pair with your favorite sourdough baguette, No-Knead Bread, or Italian loaf, try it as a finishing sauce for grilled meats, drizzle a spoonful over roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes, or toss with pasta, beans, and veggies. It makes a tasty salad dressing, too!
Ripped pieces of bread on a platter with dipping oil in a bowl.

No-Knead Bread

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Bonus bread toppings and sauces

Bread Dipping oil in a small dish surrounded by bread pieces.

Bread Dipping Oil

Dunk warm slices or chunks of crusty carbs in this Bread Dipping Oil for a restaurant-like appetizer that pairs well with pasta, grilled meat, soup, or salad. Pantry staple spices, olive oil, and 5 minutes of prep time are all you need for this easy appetizer.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 4 servings (1 tbsp each)
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 124

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (see note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (see note 3)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional (see note 4)
  • bread for serving

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl whisk together, olive oil, dried marjoram, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional) mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes, allowing for flavors to develop. Drizzle balsamic vinegar when serving.

Notes

  1. Olive oil: If you’ve never had good olive oil, it’s hard to understand the sentiment of “use one you would enjoy plain.” Because maybe there isn’t one, right? There is, but you just haven’t discovered it yet. If you think this might describe you, I personally use and recommend Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil from California.
  2. Dried marjoram: The most underrated Italian spice that you never knew you needed. Put it in your dipping oil, yes, but also add it to other Italian recipes that you might be cooking (spaghetti sauce, bean stews, red wine vinaigrette).
  3. Balsamic vinegar: Seek out a variety made in Modena (like Giuseppe Giusti). The natural sweetness of this high-quality vinegar is worth the extra investment. (Plus, you can use the rest of the bottle in my French Onion Soup, Balsamic Chicken and Tomatoes, Balsamic Mushrooms and Onions, and of course Balsamic Vinaigrette.)
  4. Crushed red pepper flakes: Omit if you’re not fond of spicy food.
  5. Yield: This Bread Dipping Oil recipe makes about ¼ cup, or 4 servings, 1 tablespoon each.
  6. Storage: Leftovers can be stored for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbspCalories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 585mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 40IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
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