Pesto Cheese Bread

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This 3-ingredient Pesto Cheese Bread makes a great snack or side dish. You can’t go wrong with crusty French bread with pesto (homemade or store-bought) and melty mozzarella cheese!

Slices of pesto cheese bread surrounded by basil leaves on a wooden cutting board.


 

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for pesto cheese bread.

Ingredient notes

  • French bread: Remember those French bread pizzas from childhood? You want something like that, wider and less dense than a French baguette. A soft, unsliced Italian loaf works too.
  • Pesto: To make your own pesto, add 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, ½ cup packed fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, and 1 clove garlic to a food processor or blender. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Or, substitute store-bought.
  • Mozzarella: Shred this fresh for maximum meltability (rather than purchasing pre-shredded cheese).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Cut loaf of bread lengthwise and place both halves on prepared baking sheet. Spread ¼ cup pesto on each half of bread.
Pesto spread on halves of French bread.
  1. Top each half of bread with one cup of shredded mozzarella. 
Uncooked pesto cheese bread
  1. Bake until edges turn golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Slices of pesto cheese bread surrounded by basil leaves on a wooden cutting board.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Pesto Cheese Bread recipe makes 12 slices, enough for 6 people (2 slices each). Feel free to double depending on your crowd size and what else is on the menu.
  • Storage: Store leftover baked Pesto Cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: To get a jumpstart on this cheese bread, blend up the homemade pesto up to 4 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator (add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation) until ready to use.
  • Freezer: While I don’t recommend freezing the entire cheese bread, my DIY Basil Walnut Pesto is definitely freezer-friendly! Pour into a jar and top with olive oil to keep air out. Be sure to leave enough space at the top of the jar for expansion. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you need it.
  • Cheese, please: Parmesan, provolone, or fontina would also work wonderfully instead of some or all of the mozzarella.
Slices of pesto cheese bread surrounded by basil leaves on a wooden cutting board.

More ways with basil

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Slices of pesto cheese bread surrounded by basil leaves on a wooden cutting board.

Pesto Cheese Bread

This 3-ingredient Pesto Cheese Bread makes a great snack or side dish. You can't go wrong with crusty French bread with pesto (homemade or store-bought) and melty mozzarella cheese!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings (2 slices each)
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 386
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Cut loaf of bread lengthwise and place both halves on prepared baking sheet.
  • Spread ¼ cup pesto on each half of bread and top with one cup of shredded mozzarella. Bake until edges turn golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. French bread: Remember those French bread pizzas from childhood? You want something like that, wider and less dense than a French baguette. A soft, unsliced Italian loaf works too.
  2. Pesto: To make your own pesto, add 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, ½ cup packed fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, and 1 clove garlic to a food processor or blender. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Or, substitute store-bought.
  3. Mozzarella: Shred this fresh for maximum meltability (rather than purchasing pre-shredded cheese).
  4. Yield: This Pesto Cheese Bread recipe makes 12 slices, enough for 6 people (2 slices each). Feel free to double depending on your crowd size and what else is on the menu.
  5. Storage: Store leftover baked Pesto Cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: To get a jumpstart on this cheese bread, blend up the homemade pesto up to 4 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator (add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation) until ready to use.
  7. Freezer: While I don’t recommend freezing the entire cheese bread, my DIY Basil Walnut Pesto is definitely freezer-friendly! Pour into a jar and top with olive oil to keep air out. Be sure to leave enough space at the top of the jar for expansion. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you need it.
  8. Cheese, please: Parmesan, provolone, or fontina would also work wonderfully instead of some or all of the mozzarella.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slicesCalories: 386kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 17gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 772mgPotassium: 114mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 672IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 253mgIron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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