You know when you sit down at a nice Italian restaurant and a big basket of fresh homemade bread greets you with its aroma and warm touch (It’s gotta be warm; none of this cold bread bologna)?
A lot of times there’s high-quality butter to go along with it – and don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for high-quality butter – but even better? When there’s olive oil to dip the bread in.
And I’m not talking about just any olive oil. I’m talking high-quality, straight-from-the-source olive oil. Not only that though (!), olive oil that’s been marinated with herbs – fresh or dried – and of course, garlic (!!!).
I hear people talk all the time about the bread dipping oil at restaurants like Carrabba, California Pizza Kitchen, Bertucci, and Macaroni Grill… and I’ve got to say, respectfully, that this one right here, this one takes the cake.
Not only can you have it whenever the heck you want, but it’s also easy to make, and it’s got ALL the flavor.
Not just a couple of dried herbs here and there. It’s got ’em all, and lots of ’em, and even better? You have the flexibility to make it just as damn good as you want.
What Makes Olive Oil for Bread Dipping?
So, how do you make olive oil dip for bread? Yeah, I’ve said there’s flavor and herbs and yada yada, but what’s that all really mean?
Let’s get the down low, down to the deets, shall we?
(I admit, I might be too old to say stuff like this, but I’m just old enough to know how to make a really mean bread dipping oil, so let’s let it slide?)
Herbs – Dried or Fresh
Here’s the beauty of this dip: you can use the herbs you have!
Whether they’re dried or fresh herbs, they are going to bring their A-game flavor.
The star herb players this time around:
The main thing you need to know when using dry vs fresh herbs is that the amounts will differ.
When using dried herbs instead of fresh, you need to use about half the amount that you would for fresh because dried herbs are much more potent – you know, concentrated flavor.
And vice-versa for fresh vs dry: use more fresh herbs than the dried amount listed.
Usually, the guideline is about half or double the amount. I say do what your tastebuds desire. 😉
So there are the herbs. Lovely, lovely, herbs.
And then…there’s ROASTED GARLIC.
If there’s one thing I love more than garlic, it’s roasted garlic.
The magic happens when garlic roasts up. The flavor transforms into a more mellow, buttery, velvety, caramelized flavor, making it a wonderful addition to this bread dip.
High-Quality Olive Oil
So you’ve got the herbs, the roasted garlic, and now you just need one more key ingredient: high-quality olive oil.
Really, if you want this to be the best darn bread dip that you’ve ever had, use the good stuff.
It will bring flavor you’ve never had (ok, or maybe you have and that is SO good and then you KNOW you gotta use the best stuff you can find). It’s 100% worth it in recipes like this, where the olive oil flavor is front and center.
Other factors? Well, there’s a little acid in the dip because it adds complexity to the flavors and balances it out. You need the acid.
I use a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for the fresh brightness it adds to the dip. If you don’t have lemons on hand, or would prefer, a perfect substitute for lemon juice in this recipe is balsamic vinegar. What’s more Italian dip feeling than olive oil and balsamic? Go ahead and make the swap if needed.
Serving the Dip (with bread!)
Ok, so what kind of bread is THE BEST kind of bread for dipping?
Is it wrong to say that all bread is good bread and as long as there is BREAD you’re on the right track?
Ok, so my bread-loving tendencies aside, your best bet with this olive oil dip is to have a loaf of crusty bread. One that’s hearty and full of texture and nooks and crannies to sop up ALL of the goodness.
My go-to for this type of thing is usually warm baguette slices or a big slice of something like sourdough, with flavor and texture and that chewy crust.
Focaccia would also be an excellent choice, or a slice of Italian bread, or ciabatta…
The point is: as long as it’s hearty, textured, and warm, you can’t go wrong.
Now go ahead, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab your loaf of bread, and get to dipping away in this easy, simple garlic olive oil dip that cannot be beaten!
Need More Easy Appetizer Dip Inspiration? Check these out!
- Whipped Feta Dip
- Whipped Ricotta with Herbs and Honey
- Creamy Artichoke Leek and Kale Dip
- Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Dip
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Herby Roasted Garlic Olive Oil Dip
- 1 whole garlic bulb
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ cup high-quality olive oil + drizzle for garlic
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Half of a lemon, juiced (~1/2 – 1 TBSP)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove excess paper from the exterior of the garlic bulb, and cut the top of the bulb off, exposing the top of the cloves inside. Place in the center of a piece of foil that’s large enough to cover the bulb. Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Wrap foil around the bulb, and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until tender and golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, combine dried herbs, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Add the squeeze of lemon. Once garlic has cooled enough to handle, flip upside down and squeeze out the garlic bulbs. Combine with the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to allow the flavor to develop.
- Serve with warm crusty bread and enjoy!
- Substitution Options: Use balsamic vinegar in place of lemon juice. Add in parmesan cheese for extra yumminess!
- Use fresh herbs instead of dry by doubling the amount listed. If using fresh basil, add right before serving as it will brown.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The oil may solidify; let it come to room temperature and stir to smooth out.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our easy vegetarian appetizer collection. Check it out!