Learn how to make homemade gluten free garlic bread from scratch with maximum garlic butter flavor all over, a tender center, and a crispy crunchy crust.
The best method for making garlic bread
That “garlic bread” we’ve all settled for, the one that’s made by buttering some bread, sprinkling it with garlic powder, and toasting it? That’s going to be a thing of the past once you try my method.
The best method for making garlic bread is to soak it in garlic-packed melted butter and olive oil. Then, squeeze out the excess, and bake it to perfection.
Resist the urge to sauté the garlic in the butter when you melt it. If the garlic isn’t raw when it goes into the oven, it will burn.
Instead, we make the garlic into a paste by mincing it and then pressing it with the flat side of a chef’s knife (I use a Santoku knife but you get the idea). That way, you break down the garlic without heating it, and it eliminates any sharpness of the raw garlic—and ensure that no one is going to bite into a piece of raw garlic.
Why soak the bread?
If your garlic bread only has some garlic flavor on the very outside of the bread, it will probably smell a lot better than it tastes. When you soak the slices of bread in oil and butter, mixed with garlic paste and herbs, the flavors will make it past the very outer layers of the bread.
If you didn’t squeeze out the excess garlic butter from the slices, the bread wouldn’t crisp properly during baking. We want flavorful bread that’s soft in the very center, but crispy on the outside. This is how you make that happen.
What sort of gluten free bread can you use?
I didn’t cook anything as a kid—except perfect garlic bread, using this method. The difference now, of course, is that to make gluten free garlic bread, you need the right gluten free bread.
Since garlic bread is typically made with French bread, I prefer to make our recipe for gluten free French bread for use in this recipe. It has the perfect texture and shape—although I shape it without tapering the ends as directed in the original recipe so that I get more perfect slices from the loaf.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making homemade French bread for this recipe, you can of course use packaged gluten free bread. I recommend using something sliced thickly (like packaged gluten free hamburger or hot dog buns), or that you slice yourself after you buy it.
If the bread you’re using is too thinly sliced, it won’t ever reach the right balance of crisp outside and tender inside. Bread that’s sliced too thin also can’t soak up as much garlic butter without getting soggy.
Ingredients and substitutions
For instructions on how to make the gluten free French bread without dairy, please click see the Ingredients and substitutions section of that recipe. To make the rest of this recipe dairy-free, use your favorite nondairy butter substitute.
Any butter substitute that adds flavor, and not just fat, should work. If you use Earth Balance buttery sticks, reduce the kosher salt by half since it’s already quite salty.
I like this recipe with dried parsley since it’s a relatively neutral herb that adds a bit of flavor without competing with the garlic. Oregano and/or basil are also nice.
Gluten Free Garlic Bread
1 recipe gluten free French bread (see Recipe Notes)
4 to 6 cloves fresh garlic (see Recipe Notes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (42 g) extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried parsley (see Recipe Notes)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving (optional)
- You can make the gluten free French bread, let it cool completely, slice it, seal it tightly in freezer-safe wrap and freeze it for up to 2 months. Let the bread defrost at room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
- You can prepare the garlic bread completely up to 12 hours ahead of time, and then refresh before serving. Just sprinkle the garlic bread with lukewarm water, place on a lined baking sheet and reheat at 300°F in the toaster oven or oven and serve immediately.
Bread options: You don’t have to make homemade gluten free French bread to make this recipe. If you have a favorite packaged gluten free bread, use that. It’s best to use thicker slices, so prepared gluten free hamburger or hot dog buns work well. If your packaged bread is gummy at all, toast it for a few minutes before slicing it and proceeding with the recipe as written.
Garlic options: This recipe works best with fresh garlic cloves. But you can also make it with jarred minced garlic packed in olive oil. Try pressing it into a paste with a bit of salt, as instructed in the recipe.
Herb options: You can use whatever dried herb you like best. Don’t use fresh as anything other than a garnish, though, since it will lose its flavor during baking.
Prepare the gluten free French bread dough according to the recipe instructions (linked in the ingredients list above). Modify the shaping technique in the recipe slightly to create loaves that are cylinders that are uniformly thick all the way through, with blunt edges (instead of tapered). Proceed with the recipe as written, including rising, slashing, and baking—but don’t bother throwing ice cubes in the oven at the start of baking and bake at 450°F for a slightly less crisp crust. Wrap the hot loaves of bread, fresh out of the oven, loosely in a tea towel and allow them to cool completely. This will prevent the crust from maintaining its crispness.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Once the loaves of bread are cooled, slice the loaves by cross section on the bias (i.e., at an angle) into pieces about 3/4-inch thick. You should get about 8 slices from each loaf. Place the slices cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.
Prepare the garlic. Place the fresh cloves of garlic on a cutting board, cover with the broad side of a wide cutting knife, and press firmly with the palm of your hand. This will make peeling and mincing the garlic much easier. Peel the paper away, gather the cloves together, and mince as finely as you can. Add the salt to the minced garlic, and place the flat side of the knife on top. Press and drag the the knife over the garlic to create a paste.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Do not brown the butter. Add the olive oil to the melted butter, and mix to combine. Add the minced garlic paste then the dried parsley, and mix to combine completely. One at a time, place each slice of bread in the butter and oil mixture, turning over to ensure that both sides are soaked completely with as much of the garlic as possible. Squeeze the slice of bread with the tips of your fingers to release most of the excess, and return the bread to the baking sheet. Once all of the bread has been soaked and squeezed, spoon the remaining garlic and herb paste on top of the slices of bread, and spread into a thin layer.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, using tongs or your can’t-feel-the-heat fingers (just me?) to flip each slice over. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or until the underside is beginning to brown and the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving. The garlic bread slices will soak up some of the butter mixture that’s leaked during baking. Serve warm, sprinkled with the (optional) chopped fresh parsley.