Breadsticks Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat)

Published February 19, 2020

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My favorite homemade Breadsticks Recipe! These always turn out perfectly soft, fluffy and chewy and no one can resist that garlic butter topping! And since they’re made fresh from scratch they’re even better than Olive Gardens!

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

Breadsticks stacked in a wicker basket lined with a green kitchen cloth.

These are the perfect side dish to all your favorite soups. And you just can’t go wrong with that classic soup, salad and breadsticks for dinner combo.

Or spaghetti and breadsticks if you are looking for carb Heaven.

I love these because at restaurants breadsticks can be hit and miss. Especially chain restaurants. Sometimes they taste really good while others they’re over-cooked and dry, or bland, or too salty.

When you make them at home they turn out perfect every time by following this easy recipe! And if desired you can serve with your favorite Italian style dip for dunking.

Also here I’ll share the easy way to convert them into sweet cinnamon sugar coated breadsticks or savory cheese sprinkled breadsticks.

Breadstick Ingredients and Possible Substitutes

  • All-purpose flour – preferably use unbleached for best flavor. Bread flour will work great too.
  • Active dry yeast – instant yeast or even rapid rise yeast will work (in which you’d cut back on rise times). If using either of those then you don’t need to proof first, just mix in with dry ingredients, blend with wet ingredients.
  • Granulated sugar – this just every so lightly sweetens up the breadsticks so they don’t taste so one dimensional. Honey can be substituted, though you’ll only need 1 1/2 Tbsp.
  • Salt – don’t forget this or they’ll taste as bland as can be. It’s amazingly 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 work fine here too.
  • Butter – if you want to make these vegan then go with a vegan butter.
  • Garlic powder – this makes the perfect garlic breadsticks. For fresher garlic flavor you could press 1 garlic clove through a garlic crusher, mix with 2 Tbsp melted butter, strain garlic for a milder flavor if preferred then brush butter over breadsticks. Alternately they’d be delicious with a sautéed or roasted garlic butter.

Steaps showing how to make homemade Breadsticks

How to Make Homemade Breadsticks

Once you realize how easy these are to make you’ll want to make them all the time!

  • Proof yeast: To start dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/2 tsp sugar. Let rest and activate 10 minutes.
  • Mix in remaining sugar, a portion of flour, salt and oil:  Add in granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt and vegetable oil, then blend with an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined.
  • Switch to hook attachment, add remaining flour and knead: Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed, adding up to 1/4 cup additional flour as needed, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Transfer and let dough rise: Transfer dough to greased bowl, cover and rest 1 1/2 hours.
  • Divide into 12 pieces, shape into a rope: Punch risen dough down, divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each piece into a 9 inch rope on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to lined baking sheets.
  • Let rise a second time: Cover and let rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees near the end of rising.
  • Bake: Bake 11 – 13 minutes until golden then brush with butter, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.

Buttering breadsticks on a baking sheet with a stick of butter.

How to Make Cheese Breadsticks Variation

If you want to make cheesy breadsticks then:

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

How to Convert to Cinnamon Sugar Breadsticks

Looking for a sweet dessert breadstick recipe rather than savory? The recipe will be easy to convert.

  1. To do so reduce salt in breadstick recipe to 3/4 tsp.
  2. Bake as directed then omit the garlic powder and salt topping and instead sprinkle with 1/2 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp cinnamon.
  3. Then go the extra mild and drizzle with a vanilla or cream cheese glaze or use as a dip!

Tips for the Best Breadsticks

  • If yeast doesn’t bubble up with the 10 minute rest then it’s gone bad, toss it and start with new yeast (make sure it hasn’t expired).
  • Be sure to allow dough and shaped breadsticks enough time to rise so they’re fluffy.
  • If you want them more golden brown on top you can move oven rack up one level.
  • Be careful to just bake through so they aren’t doughy and not too long or they’ll be dry.
  • Serve warm! Breadsticks are always best warm. If you need to reheat then wrap in foil and heat in a 325 degree oven until warm, about 5 minutes.

Breadsticks spread out onto parchment with sides of marinara sauce.

Can Breadsticks be Frozen?

Yes you could freeze dough (prior to shaping or after shaping), thaw and let finish the second rise and bake. Or you can freeze after baking.

What Sauces to Serve with Breadsticks?

Their are so many dipping options for breadsticks if you opt to serve with something, which is totally optional. Try:

Overhead image of stack of breadsticks on basket.

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4.95 from 54 votes

Breadsticks Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat)

Perfectly soft, fluffy and chewy and finished with a buttery garlic topping. No one can resist these! And since they're made fresh from scratch they're even better than Olive Gardens!
Servings: 12
Prep25 minutes
Cook11 minutes
Resting2 hours 30 minutes
Ready in: 3 hours 6 minutes




  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar until yeast has dissolved. Allow to rest 10 minutes.
  • Add in remaining 1 Tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt and vegetable oil, then fit mixer with paddle attachment and blend mixture until well combine.
  • Switch mixer to dough hook attachment, add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed, adding up to 1/4 cup additional flour as needed, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic*.
  • Transfer dough to a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place free from draft until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Punch risen dough down, divide into 12 equal portions (2 ounces each by weight), keep them covered with plastic wrap as you work. Roll each piece into a 9 inch rope on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to two parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  • Cover and let rise 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 during the last 10 minutes of rising.
  • Bake in preheated oven 11 - 13 minutes until golden**. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together 1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder.
  • Remove breadsticks from oven and run a stick of butter over hot breadsticks (using 2 Tbsp, or brush with melted butter) and immediately sprinkle with garlic salt mixture.
  • Serve warm. Let any left over cool and store in an airtight container.


*Dough should pull away from sides of the bowl but should still be slightly sticky. If you add too much flour dough becomes too hard to shape and breadsticks will be drier and denser.
**If you want rolls more golden brown on top you can move oven rack up one level to bake. Just keep an eye on them too, every oven varies.
Nutrition Facts
Breadsticks Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 407mg18%
Potassium 45mg1%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 58IU1%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.
Recipe first published November 7, 2012. Last updated February 19, 2020.