These soft Italian breadsticks are perfect with a bowl of soup or pasta! Pillow-y soft, easy to make, and even better than Olive Garden!

Bundle of bread sticks wrapped in a napkin.

Hey there!

It’s been a while since we last chatted. Sorry for the long absence! We had a death in the family and I’ve just been feeling like I need to spend time with my kiddos. But they’re in school most of the day, so it’s time for me to get back to baking.

For quite some time I’ve been working on getting the “Yeast Breads” category of my recipe index a little more robust. In recent months I’ve posted a delicious soft whole wheat bread that’s perfect for sandwiches, a crusty French baguette recipe that can be topped in all sorts of fabulous ways, and an easy homemade croissant recipe that’s simpler than anything you’ve ever seen anywhere else, guaranteed!

Then we had dinner at Olive Garden, and my kiddos fell in love with the breadsticks there. They really are out of this world! But I know as well as you do that homemade is always better!

I started developing the recipe for these soft Italian bread sticks weeks ago. After a lot of testing, tweaking, and re-testing, I finally think they are the best they can possibly be. They’re so incredibly light and soft, like a pillow! They have a great yeasty flavor and they’re drenched in the yummiest garlic butter.

Serve these alongside of a garden salad, a hot bowl of soup, or a big plate of your favorite pasta dinner. You’ll be amazed!

Image of soft garlic breadsticks with marinara sauce in the background and a text overlay.

HOW TO MAKE OLIVE GARDEN BREADSTICKS AT HOME

To make these soft, fluffy breadsticks, start by placing a little sugar in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Then pour in warm water. Make sure the water is warm, but not hot. It should be about the temperature of a baby’s bath.

Sprinkle the yeast all over the surface of the water, and let it proof. After about 5 minutes, it should be fully dissolved and it should look kinda foamy. This is how you know your yeast is alive and growing. If it doesn’t look foamy, your yeast is probably dead and you should start over. Make sure to check the expiration date on your yeast packet!

Once the yeast has proofed, add in the bread flour. Bread flour works best for this recipe because it will help the breadsticks to rise really high and fluffy. But if you don’t keep bread flour on hand, you can substitute with regular all-purpose flour.

Work in the bread flour, olive oil, and salt until a dough forms. If it seems a bit sticky, add more flour (1/4 cup at a time) until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.

Now just oil the bowl (I like to use non-stick spray for this) and place the dough in to rest. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into 16 equal portions. I like to use a kitchen scale to weigh out each portion- this way they’ll look consistent and bake evenly.

Shape each ball of dough into a long rope, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mist a sheet of plastic wrap liberally with non-stick spray, and lay it loosely over the unbaked breadsticks. They will need another 30 minutes to rise.

After 30 minutes, preheat your oven and brush the breakdsticks lightly with egg wash. This will help them to get a nice golden brown color as they bake.

They only need about 12 to 14 minutes in the oven! They’ll come out just barely golden around the edges, and so pillow-y soft. Brush them with a mixture of melted butter, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning for a flavor that will knock your socks off.

Overhead image of a bundle of homemade bread sticks with beside a bowl of marinara sauce.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BREADSTICKS AHEAD

If you’re planning out a nice meal and want to get a jump on the prep work, there’s an easy way to make this recipe ahead.

Make the dough, let it rise, and then shape it into long sticks. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap that’s been greased. Then refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Take the unbaked breadsticks out of the fridge about an hour and a half before you want to serve them. Allow them to come to room temperature, then let them rise (covered) for 30 minutes. Brush them with egg wash, bake, and bathe them in garlic butter just before serving.

Close up image of a bundle of soft Italian breadsticks bathed in garlic butter and herbs.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH BREADSTICKS

There is no better accompaniment to a big bowl of soup than homemade bread. These soft Italian breadsticks are no exception. Make a big pot of tomato soup, and serve it with these breadsticks. Or broccoli cheese soup!

They’re also great with a nice green salad. Or a big bowl of pasta. YUM!

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER SOFT BREADSTICKS

If you have any leftover breadsticks, just slip them into a zip-top bag and pop them in the fridge. They’ll last there for 5 days to a week.

Or you can freeze them! Just wrap them up tightly so they don’t pick up any funky freezer odors. They’ll last in the freezer for a month or two, and you can just thaw them at room temperature.

HOW TO REHEAT HOMEMADE BREADSTICKS

These homemade Olive Garden breadsticks are INCREDIBLE when they’re fresh out of the oven. But they’re darn good reheated too.

Just wrap them loosely in foil and place them in a warm oven (170 degrees F) for about 10 or 15 minutes, and they’ll be soft and warm and soooo comforting!

Horizontal image of a bundle of freshly baked soft garlic breadsticks.

If you’re in search of the best kind of comfort food, look no further than these soft bread sticks! They’re so soft and puffy, you’ll absolutely love them!


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Soft Italian Breadsticks
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
13 mins
Resting Time:
1 hr
Total Time
53 mins
 

These soft Italian breadsticks are perfect with a bowl of soup or pasta! Pillow-y soft, easy to make, and even better than Olive Garden! 

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breadsticks, breadsticks recipe, garlic bread, how to make breadsticks, olive garden breadsticks, soft breadsticks
Servings: 16
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl, and add the warm water and yeast.  Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the yeast has dissolved and looks foamy. 

  2. Add 3 cups of bread flour, the olive oil, and the salt, and mix on low speed until a stiff dough forms. (If the dough seems sticky, add up to 3/4 cup additional flour (1/4 cup at a time), until it pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.)

  3. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

  4. Mist the bowl with non-stick spray, place the dough inside, and cover with plastic wrap.

  5. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.  

  6. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions, and shape each one into a rope (about 6 inches long), placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  

  7. Mist a sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick spray, place it loosely over the unbaked breadsticks, and allow them to rise for 30 minutes.   

  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and lightly brush the breadsticks with egg wash. 

  9. Bake the breadsticks for 12 to 14 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden at the tips. 

  10. Stir the melted butter, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning together, and brush the mixture over the warm breadsticks.  

Recipe Video