There’s nothing in this world better than pulling a freshly baked loaf of cheesy pepperoni garlic bread from the oven, ripe and ready to be devoured. That first bite is crispy yet soft on the inside, with mozzarella so perfectly melted and gooey, tangling each layer together. And let me tell you, when you accidentally get a piece with like five little spicy pepperonis stacked on top of each other, it’s a party in your mouth! Absolute heaven.
I still remember the first time I baked pepperoni garlic bread from scratch many years ago. I wanted to impress my friends at our weekly game night with an over-the-top snack. Man, did it work! I carefully sliced open a crusty baguette, slathered the crevices with buttery garlic sauce, stuffed them full of pepperoni and shredded mozzarella and sent it off to bake until bubbly and golden. The irresistible smells of garlic, butter and melting cheese filled up my apartment. My friends said they started drooling from the parking lot! That first gooey pull-apart bite made all our eyes roll back blissfully in our heads – it was official obsession from then on.
Nowadays, anytime I get invited to a potluck or party, my phone blows up with requests to bring my now famous pepperoni garlic bread. It’s become my signature dish! My recipe even won the appetizer competition at our town’s annual baking contest last year – I had to make ten loaves just to keep the crowd happy! I’m thrilled to be sharing this drool-worthy, crowd-pleasing recipe with you today. Once you experience melty cheese catching temptingly on your lips as you pull it apart, you’ll be hooked, too!
What type of bread should I use?
I recommend using a baguette or loaf of Italian bread. They give the best texture and flavor.
What if I don’t like spicy pepperoni?
Mild varieties or even cooked salami work too. Customize it with your favorite toppings.
How do I get the bread extra garlicky?
Simply double up on the garlic butter – don’t be shy with it!
Should I sprinkle on any extra cheese?
Go for it! A little parmesan on top adds a tasty, nutty touch.
What sides go well with this?
A fresh, tangy salad or garden veggie sticks balance out the richness nicely.
Is there a shortcut version?
You can use ready-made garlic bread for quicker assembly. See my notes below!
Can I prepare it ahead of time?
Sure! Just bake it right before serving so the cheese melts perfectly.
- 1 (24 inch) loaf Italian bread
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1⁄4 cups (5 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) sliced pepperoni
- Crank that oven up to 400°F first and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. We need everything hot and ready before this doughy project begins!
- Now gently slice down the center of the loaf without cutting all the way through. Imagine you’re opening a butterflied book. Then make several vertical cuts about 2 inches apart on both sides to form slots for the pepperoni and cheese.
- In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the softened butter, minced garlic and Italian parsley until combined into a vibrant green, spreadable paste. Be sure to mash and stir well so the garlic infuses everything.
- Time for the fun part – filling those slots! Carefully layer in the mozzarella so it’s tucked into every opening, using about 1⁄4 cup per slot. Follow by topping with 2-3 sliced pepperoni per section. Press gently so the cheese supports the weight. We want a steady pepperoni foundation!
- Quickly wrap the loaded loaf loosely in foil to trap some heat. Try not to squeeze the centers too much or the cheese might leak out.
- After 15 minutes, remove that foil so the crust gets nice and toasty. Bake 10 more minutes until the cheese looks perfectly glossy and melted throughout when you peek in. Resist digging in immediately!
- Let that melty masterpiece rest at least 5 minutes before gently pulling apart into bakery-worthy slices, being cautious of hot steam. Now, take one more deep sniff of that unbelievable aroma before you dive in!
- Let dough come to room temperature for easy slicing.
- Infuse compound butter with lemon zest or chili flakes.
- Substitute cheddar, fontina or gouda for mozzarella.
- Add sliced black olives, mushrooms or bell peppers.
- Make ahead by preparing through step 4, refrigerating 2 hours and baking later.
- For quicker prep, use frozen garlic bread loaf instead of fresh bread. Thaw first before adding cheeses and toppings in slots.