Homemade Pizza School

Updated: October 19, 2023

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

How to Make Homemade Breadsticks for Your Next Family Pizza Night

Breadsticks are the perfect appetizer: crunchy, salty, and satisfying. Classic breadsticks are long and thin and made for snacking while waiting for your food. But there are many types of breadsticks. They can be made with a simple dough or filled with herbs, or covered with cheese.

We like all forms of breadsticks, and we are going to share our three favorite types of breadsticks. We will look at how to make homemade breadsticks that you can serve as an appetizer or a main meal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Breadsticks are a versatile appetizer that can be made in various styles, including classic, Italian-style, homemade for dipping, and loaded breadsticks.
  • Classic breadsticks are typically made with pizza dough and are long, thin, and perfect for snacking. Italian-style breadsticks, known as grissini, are rolled out very thin and are great for grazing with a cold beer or a glass of wine.
  • Homemade breadsticks for dipping can be seasoned and twisted to add a nice touch and are meant to be dipped in flavored dipping sauces. Loaded breadsticks are more similar to pizza or focaccia and can be customized with different cheeses and toppings. Pro tips include avoiding crumbly cheeses, adding leftover chicken and barbecue sauce, and sprinkling dried herbs into the dough for a deeper flavor.
olive oil parmesan cheese and thin breadsticks on the table
Photo by Jacob Moseholt

Classic breadsticks start with your favorite pizza dough. You can use either homemade pizza dough or store-bought pizza crusts. Yeast-free pizza dough and gluten-free pizza dough are fine, too. Maybe don’t expect a cauliflower pizza crust to do well, but hey, can always give it a try!

Bread Sticks Italian Style

breadsticks meat olives all together on an appetizer plate

In Italy, long, thin crunchy breadsticks are a popular antipasto and often served with cured meats like prosciutto or speck wrapped around one end. In Italian, they are called grissini and are popular, especially in Turin.

This is one of our favorites because you get that satisfying crunch with a salty prosciutto bite. We make these types of breadsticks when we are making a charcuterie board or as an appetizer on pizza night. They are great for grazing with a cold beer or a glass of wine.

You will need a rolling pin to make this style of breadstick because the dough needs to be rolled out very thin to get that crunchy texture. You can even modify the recipe if you prefer a slightly chewier or doughier version of this breadstick.

This pizza dough recipe is slightly different than the regular one we use because it has a half cup of semolina flour and uses honey instead of sugar. The semolina flour adds some texture to the breadsticks and helps them keep their shape, and the honey won’t make the breadsticks sweet.

Start by adding the yeast and ½ cup of warm water. Then drizzle in the honey and wait five to ten minutes for the yeast to activate. In a bigger bowl, mix the flour and the rest of the warm water. Start mixing together, then add the yeast mix and knead. Knead the dough until it forms a ball by folding the sides into it. Cover and let rest for two hours. 

Separate the dough into four rectangular pieces and cover with olive oil. Roll the dough sections out and form long strips. Remember playing with Play-Doh as a kid and making those long ropes? Use that as inspiration and roll out the grissini. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 450F for 10 minutes; use tongs to turn them halfway through. 

This super simple breadstick can be added to a  meat and cheese plate or drizzled with honey to accompany a morning coffee. If you want to add some Italian seasonings, that works too. These breadsticks can be stored in an airtight container on the counter or in a reusable silicon freezer bag for up to two months.

Homemade Breadsticks for Dipping

classic thin breadsticks on a white plate with small cup of red sauce

If you like a dipping breadstick, then we have you covered. We like to season these breadsticks and twist them because it adds a nice touch. These breadsticks are slightly thicker than grissini and are made to be dipped in your favorite flavored dipping sauce, like garlic sauce or Ranch sauce.

This pizza dough calls for powdered milk. It helps with the texture, but you can leave it out if you don’t have powdered milk.

  • 1 1/3 cups of warm water
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 3 tablespoons of powdered milk
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1 pinch of sugar

Activate the yeast by mixing ⅓ cup of warm water, yeast, and sugar. Then add that in a big bowl to the flour powdered milk. Mix well to form a dough ball and cover for two hours. After it has doubled in size, punch the dough down and make two separate rectangles of dough. Roll the dough out and spread olive oil, and sprinkle with herbs and spices. 

Let’s stop for a minute and talk about seasonings. You can use other seasoning beyond Italian seasonings. It depends on what you plan to dip these homemade breadsticks into. You could use French herbs de Provence if you were making breadsticks to dip in a chicken broth or soup. Caraway seeds and black peppercorns add a unique taste. You could even experiment with Indian spices like a type of Indian pizza dish and dip them in a chutney.

We like to use Everything Bagel seasoning or sometimes a mix of oregano and red pepper flakes, but you can really add your favorite spice. If you want to keep it classic and make homemade pizza breadsticks, then stick to Italian seasonings.

twisted dough spiced up on a baking sheet ready to be baked

Once your dough is covered in olive oil and spiced up, then twist them. You can do a tight or loose twist; it really is just for presentation. Brush a little more olive oil on top and bake at 450º F for 10 minutes, turning once. Serve with dipping sauce, soups, and stews.

Loaded Homemade Breadsticks

loaded breadsticks after being baked

Loaded breadsticks are more similar to pizza or focaccia than grissini. They are not rolled out quite as thin and have two rises instead of just one to ensure they are chewy in the middle and crispy on the outside.

Start with your basic pizza dough, and after the second rise, pull it and spread it on parchment paper or on a pizza stone that is lighted and covered in semolina flour to keep it from sticking. Brush with olive oil, making sure to get the crust and edges. Cover with your favorite cheese and Italian seasoning and bake for ten minutes at 450º F. 

You can really have fun with loaded breadsticks. You can use any mix of good melting cheeses, and from there, you can make it into homemade pizza breadsticks with your favorite pizza toppings or keep it simple with just cheese. If you are making it dairy free, you could use nutritional yeast and briny goodies like capers or olives.  

Once out of the oven, use your pizza cutter and cut it into sticks, and serve with dipping sauce. We like to mix a few drops of hot sauce into a marinara sauce for a spiked red dipping sauce for a homemade breadstick sauce.

You can make these ahead and freeze them for an easy appetizer for unexpected guests or late-night snacking.

Pro Tips for Loaded Homemade Breadsticks

plated homemade breadsticks in a circle with small cup of red dipping sauce in the middle
  • Avoid crumbly cheeses because when you cut them into sticks, the cheese falls off.
  • Add a layer of chopped leftover rotisserie of barbecue chicken, cover with cheese, and use your favorite barbecue sauce as a dipping sauce.
  • Sprinkle dried herbs into the dough after the first rise for a deeper flavored dough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make breadsticks ahead of time?

Yes! Some breadsticks, like the loaded breadsticks, can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. Once you’ve baked the breadsticks, let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container or reusable silicon freezer bag for up to two months. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them in the fridge overnight and reheat them in the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes.

Can I use gluten-free or yeast-free pizza dough for breadsticks?

Yes, you can use gluten-free or yeast-free pizza dough for breadsticks. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may be slightly different from traditional breadsticks made with regular pizza dough. You may need to adjust the recipe and cooking time accordingly.

What are some other seasoning options for homemade breadsticks?

While Italian seasoning is a classic choice for breadsticks, you can experiment with other herbs and spices to add different flavors. For example, you could use French herbs de Provence if you were making breadsticks to dip in a chicken broth or soup, or Indian spices for a unique twist. Everything Bagel seasoning is also a popular choice for homemade breadsticks.

Can I make breadsticks without a rolling pin?

While a rolling pin can be helpful for making thin and crunchy breadsticks, you can still make breadsticks without one. Instead, you can use your hands to stretch the dough into thin strips or ropes. Keep in mind that the texture may be slightly different, but the breadsticks will still be delicious!

What is your favorite way to eat breadsticks?

One of our Favorites

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DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!

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