Pesto bread meets pull-apart rolls in this easy dinner roll! This pesto bread recipe is so simple, savory, and utterly delicious. The tender rolls are baked with dollops of pesto — perfect with dinner or as an appetizer!
Note: I originally created this recipe for a sponsored social post I created in partnership with Filippo Berio on Instagram. This blog post, however, is not sponsored. I just love this recipe so much, I had to share it with you!
March 16, 2000
There are certain days in your life that you never forget. The day you meet your spouse, the birth of your child, or the passing of a loved one. Little did I expect March 16th to occupy that same space in my thoughts.
It was a year ago today that California entered into lockdown, a time that stretched from weeks, to months, to a year all too easily. We all had to navigate new norms, and perhaps were challenged in ways we didn’t expect.
As someone who already works from home and is in the kitchen nonstop, you would think that I adapted well. And for the most part, that’s true. It was business as usual, if you didn’t count not going to the grocery store on a daily basis, or implementing the grocery cleaning protocols my mom taught me when I was a little girl.
I continued to cook. And with the family all home, I was right there with all of you, cooking all day long… and dealing with the never-ending pile of dirty dishes.
I marveled at the rise of sourdough baking on the internet. It was a trend I secretly wished to partake in, but resisted, given my history as a starter murderer. The memory of how I failed my precious starter still raw, instead, I treasured what yeast I could find, and baked whatever I deemed yeast-worthy.
Pesto Bread/Pull-Apart Rolls
Brioche breads and no-knead breads brought comfort, and for most of 2020, every Friday promised homemade pizza. Towards the end of the year, I shared these pesto pull-apart rolls on Instagram, and they were, according to my children, one of the best things I’ve ever baked. With their approval in mind, I knew I had to share the recipe here with you, too. I know they will have a lot to remember from 2020, but I want to make sure this is one of them.
How to Make Pesto Bread/Pull-Apart Rolls
Olive oil adds such a beautiful tenderness to these rolls, but what really makes them shine is a combination of pestos. I use both a classic basil and vegetable pesto, but feel free to make it all classic pesto, or use your favorite homemade pesto. I’ve also made it with sun-dried tomato pesto, and it’s delicious!
The pesto bread dough comes together very easily. Simply mix the ingredients together and give it a very quick knead to form it into a dough!
After the first rise, form the dough into balls and allow it to rise a second time. I like to use a kitchen scale to make sure that I am dividing the dough into 16 even rolls, but if you don’t have a scale, you can certainly eyeball it.
Before baking, brush a little more olive oil and pesto on top, and spoon some pesto in between the rolls. Then, give it a good shower of salty parmesan cheese. The aroma of pesto bread will call you to the oven as it bakes. In just 30 minutes, you’ll be rewarded with the most tender, savory rolls. Enjoy!
More Bread Recipes to Try
Pesto Bread/Pull-Apart Rolls
- 200 g lukewarm water ~100°F (3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
- 5 g active dry yeast (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 10 g kosher salt (3 teaspoons)
- 1 large egg beaten
- 40 g honey (2 tablespoons)
- 57 g extra-virgin olive oil (1/4 cup) plus more for brushing
- 25 g + 2 tbsp basil pesto divided (4 tablespoons, divided)
- 495 g all-purpose flour (3 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tbsp vegetable pesto (e.g. Filippo Berio Grilled Vegetable Pesto)
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
- Whisk the water, yeast, salt, egg, honey, olive oil, and 25g (the first 2 tbsp) basil pesto in a large bowl. Add flour and mix until combined into the dough.
- Brush a bowl with olive oil.
- Place the dough into bowl, lightly cover, and rest in a warm spot until the dough rises and collapses, about 1-2 hours. I like to proof my dough in a 90-100°F oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush a 9-inch round baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces (about 55 g each) and shape them into balls, rolling on your work surface to make them smooth. Place the formed dough into the prepared baking dish.
- Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Thin 1 tablespoon of the remaining basil pesto with a bit of extra olive oil and brush the rolls (reserve any extra for after baking). Place a few dollops of remaining 1 tablespoon basil pesto and 2 tablespoons vegetable pesto amongst the rolls.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Brush once again with a little more of the olive oil and classic pesto mixture. Serve warm and enjoy!
Pesto Bread/Pull-Apart Rolls Tips/FAQs
- My dough isn’t rising. Try to find a warm spot for your dough. How quickly your dough rises depends on your room temperature. If it’s chilly in my house, I place my dough in a 100°F oven for a while, or in a warm clothes dryer with the door open.
- Can I make the dough in advance? Yes. The dough can be used immediately, or, after the initial rise, the dough can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container.
- How long can I keep the dough in the refrigerator? Up to 5 days.
- Can I freeze the dough? Yes! Simply defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
- How long can I keep the dough in the freezer? Up to 3 weeks.
- How do I form the rolls? I prefer to use a kitchen scale to make sure each roll is the same size. Shape each piece into a ball by stretching the edges of the dough to the middle. Turning the ball seam side down, place on your work surface. Lightly cup the dough with your hand, resting your pinky on the work surface, and roll in a circular motion until smooth.