piece of bread in a plate with olive oil and spices


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An easy appetizer you can whip up in less than 10 minutes, this Olive Oil Dip for Bread is elegant yet simple. It’s packed full of flavour and tastes like something you’d get at a fine Italian restaurant.

So, yeah, maybe it’s the Italian in me but I’ve always LOVED both olive oil and bread (I mean, who doesn’t?!). You put ’em together and what do you get? THE best appetizer like EVVVER. Don’t let the simplicity of this olive oil bread dip fool you – it’s loaded with such flavour and would make anyone believe that they were at the best Italian restaurant in the neighbourhood if they didn’t know any better. Well, our job is to remind them that they are! Our own Italian restaurant in our very own kitchen, that is!

oil, spices and parmesan cheese in a plate

I’ve had something very similar to this same bread dipping oil served to me at plenty of Italian weddings. That’s right. This oil dip for bread gives you all the fancy feels. Especcccially when served up with a nice fresh loaf of crusty bread or focaccia. Who knew that all it took was a little bit of oil and spices to make something so dang magical and so perfectly (oh, SO perfectly) made for bread! And we’re talkin’ simple and basic spices, too. Ones that you probably already use on a daily basis and have hanging around in your spice cabinet! Ones that are calling your name as you read this because you seriously MUST go make this oil dip for bread IMMEDIATELY!!!

You know when you’re craving a little bit of a snack of some sort but dinner is in a few hours and you don’t want to completely ruin your appetite?! Or when you’re absolutely starving but just need something light to hold you over? Or what about when you’re hosting and you want to throw something easy up on the tables for your guests to enjoy? THIS, THIS and THIS olive oil bread dip is most definitely your answer. It has your back in all kinds of ways – just make sure you don’t forget the homemade bread for dipping!


ingredients for oil dip for bread - bread, olive oil, balsamic, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, chili flakes, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Open up that spice cabinet, baby because this recipe for bread dip needs a few of them! And trust me, they each play a role in bringing this beauty to life. But don’t worry, they’re pretty basic and I’m willing to bet that you probably already have all of them on hand. Let’s discuss each one in a little bit more detail down below:

  • Olive Oil: Serves as the base of the dip. It provides a luxurious texture and adds a bit of a fruity flavour. If there’s only one time in your life where you’re going to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, let it be in this recipe. It’s the highest quality olive oil, extracted from olives using natural methods. People from all of the world love it for its rich flavour, aroma and health benefits. You WILL taste it so using a good one will definitely make a difference!
  • Garlic: Adds a savoury depth and garlicky flavour to the dip, enhancing the overall taste profile. Also contributes to the texture of this oil dip for bread. Therefore, fresh minced garlic works best. However, if you don’t have any on hand, you can use 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic powder instead of the 2 fresh cloves.
  • Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary: These dried herbs contribute aromatic and herbal notes to the dip. Basil offers a sweet and slightly peppery flavour. Oregano brings a robust and earthy taste. Thyme adds a subtle minty and lemony essence. And rosemary provides a piney and fragrant flavour. Together, they create a harmonious herbaceous blend that complements the olive oil and garlic extremely well.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a touch of heat and spice to the dip. They also balance out the richness of the olive oil and the savoury elements of the garlic and herbs. You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your preferred level of spiciness. Add more for extra spicy or omit completely for none at all.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Salt enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and helps balance the overall taste of the dip. Freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle kick and depth of flavour, enhancing the savoury notes.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Optional but adds a rich, nutty and salty flavour to this olive oil bread dip. It also contributes to the overall complexity and texture.
oil dip with spices with a mini whisk in a plate, slices of bread around it


piece of bread with oil and spices over a plate of the oil dip

You can find full instructions for how to make this delicious recipe for bread dipping oil in the recipe card down below. But here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Use fresh and high quality ingredients. Since this recipe relies on a few simple ingredients, it’s essential to use high-quality olive oil, herbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Fresh, flavourful ingredients will significantly enhance the taste of the dip and will absolutely make a difference in the final product.
  • Grate parmesan cheese fresh (if using). If possible, grate the Parmesan cheese fresh just before adding it to the dip. Freshly grated cheese has a more vibrant flavour and better texture compared to pre-grated cheese.
  • Ensure you combine all of the ingredients extremely well. You want to evenly distribute all of the flavours to get the perfect balance in every single bite!
  • Adjust seasonings to taste. Taste the dip before serving and adjust the seasonings, such as salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, to suit your preferences. Keep in mind that the flavours will continue to develop as the dip sits. So, it’s okay to start with a slightly milder taste and adjust accordingly. EXTRA TIP: Feel free to customize the dip according to your taste preferences. You can add additional herbs, such as parsley or marjoram, for extra freshness. Or experiment with different types of olive oil for varying flavour profiles.
  • Serve with freshly cut bread. To complement the flavours of the dip, serve it with slices of freshly baked, crusty Italian bread or a rustic baguette. I love it with a loaf of my no knead bread or my no knead focaccia. The bread should be slightly warm and crispy on the outside, with a soft and airy interior, perfect for dipping.
  • Presentation matters. Serve the dip in a shallow dish or plate for easy dipping. Drizzle a little balsamic on top for a glossy finish. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for an elegant touch. This attention to detail will go a long way in such a simple dish!
oil with spices in a plate, slices of bread around it



Why yes, yes we do!

Dipping bread in olive oil is a common practice in Italian cuisine, particularly in regions where olive oil is abundant. It’s often served as a prelude to a meal, either as a standalone appetizer or alongside other antipasti (sun-dried tomatoes, anyone?!). The ritual of dipping bread in olive oil is rooted in tradition. It’s seen as a simple yet delightful way to savour the flavours of high-quality olive oil, sometimes enhanced with herbs, spices or balsamic vinegar. This practice not only showcases the versatility of olive oil. But also encourages communal dining and the enjoyment of fresh, crusty bread as a vehicle for experiencing the rich flavours of Italian cuisine.


For dipping bread, Italians typically use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality and most flavourful olive oil. It’s obtained through cold-pressing olives without the use of heat or chemicals. It boasts a robust flavour profile with fruity, peppery and sometimes grassy notes, making it ideal for dipping bread. Its rich aroma and luxurious texture enhance the overall experience, providing a satisfyingly smooth and indulgent complement to the crusty exterior and soft interior of freshly baked bread. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is known for its health benefits. This includes its high levels of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, further adding to its appeal as a dip for bread in Italian cuisine.


Dipping bread in olive oil can be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced meal. Extra virgin olive oil, commonly used for dipping, is renowned for its numerous health benefits. It contains monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart healthy and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may contribute to overall well-being. When paired with whole grain bread or homemade bread, dipping in olive oil can provide a satisfying snack or appetizer that offers both flavour and nutritional value. However, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes, as olive oil is calorie-dense, and excessive consumption can contribute to weight gain.

piece of bread on a plate with oil and spices, more bread in the background
piece of bread in a plate with olive oil and spices


Yield: ~1/2 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

An easy appetizer you can whip up in less than 10 minutes, this Olive Oil Dip for Bread is elegant yet simple. It's packed full of flavour and tastes like something you'd get at a fine Italian restaurant.


  • 1/2 cup good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • Balsamic Vinegar, optional, for serving


  1. In a shallow bowl or plate, add the garlic, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and red pepper flakes.
    chili flakes and dried herbs over a pile of freshly grated parmesan cheese and minced garlic
  2. Pour the olive oil on top and whisk/stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little bit of balsamic vinegar, if desired. Serve with slices of fresh bread for dipping.
    olive oil with dried herbs, chili flakes and balsamic in a plate, bread in the background


You can store this olive oil bread dip in an airtight container and keep it in the frige for up to one week. Simply bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1033Total Fat: 111gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 91gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 485mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

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