Turn a loaf of crusty bread into Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread with just 5 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep time! Stuffed with herbed garlic butter and mozzarella, this recipe is one of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy garlic bread.
Serve this bread as a snack on game day, a weekend appetizer or mid-afternoon snack, or as a side dish to your favorite Italian-inspired dinners and pasta dishes. This recipe can be crisped in the air fryer or baked in the oven.
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What You’ll Need to Make This Pull Apart Bread
This cheesy garlic pull apart bread requires only 5 ingredients. You’ll need:
- A crusty loaf of bread. I most often use sourdough, rustic Italian, or a French boule. You’ll need a 14 to 16 ounce loaf for the proportions of cheese and garlic butter in this recipe. If using a larger or smaller loaf, adjust the quantities accordingly.
If you’re going to use your air fryer to crisp the bread, be sure to use a loaf that will fit into the basket (or, trim the ends to fit). I often make this recipe with Costco’s Country French Bread with good results.
- Melted Salted butter. I love to use European-style butter, such as Kerrygold or Plugra, but American-style butter works well in this recipe too. If you only have unsalted butter on hand, add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the garlic butter mixture.
- Minced Garlic. You’ll need 2 large cloves worth, about 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons. If you like your bread more or less garlicky, this recipe is easy to adjust to taste.
- Chopped Fresh Herbs. Use your favorites from the market or your garden! We love a combination of fresh rosemary and Italian parsley.
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese. To get those amazing melted cheese pulls when you dive into the crisped loaf! I also love adding a mixture of other great Italian melting cheeses to this recipe alongside the mozzarella, such as Fontina, Provolone, and/or Asiago. BelGioioso’s 4 Cheese Shred is a favorite in my house.
Like the garlic, you can adjust the quantity of cheese to your personal preferences. Use 1 cup of shredded cheese for the standard recipe or 1-1/2 cups for extra cheesy!
Tip: Shredding soft cheeses like mozzarella at home? Start by popping the block of cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. It’ll shred much more easily and cleanly on the large holes of your box grater.
How to Make Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread
This pull apart bread is easy to make, but a few tips will ensure the best results. First, it’s important to use a sharp, serrated bread knife so that you can cut the diamond pattern in the loaf without squishing it or having it fall apart.
Need a new bread knife? My favorite is the Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-inch. It’s very sharp with a good grip and has smoothly sliced through any loaf of bread I’ve used it on, from large wedges, to thin slices. It’s also great for sandwiches and slicing tomatoes.
Assembling the Bread
To cut the loaf for pull-apart bread, start by making diagonal slices, 3/4- to 1-inch wide across the loaf, being careful not to slice through to the bottom. You’ll want to cut through the loaf about 3/4 of the way down, leaving about a half inch of uncut bread as a base.
Then, turn your knife perpendicular to the cuts and once again make diagonal slices across the loaf, creating a crisscross pattern. Again, be sure not to slice all the way through the loaf.
Mix together the melted butter, garlic, and herbs. Gently open the bread slices with your fingertips and use a spoon to pour some of the garlic-herb butter between each cut. Then, stuff each slice with cheese.
The process of getting the butter and cheese down into the bread slices takes a few minutes, but it’s well worth it! I also like to brush any remaining garlic herb butter over the top of the loaf as well for an extra crispy crust in the oven or air fryer.
Making Pull Apart Bread in the Air Fryer
We love to use the air fryer to make this cheesy garlic pull apart bread. It saves time and the bread comes perfectly crispy!
I most often use the Air Crisp function on my 8-quart Ninja Foodi for this recipe. Simply fit the cut and stuffed loaf into the basket and air fry at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted through.
I use oven mitts and two spatulas to remove the bread from the air fryer basket to a serving board. Be careful! The insert will be quite hot.
Bear in mind that air fryer cooking times can vary by manufacturer and model. Keep a close eye on your bread the first time you air fry it and adjust for your particular appliance.
Baking the Bread in a Standard Oven
To bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wrap the stuffed loaf in foil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then unwrap and bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.
Want to learn more about cooking in an oven vs. an air fryer? Check out Here’s the Difference Between Air Frying and Baking from Reader’s Digest.
Serving Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
This bread is best served immediately (or within 5 minutes or so after coming out of the air fryer or oven). It’s most delicious while the cheese is melty, and the bread is warm and crispy.
To eat, simply pull a cube of cheesy bread from the loaf. Serve this bread with plenty of napkins and dig in!
Once all of the cubes of bread have been pulled from the loaf, you’ll be left with the base. This is one of my favorite parts, as it typically has a little extra garlic-herb butter soaked into it. I recommend not discarding it; grab your bread knife and slice it up!
More Reader-Favorite Appetizer Recipes
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- Puff Pastry Pigs in a Blanket
- Italian-Style Deviled Eggs with Garlic and Basil
- Savory Palmiers with Bacon, Gruyere, and Caramelized Onions
Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread
- 1 loaf crusty bread , such as sourdough, Italian, or a French boule (14-16 ounces)*
- 8 tablespoons salted butter , melted**
- 2 cloves garlic , minced (1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs , such as parsley, rosemary, or a combination
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese ***
Assemble the Bread
- Using a sharp, serrated bread knife, cut across the loaf of bread in 3/4- to 1-inch diagonal slices, stopping about 1/2-inch from the bottom of the loaf (don't cut all the way through). Turn your knife perpendicular to the slices you've just made and cut across the loaf again in diagonal slices of the same width to create a crisscross pattern. Again, be sure not to cut all the way through the bottom of loaf.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, garlic, and herbs.
- Using your fingertips, gently open the bread slices. Use a spoon to pour some of the garlic-herb butter between each cut, dispersing it evenly across the loaf of bread. Brush the top of the bread with any remaining garlic-herb butter.
- Stuff each crevice between the bread slices with some of the cheese. If some of it comes out of the gaps, it’s okay; those will be the extra crispy cheese pieces.
To Air Fry
- Preheat airfryer to 375 degrees F. Place the stuffed loaf into the airfryer basket and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the bread is heated through and crispy, and the cheese is melted.
- Cooking times may vary by air fryer. Keep a close eye on the bread the first time you make it to determine the best time for the model you're using.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wrap the stuffed loaf in foil and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Unwrap the bread, place it back on the baking sheet, and continue baking, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, until the bread is hot and crispy, and the cheese is melted.
- This bread is best served soon after baking or air frying. Pull apart the bread cubes to reveal the melted, gooey cheese inside the loaf. When you've finished eating all of the bread cubes, use a serrated knife to cut up the crusty, garlic butter-infused base–it's one of our favorite parts!
- 1 cup shredded cheese: cheesy bread
- 1-1/2 cups (or more): extra cheesy