Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer that pairs toasted crusty bread with ripe tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. It’s fresh, fabulous, and perfect for summer when tomatoes are in season!
Bruschetta is one of those party appetizers that look fancy and impressive, but it’s super easy to make. Best of all, it tastes amazing! The key is to use the freshest ingredients possible.
Although you can enjoy homemade bruschetta any time of year, it’s especially well-suited for summer parties, since it’s the time of year when you can find the best tomatoes. And if you have a bumper crop of tomatoes from your garden, you might even want to make bruschetta for yourself as a light lunch or dinner!
(Do you love tomato recipes? Try Southern Tomato Pie, Creamy Tomato and Basil Penne Pasta, Tomato Bisque Soup, and Garlic Shrimp with Blistered Tomatoes and Linguine too!)
Easy Bruschetta Recipe
To make the perfect bruschetta, start with a good quality crusty bread. Slice it into thick pieces and then toast it so that it’s nice and crispy. Once the bread is toasted, rub each piece with a raw garlic clove. This adds so much flavor!
Next, you’ll top the bread with fresh diced tomatoes, kind of like a tomato salad. Sometimes I like to use a mixture of different kinds of tomatoes for color and flavor, while other times I stick with the more traditional Roma tomatoes. Then, add some chopped fresh basil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Easy, right?
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Baguette – A crusty, rustic baguette is ideal for making bruschetta.
- Olive oil – You’ll need some for the topping and some for brushing the bread.
- Fresh basil leaves
- Balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper – Freshly cracked black pepper is best!
- Red pepper flakes – You can omit this if you want a milder tomato topping.
How to Make the Best Bruschetta
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Rub the sliced bread with the halved fresh garlic cloves, then drizzle or brush it with olive oil.
2. Toast the Bread
Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Turn the bread halfway through the cooking time so both sides brown evenly.
3. Make the Garlic-Infused Oil
In a small skillet set over medium heat, warm 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the sliced garlic until the mixture is warm and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
4. Assemble the Topping
Place the tomatoes, basil, garlic oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes in a small mixing bowl; stir gently to combine.
Spoon the tomato mixture onto the toasted bread slices, then sprinkle fresh basil over the tops and serve.
Tip: If you’re serving these for a casual party, you might want to set the bread slices in a basket and leave the tomato topping in a bowl so your guests can assemble their own bruschetta. This will keep the bread from getting soggy!
- If you can’t find fresh tomatoes that are in season, you can substitute canned diced tomatoes. Just be sure to drain them well before using.
- You can also use other herbs in place of the basil, such as thyme or oregano.
- Add fresh mozzarella for a twist on bruschetta that’s a little bit like a caprese salad. You can even set this under the broiler in the oven to melt the cheese!
How to Store Leftover Bruschetta
Leftover bruschetta can be stored in the fridge for a day or two. However, the bread will become soggy, so it’s best to eat it the day it’s made.
If you have leftover tomato mixture, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Just be sure to give it a good stir before using.
The classic bruschetta topping is made with fresh diced tomatoes, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. However, there are many variations on this theme. You can use other herbs in place of the basil, add mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, or even use canned tomatoes if fresh ones are not in season. Other types of bruschetta use olives, artichokes, and mushrooms.
Crostini are small pieces of toasted bread that are topped with various things, such as cheese, vegetables, or meats. Bruschetta is usually made with thicker rustic bread, while crostini is made from a smaller, white bread baguette.
The best bread to use for bruschetta is a crusty baguette. However, you can also use other types of bread, such as ciabatta or even sourdough. Just be sure to slice it into thick pieces so that it doesn’t get soggy when topped with the tomato mixture.
Bruschetta is usually served at room temperature. However, you can also serve it warm or cold, depending on your preference.
More Appetizer Recipes
- 1 large baguette sliced into ¼” slices
- 2 cloves garlic halved
- olive oil for brushing
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 4 large tomatoes diced
- ¼ cup basil sliced thin
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- chopped fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Rub baguette slices with garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Toast bread on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway.
- Heat the 4 tbsp of olive oil and sliced garlic over medium heat until hot and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, garlic oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes to a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Spoon tomato mixture onto toasted bread slices
- Top with fresh basil and serve.