Italian bruschetta is one of the most loved and most mispronounced classic Italian appetizer dishes!
The correct Italian pronunciation is “broo-SKET-ah,” but if you prefer the typical pronunciation of English speakers “broo-SHET-ah” we won’t hold it against you. Either way, this easy bruschetta recipe with good quality olive oil, fresh basil, juicy tomatoes, toasted bread and salt and pepper is delicious and takes just 20 minutes to whip up.
Keep reading for expert tips and suggestions so, no matter how you pronounce it, this dish is as good as you’d find in your favorite Italian restaurant.
What is bruschetta?
Bruschetta is a classic light Italian appetizer, or antipasto, perfect for summer get-togethers in the back yard. In its simplest form bruschetta is grilled bread rubbed with a bit of garlic before being drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
Historical cookbooks show that this dish originated in Italy around the 1400s, most likely in and around Tuscany, but it may trace its roots all the way back to ancient Rome.
What equipment is needed to make bruschetta?
This recipe doesn’t take much in the way of equipment and it is super easy to make. Here is a list of what you will need to make your own absolutely delicious bruschetta at home.
an airtight container like a Tupperware with lid, especially if you plan to take the appetizer to a gathering
a large baking sheet (if you are toasting the bread in the oven) or a toaster oven
a slotted spoon
Ingredients in our bruschetta recipe
Tomatoes(1 lb) – Ripe fresh tomatoes from the garden or your farmer’s market make the very best tomato mixture. Larger tomatoes may prove a bit too juicy for this dish, so look for plum tomato, roma tomatoes or even cherry tomatoes instead. You can dice the ripe tomatoes fine or rough chop them, as long as they are small enough for your tomato mixture to stay on top of your bread. The smaller the bread pieces you plan to serve, the smaller the tomato pieces should be.
Bread (1 long loaf of Italian bread or similar) – When it comes to choosing which bread to use for the perfect bruschetta recipe, a good dense bread with a nice crust is what you want to find. In Italy, we use pane Toscano, literally Tuscan bread, but any bread could work, for example ciabatta. Some people use french bread or baguette slices and that could work well too. What you’re looking for is bread hearty enough to grill and then hold your olive oil and toppings.
Fresh garlic (5 cloves) – You can roast the garlic if you want a milder flavor, or leave it out all together if you will be serving picky eaters who don’t like the taste.
Basil(15-20 leaves) – If you don’t have your own, purchase a bunch of fresh basil for this recipe. Consider ripping the leaves instead of chopping them so that they don’t turn black. If you don’t have basil, you can substitute with dried oregano.
Kosher salt and pepper – you can add as much fine kosher salt and freshly ground pepper as you like.
Extra virgin Olive oil– this is the time to bring out your absolute best olive oil. This recipe is so simple and there are so few fresh ingredients, that using a regular olive oil isn’t a good idea. Extra virgin olive oil is the best for drizzling on the lightly toasted bread and for adding when you make the tomato mixture.
Fresh lemon juice(optional) – this is an optional ingredient. You can squeeze a fresh lemon or use bottled lemon juice to give your bruschetta a sharp lemony twist.
Balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze (optional) – balsamic vinegar lovers are always looking for ways to add a drizzle of their favorite ingredient. Balsamic vinegar in the tomato mixture or balsamic glaze drizzled on top will give your bruschetta a unique and tangy flavor.
Mozzarella cheese(optional) – this is an optional addition, but by adding fresh mozzarella cheese you can turn this appetizer into a little mini caprese salad on top of golden brown toasted baguette.
How to make bruschetta in just a few simple steps
Preheat the oven to 390° F.
In a non-metal medium bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, basil and minced garlic. photo 1
Drizzle the tomato mixture with extra virgin olive oil, and if you want you can add fresh-squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, but this is optional. Now cover the tomato mixture and let sit for 1 to 2 hours to let the flavors meld. photo 2
Slice the loaf of Italian or French bread into thin slices and grill or toast bread on both sides until lightly browned. Be very careful not to burn the bread. photo 3
Lightly rub the grilled bread on one side with a piece of whole garlic and then arrange on a platter and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. photo 4
If you are going to serve immediately, you can top each bruschetta by adding a small spoonful of the tomato mixture. If you are not ready to serve, set out the platter of bread with the topping in a bowl next to it and each person can add a spoonful when they are ready to eat it. photo 5
If you want to add a different twist, you can drizzle the bruschetta with balsamic glaze and top with a whole basil leaf, but this is totally optional. photo 6
Expert tip for keeping bruschetta from getting soggy
Make sure you grill it well before you add any toppings, especially juicy ones like tomato, so your bread will hold up under the weight of the topping and not soak up too much liquid.
Add the tomato topping to the bread right before you serve it. Create the tomato mixture and then set it aside and when the guests arrive you can then assemble your bruschetta and serve immediately.
If people will be arriving at different times, or you are too busy doing other things, you can simple put out a platter of golden brown toasted baguette with the bruschetta topping in a bowl on the side with a slotted spoon and your guests can assemble each piece themselves as they eat them.
Bruschetta recipe variations
If you love caprese salad, why not make a caprese bruschetta by adding diced mozzarella cheese in with the Roma tomatoes and basil? If you don’t have basil, you can substitute with a large pinch of dried oregano that will give it so much flavor.
Simple, delicious and endlessly variable, Italian bruschetta is often topped with things like salumi, cheese or even veggies. However the combination of tomato, garlic and basil as a topping is so common that in some stores you may see pre-made “bruschetta” (without the bread) for sale.
How long can you keep homemade bruschetta and how?
Assembled bruschetta should be eaten immediately and will not keep for longer than one hour because the bread gets too soggy and you will end up with a falling-apart mess. The bruschetta topping only (without the bread) can be kept in an airtight container for 3 days in the refrigerator. We do not recommend freezing the topping as it will get too mushy when defrosted.
What should I do with leftover bruschetta?
To avoid having to throw away all the leftover bruschetta, consider scraping the topping off into a Tupperware and just throwing away the bread slices. Then you can use the topping with fresh toasted bread slices another day.
What goes well with classic bruschetta?
At the height of summer, when no one wants to eat anything heavy, tomato bruschetta itself can serve as a light meal. Add a caprese salad and a glass of crisp white wine and your meal will be complete. You can serve a heartier meal while also keeping things light by pairing bruschetta with fish like cioppino.
Are bruschetta and crostini the same thing?
Both bruschetta and crostini originated in Italy during the Middle Ages, when it was common for people to use a slice of bread as a plate, because fine dining ware was for the wealthy and royalty only. The main difference between these two appetizers are size and preparation. Bruschetta is a bit larger, usually cut from a bigger Italian loaf, and grilled before the topping is added while crostini are often cut from baguettes and are usually bite sized and toasted.
Tomato Bruschetta Recipe
This is the best bruschetta recipe to follow at home to make one of the most famous and delicious dishes from Italian appetizer cuisine.
fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar or balsamic glazeto taste. Optional.
Preheat the oven to 390° F or turn on the top grill function of your oven.
Combine the diced tomatoes, torn basil leaves and minced garlic in a non-metal bowl. This tomato topping will sit for a while, and a metal bowl may affect the taste.
Drizzle the tomato topping with extra virgin olive oil, and if you want you can add fresh-squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, but this is optional. Then let this sit covered for an hour or two to let the flavors combine.
Thinly slice the bread and grill the bread slices on both sides until lightly browned, being careful not to let them burn.
Rub one side of each grilled piece of bread with a whole raw garlic clove (this step can be skipped if you don't want an overly garlic flavor), then arrange on a platter and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
You can then either top your bruschetta by adding a small spoonful of your tomato mixture using a slotted spoon and serving already assembled or you can serve the platter of bruschetta without the topping alongside a bowl of the topping and each person can add a spoonful to their own individual bruschetta.
If desired, for a unique twist, you can drizzle the bruschetta with balsamic glaze and top with a whole basil leaf.
If you are worried about your bruschetta being too garlicky, consider using roasted garlic instead of raw garlic as the taste is milder and sweeter or you can leave it out completely.
Bruschetta recipe variations
We love this quick and easy bruschetta recipe, and we also love how you can add some personalized touches. For example, if you love caprese salad, why not make a caprese bruschetta by adding diced mozzarella cheese in with the Roma tomatoes and basil? If you don’t have basil, you can substitute with a large pinch of dried oregano that will give it so much flavor.Simple, delicious and endlessly variable, Italian bruschetta is often topped with things like salumi, cheese or even veggies. However the combination of tomato, garlic and basil as a topping is so common that in some stores you may see pre-made “bruschetta” (without the bread) for sale.