Loaded bread dipping oil is the easiest – and quickest – appetizer for entertaining. I’ve given this one a festive twist (think dried cranberries, apricots, pistachios and sage) and all you have to do is mix a pile of gorgeous ingredients with olive oil and serve with soft, warm bread for the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
I’ve even created EIGHT different variations on the oil, so you can play around and decide which you prefer.
Picture this: you’re tired, you’re rushed off your feet, with guests due to arrive any minute. That’s where this dipping oil is PERFECT. It’s something you can pull together in literally FIVE minutes and uses cupboard staples.
I love serving up a loaded dipping oil when entertaining because not only is it easy, but it looks gorgeous, colourful and really, who doesn’t like dipping fresh bread into something delicious like this? I guarantee your guests will be crowding around the bowl, going in for more and more.
Plus, you can get creative and switch things up based on what you have on hand. The key is to go for lots of different colours and textures to make things interesting. Don’t like pistachios? Use pumpkin (pepita) seeds. Want to cater for vegans? Leave out the parmesan. To get your creativity flowing, I’ll also share EIGHT delicious bread dipping oil variations I think you’ll love too and I’m listing the ingredients for my original, sundried tomato and Kalamata olive oil in the recipe card at the bottom too.
- Olive oil. I like using a good quality extra virgin olive oil – the dip is all about the base of the oil, so you ideally want a good one if possible.
- Dried fruit. Cranberries and apricots bring lovely colour, but you could use your favourite. Figs, prunes or dates would also be great.
- Sundried tomatoes. I like using semi-dried tomatoes because they tend to be softer than sundried – but if you can’t find them, regular sundried tomatoes are great. Try to find a brand that’s marinated in olive oil for superior flavour.
- Parmesan. Everything is better with a little parmesan in my opinion! Try to use a block and grate it finely yourself for the best texture. You could skip this if you want to make the dip vegan.
- Herbs. I’m using fresh rosemary and sage leaves, but you could use basil, flat-leaf parsley, oregano or thyme. You could also swap the fresh herbs for dried ones.
- Garlic. I’m using 2 cloves here, but you can cut that down if you’re worried about it being too garlicky.
- Orange zest. This is another lovely festive touch, but skip it if you’re not a fan.
- Balsamic vinegar. A splash lifts the oil and gives it a bit of acidity, but it’s equally fab without it if you find it a bit strong.
How to make it
It’s truly as easy as getting all your ingredients into a shallow bowl and mixing to combine.
Give it a little taste, and add a bit more salt if you think it needs it. I like to mix the oil in the dish I’m going to serve it in just to save on washing up, but you can also mix it in a bowl and then transfer it to whatever you’d like to serve it in. Serve with lots of lovely fresh bread – I HIGHLY recommend my easy no-knead chilli cheese focaccia – or this fragrant rosemary parmesan bread.
Watch me make it
Got a question?
I love using a really good quality extra virgin olive oil, but any olive oil will do.
The oil will last for at least a week, stored in the fridge in an airtight container. You can use it in different ways – it’s lovely spooned on top of grilled meat, dolloped on top of poached, fried or scrambled eggs, tossed through a crunchy salad or slaw or used as a quick pasta sauce or dressing for pasta salad.
The beauty of this recipe is that you really can make it your own, based on what you have to hand and what you like. You could use olives, or jarred artichokes or red peppers. Just try to use a variety of colours if possible.
Eight easy bread dipping oil variations
This is SUCH a customisable recipe which is why it’s so perfect when you need something fast.
- Loaded Mediterranean dipping oil: Mix ¾ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon Kalamata olives, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, 3 garlic cloves, crushed, 2 teaspoons chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon sumac, zest of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt.
- Pesto bread dipping oil. Mix 2 tablespoons of basil pesto with 1/2 cup of olive oil, a handful of chopped fresh basil leaves, the zest and juice of a lemon, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of chopped toasted cashews (or pine nuts) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Hot honey and lemon bread dipping oil. Mix 1/2 a cup of olive oil with the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes, a handful of fresh thyme leaves and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Pizza bread dipping oil. Mix 1/2 cup olive oil with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, a handful of chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
- Spicy sweet chilli bread dipping oil. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup chilli oil, 2 tablespoons sweet chilli jam, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon crushed toasted peanuts and a good handful of chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves. A little lime juice to finish things off is great too!
- Triple garlic bread dipping oil. Mix 1/2 cup olive oil with 8 confit garlic cloves, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 3 chopped smoked garlic cloves, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 2 sprigs of finely chopped rosemary and 1 teaspoon of flaky salt. Keep things even easier by just using raw garlic if you like.
- Greek-inspired bread dipping oil. Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/3 cup chopped oregano, 1/4 cup chopped mint, 1/4 cup chopped thyme (or use dried herbs), 1/2 cup crumbled feta, 1/2 cup chopped olives (I used green and Kalamata), the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of honey.
- Sun-dried tomato pesto bread dipping oil. Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto, a handful of fresh thyme and oregano leaves, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of chopped roasted almonds.
If you like this recipe, here are some other great ideas for entertaining
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below to let me know how you get on.