Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks

I don’t make a habit of going to the Olive Garden.  I’ve been there twice in the last 7 years, both times before some sort of endurance event when we were in an unfamiliar city and just wanted a known (however mediocre) quantity.  And there are probably about 5 different kinds of food I’d choose before Italian.

BUT their breadsticks are pretty darn amazing, especially when paired with this minestrone.

While we’re on the topic of Italian food, here’s the pizza I made on Friday (basically a ripoff of one I had at Pizzeria Delfina, but without the fancy cheese).

Broccolini, roasted until tender, sun-dried black olives, marinara, and mozzarella. I put a TON of red pepper flakes over the marinara before I added the rest of the toppings so it was nice and spicy. Yum.

Even though it’s completely unrelated, I can’t end without talking about Mr. Red Sweatshirt on my run today. He passed me about half a mile in, but I was determined to stay on my own pace (that’s rare, and I’m kind of amazed I didn’t let my competitiveness take over. I’ve turned WAY too many training runs into races and it’s incredibly stupid and immature, but I usually can’t resist).

He got about 15 strides ahead of me and slowed down. Then, for the next THREE WHOLE MILES, every time I caught up to him, he sprinted ahead. This probably happened 15 times. I found it quite amusing for some reason (so amusing I felt the need to take a picture).  Hope you enjoyed your fartlek, buddy!

Anyway, let’s make some breadsticks! And don’t be shy with the melted butter after they come out of the oven; it’s what makes them so good.

Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks


  • 1 3/4 cup warm (100 F) water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast and sugar let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Sir in the flour, 2 tbsp softened butter, 1 1/2 tbsp salt and 1 cup of warm water. Mix with the paddle attachment on medium, adding additional water 1 or 2 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together.
  3. Switch to the dough hook and mix for about 4 minutes, until smooth.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Cut into 16 pieces and roll each into a log about 7 inches long.
  5. Arrange the bread sticks about 2" apart on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
  6. Cover with a cloth; let rise for 45-60 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  8. Just before putting the bread sticks into the oven, brush each with a little melted butter and sprinkle with a little salt.
  9. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, combine the 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano.
  11. As soon as the bread sticks come out of the oven, brush with more butter and sprinkle with the garlic powder mixture.
  12. Serve warm.


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10 comments to Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks

  • Oh no you didn’t. I don’t think I’ve ever starred a recipe this quickly. Haven’t been to OG in years, but we did get carry out once or twice and this was the reason why. No more!

  • When I was in college my friends and I used to go to Olive Garden for their soup and salad combo pretty frequently. It was cheap enough to fit out college budgets and we’d always fill up on those breadsticks- they were my favorite part! I’m excited to re-create them at home!

  • Takes me back to high school! I used to go in and get a bowl of minestrone soup (back when it was like $.99 or $1.99) and eat like 3-4 breadsticks. And I still remember the day my friend didn’t order any food, and yet ate ELEVEN BREADSTICKS!

  • Michael

    These breadsticks made us feel more like family…weird.

  • Those breadsticks look amazing!!

    And in regards to your run – I’m totally guilty of doing the same thing! Last week I was out for a run that I wanted to keep easy, and as I turned the corner I saw a girl coming down the street, and I then proceeded to book it for the next 2 miles to make sure she couldn’t “catch me.” And of course with her being behind me I had no idea where she was… making me basically race my “easy” run. Gotta love that internal competitiveness!

  • Oh no! Currently printing this recipe I love warm fresh baked bread yum!

  • Andrea

    Embarassing to admit but I’ve recognized you a couple times out at the Lake. This has happened to me a number of times too. I’m not sure why these dudes care so much about being the fastest person around at a random time.

  • I don’t think I’ve been to the Olive Garden since highschool when we used to go for the never-ending salad and breadsticks!

  • Jen

    i can’t even remember the last time i ate at olive garden but i can imagine the taste of those breadsticks right now. mmm. so good!

  • Cate,
    I just have to say that I LOVE your blog and your daughter has the most beautiful eyes! These breadsticks look incredible and I know my family will go nuts for them.
    I made your Oreo Cupcakes today although incorrectly, but I thought they still tasted good and am excited to make them again – WITHOUT leaving them in the oven for too long!
    I look forward to visiting you again!

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