Make This Easy Pull-apart Bread With Onion Dip

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Pull-apart bread never goes out of fashion—just ask any carb obsessed, bread baking nerd, like yours truly—but they’ve had a resurgence recently for those who don’t enjoy proofing dough for hours. Pull-apart bread is an easy, shareable, and cheap snack for your football-watching appetizer spread. Simply grab a tub of onion dip and a round loaf of bread (preferably football shaped), and away we go.

Traditionally, the idea of pull-apart bread involves individual balls of dough baked closely together so they adhere to each other as they bake. You can flavor them how you like and serve it as one large centerpiece, from which you can grab a small piece and literally pull it apart from the rest. Not only is it strangely satisfying to pull hunks of bread off of a greater loaf, but the presentation is impressive, and it’s just the right amount of communal for something like watching a football game. The only problem with making a flavor-packed pull-apart loaf in your cast iron skillet is you have to do all the bread mixing, shaping and baking, and not everyone is in the mood for that after work on a Monday. Instead, hit the grocery store bakery and grab any round medium-sized loaf of bread. The more rustic the better. On your way through the refrigerated aisles, pick up a tub of onion dip and a bag of shredded mozzarella.

Shaping and assembly is a snap. Instead of baking individual rolls into one loaf, reverse engineer the idea (prepare for a mind explosion), and cut individual pieces out of an existing loaf. If you have a nice bakery nearby, or your supermarket makes a quality sourdough or seeded loaf, you get all of the flavor of a professional bakery along with the toasty, fresh flavor of homemade.

Dump out the tub of onion dip into a medium bowl, and mix in about a half cup of shredded mozzarella, and any seasonings that you’re partial to. I used Trader Joe’s onion dip, which has great flavor and plenty of caramelized onion pieces, and I added a little garlic powder, but I can see some heat from cayenne powder complementing this pull-apart loaf nicely. Although you can riff on this with added herbs or bacon bits, I advise against adding any salt. Most onion dips—and this one from Trader Joe’s was no different—are very salty, and despite the dip being spread far and wide over an entire loaf of bread, the saltiness was still noticeable.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Take the loaf of bread, flip it over, and perforate it with a paring knife all along the bottom. Don’t be shy about it. Most sourdough boules and other artisan loaves have a lovely crusty bottom. (This is a great thing, as it means more flavor.) The downside with a pull-apart is that this crust makes the physical act of pulling apart difficult. Since the bottom crust is stronger than the soft bread inside of the loaf, you can be left with a raft of bottom-crust at the end of the night (though not a bad thing, use it for eggs in the morning). Poking holes in the bottom allows for multiple breaking points along the crust, making it easier for you to succeed in pulling a piece off without manhandling the onion loaf in front of all your friends.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Flip the loaf over so it is top-side up. Cut the entire surface of the loaf in a 1-inch crosshatch pattern almost completely through, stopping at that bottom crust. The loaf should still hold together. Use a serrated knife for this—it makes slicing much easier and prevents the loaf from getting squished. With a small flexible rubber spatula or a spoon, spread the cheesy-onion dip all along the inside of each row so every single bread morsel gets a schmear. Coat the top with any remaining dip, and sprinkle more shredded mozzarella over it. Bake the loaf at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and any exposed bread begins to toast along the top.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

This appetizer is cheesy and melty, boasting plenty of caramelized onion flavor, and perfect for serving alongside other side dishes. Feel free to prepare the loaf in advance. Slice, fill, and wrap it up so it doesn’t lose any moisture, and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bake it as usual when you’re ready, but add five or ten minutes to the baking time.

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Mozzarella Onion Dip Pull-apart Bread


  • 10 ounces onion dip
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (+ extra for topping)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 round loaf of bread

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or foil.

Mix the first three ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Perforate the bottom of the loaf of bread with a small paring knife or a fork. Flip over and slice the top of the bread in a cross-hatch pattern nearly all the way through except leave the very bottom crust attached. Spread the onion dip mixture into all of the cut surfaces. Top the loaf with any remaining dip and more shredded mozzarella.

Bake the bread on the lined sheet tray in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the exposed bread takes on a toasty color. Pull apart and enjoy! Leftovers will keep in the fridge. To revive, warm the leftovers in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes.


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