Garlic Tomato Bruschetta Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. + chilling
Full of simple yet bold Italian flavors, this easy bruschetta recipe is perfect crowd-friendly fare.

Updated: May 23, 2024

Bruschetta brings the vibrant taste of Italy to any appetizer spread. This no-fuss starter is simplicity at its best: Juicy tomatoes tossed with fresh basil, garlic and the best olive oil you can get a hold of, all heaped on top of gorgeously toasted bread.

When a recipe calls for so few ingredients, you want to use the best you can find so they each shine through. Summer is peak season for the best tomatoes and the freshest basil, which is why this is a perfect dish for backyard picnics, cookouts and potlucks. But you can make bruschetta any time of year with grocery store finds.

What is bruschetta?

One of our favorite Italian recipes, bruschetta is considered an antipasto, or appetizer. Traditionally, bruschetta is simply grilled bread (the word “bruschetta” means “to roast over coals”) rubbed with garlic cloves and drizzled with really good extra virgin olive oil.

But now bruschetta recipes vary endlessly, with toppings like fresh tomato, as with this recipe, to cheeses, jams, cured meats and more. Sweet or savory, vegetarian or not, the secret to making the tastiest bruschetta is to use high-quality ingredients.

Ingredients for Tomato Bruschetta

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  • Bread: Bruschetta bread should be sturdy so it can hold plenty of toppings once toasted. Look for a crunchy French loaf, baguette, sourdough or ciabatta. These breads toast well and won’t go soggy.
  • Tomatoes: With their garden-fresh sweet and tangy flavor, tomatoes are the headliner of your bruschetta. Most types of tomato work for bruschetta, but cherry, plum and heirloom tomatoes offer the best flavor and texture for the topping.
  • Basil: Deliciously fragrant, a little sweet and peppery, basil is a match made in heaven with anything tomato. While you can use dried in a pinch, fresh basil has a much bolder taste that helps tie all the flavors together. Sometimes it’s hard to buy just a little basil; here are a bunch of great basil recipes to use up the extra.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: When do you use olive oil vs. extra virgin olive oil? High-quality extra virgin olive oil is the secret to making homemade bruschetta that rivals your favorite Italian restaurant. A good extra virgin olive oil will be smooth and buttery, maybe with some peppery or grassy notes. You can definitely tell the difference when drizzling it on something like bread and tomatoes. Save the regular olive oil for cooking!


Step 1: Prepare the topping

overhead shot; dark wooden background; In a large bowl, combine oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper; wooden spatula;TMB Studio

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Top with cheese, then place in the refrigerator for one hour.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re in a rush, you can mix the ingredients and carry on to Step 2, however, it’s definitely worth taking the time to allow the flavors to merge if you can spare a little more time.

Step 2: Toast the bread and assemble

overhead shot; dark wooden background; bread toast pieces; Topped with tomato mixture; on large rectangular tray;TMB Studio

Take the tomato mixture out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Cut the bread into 24 slices. Arrange on a tray in a single layer and place under the broiler until lightly browned.

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Top each piece of toast with the tomato mixture, and serve.

Editor’s Tip: If you already have the grill started for a cookout, try grilling the bread slices until lightly toasted and brown. The extra caramelization makes a big impact on these little bites.

Tomato Bruschetta Variations

  • Make it spicy: Add chopped jalapenos, a pinch of red pepper flakes, or a few splashes of hot sauce to your tomato mixture.
  • Roast the tomatoes: Grilling or roasting the tomatoes lends them a smoky flavor which makes fire-roasted tomato bruschetta, an especially tasty appetizer. It’s a great starter before other easy barbecue recipes.
  • Add extra vegetables: Sauteed garlic mushrooms, roasted eggplant, artichoke hearts or smashed fava beans make killer additions or substitutions when whipping up bruschetta.
  • Use other cheeses: Use mozzarella for a caprese salad-style bruschetta, or try ricotta, feta or goat cheese smeared over the toasted bread base. Blue cheese is phenomenal as well, especially with ingredients like prosciutto, fig or pear, and a drizzle of honey if you’re feeling fancy.
  • Try a different oil: Use oils infused with garlic, chili, herbs or truffle to take your bruschetta recipe to the next level.
  • Add vinegar: Different types of vinegar, like a drizzle of balsamic or red wine vinegar, will give your bruschetta topping an extra tangy pop.

Can you make bruschetta ahead of time?

You can prepare the tomato topping a day in advance. Not only will it save you time, but it also allows the flavors to come together, making your bruschetta that much more flavorful. Technically, the tomatoes will keep for about four days, but they’ll lose their texture and become a bit mealy or mushy. Store the tomato mixture in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use, then toast the bread and assemble the bruschetta close to when you’d like to serve them.

Can you freeze bruschetta?

You can freeze the toasted bread slices for future use, but freezing changes the texture of tomatoes, so they wouldn’t be great as a bruschetta topping. But you could use frozen tomatoes for other things like sauces, stews and soups.

To freeze the toast, wrap the slices well and store in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to six months. You don’t need to thaw before reheating in an oven, toaster oven or grill. To freeze the tomato mixture for future use, store it in an airtight container for up to six months.

Tomato Bruschetta Tips

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What’s the best bread for bruschetta?

The best bruschetta bread is robust, should toast well and have little pockets in the crumb for catching the oil and tomato juices. French bread, ciabatta bread and sourdough bread are popular options.

What do you serve with bruschetta?

Whether you go for tomato or switch up the toppings, bruschetta is a versatile starter that complements a host of other dishes. Stick with an Italian theme or branch out. When entertaining a crowd, bruschetta is perfect with other quick appetizers like stuffed mushrooms, sweet and savory apricot wraps or a full antipasto platter.

Watch how to Make Garlic Tomato Bruschetta

Garlic Tomato Bruschetta

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 2 dozen


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 loaf (1 pound) unsliced French bread


  1. In a large bowl, combine oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and toss gently. Sprinkle with cheese. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  2. Bring to room temperature before serving. Slice bread into 24 pieces; toast under broiler until lightly browned. Top with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 77 calories, 3g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 172mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

I drew inspiration from my grandma’s recipe for this garden-fresh bruschetta. The crisp bread and tomato goodness make a great party appetizer, but the dish also works alongside your favorite Italian entree. —Jean Franzoni, Rutland, Vermont
Recipe Creator