Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread

$1.97 recipe / $0.33 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 8 votes
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It’s been a long time since I made bread and I the other day I got that itch! This time I decided to whip up a batch of my (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce and mix it with the fresh dough bits to create an ultra flavorful Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread. This bread would be a treat when served with any dinner, but I also think it makes a nice appetizer. Serve it with a little marinara for dipping and dig in!

Overhead view of a round glass baking dish filled with Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread, parsley garnish on the side

Cheese it Up!

I did use a little Parmesan to make the bread more savory, but you can get even cheesier and add some shredded mozzarella to transform it into a pizza-like pull apart bread! Just toss in a cup or so of shredded mozzarella when you’re mixing the sauce and dough together, so the mozzarella shreds get in the nooks and crannies as the bread rises and bakes.

Semi-homemade Tomato Herb Pul Apart Bread Shortcut

Not into making bread from scratch? You can still make this recipe! Simply buy a ball of pre-made pizza dough or a loaf of frozen bread dough, let it thaw, cut it into small pieces, and proceed from there. That’s the way we used to do it when I was growing up, but I felt like doing it from scratch today!

Close up of a hand pulling a piece of Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread from the baking dish.
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Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread

4.88 from 8 votes
Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread combines a rich and tangy tomato sauce, savory Parmesan, and fresh bread dough for an irresistible appetizer loaf.
Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread - Budget Bytes
Servings 6
Prep 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 1 hour 55 minutes



  • 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.42)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary ($0.03)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes ( $0.02)
  • 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.03)
  • 3 oz. (5 Tbsp) tomato paste ($0.33)
  • 1/2 tsp honey ($0.02)


  • 1 cup warm water ($0.00)
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast ($0.19)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar ($0.01)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.11)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 3 cups (approx.) all-purpose flour ($0.29)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.24)


  • Prepare the tomato sauce first, so that it has time to cool. In a small skillet combine the olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper, cracked pepper, and salt. Heat the oil and herbs over medium-low for 2-3 minutes to gently infuse the oil with flavor. It’s okay for the herbs to sizzle, but do not let them burn.
  • Add the tomato paste and honey to the skillet. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste becomes a deep red color. The tomato paste and oil will not create a smooth sauce, but will stay fairly separated. Let the sauce cool.
  • While the sauce is cooling, stir the yeast and sugar into one cup of warm water. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it develops a thick layer of foam on top.
  • In a large bowl, stir together one cup of the flour with the salt. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture, then pour it into the bowl with the flour and stir until it forms a smooth paste. Continue to add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to the bowl until it forms a sticky ball of dough that you can no longer stir with a spoon.
  • Liberally dust a clean work surface with flour and transfer the sticky dough from the bowl to the work surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, slowly adding more flour as you go, until a smooth ball of dough has formed and you’ve used about 3 cups of flour total (from beginning to end). Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  • Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut the dough into 1-inch chunks. Place the cut dough into a clean bowl, add the cooled tomato sauce, and grated Parmesan. Toss the dough pieces in the sauce and cheese until everything is evenly coated. If the dough pieces stick together before they get coated in the sauce, simply pull them apart.
  • Coat a 9-inch pie plate or bread loaf pan with non-stick spray. Place the sauce coated bread pieces in the prepared dish. Cover loosely with plastic and let the bread rise for one hour, or until double in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the bread for 23-25 minutes, or until the top has darkened slightly and the bread sounds hollow when tapped with your finger. Let the bread cool slightly, then serve.

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Serving: 1ServingCalories: 348.88kcalCarbohydrates: 52.07gProtein: 7.5gFat: 12.43gSodium: 756.65mgFiber: 2.68g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of the baking dish full of Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread, with a couple pieces missing

How to Make Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread – Step by Step Photos

Olive Oil and Herbs in the skillet

Start by making the (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce so that it has time to cool. I used slightly less olive oil for the sauce this time because I didn’t feel like it needed as much for this application. Begin with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes, some freshly cracked pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a skillet. Heat over medium-low flame for about 3 minutes to infuse the oil. It’s okay for the spices to sizzle a bit, but don’t let them burn.

Add Tomato Paste and Honey to the skillet with oil and herbs

Add 3 oz. tomato paste (that’s just half of a 6oz. can, or about 5 Tbsp), and 1/2 tsp honey. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

Finished Not Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in the skillet with a spoon

The oil and tomato paste will not form a smooth sauce. Watch for the tomato paste to take on a deep, dark red color. Let the sauce cool as you prepare the dough.

Yeast dissolved in water in a measuring cup, with a foamy layer on top

Combine 1 cup warm water with 2 tsp active dry yeast (or one of those 1/4oz. yeast packets) and 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir to dissolve, then let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it develops a thick layer of foam on top.

Yeasty water being poured into a bowl of flour

In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 tsp salt. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the yeast mixture, then pour it into the bowl with the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms.

Shaggy Dough in the mixing bowl, with a wooden spoon

Continue to add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a sticky ball of dough that you can no longer stir with a spoon (I think it was about 2 cups total before I could no longer stir).

Smooth Kneaded Dough on a blue cutting board

Liberally dust a clean work surface with flour, then transfer the sticky dough from the bowl to the work surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as you go. After five minutes, you should have a smooth and elastic ball of dough and used about 3 cups of flour (3 cups total from start to finish). Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.

Dough cut into small golf ball sized pieces with a metal bench scraper

Cut the dough into one-inch pieces.

Dough pieces, Parmesan, and not sun dried tomato sauce in a bowl

Add the dough pieces, cooled tomato sauce (with all the oil), and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan to a clean bowl. Toss the dough pieces in the sauce and oil until they’re coated. The dough pieces may stick to each other before they’re fully coated, but you can just pull them apart. Don’t be afraid to pull and stretch the dough. It can handle it.

Dough pieces coated in tomato sauce and Parmesan, in the glass dish to rise.

Coat a 9-inch pie plate or a bread pan with non-stick spray. Transfer the dough pieces to the prepared dish, cover loosely with plastic, and let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Risen Tomato Herb Bread in the glass dish, viewed from the side.

This is the bread after it has risen for one hour (it’s pretty warm here, so bread rises quickly). Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Baked Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread garnished with chopped parsley

Once the oven has preheated, bake the bread for 23-25 minutes, or until it has darkened on top and it sounds hollow when you tap on the top. Let it cool just a few minutes, then serve the Tomato Herb Pull Apart Bread warm. YUM!

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    1. We’ve only tried with parmesan and mozzarella, but feta might work, too! If you try it out, let us know how it goes! ~ Marion :)

  1. Did anybody try this recipe with almond flour instead?  Any suggestions? Thank you 

    1. This type of bread recipe will not work with almond flour, unfortunately.

  2. These pull apart rolls are ridiculously good!
    Sometimes I mix it up by making a roasted garlic butter instead of the pizza flavors.

  3. I’ve made this twice and it’s delicious (kid #1 requested it for Christmas Eve festivities), BUT I’ve found that stirring the sauce into the dough is an epic mess and I wind up dividing the dough twice. Next time I’ll handle this like a traditional monkey bread: make the dough balls, swish each one through the sauce and cheese individually, and place them in the pan. Thanks for this great recipe!

  4. do you think it would still be good to leave the cheese out? i’m hosting a dinner party with a vegan guest (he eats honey)

    1. I know this is really old but if someone is scrolling later with a similar question, I used nutritional yeast as an experiment and it worked nicely!

  5. I’ve made this a couple times now, it is so good! I’ve changed a couple very minor things: 2-3 cloves garlic, and no red pepper but I typically add a little onion powder also. This bread is awesome dipped in pesto, especially if it’s homemade!

  6. Hey there! I’m dying to make this, but there’s something I was hoping you could tell me. Do you pour your flour, or do you scoop it? You probably know this, but with scooping, the flour ends up being packed, and a good deal more flour (by weight) ends up in the cup than simply pouring from the bag into the measuring cup. In a recipe that calls for 3 cups, this difference could end up being an entire extra cup of flour. And nobody EVER mentions how they do something as “simple” as measuring flour, so in most baking recipes I’m left just guessing.. which doesn’t always necessarily turn out well.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. I scoop and scrape off the top, but I always suggest adding flour until the dough ball gets to be the right consistency, rather than using a strict flour measurement. Humidity can make a big difference in the amount of flour needed as well. :)

  7. Bethhh help, I tried to make this but the dough refused to smooth out, even after 10+ minutes of kneading :( I consider myself at least an intermediate bread maker and I’ve never had this happen before. It’s like the glutens were refusing to develop. I definitely added the ingredients in the proper order in the proper quantities, I double checked. The only thing I can think of is its very humid and not air-conditioned in my new place (I recently moved), maybe that affected it? It’s resting right now, I’m still going to proceed and hope for the best.

    1. Hmmm. I sometimes find that bread dough can look a little rough even after kneading, but once it rests for about five minutes it’s miraculously a lot smoother. Perhaps that’s all it needed. I hope it turned out okay!

    2. probably you won’t see this… but someone else may have the same problem.

      I’d bet a dollar that you found the dough worked easier after allowing it to rest a bit. After working with the dough, the gluten strands were very active, they were actually resisting your efforts to manipulate the dough. Covering it and walking away 5 or 10 minutes will allow the gluten to relax. The easiest way to see this happening is when working a pizza dough. You stretch it as much as you can, and it resists and shrinks back up some, leave it alone for 5 and try again and presto!

  8. I just made this totally on a whim to go with dinner– not gonna lie I cheated with pre made pizza dough but OMG! It was AMAZING! Totally addictive. My husband and I had to stop ourselves from eating the whole pan. It’s definitely “company worthy.”