What are garlic knots made of?

Garlic knots are a popular appetizer or side dish that consist of simple pizza dough tied into knots and topped with garlic, butter, and herbs. The main ingredients in garlic knots are pizza dough, garlic, butter, and Parmesan cheese or Italian seasoning herbs.

Pizza Dough as the Main Ingredient

The base of garlic knots is pizza dough. Pizza dough is made from basic ingredients like flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil. The specific ingredients and proportions vary between recipes, but in general pizza dough contains:

  • All-purpose or bread flour – The flour provides structure and gluten development for the dough.
  • Water – Hydrates the flour to form the dough.
  • Yeast – Leavens the dough so it rises and gets airy.
  • Salt – Enhances flavor and strengthens gluten.
  • Olive oil – Adds flavor and richness.

A basic pizza dough recipe calls for mixing together flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil until a soft, pliable dough forms. The dough is kneaded to develop the gluten, then set aside to proof and rise for a couple hours. This creates a soft and chewy pizza dough that can be rolled out and shaped into knots.

For garlic knots, the pizza dough is shaped into small balls about 1 inch across. The balls are tied or knotted and placed on a baking sheet before topping and baking.

Garlic for Flavor

Of course, garlic is essential for making garlic knots. The garlic provides a pronounced aromatic flavor that the appetizer is known for.

Most recipes call for fresh garlic cloves, minced or pressed. Using minced raw garlic gives the strongest and most pungent garlic flavor. About 3-6 minced cloves is typical for a batch of garlic knots.

You can also roast a head of garlic and use the softened roasted garlic for a mellower, sweeter garlic flavor. Some recipes mix minced raw garlic with roasted garlic paste for the best of both.

Butter for Flavor and Browning

Butter is also a key ingredient in garlic knots. Melted butter is brushed over the shaped dough knots before baking. The butter serves a few purposes:

  • It helps the garlic and herbs adhere to the surface of the knots.
  • It provides rich, buttery flavor.
  • It promotes browning and crisping of the exterior as the knots bake.

Most recipes call for 2-4 tablespoons of melted butter to brush a batch of garlic knots.

Herbs and Cheese for Seasoning

Herbs, spices, and cheese add flavor complexity to garlic knots. Popular options include:

  • Grated Parmesan cheese – Provides nutty, savory flavor and helps the seasonings stick.
  • Dried oregano – An Italian herb that complements the garlic.
  • Dried basil – Another Italian herb pairing well with garlic.
  • Red pepper flakes – Adds a touch of heat.
  • Onion powder – Provides subtle onion flavor.
  • Paprika – For color and mild sweetness.

The melted butter helps the seasonings and cheese adhere. About 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan or 1-2 teaspoons dried herbs are typical amounts for a batch.

Baking Process

The garlic knots are baked until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Baking temperatures between 375-425°F are common. The knots take about 10-20 minutes to bake depending on size.

Baking the knots causes a few changes:

  • The dough knots become fully cooked and set.
  • Moisture evaporates, creating a chewy texture.
  • The butter and cheese brown, adding flavor.
  • A crisp exterior crust develops.

The knots should be lightly golden brown when fully baked. Don’t over-bake them or the exterior can become too hard.

Serving Garlic Knots

Freshly baked garlic knots are served warm or at room temperature. Typical serving ideas include:

  • As an appetizer before meals
  • As a side with pasta or soup
  • As a snack or party food
  • Brushed with extra butter or herbs
  • Served with marinara sauce for dipping

Their portability makes garlic knots a handy appetizer to serve at parties. The rich garlicky flavors pair excellently with tomato sauce for dipping.

Ingredients by Weight

Here is an approximate breakdown of ingredients by weight in a typical batch of garlic knots:

Ingredient Percentage of Total Weight
Pizza dough 70%
Garlic 10%
Butter 10%
Parmesan cheese 5%
Herbs and spices 5%

As you can see, pizza dough makes up the bulk of the weight. Garlic and butter are the next main ingredients, followed by smaller amounts of cheese and herbs.

Sample Recipe

Here is a sample recipe to showcase the primary ingredients and method for making garlic knots from scratch:


  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Make the pizza dough either from scratch or use ready-made dough. Portion into 16 equal pieces.
  2. Roll each piece into a ball. Tie into a simple knot and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Mix the minced garlic with the melted butter. Brush each knot with the garlic butter.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle over the knots.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 12-18 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.


There are many ways to adapt garlic knots by using different seasonings or mix-ins. Some variations include:

  • Asiago cheese – Use a sharper Asiago instead of Parmesan.
  • Pesto garlic knots – Brush with pesto instead of plain garlic butter.
  • Everything bagel seasoning – Top with this blend of seeds and spices.
  • Garlic powder knots – For a more subtle garlic flavor.
  • Onion garlic knots – Add minced onion to the garlic butter.
  • Jalapeño knots – Add diced jalapeños for heat.

You can also shape the dough into forms other than classic knots, like balls or breadsticks.


Garlic knots are best freshly baked and served the same day. However, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Re-crisp in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving again.

The dough knots can also be prepared then frozen raw for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

Tips for Making Garlic Knots

Here are some helpful tips for successfully making great garlic knots:

  • Use high-quality pizza dough for the best texture.
  • Shape the knots evenly so they cook uniformly.
  • Know your oven’s hot spots to prevent uneven browning.
  • Brush plenty of butter and garlic for maximum flavor.
  • Don’t over-bake or the exterior can become tough.
  • Serve warm for the best texture and flavor.


Garlic knots are higher in calories, carbs, and fat compared to plain bread due to the added butter, oil, and cheese. A 2-knot serving provides approximately:

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbs: 18g
  • Protein: 4g

Most of the calories come from the pizza dough base. Garlic knots make a tasty appetizer or side but should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Cost Analysis

Here is an approximate cost breakdown for a batch of 16 garlic knots:

Ingredient Cost
Pizza dough (1 lb fresh or frozen) $3
Garlic (6 cloves) $0.30
Butter (1/4 cup) $0.25
Parmesan cheese (2 Tbsp) $0.25
Herbs and spices $0.20
Total: $4.00

The fresh pizza dough accounts for the majority of the cost. Overall, a batch of garlic knots made from scratch costs around $4 total or $0.25 per knot.

Buying ready-made frozen garlic knots is more expensive, typically $5-8 for a similar 16-knot batch. However, the convenience may be worth the higher cost if you don’t have time to make them from scratch.


Garlic knots combine the simple ingredients of pizza dough, garlic, butter, and herbs into an appetizing and indulgent snack. While they may look complex, garlic knots are easy to make at home with just a few ingredients.

The pizza dough can be store-bought or homemade. Raw garlic and melted butter add hearty garlic flavor. Grated Parmesan, dried oregano, and basil complete the seasoning profile. After shaping and baking until crispy on the outside and chewy inside, serve the garlic knots warm alongside marinara sauce or your favorite dishes.

With just pizza dough, garlic, butter, and some herbs, you can create this tasty Italian-American classic. Garlic knot’s bold flavors make them an instant crowd-pleaser.

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