An Italian Classic: The Best Homemade Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Italian food doesn’t always have the reputation of being particularly easy to make.

Homemade tomato basil bruschetta arranged in rows on a white rectangular serving diwh, with a small white bowl of the topping mixture next to a sprig of green basil on a folded white and tan patterned cloth in the background.

While the flavors are classic, fresh, and somewhat uncomplicated, it can take hours to bring the home experience to the level of what Italian grandmothers have been perfecting for decades.

There are plenty of tricks and shortcuts to make Italian food less time consuming and easier to make at home. But sometimes, it’s worth sticking to the original recipe. And that’s where this bruschetta appetizer comes in.

Closely cropped downward shot of nine pieces of bruschetta arranged in a grid on a white plate.

I studied abroad in Rome for five months back in college, so I can attest to the fact that this simple bruschetta recipe tastes just like the snack I used to devour in Campo di Fiori.

Tomatoes and basil are my two favorite ingredients, especially when they’re paired up. And there’s nothing like a fresh batch of bruschetta, made even better with the additional flavor bomb that is fresh garlic. The taste is crisp, acidic, refreshing, and herbaceous.

Oblique view of nine pieces of bruschetta on a square serving platter, on a gray marble surface with a folded cloth napkin, a small white bowl of chopped tomatoes, and a bunch of basil.

When combined, these simple ingredients are delicious served over sliced and toasted Italian bread, or a French or sourdough baguette. The authentic taste of Italy comes through in every single bite, making it a comforting and easy appetizer that you’ll want to make for every single party you host.

Even if you aren’t a huge fan of fresh vegetables, or if your kids refuse to eat anything green, everyone in your household will fall in love with this recipe.

Oblique view of a square serving dish of bruschetta, on a marble surface with a beige background, beside a small white bowl of tomato topping and a sprig of fresh basil.

In Italy, bruschetta is a simple dish that everyone seems to know how to whip up at the drop of a hat. And it is especially popular when the warmer weather rolls around, made with fresh tomatoes and herbs from the garden.

This is the time when people start taking advantage of sitting outside, enjoying a glass of wine, and munching on a few pieces of bruschetta while they watch the children play in the piazza.

You may not have a piazza in your neighborhood, but your surroundings will be elevated to become just as fantastic with a plate full of homemade bruschetta enjoyed al fresco. You can pair this lively recipe with red or white wine, so no matter what you prefer to imbibe, it’ll pair perfectly with this tomato-based snack.

Recipe Tips

Roma tomatoes are my absolute number one pick for making this recipe. A popular type of plum tomato, there aren’t too many seeds to cut out, and the tomato itself holds up well to being peeled and handled as needed.

You can use your choice of bread, but the main pointer here is to always, always toast it. The crunch is exactly what you need to pair with the juicy topping for an extra crunchy bite with wonderful texture.

Homemade tomato and basil bruschetta on toasted bread, arranged in rows on a white serving platter, with a small white bowl of chopped tomatoes and a bunch of basil in the background.

These would be great to take along on a picnic. Simply keep the bruschetta topping separate from the bread, and assemble once you arrive at your picnic destination.

The bruschetta mixture itself is juicy and delightful, but there’s a secret to this bruschetta that makes it truly over-the-top with savory flavor:

After it’s toasted, you rub or spread the bread with garlic.

I prefer to use crushed garlic so you actually get a good layer on there, but you can also simply rub the slices of toasted bread with a garlic clove to get the flavorful essence in a more mild form.

Homemade tomato basil bruschetta on a white rectangular serving dish, with a folded beige and white patterned cloth napkin topped with a small bowl of chopped tomatoes and sprigs of fresh basil in the background, on a white marble surface.

If you really want to take it over the top, you can use mashed roasted garlic instead, one of my favorite flavors.

I really love the taste of freshly ground black pepper, and a couple of turns over the top just before serving is quite delicious.

If you don’t have a pepper mill on hand, I recommend looking into your options and adding one to your kitchen collection ASAP. That pre-ground stuff on your spice rack will work, but it’s missing that pop of flavor that we’re looking for.

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Bruschetta appetizers on toast rounds, arranged in rows on a white square serving dish, on a marble surface, with a bunch of basil and a small dish of chopped tomatoes in shallow focus in the background, against a beige wall.

The Best Tomato Basil Bruschetta


  • Author: Meghan Bassett
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

Fresh tomato, basil, and garlic, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, come together in this easy, classic bruschetta appetizer.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Start by boiling a large saucepan of water on the stove over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl about halfway with ice, and the rest of the way with cold water. Remove the pan of water from the burner as soon as it reaches a boil.
  2. Immediately add your tomatoes to the boiling water and let them blanch for about 1 minute.
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
    Remove the skins from the tomatoes, using a small knife to gently peel them away. Quarter the tomatoes, and discard the seeds and stems.
  4. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 450°F and place a baking rack in the topmost position.
  5. Chop the tomatoes into fine pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl with the basil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir to combine.
  6. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and brush some olive oil on one side of each piece. Arrange the bread oil side down on a baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven on the top rack and toast for 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven. Flip each piece of toast, brush with oil, and smear with garlic paste.
  8. Arrange the toast on a serving tray and spoon some of the tomato mixture evenly onto each slice. If you won’t be serving immediately, wait to top the toast until ready to serve.

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure

Wash all of the produce well, and pat the basil dry with paper towels.

A baguette, a bunch of fresh green basil, and five red Roma tomatoes, on a marble surface.

Using a chef’s knife and a sturdy cutting board, roll and chiffonade or finely chop the basil leaves.

Mince the garlic cloves, using a garlic press to make a paste.

Half-inch baguette slices arranged in rows so they are not touching, on a small metal rimmed baking sheet.

Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch slices, using a bread knife. Discard the two ends (since they won’t sit flat on your serving platter), or save them to make into breadcrumbs for another recipe.

Measure the remaining ingredients and set aside.

Step 2 – Prepare the Tomatoes

To prepare the tomatoes, first you’re going to want to blanch them, to make it easier to remove the skins. If you like, you can skip this step, but it makes a nicer finished product.

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl, by filling it at least halfway with ice and cold water. We’re going to use the same method here that you may be familiar with from our guide to blanching almonds to remove the skins.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat as soon as it is boiling.

Add the whole tomatoes and let them soak in the hot water for about 1 minute, until the skins begin to wrinkle and split. Drain the tomatoes, and transfer immediately to the ice bath. This will quickly cool them and prevent them from cooking any further.

Use a small knife to gently peel the skins away from the tomatoes, then cut them into quarters. Remove the cores and seeds, chop, and place them in a large bowl.

Step 3 – Toast the Bread

You can toast the bread however you like, but I prefer to brush it with oil on one side, and toast it until golden brown in the toaster oven. You could also use your regular oven, preheated to 450°F or a low broil setting.

Toasted baguette rounds arranged in rows on a black rimmed baking sheet.

Whatever you do, keep an eye on your bread as it toasts, because you don’t want it to burn! Remove from the toaster, flip each slice, and set aside.

Step 4 – Make the Topping

Add the basil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup olive oil to the bowl and stir together gently until combined.

A stainless steel mixing bowl that contains chopped tomatoes and basil, salt, and pepper, on a white marble surface with gray veins.

Set aside.

Step 5 – Rub with Garlic

Brush your baguette toasts with more oil if desired, and spread each slice with a bit of minced garlic paste. Roasted garlic would also be delicious here.

Toasted baguette slices arranged in rows on a black rimmed baking sheet, with garlic paste spread on top.

If you’d like a milder garlic flavor, simply rub a whole garlic clove on each toasted slice instead.

Arrange on a serving platter.

Step 6 – Assemble

Top-down vertical image of a stainless steel bowl filled with a mixture of diced tomatoes and chopped basil, with a teaspoon stuck into the bowl, on a gray and white marble background.

Add one to two tablespoons of tomato topping to each slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Three rows of four pieces of tomato and basil bruschetta on a small black rimmed baking sheet.

If you are saving this dish for an event later in the day, keep the bruschetta topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Wait to toast the bread slices until just before your meal, and assemble right before serving.

Recreating the Taste of Italy at Home Has Never Been This Easy

Honestly, any way you slice it (haha, get it? Like sliced bread? Well, I digress…), you will not be able to stop devouring this snack.

The tomato, the basil, the garlic, and the seasonings, combined on top of crunchy toasted bread, creates an unforgettable explosion of textures and flavors.

Top-down view of nine pieces of toasted baguette rounds topped with chopped tomatoes and basil, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, on a rectangular, white, ceramic serving dish, on a marble surface topped partially with a beige and white patterned cloth, will a small dish of bruschetta topping and a few sprigs of green fresh basil.

Need some ideas for what to serve as the main dish, with this bruschetta as the opener?

Consider making Simple Stovetop Lasagna, for One (you can easily double this to feed more people) or an easy Chicken Parmesan Bake to keep the Italian theme going throughout the meal. Both are more American than classically Italian, but you can’t deny how well they go together.

For something a little more complicated (and – dare I say – impressive?) try your hand at making homemade gnocchi or semolina pasta.

To me, it’s so intriguing to discover that such a simple recipe can be so addictive. It only takes a few minutes to whip up, and you will never tire of making it. This appetizer has become a staple in my home, and I’m sure it will become one in yours as well.

Homemade tomato basil bruschetta on a white rectangular serving dish, with a folded beige and white patterned cloth napkin topped with a small bowl of chopped tomatoes and sprigs of fresh basil in the background, on a white marble surface.

Want to use your own fresh, homegrown ingredients? For expert tips on growing tomatoes and basil, visit our sister site, Gardener’s Path.

Do you love the classic tomato basil combination? Tell us about in the comments below, and don’t forget to rate our recipe.


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a tomato basil bruschetta recipe

Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lynne Jaques on June 10th, 2014. Last updated: October 7, 2018 at 6:31 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

The flavors of Italy come together in this classic appetizer recipe. Juicy tomato, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar combine with flavorful garlic atop crusty bread to form a dish that you will never get sick of making for family and friends. Read more now on Foodal to learn how to make bruschetta at home. #bruschetta #healthysnack #italianreicpe #tomatoes

24 thoughts on “An Italian Classic: The Best Homemade Tomato Basil Bruschetta

  1. Bruschetta has always been one of my absolute favourite side dishes. Your enticing recipe, and those pictures even more so, are making me very hungry right now!

    • You are completely right on the money Patrick, the pictures/presentations are extremely amazing….it doesn’t matter whether i have just had my supper, one look and am back in the kitchen trying out something…now that i ‘ve mentioned it, i might as well try out this scrumptious recipe.

    • This blog makes me incredibly hungry! My belly has been grumbling non-stop since I found it the other day. That’s how I know to print one of Lynn’s recipes. Is belly growling? If yes = print. It’s always print 😉

        • Agreed! I am spending far too much time on this site for my diet to stand! I’m wondering if I might be able to find an alternative to the bread to make it a little less carby for me since that’s my downfall. Either way, I cannot wait to try this. I’ve never made homemade bruschetta before. It didn’t occur to me that it would be fairly easy to make.
          I did find a brand, and can’t think of the name, that had artichokes in the bruschetta as well, and it was so good. Would love to see if that would work in here!

  2. I remember tasting this exciting combination at the grocery promotional stand and i started speaking weird ‘Italian’ language {no idea why i was doing this} i just did not have a clue it was Bruschetta, reading this article has awakened those senses of wanting to go to Italy and live there forever….am sorry, when something exciting happens in my life, i tend to act out weird…forget and forgive i said i trashed loaves a long time ago, this is a worth try…am sure i will not regret one bit.

  3. I grew up in an Italian and Jewish neighborhood and I remember eating the Bruschetta with extra EO. It is great as a snack or as a meal. Thank you, for sharing, Lynne.

  4. I’ve never attempted my own bruschetta, and as usual, you make it seem like it’s something I can definitely make!

    I’m not great with tomato varieties. Are Roma tomatoes a sauce variety? I usually only have Romas on hand.

    I have a perfect dish I’m going to try and serve this with next week.

  5. Bruschetta is one of the few things I can tolerate tomatoes with. This recipe is spot-on. I’m definitely adding it to my recipe book.

  6. Yum, my mouth is watering just looking at your photos. Bruschetta is one of my favorite snacks to have in the afternoon. When all of the ingredients are fresh it’s perfection. I’m throwing a little get together this weekend and I think I’ll make some to serve with drinks. Thank you for the idea!

  7. Yummy! I make bruschetta so often, I like twisting the recipes up some. I have an aunt who likes adding slices of mozzarella cheese and sprinkles of garlic, parsley, thyme and red peeper on top. But in the end, nothing beats the traditional style recipes. Anyway, i just want to say that I gave your recipe a try and totally loved it – uber-delicious!

  8. So I tried this with a twist tonight – I didn’t have any tomatoes but did have some red bell peppers. I halved the peppers and took out the seeds, lightly oiled them in extra virgin olive oil, and cracked some sea salt and pepper on them.

    Tossed the peppers on a baking sheet and in to the oven for 25 minutes at 400 until the skins started blistering a bit and darken. I pulled them out, let them cool a bit and peeled the skins to be discareded. This left me with the pepper flesh which I continued with in the same manner as the tomatoes used in the recipe.

    Still turned out very well, and provided a different (but still familiar) flavour profile compared to the recipe shown. Give it a shot if you’re ever out of tomatoes!

    • This sounds like a really great twist to the original recipe and I love red bell peppers so I am definitely going to try this out. I am really glad you shared this with us Nonsiccus, thanks!

  9. That looks so quick and simple to make. It’s always good to be able to produce some appetizers at short notice and this can easily be made using simple storecupboard ingredients.

  10. I really do love bruschetta and make it often. Your recipe sounds quite tasty and not much different from one of the recipes I use. However, I do add mozzarella cheese but I’m sure its good without it.

  11. I always order some bruschetta when I go out to eat Italian. It makes me sad that I can’t make this at home due to the lack of oven currently 🙁

  12. This looks delicious. I like finger food. I have never had this and it is so simple to make. I too love tomatoes and basil. I can see how this will be great on sour dough bread. All those various flavors coming together. I want to be able to make my own sour dough bread and that would make it that much more special. I can see having this dish along with the garlic and sindried tomatoes. Fiun eating!

  13. For YEARS I always thought bruschetta was merely a version of pico de gallo. Now…hold on…I’m not saying that I thought that before I read this article but I did think it into my VERY early twenties. Just because I had always seen it on menus described & thought ‘what a lazy pico’. I had never tried it. Though when I did I started to understand the influence of herbs & spices on primary ingredients.

  14. Everyone’s right. The pictures alone are enough to eat, haha! I truly think this is something I’ll enjoy tremendously. I love tomatoes. I don’t know where to find fresh basil, though. I only have dried basil at home, but it’s one of my favorite spices! Most of the time, I use these two when making tuna pasta. I add lots and lots of tomatoes, onions, and basil as sauce. So, I’m definitely sure that I’m going to love this recipe.

  15. My version is definitely not as advanced as this one. I do love how simple your recipe is, but I can tell just from the ingredients and the pictures that it adds up to a complex flavor. Is this recipe associated with a specific place in Italy? I have had bruschetta in some restaurants that used a thin layer of mozzarella, which is delicious, but doesn’t feel as authentic. Americans love cheese on everything! I might have to try this out with my husband tonight since I’m pretty sure we already have all of the ingredients on hand.

  16. I didn’t know making bruschetta was so simple. I’ve never made it for myself and now that I’ve seen this recipe, I have no excuse! Seems like the perfect thing to bring along and snack on during a relaxing afternoon at my favorite park.

  17. I wonder if this would be good with cilantro as an alternative. This looks like it’d be good with bits of chicken too.

  18. Oh my Gosh! Thanks so much for this recipe. I stumbled upon it on the most perfect time. I was surfing around the website because I needed a good appetizer recipe for a small dinner party I’m hosting for some friends that are coming into town this weekend. I was totally clueless on what to make, but I quickly found it! The article picture called me with its deliciousness LOL. Not only is this recipe super easy to make, but the preparation time is not to long and I already have most of the ingredients. I’m only missing the bread. I’m making the recipe twice though, one time before the party so I can give it a taster and then for the party. I’m sure it will be great, as I’m already in love with the recipe’s ingredients. Thanks again!

  19. I really love this because it’s easy and fast to cook. I’m definitely copying this down just in case I run out of food one day and all I have are some tomatoes and some bread, it probably will not look the same, but it will be something. Thank you for sharing.

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