Copycat Olive Garden® Breadsticks Are Perfect for Thanksgiving (and Gluten-Free!)

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Imitation is the best form of flattery.
Imitation is the best form of flattery.

If you're trying to eat gluten-free, then you know how hard it can be to find substitutes for comfort foods - especially restaurant favorites like The Olive Garden's® breadsticks. Either the texture isn't right, or it tastes funny or doesn't bake up correctly. I'm interested in learning how to cook or bake a few things that are gluten-free, and have found easy information from recipe books and blogs. One of my favorites is from the book "Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: Biscuits, Bagels, Buns and More" by Nicole Hunn (excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group (c) 2013). I shared this recipe with my girlfriend who is gluten-free and she loved it.


For the Bread Dough
4 1/4 cups (595 g) gluten-free bread flour, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar
2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water (about 95°F)
For the Garlic Butter
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Related: Over a dozen Thanksgiving breads to impress your guests


1. For the all-purpose gluten-free flour in Gluten-Free Bread Flour, you can use either the High-Quality All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (below) or the Make-It-Simpler All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (below that). For this recipe, the High-Quality All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour is best. It is a copycat recipe for Better Batter gluten free flour, so that commercially-available gluten-free flour blend will also work well. Place all items in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
High-Quality All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
Makes 1 cup (140 g) flour
42 grams (about 1/4 cup) superfine brown rice flour (30%)
42 grams (about 1/4 cup) superfine white rice flour (30%)
21 grams (about 2 1/3 tablespoons) tapioca starch (15%)
21 grams (about 2 1/3 tablespoons) potato starch (15%)
7 grams (about 1 3/4 teaspoons) potato flour (5%)
4 grams (about 2 teaspoons) xanthan gum (3%)
3 grams (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) pure powdered pectin (2%)
*Gluten-Free Bread Flour
Makes 1 cup (140 g) flour
100 grams (about 11 1/2 tablespoons) all-purpose gluten-free flour (see below) (71%)**
25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)
15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smoother. Divide the dough into twelve pieces.

3. On a well-floured surface, pat the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. For the breadsticks, the dough should be elongated to about 12 inches long. Fold the rectangle along the length from bottom and top, each fold halfway up the width of the rectangle. Fold the now smaller rectangle in half, each side just folded over one another. Roll the dough back and forth on the lightly floured surface to seal the edges and to elongate it slightly until it's approximately 8 inches long.

4. Place the breadsticks about 2 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet, and dust with flour. Once all the breadsticks are shaped, cover the baking sheet with oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free location to rise until the breadsticks are nearly doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours). About 25 minutes before the dough has finished rising, remove the plastic and preheat your oven to 375°F.

5. Once the breadsticks have finished rising, place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and immediately turn down the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 5 minutes. While the breadsticks are baking, melt the butter for the garlic butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl, then mix in the garlic salt. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush each breadstick generously with the garlic butter. Return the breadsticks to the oven and continue to bake until they are lightly golden-brown all over (about another 5 minutes). Remove the breadsticks from the oven and brush again with garlic butter. Serve immediately.

- By Kim Demmon

For an easy-to-mock Shamrock Shake®, Baskin-Robbins® ice-cream cake and more copycat recipes, visit Spoonful!

Spoonful | Make. Everyday.
Spoonful | Make. Everyday.

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