Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Homemade Bread Bowls

How to make crusty and soft homemade bread bowls with step by step pictures. This is a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto! Recipe on

Welcome to 2018!! I’m not really sure where 2017 went, but I know where 2018 is going: BREAD. Or at least that’s where January’s headed. This is the 1st baking challenge of the year and I hope you’re just as excited as I am.

Tie on your aprons, gather your determination, and heat up that creamy soup. Let’s dive right into 2018 with homemade bread bowls!

How to make crusty and soft homemade bread bowls with step by step pictures. This is a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto! Recipe on

Breadmaking probably seems impossible, but think of it this way: it’s one of the most basic foods. Just simple ingredients mixed together, left alone to work some magic, shaped, and baked. That’s the process and it’s 100% something you can handle.

Today I’m going to talk about the dough itself, convince you there’s nothing to fear, share the recipe, then walk you through step-by-step pictures so you can see the bread bowls come together. This is a priceless recipe that you can and will master.

Basic Bread Dough

These homemade bread bowls start with an ordinary bread dough. Dissolve the yeast in warm water to get things going. No need to activate the yeast– which is when you add a pinch of sugar to the warm liquid/yeast to ensure that the yeast is active or not. Modern yeast is most likely active and ready to go. Just check the expiration date on the package. (You’ll still use a bit of sugar in the dough itself, though… more on that next.) I highly recommend using a quality yeast like Red Star Yeast— it’s always my go-to brand for the best tasting breads!

Just 4 more ingredients: salt and olive oil for flavor, a bit of sugar to “feed” the yeast which creates carbon dioxide bubbles and allows the dough to rise, and bread flour. Bread flour contains a lot of protein which helps form a chewier, more dense, and, well, more bread-like… bread. (Technical terms!!) We want a strong and crusty bread for our bread bowls and bread flour will help us achieve that.

To give you the full picture, I use all-purpose flour when I’m making richer, softer, and more fluffy bread. Things like cinnamon rolls, butter rolls, doughnuts, and monkey bread. I typically use milk instead of water and I add additional fat like eggs and/or butter. More fat usually means the dough takes longer to rise. Today’s bread bowls are a particularly “lean” dough, so the rise time is quicker.

How to make crusty and soft homemade bread bowls with step by step pictures. This is a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto! Recipe on

If yeast terrifies you, don’t hide your eyes! It’s just another ingredient added to the dough. We’re not doing anything special with it. We’re just mixing it with water. The magic happens during hands-off time. So kick up your feet and get your soup ready.

Pictured inside my bread bowls? Lightened-up creamy chicken noodle soup!

Use This Dough for Anything

After the dough rises, which I chat about in the step-by-step pictures below, you’ll shape the dough into 6 balls and bake them. You’re not limited to bread bowls though! This dough can easily turn into a couple pans of traditional dinner rolls, crusty loaves of bread, or even a few pizza doughs. You can add seasonings like garlic powder (my suggestion!), Italian seasoning, onion power, rosemary, etc. So many ways we can enjoy fresh bread with this simple and versatile recipe.

What’s more? We all lead busy lives, so make things easy on yourself by prepping the dough ahead of time and freezing it. See my make ahead tip.

How to make crusty and soft homemade bread bowls with step by step pictures. This is a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto! Recipe on

Kevin, my in-house bread critic, had a lot to say about the bread bowls.

  • Big fan of the X score on top. If not eating as a bread bowl, the X makes it easy to tear into pieces. Ease of breaking apart is crucial in a bread lover’s world. More on the X below the recipe!
  • The edges are the right amount of crisp. Two thumbs up.
  • How do you make them so shiny? (egg wash! remember from our November Baking Challenge?)
  • When can you make them again?

How to make crusty and soft homemade bread bowls with step by step pictures. This is a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto! Recipe on

If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate January Baking Challenge:

After you make the baking challenge recipe or alternative, share your photos throughout this month using #sallysbakingchallenge on Instagram or email me, tweet me, or upload a photo of your recipe to my Facebook page or Facebook group.

Homemade Bread Bowls


  • 2 packets Red Star® Active Dry Yeast (4 and 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (540ml) warm water (110°F – 115°F)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 6 cups (780g) bread flour, plus more for hands and surface*
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk


  1. Pour the warm water over yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you don't have a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Whisk together and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a towel. The mixture should be frothy and foamy after 5 minutes.
  2. If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the sugar, salt, olive oil, 4 cups of bread flour, and seasonings (if using, see recipe note). Beat on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 2 cups of flour. Beat on low speed for 5-6 minutes. The dough should be thick, yet soft. And only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. If it's too sticky, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Then place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. (I just use the same mixing bowl-- remove the dough, grease it with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the dough back in.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. For this warm environment, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door cracked a bit.
  4. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed.
  5. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut into 6 even pieces. Form each into a large ball.
  6. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place 3 dough balls onto each. Cover lightly and set aside to rest for 20 minutes as the oven preheats.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Brush each dough ball with egg wash and, using a sharp knife, score an X into the tops of each.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool until ready to handle. The longer you cool, the easier they are to cut open!
  9. For serving, cut a large round out of the top of each bread bowl. Scoop out the center (save the center to dunk into soup!) and fill with soup.
  10. Cover and store leftover bread bowls at room temperature for a couple days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. You can also freeze the baked bread bowls for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Make ahead tip/overnight: After dough has risen two hours in step 3, punch down the dough inside the mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, then remove from the refrigerator and continue with step 4. OR freeze for up to 2 months, then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 4.

Recipe Notes:

*I haven't tried this dough with whole wheat flour, but I expect it to taste a little dry. You may have to add a little more water.

*You can halve this recipe to make only 3 bread bowls. Or make the dough as written and freeze half for later use (see make ahead tip).

*I love adding a little flavor to the bread dough. I tested the recipe with a couple teaspoons of garlic powder and could hardly taste it. (Though I could certainly smell it!) I increased to 1.5 Tablespoons and it left a light and lovely garlic flavor. Adding garlic powder is optional, but tastes wonderful in the bread. If it pairs nicely with your soup of choice, definitely add it! You can also add 1-2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning or rosemary, or a Tablespoon of onion powder.

Dinner rolls: Makes 24 rolls, which is likely more than you need, but you can freeze half of the dough for later. Prepare dough through step 4. Instead of forming into 6 balls in step 5, divide the dough in half. Freeze half of the dough for later use (see make ahead tip) and form the other half into 12 balls. Place balls in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover lightly and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Brush with egg wash, score with an X if desired (not necessary) and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 25-28 minutes or until the tops and edges are golden brown.

Pizza dough: Makes 4 12-inch pizza crusts, which is likely more than you need, but you can freeze half of the dough for later. Prepare dough through step 4. Instead of forming into 6 balls in step 5, divide the dough in half. Freeze half of the dough for later use (see make ahead tip) and form the other half into 2 large balls. Cover lightly and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Flatten each ball of dough 1 at a time on a lightly floured surface or on a silicone baking mat. You could also do this directly on your greased pizza pan. Flatten and stretch into a 12-inch round circle. Brush with a little olive oil (no need for egg wash). Add toppings and bake in a super hot oven at 475°F (246°C). Pizzas typically take 12-15 minutes.

Crusty bread loaves: Makes about 3 loaves of crusty bread. Prepare dough through step 4. Instead of forming into 6 balls in step 5, divide the dough into 3 pieces. You can freeze 1 or 2 pieces for later use (see make ahead tip). Round into a ball as best you can and place onto a lined baking sheet. Cover lightly and set aside to rest for 30 minutes. The dough will spread out a bit. Brush with egg wash, score with an X, and bake at 400°F (204°C) for 30 minutes or until the tops and edges are golden brown.

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Begin with quality yeast. 🙂

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Pour warm water on top, give it a minute to combine and froth up, then add the rest of the dough ingredients. You know the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Let it rise in a warm environment until (roughly) doubled in size, about 90ish minutes. I use my oven. Preheat it to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven. Leave the oven door slightly cracked open. I placed the bowl on top of a baking sheet because the bottom of the mixer bowl is plastic. 

Bread dough rising on

The dough will be voluptuous! And filled with air. Punch the dough down to release those air bubbles. You’ll be left with a super soft dough. ↓

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, about the size of a softball, and round them into balls as best you can.

Use 2 baking sheets. Place 3 balls on each.

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Cover lightly with a tea towel, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc. Let the dough rest for 20ish minutes. How cute is this towel!!!

Bread dough resting on

Brush with egg wash. The egg wash helps create a crisp golden brown crust.

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Score an X on the top of the unbaked rolls. This helps the rolls expand.

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Bake until golden brown. Gorgeous!!

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Carve out a deep hole in the bread. Doesn’t need to be perfect. Just use a knife.

How to make homemade bread bowls on

Add your soup. Dive in!

Homemade bread bowls on


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Pastry Brush | 2-cup Measuring Cup | Stainless Steel Chopper

In partnership with Red Star Yeast. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.
How to make crusty and soft homemade bread bowls with step by step pictures. This is a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto! Recipe on


  1. Hey there.  Happy New Year.  Made the creamy chicken noodle soup that was pictured with this bread bowl recipe.  Mmmmm.  I doubled the recipe as I have 4 kiddos and a hubby who have big appetites.  It was DELISH! The only ingredients  I would alter are the oregano and thyme- I’d use 1/2 as much, they were a bit overpowering in our opinions.  I struggled with the bread though;(. Couldn’t get the dough to double;(. What might’ve gone wrong?  

    • Hi Susan! Was your water warm enough in the dough? And the “warm environment” warm enough too? What about your yeast– do you think it had expired?

  2. Okay, this could be dangerous. I mean, who’s to say my self control will keep me from eating cereal out of a breadbowl once I get these down?

  3. Homemade bread bowls are the best! I haven’t made them in years though, so I need to try your recipe and make some!


  4. This is awesome! Do you have any suggestions for sweet fillings (not soups) for the inside? Thanks so much for this recipe Sally, and hope you have a wonderful 2018!

    • Thanks Lucy! I’m unsure about a sweeter filling that will work with a crusty bread. They taste great as dinner rolls with some butter and jam though!

  5. Hi Sally! I’ve always loved your detailed recipes because I feel I can understand what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’. I love the idea of a bread challenge because I’ve been facing a few problems with bread. One – where I live (India), it’s almost impossible to find bread flour. We just get whole wheat or refined wheat flour (very similar to all purpose flour I think). Two – it’s very hot and humid. I read in one of the previous comments that I should try to reduce the amount of flour, and I’ll try to do that. Do you have any suggestions about the type of flour I should use and any tips for baking bread in a permanently hot and humid place? Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Ruth! I suggest using your refined wheat flour for bread-baking. At least in this recipe! And reducing the flour will help in your climate conditions. Let me know how it goes.

      • I just finished a batch, and it worked wonderfully! I just added a tablespoon of flour for my hands as I was kneading it and it came together perfectly. Also I needed to wait only about an hour for the dough to double in volume. Thank you so much! This is something I’ll be doing often!

    • Hi Ruth.
      Did you use the local “aata”?
      Going through the same situation. 

  6. YUM!!!! These bread bowls look beyond delicious! Thank you for posting detailed pics! It definitely helps!! Going to give these bread bowls a try!!!

  7. I literally just watched my New Year’s Resolution go out the window. Kidding– but this looks like a fantastic thing to make during these cold and snowy winter months! Your trick about pre-heating the oven to 200 is solid- I NEVER had any luck with bread until I read that and tried it and now I never have issues with bread making 🙂 I have a cream of crab soup that would be so divine in these bread bowls (I Sent you the recipe via email last Christmas!) it’s so thick and heavenly I think it would almost be like eating crab dip with crusty bread…. ok excuse me while I wipe the drool off my mouth and go shop for ingredients, now….

  8. hey girl- these bowls look so good!

  9. Do you have the recipe for the Soup that is in this bread bowl? Looks devine!

  10. OMG Sally these look soooo good! Thank you so much for sharing. Happy New Year! — Joe

  11. Can you use instant/rapid rise yeast for these? 

  12. Thank you for challenging me to make bread. Your instructions were great and it was really easy. Nothing better than homemade bread. I used all purpose flour as I did not have bread flour. I had to add 5 TBS of additional flour in the mixer for the dough to no longer stick. Everything came out great. All of your recipes are fantastic !

  13. After comparing my bread bowl making attempt with fellow bakers, I have some questions…
    My X’s on the top of loaves lack pizazz, is there a special knife to use? Or special cutting technique?
    How do you get loaves so round and uniform? Do you weigh them?
    My bread bowls tasted amazing,in fact dear husband wants this to be the ONLY white bread recipe that I use.
    Sally, you stated dough can be shaped into a round loaf. Can I put dough in rectangular bread pans? Thanks for a delicious recipe

    • Hi Willa! Happy to help.
      1) I just use a very sharp knife. My sharpest one! No special cutting technique.
      2) I eyeball how much dough for each bread bowl, but you can weigh them to be precise.
      3) You can definitely divide the dough between a few loaf pans.

  14. I’m making this the moment I get home!

  15. Sally thanks for the recipe. Cracked it second time of asking on the Gluten Free stakes.
    Posted on FB group and shared the results
    It worked fabulously for GF and best Ive ever achieved even the gluten eating other half was impressed.
    This is what I posted to the group

    700g fine white rice flour
    200g potato flour
    100g tapioca flour

    This is the base mix for all my bakes !! But shhhhhh its a secret

    Bread Recipe for 3 bowls

    2 1/4 tsp Quick acting Yeast
    400 ml water ( yes that is correct )
    1tsp sugar
    1tsp salt
    1tbsp grapeseed oil
    130g soya flour
    260g base mix flour blend
    3 tsp xanthan gum
    I tbsp fresh rosemary

    Follow sallys instructions
    Mix all the dry ingredients together before adding to yeast
    Prove for 2 hours and DONOT kneed. Fact is there is no gluten and you do not want to undo the yeast magic.

    It would be extremely rude fir me not to share this success with you

    Hope you dont mind me doing this to your recipes but you inspire me to push my akills further as a home baker.
    Many thanks

  16. I hope to be trying to out with cheese fondue (hope this is a known term in English as well) tomorrow. Been making quite some bread lately (not much beats the home made version), and did a little workshop in bread making and baking a while ago. Never tried that rise in oven trick will have to see how that works… Right now it can be quite cold in the kitchen, definitely saw that my baguettes, that I made for Sylvester/new year’s Eve did not rise as well as they should have, but they tasted very good

  17. I made these today for serving chili.

    Not sure what I did wrong, but I ended up having to add about 2 extra cups of flour to the dough, because it was so liquidy. I’m sure I measured the water and oil correctly.

    My roll shaping skills leave a lot to he desired too, so my bowls looked a bit more like boats, haha! They came out shaped more like hamburger buns than rolls. I’d love to see a video showing how to shape rolls.

    Despite that, the bowls were delicious!

    I added garlic and onion powder, but next time may try oregano and rosemary, or maybe rosemary and fennel.

    Thanks again for another tasty recipe!

  18. Forgot to mention that my husband suggested using my cookie scoop to scoop out the insides of the bread bowls, and it worked perfectly!

  19. Sally, this is such a fun idea for a baking challenge! Thank you for posting it! I made these tonight, along with your slow cooker chicken chili. Both delicious! My bread bowls did come out a little flat though, not as round as yours. Could that be a sign of the first rise being too long? I’d like to try these again, and perhaps add some seasoning to dough 🙂 

    • So glad you loved the bread bowls! For the flatness… what type of yeast did you use? It *could* be that the dough was over-proofed or left to rise too long.

      • I used Fleischmann’s RapidRise Instant Yeast (only one I could find). My first rise was for about an hour. The dough looked to have doubled in size, and I saw your other comments that the rise would be shorter if using instant yeast. 

        Thanks for your help!

  20. I have been craving soup in a bread bowl for a while now and the day I went to search for a new bread bowl recipe, your January challenge showed up. It was meant to be!
    I made these tonight with your Creamy Chicken Noodle soup recipe and they were amazing. Thank you for so many wonderful recipes and step by step instructions.

  21. Hi Sally, I made your dinner rolls at Christmas and they were so good. I am going to do the bread bowls today but, I was a little confused about one part of the recipe? In step 3.Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. And place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. That step when you turn it out onto the lightly floured surface do you need to knead it any or just get it floured and put back into the greased bowl? Thanks for all your wonderful recipes this soup really looks good and such a comfort soup. I have made your gingerbread loaf in mini loaves and gave them at Christmas everyone loved it. I am not sure how to load photos onto fb or an e-mail as I don’t have my phone attached to them. Thanks again.

    • Hi Debbie! You’re right, that wording is a little confusing. Sorry about that. I fixed it! Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Then place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. (I just use the same mixing bowl– remove the dough, grease it with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the dough back in.)

      • Thanks for your quick response. I decided to make this two times and the soup to take the other one to my son and daughter in law who just came home from the hospital last night with my new grand daughter ;). They are really exhausted both of them. And some of your cream cheese pumpkin muffins or pumpkin roll he loves pumpkin anything.

  22. Hi sally 
    I’m planning to the bread bowls tomorrow.
    I wanted to know how big are these? 
    Will it be too much for kids? Or should I make smaller bread bowls for kids? 
    Thanks a lot !! 

    • They’re pretty large, about softball size. I’ve had friends and family make them for kids– the kids just don’t eat all the bread it seems. You can make them smaller if you’d like but they won’t hold much soup.

      • Hey Sally 
        Tried th bread bowls with the chicken noodle soup .. it was so yummy! Everyone loved it! 
        My younger kids just had soup and left the bread bowls
        I was wondering what I can do to reuse the bread bowls..?? Any ideas! 
        Thank you so much for your awesome recipes!

      • You can eat them plain or add more soup to them. So glad you loved them!

  23. Thank you so much for such a great and easy recipe!! This was my first time using yeast and everything came out perfect! I made your creamy chicken noodle soup with it and everyone in my house enjoyed the meal!! I will definitely be making both again!

  24. I LOVE soups like this!! The closest I get is Panera Bread unfortunately 😀 I’m going to have to make these!!! Thank you for the recipe!

  25. I forgot to take a picture before dinner but I made a half batch for chili tonight. My 16 yr old ate his plain and thought something flavor wise was missing, but my VERY picky 4 yr old (who won’t typically eat any time of bread) has eaten the middles of 2 of them. Definitely high praise of the recipe in my opinion.

  26. do you just guesstimate the water temperature or do you use a thermometer, and if so, can you recommend one? Thanks!

  27. I’ve made this recipe twice now, and it is DEFINITELY my new go to bread recipe! The first time I made chili to put in the bread bowls. Tonight, I opted to make mini loaves so that I could play with the flavours (for the kiddos and the DH and I). I used a garlic flavored olive oil in the recipe and then topped the loves with cheese (for the kids) and garlic, salt and dried parsley (for the adults). So delicious!! 

  28. Would it work to mix the dough in a bread maker? Would anything need to be adjusted?

    • Hi Heidi! I don’t own a bread machine, so I’m unsure. However, a few readers have commented on this recipe saying they’ve had success using it on the normal dough cycle.

  29. Well Sally, I got brave and made them. My x’s didn’t turn out like yours, but at least I made them. I have a fear of yeast but everything turned out and they rose or raised? like they were suppose to. Everything on your site turns out right. I’m going to fill them with a copycat brocolli and cheese soup! Sorry about the spelling. I forgot how to spell after I retired 5 years ago. Thanks for all your recipes.

  30. Hi Sally,
    I love your recipes. Made the bread bowls tonight. I cut the recipe in half and made 3 bowls. I added a tablespoon of onion powder to the dough. I filled the bowls with cheese potato soup. Delicious!  Will be making this recipe again and again. 

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