Homemade Bread Bowls

These homemade bread bowls are crisp on the exterior and extra soft inside. They’re made from a basic, yet versatile bread dough using everyday ingredients. This recipe yields 6 bread bowls, but you could use this dough for pizza crust or smaller dinner rolls instead. See notes in the full recipe.

bread bowl with chicken noodle soup

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

Ingredients in Bread Bowls

  1. Yeast: We use active dry yeast to make bread bowl dough. I highly recommend using a quality yeast like Red Star Yeast— it’s always my go-to brand for the best tasting breads!
  2. Water: 2 and 1/4 cups is the perfect amount. Use warm water to cut down on rise time, about 110-115°F. Anything over 130ºF kills the yeast.
  3. Sugar: 2 teaspoons of sugar “feed” the yeast which create carbon dioxide bubbles and allow the dough to rise.
  4. Salt + Olive Oil: Salt and olive oil add flavor and richness.
  5. Bread Flour: Bread flour contains a lot of protein which helps form a chewier, denser, 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.

If you’re a bread beginner, don’t be nervous about yeast. 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.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

2 bread bowls with soup inside

Overview: How to Make Bread Bowls

Bread-making 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.

  1. Mix the dough ingredients together. You can use a mixer or do this by hand. The dough should be thick, yet soft– and only slightly sticky.
  2. Form the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball and place it into a large, greased bowl.
  3. Let the dough rise. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm environment until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  4. Punch down the dough. Place it onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Cut the dough into 6 even pieces. Form each into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheets– 3 dough balls per sheet.
  6. Score an X into each. Lightly brush the tops of each dough ball with egg wash and use a sharp knife to score an X into the tops of each. The egg wash is what makes them so shiny! 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.
  7. Bake. These bread bowls take about 30 minutes to bake.
  8. Cut out the tops. When cool enough to handle, 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.

Bread Bowls Video Tutorial (2 Minutes)

This is A Basic Bread Dough

The dough we’re using to make bread bowls is a very basic bread dough. Made with common ingredients that most bakers have on hand, it’s simple, wholesome, and incredibly versatile. In fact, you’ll find the same ingredients in my sandwich bread and homemade pizza dough recipes. Using the same basic ingredients in varying amounts– like flour, yeast, water, and salt– produces incredibly different results!

Bread bowl dough is a lean dough, which means that it’s prepared without fat and produces crusty bread such as focacciabagels, and artisan bread. On the other hand, rich doughs make soft breads such as babkasoft dinner rolls, and glazed doughnuts. When I’m making softer and fluffier bread, I typically use all-purpose flour, milk instead of water, and 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.

There’s no need to activate the yeast for this dough (basic, remember?)– 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.

bread bowls on cooling rack

bread bowls on a wood cutting board

Use This Dough for Anything

After the dough rises, 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.

One batch of bread bowl dough makes:

  • 24 dinner rolls
  • 3 crusty loaves of bread
  • 4 12-inch pizza crusts

See my recipe notes below the recipe for detailed instructions for making each variation, as well as my make ahead and freezing tips.

overhead image of bread bowls on plates with chicken noodle soup

What to Serve in Bread Bowls

The options are endless when considering what to serve in homemade bread bowls. A few of my favorites are crab dip, roasted garlic and bacon spinach dip, minestrone soup, slow cooker chicken chili, and lightened-up creamy chicken noodle soup (pictured inside today’s bowls). Here are all of my soup recipes for even more inspiration!

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Chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl on a tan plate

Homemade Bread Bowls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 large bread bowls
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Homemade crusty and soft bread bowls- a delicious basic dinner roll recipe you should hold onto!


  • 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 (spoon & leveled), 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. Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.
  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.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: After dough has risen 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.
  2. Whole Wheat Flour: 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.
  3. Half Recipe: 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).
  4. Adding Flavor: 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.
  5. 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 9×13 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: bread bowls

Begin with quality yeast.

ingredients for homemade bread bowls

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.

2 images of yeast mixture in glass bowl and bread bowls dough in glass bowl

Let it rise in a warm environment until (roughly) doubled in size, about 90 minutes. I use my oven for this warm environment. See step 3 above.

bread bowls dough rising in a glass bowl placed in the oven

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

bread bowl dough shaped into a ball before cutting

cutting dough for bread bowls

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

bread bowls dough shaped into balls

Use 2 baking sheets. Place 3 balls on each.

bread bowls dough on baking sheet before baking

Cover lightly with a tea towel, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc. Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.

bread dough rising under kitchen towel

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

brushing egg wash onto bread bowls dough before baking

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

bread bowls on baking sheet before baking

Bake until golden brown.

Bread bowls on cooling rack

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

bread bowl with hand removing cut-out top

Add your soup and enjoy.

Chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl on a tan plate

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com


  1. Yum! It may be the middle of summer here in Australia, but I’m looking forward to giving this a go! It will be good practice for when soup season does arrive!

    1. Lucky you, Judy. I’m here in Brooklyn. The temp now is 13 degrees F (-10.556 C). Brrrrr. Low tonight will be 4 F (-15.556 C). Have visited Australia many years ago but cannot remember if you use F or C.


  2. Wow. This recipe is must try.
    Happy New Your to you and your family.

  3. I love Bread Bowls! Your recipe sounds delicious!

  4. Who doesn’t love bread? I love this challenge! I can’t wait to do it!

    Cat // https://cottonandhydrageas.wordpress.com

  5. YUM! What a delicious idea for serving soup! Definitely try it soon 🙂

  6. I’ve had stew served in bread rolls like these before, so I shall be keeping this in mind!

  7. What do you freeze the dough in if you want to make this ahead of time?  Do you wrap it in plastic wrap?  Should it be frozen in any particular shape (rolled flat, a ball, etc.)?  Can’t wait to try these with your lightened up chicken noodle soup – it is one of my absolute favorite soup recipes!

    1. Hi Jaime! These are great questions. I freeze them in a round/ball shape wrapped in plastic wrap, then placed in a zipped-top bag– labeled with the date so I don’t forget!

  8. Okay, I have to ask. You usually use Red Star Platinum yeast. Is there a reason that you use active dry yeast in this recipe?? Can you interchange the two?? Also, could you please add the ml for the warm water. This looks doable for those of us who cringe at yeast in a recipe. Thank you for this recipe!!

    1. Cate Kauffman says:

      Like Wendy, I usually use Instant Yeast. What would be the adjusted quantity for Instant as opposed to Active?

      1. Same exact amount if you’re using instant yeast. Great question!

    2. Hey Wendy! You can use instant yeast here. The rise time will be quicker 🙂 I didn’t use instant yeast/Red Star Platinum because I ran out. 🙂

      1. Thank you for your quick reply and Happy New Year!!!

  9. Hi Sally, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I was just wondering if you have this soup recipe?? It looks tremendous!! WHAT A COMBINATION!! Making my mouth water…. Thank you for taking the time!

    1. it’s linked in the writing above the recipe! it’s her lightened up creamy chicken noodle soup

      1. I was just coming on here to ask the same question! The soup looks amazing and perfect for this bread bowl!

  10. Since I tend to eat the bowl once I finish my soup (or scrape up bits of bread with my spoon as I eat my soup), I would probably save the piece of bread I cut out to make the bowl to turn into croutons, or maybe bread crumbs. These look delicious, but I don’t think I could eat an entire bread bowl in one sitting! 🙂

    1. It’s A LOT of bread 🙂 Croutons or bread crumbs are great ideas.

    2. I could! And will!

  11. I’m making the call that one of your next books is going to be Sally’s Bread Addiction!! (:

    1. CARBS! 🙂

  12. Do you have a recipe for the bread dough which would work in a bread machine? I make bread often but use my bread machine to make the dough.

    1. Natalie Munroe says:

      It’s her delicious lightened up creamy chicken noodle soup. She links to it in the blog post. Definitely make it- it’s fab!

      1. Natalie Munroe says:

        Oops, Beth! I responded to the wrong comment. I apologize. Haha. Need my morning coffee! 

    2. Hi Beth! I don’t, sorry. I don’t own a bread machine and have never used one with my homemade breads.

    3. Hi Beth

      I used my bread machine to make this today. Works perfectly fine. Just let the machine run through it’s bread cycle, which should probably be around 1 hour and a half? You’ll need to use instant yeast and just measure everything into the bread machine pan and start the cycle.

      But I reduced the amount of yeast from 2.25 tsp to 1.5 tsp (halved the recipe) because:

      1) I used instant yeast so it would rise really fast.

      2) I noticed that my dough always rises much faster than Sally’s, probably because of my climate. 

      1. *its bread cycle, not it’s – autocorrect‍♀️

    4. Beth Use HALF of the recipe I use my bread machine all the time to make the dough for breads and rolls and pizza. Just set it to the dough setting . When it becomes dough take it out of the machine. With floured hands and a little flour on a board form into 3 loaves Let rise I use my microwave oven ( do not turn on) as a proof box for all dough rising. I sit in a small cup of hot water with the dough and close the door. My my farmhouse kitchen can be either 100 degrees or 40 as we heat with wood. Good luck

  13. Natalie Munroe says:

    Do you find the season/weather to affect your bread and, specifically, the amount of flour it needs?  I ask because I made a quick yeast pizza crust for Stromboli several times in the summer and early fall months, and the recipe (which called for 1 3/4-2 1/4 cups of AP flour) came out perfectly with 2 1/4 cups when I made it in the summer/fall, but when I made it a couple weeks ago (when it was much colder outside), it was dense and not at all stretchy (it wouldn’t even roll out into a flat shape). I had to scrap it, start over, and only ended up adding barely the minimum amount of flour that time, but the dough came out properly like the previous times I’d made it.
    The only theory I could come up with was that maybe the weather impacts it (the same way my brown sugar gets rock hard when winter strikes but stays soft on the counter in summer.) Or maybe it was the yeast, but it was a new packet which had been sold in a strip of three and the second one of the same pack worked fine. 
    In any event, the experience has me a little worried about adding my flour. I feel like “uh oh…should I add this realllly slowly I’m small amounts and watch my texture/consistency or just trust the recipe?”
    So anyway, that’s my bread question for the month. Thanks! 
    Ps- your lightened up creamy chicken noodle soup is one of my fave soups!

    1. Hey Natalie! It’s SUPER dry where we live this time of year. The drier the air, the drier the dough, and the less flour you’ll need. Same thing goes when I’m making pie crust or rolling out sugar cookie dough. On the other hand, when it’s extremely humid out, I have terrible luck making candy on the stovetop. The extra moisture in the air can ruin a batch of homemade caramel, toffee, or brittle. So, yes, weather has everything to do with it!

      If you ever find that you added too much flour to your bread dough– just add a couple teaspoons of warm water to the dough to moisten it back up. Always works.

  14. Perfection….. running out to get some bread flour 🙂

  15. Red Haired Lady says:

    These look amazing, can’t wait to try them!

  16. I am super excited about this challenge. I am trying very hard to eat bread with no preservatives. This will be a great 2018 start to that goal! Thanks,Sally!

    1. Let me know if you try it!

  17. Like Wendy and Cate, I am also curious about the yeast called for. You almost always use instant yeast so I just want to confirm (I want to make these today!) that we are using active dry yeast and not instant?

    1. You can use either! (Same amount.) The 1st rise time will be a little quicker if you use instant yeast.

  18. Well, maybe I’ll start my no carb diet tomorrow. This is just to delicious looking!!!

  19. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to start challenging myself in the kitchen, and this was perfect! I whipped a half-batch up this morning for lunch (filled with mushroom lentil soup). Delicious and much easier than I would have expected. Thank you!

    1. Sonia, I’m so glad you already tried the bread bowls! Thanks for letting me know. And mushroom lentil soup sounds SO GOOD right now. It’s freeeeezing in the single digits here!

  20. Kemorie Drysdale says:


    Is there a replacement for the egg wash?  My husband is allergic to eggs.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kemorie! A brush of milk on each bread bowl works instead of egg.

  21. My mouth is seriously watering right now! Can’t wait to try this out (and the soup as well!). Thanks Sally for all that you do!

  22. Sylvie from France says:

    Some soup in a homemade bread bowls… It’s original, I didn’t know… I’m going to try to make it. Happy New Year to you and your family, Sally.

  23. I made the bread bowls this morning. I used rapid rise yeast, instead of 4 1/2 TBL active dry yeast,  I used 3 1/8 TBL rapid rise. I also added 1 TBL onion powder. Dear husband was so impressed. He said I’d finally found the bread recipe he was longing for. Thanks again Sally for another winner! My husband made the fish chowder. I posted pic on Instagram.

    1. I saw the picture – it looks fantastic! Sounds like you two make a good team 🙂

  24. Right when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try! I changed it up a bit by using spelt flour and xylitol instead of regular flour and sugar and it was delicious! It came out soft and yummy on the inside and crispy and delicious on the outside! I made a delicious creamy pumpkin soup to put inside and my whole meal came out divine! This bread recipe is a keeper! Thank you!!

    1. I’m so happy you were able to make it work for you! I LOVE pumpkin soup!

  25. These look amazing. Its 30 degrees Celsius here in New Zealand today so I will tuck this recipe away for more wintry weather. My family will love both the soup and the rolls. Thanks!

  26. I made the bread bowls today for lunch. They pair perfectly with your lightened up creamy chicken soup. Thank you for another wonderful recipe, Sally! My only gripe was that there wasn’t enough soup, yet if I made the bowls larger, there would be too much bread. I love both the soup and the bread crust. Any solutions, Sally?

    For those asking, I made the dough in my bread machine. Just run your normal Dough cycle. However, I suggest reducing the instant yeast a little because the dough will rise very fast.

    Some learning points, if it’d help anyone:

    1. I halved the recipe because there were only 3 of us.

    2. I measured everything into my breadmaker pan, with my breadmaker pan sitting on the scale, so I only dirtied a tbsp and a tsp.

    3. I added 25g to the recipe’s 390g of bread flour because the dough looked very wet (humid and rainy here).

    4. I kneaded the dough in my breadmaker for a total of ~20min. But that’s coz I added the extra flour after 13min of kneading.

    5. I used instant yeast instead. And I used only 1.5 tsp instead of 2.25 tsp because I noticed that my dough always rises much faster than Sally’s recipe time.

    6. I weighed the total dough, divided it into 3 and got 232g per portion. 

    7. I didn’t need much flour at all to shape the buns. Maybe 1 tbsp max. I just lightly coated my hands when it got too sticky.

    8. I baked the bread at 205 degC for exactly 30min.

    9. I have to be braver when carving the hole. Go as near to the edge as possible and just stick the knife straight down. A bigger chunk will come out together with the cap.

    1. What helpful tips for readers, Joyce! You are so generous to provide them. I know many will find these useful.

      For your question– do you mean there isn’t enough soup inside each bread bowl? I would scrape as much bread out as you can to fit more in. You definitely don’t want larger bowls because they are HUGE as it is! When we ate these, I enjoyed a little more soup on the side.

      1. I’m always grateful to helpful tips left by other readers, so I hope that I can help someone with these pointers too.

        Yup! There wasn’t enough soup for me. But like you said, there was already a lot of bread. I stored some bread for other uses because we couldn’t finish it. Yet we wanted more soup. The dilemma! I’d already scraped most of the bread out of the bowl. I think I’ll just follow what you do and an extra bowl of soup on the side. No big issue. We just eat a lot!

  27. These look fab – my husband and daughter are not great soup lovers – wondering if they’re suitable to serve bolognaise in ? They look sturdy enough ? 

    1. Yep, they’re definitely sturdy enough.

  28. Jamie Stauffer says:

    Hi Sally! I’m a new blogger and an old fan of yours. I wondered if I could write about this challenge on my blog? I want to follow proper etiquette and I wanted to get your permission first. I’m very much looking forward to this challenge!

    1. Absolutely! Thank you so much for sharing my content.

  29. I’m just curious (btw, this doesn’t have anything to do w/ this recipe in particular), why do you use all purpose flour with baking soda and salt when you can just you self rising flour without salt and baking soda?? Is there a difference??

    1. Hi Ellie! Self-raising flour isn’t as common where I live, so I always stick to AP flour.

  30. Thank you for outlining what a “warm environment” means. Ive made pizza dough and other things before that also needed a warm environment to rise but never really had a good idea of what that actually meant. Super helpful!

    1. Awesome!

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