Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread – warm, buttery, garlicky pull apart bread loaded with melty cheese. Easy fun Christmas food and the perfect kick-off to the holiday season.
Irresistible warm, garlic-buttery pull-apart cheesy pizza in a Christmas tree shape and loaded with melty cheese.
Easy Christmas Tree bread filled with its cheesy goodness is a show-stopping party food or side dish the whole family will love.
Whether you’re hosting or attending a holiday party, this Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread recipe needs to make an appearance.
This quick, easy recipe starts with premade refrigerated pizza dough and a few other simple ingredients from the grocery store.
The dough is filled with mozzarella cheese, rolled into balls and formed like the shape of a Christmas tree.
Bake until golden brown then brush with garlicky melted butter and serve with marinara or pesto.
What’s in Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread?
- refrigerator pizza dough
- parchment paper
- mozzarella cheese sticks
- grated parmesan cheese
- grated garlic
- Marinara, pizza sauce and/or pesto for dipping
HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY CHRISTMAS TREE BREAD:
Preheat the oven to 400° then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 30 squares.
Next cut the mozzarella cheese sticks into 30 bite size (1″) pieces and a piece of mozzarella to each square of dough.
Roll the dough to form a ball, pinching to seal the edges.
Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet seam side down in the tree shape (the balls should be lightly touching).
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together then lightly brush the tree with egg wash.
Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, microwave the butter until melted then stir in half of the parmesan cheese and all of the grated garlic and herbs.
When the bread is finished baking, remove from the oven, brush on the herb garlic butter and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.
What goes with christmas bread?
This bread makes a great appetizer and goes with practically everything as a side dish. Below are a few suggestions:
Baked Mostaccioli – easy, homemade ground beef sauce blanketed in three kinds of cheese baked to hot and bubbly perfection.
Braised Beef Ragu – tender shredded beef in a rich tomato sauce. Serve over your favorite pasta.
CAN I MAKE CHRISTMAS TREE BREAD AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! Thanks to a suggestion from a reader, Ann I tested freezing cheese filled dough balls ahead of time and it worked well. Be sure to freeze without egg wash.
- Roll cheese filled balls per recipe instructions then place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (do NOT add the egg wash yet)
- Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and transfer it to the freezer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the dough is frozen. Place frozen balls in a zip top bag and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake. They take up less room this way.
- When you’re ready to make the Christmas Tree bread, remove the balls from the freezer and thaw on the counter about 45 minutes. After the dough balls are thawed, assemble the tree, brush with egg wash and continue with the recipe.
You can also make this recipe with frozen dough balls directly from the freezer.
- Assemble frozen dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.
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Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread
- 13 ounce canned refrigerator pizza dough
- parchment paper for lining baking sheet
- 6-7 mozzarella cheese sticks
- 1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 jar marinara and/or pesto for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 400° then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the dough into 30 approximately equal squares then cut the mozzarella cheese sticks into 30 bite size (1 inch) pieces.
- Add a piece of mozzarella to each square of dough then form a ball, rolling with your hands to smooth and seal the edges.
- Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet seam side down in the shape of a tree (see photos) - so the balls are touching. Blend the egg and water in a small bowl and lightly brush each ball with the egg wash.
- Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. While the bread is baking, microwave the butter until melted then stir in half of the parmesan cheese and all of the grated garlic and herbs. Brush onto the rolls, then sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese over the top then serve right away with marinara and/or pesto for dipping.
This looks amazing! Has anyone tried adding a little bit of pesto to the inside of the balls with the cheese?
Wondering if there was any issue baking doing it that way?
Hi Taylor – I haven’t tried adding pesto but that sounds delicious! I wouldn’t expect a baking problem adding a small amount of pesto – the other option would be to leave the cheese as-is inside and brush the pesto on the outside of the balls.
Grammy Jacq says
It was a very easy recipe and looks so awesome!!!
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it – it’s definitely one of our holiday favorites! ~ Bernie
Very easy to prepare, kids and adults loved it. Will definitely make again.
Thank you Gaby! Warm, cheesy bread – can’t go wrong with that eh? ~ Bernie
This looks wonderful!! Is this something that could be prepared the night before and then baked just before serving?
Thank you so much Carrie! Yes – you can prepare it ahead of time: wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Wait to do the egg wash until just before baking so they don’t get soggy in the fridge. I love anything I can do ahead of time – makes entertaining so much easier ~ Bernie
Debi Lytle says
Beautiful and delicious! I made my own dough and it came out great. I think next time I would also sprinkle with a little course salt!
Wow Debi – that’s fantastic you took the time to make your own dough – so much better! Mmmm I like that idea with a sprinkle of salt at the end – I need to try that too. I appreciate you taking the time to write. So glad you enjoyed the recipe – Bernie
What size baking sheet?
Hi Meghan – my baking sheet is about 12″ x 18″ which was plenty of room.
Can you make without the egg wash or use an egg substitute?
Hi Brandy – yes you can leave the egg wash out completely (this does help give it the deeper golden color) or you can use an egg substitute – including just a light brush of milk or half and half
Can this be prepared and frozen to bake later?
Hi Caroll – I haven’t actually tried preparing and freezing it so I’m really not sure it will work well.
I bought pie crust sheets for you think I could instead of the pizza dough??
Hi Bonnie – Overall, the recipe should still work and taste good, but it won’t be the puffy balls like you see in the pictures because the pie crust doesn’t have yeast or anything that would help it rise. I hope this helps.
I can’t find the pillsbury pizza crust. I usually buy pizza crust at my grocery store. Will that work just as good?
Hi Alison – yes that’ll be great! Enjoy and happy holidays! – Bernie
Marie Masters says
Hi Bernie, could I use mozzarella pearls instead of the sticks?
Hi Marie – yes – the mozzarella pearls will work too – just dry them well with a paper towel since they’re usually a little moist on the outside. – happy holidays! – Bernie
Natosha Dearing says
If I make these and have to travel about an hour, will the cheese harden up inside? What’s the best way to warm these back up? Broil or just throw back in the oven for a few?
Hi Natosha – First – is there an option to prep the bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and bake it where you’re going? If not, to reheat it I would wrap it in aluminum foil and warm is slowly – about 250 degrees.
Michelle Harrison says
Made this as an appetizer for a Christmas dinner party last night and everyone raved about it. I prepped it in the morning and wrapped well with Saran wrap. I also put back i. The oven for a minute after brushing with the herb butter mixture. Served with Marinara and ranch on the side. I’ll be making again for Christmas! Thank you for sharing
Hi Michelle – Thank you so much! Really glad everyone enjoyed the bread so much – it’s my pleasure to share it. Thank YOU for the tip about prepping and wrapping it in Saran wrap ahead of time. I’ve only ever made it and baked it right away. Happy holidays! ~ Bernie
I don’t have a plate the shape of a tree, but I have a plate the shape of a wreath. Any reason I couldn’t change the shape a bit?
Hi Tai – Love this idea! Yes – you can definitely change up the shape. A bread wreath would be beautiful – happy holidays! ~ Bernie
This looks delicious I want to make this for Christmas this year I was just wondering does it have to be fresh herbs or can I use dried herbs
Hi Jackie – thanks so much! Yes you can definitley use dry herbs instead of fresh but dry herbs are more potent than fresh so you’ll want to use less. Generally, one TABLESPOON of fresh is equal to one TEASPOON of dry. Hope this helps and you enjoy the recipe. Happy holidays! ~ Bernie
Could you use shredded mozzarella with this?
Hi CJ – yes you can definitely use shredded mozzarella or other shredded cheeses in this recipe. 😊
Actually, I used shredded mozzarella (because I already had it on hand) in place of the pieces of mozzarella and it did not work well at all! Not only was it difficult to shape the dough around the shreds, but I feel that there would have been more “cheesy flavor” had I used the pieces (because the cheese would be in a piece, there would be more of it). Also, the dough balls turned out to be smaller because they were’t wrapped around a more stable “core” (the piece of mozzarella stick). FYI! 🙂
Hi Victoria – thanks so much for letting us all know about using shredded cheese. It’s great info! Much appreciated — Bernie
Do you think it would work if I add a little pepperoni into the middle with the mozzarella cheese?
Hi Dawn – yessss!! That sounds delicious! I need to try it that way. Thanks for the idea!
Debbie Jeffrey says
I bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. What size rectangle do I roll the dough out to cut into squares?
Hi Debbie – the Pillsbury crust unrolls to about 8×12″.
Cute, easy to make and all of the adults and kids couldn’t stop eating it.
Hi Liz – thanks so much – really glad you all enjoyed the recipe so much! I appreciate you taking the time to comment – Bernie
Songul yurderi says
Judy B says
My grand kids loved this!!!! Gone before I knew it. Doubling the recipe today and just making the dough balls in the shape of a big rectangle. Great recipe.
Hi Judy – this makes my day!! I’m all about anything that’ll bring a smile to my grandkids’ faces. A big rectangle is perfect. Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to comment – Bernie
Anxious to make it for New Years. Having some friends do over and I’ll be making with stuffed shells and salad and my own sauce. I’m thinking of something other than a tree, but haven’t come up with it yet. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.
Hi Franny – wow that menu sounds really delicious! Thank YOU for including this recipe in your New Years Eve plans. Any shape at all would work well. Happy New Year – Bernie
Beck & Bulow says
This recipe looks wonderful!! Only meat pies I have had. Has a top and bottom crust!?!? Like a pie style. Would that work for this recipe!?
These are amazing!! So easy to make and so good!! I’ve made them several times and keep getting requests for more!
This was very time consuming and it looked absolutely awful, but it was delicious. I used pizza dough, mozzarella sticks (sliced) and pepperoni slices.
Hi Amy – I’m glad you enjoyed the end result anyway.
This was fantastic! Everyone loved it. My sister in law loved it so much that I am now making them into a Mickey Mouse head shape for the twins first birthday party. Thank you for this delicious recipe. This will be an every year tradition.
Hi Wendy – THANK YOU so much! Really glad you all enjoyed the recipe and I absolutely LOVE the Mickey Mouse idea. If you’re on social media – Instagram or Facebook – I’d really appreciate you posting a pic and tag me. This sounds like such a cool idea. – enjoy the day – Bernie
I will do that!
When I tell my family I’m making this, they are tapping their toes until it’s ready! Yum?
Hi Peg – ahhhhh – the best compliment! Thank you so much – really glad your family enjoys the recipe so much. I appreciate you taking the time to comment – Bernie
Super easy and so good!!!
Thanks so much!
Absolutely delicious and SO easy to make! Perfect holiday appetizer or side dish.
Thanks so much!
This will be on repeat all holiday season! SO GOOD!!
Love this recipe! I made it as a wine glass in the summer and will make it as a Christmas tree in a couple weeks.
Hi Lauren – thank you so much! Really glad you love the recipe – I do too — and what a great idea shaping it like a wine glass — cheers!
Could I use spinach dip in the center instead of cheese?
Hi Stephanie – oooh – I’ve never tried it with spinach dip but gosh that sounds fantastic. I would give it a shot but make sure the balls are pinched tight and sealed really well so the yummy spinach dip doesn’t seep out. Also lay them seam side down on the baking sheet when you form the tree. Thanks for reaching out and Happy Thanksgiving — Bernie
I love the look of this! Do you think, it would freeze well if I prepared the dough balls on the tray and covered tightly? Trying to find ways to do as much prep ahead as I’ve a lot of people coming for Christmas!
Hi Ann – thank you! That’s a good question and I’m with you — prep as much ahead of time especially with a big gathering. I really don’t know if you can freeze/thaw/bake – BUT I will try it this weekend because if it works it would be a wonderful option. I’ll follow up here by Monday afternoon and let you know. I hope this helps — Bernie
Hi again Ann – I will email you as well in case you miss this follow up but I tried making the dough balls and freezing them. It worked really well! I am updating the post with all the details. Thanks for a great make-ahead suggestion and Merry Christmas. — Bernie
Brilliant, thanks so much Bernie for following up, I really appreciate it. Really looking forward to trying this!
You’re very welcome Ann. I hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂 — Bernie
OMG…this was so good and so easy. Directions were perfect. I will make this again and again.
Hi Brenda – thank you so much for the kind words! I’m really glad you enjoyed the recipe and want to make it again and again! Thanks for taking the time to comment – Bernie
This looks so good! What a great appetizer for a Christmas party!
Hi Suzanne – thank you! Yes – it really is the perfect Christmas party appetizer! — Bernie
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Hi Vanessa – this bread is best eaten warm so the cheese is melty and good. — Bernie
Hi I love the concept of this recipe. I was wondering about changing up a bit where the center could be say a piece of chocolate and chopped nuts, or use peppermint chocolate candy kisses. then sprinle the baked balls with confectionery sugar or a cinnamon sugar mix?
Hi there – thanks so much! Wow – I really LOVE your idea! So it would be a dessert Christmas Tree Bread, right? I definitely think it would work well. Again, as with the cheesy bread, you’ll want to make sure the balls are sealed really well so all the goodies don’t come out when you bake it. If you make your dessert version — such a smart idea — you’ll want the inside goodies to still be able to form a ball shape with the dough wrapped around it. Also — please send along a a photo if you get a chance or if you’re on social media tag me please – @agoudalife — Happy Holidays! — Bernie
Tracie P says
Could I use canned biscuits instead of dough
Hi Tracie – yes you sure can 🙂 If the biscuit dough you’re using looks really thick (as many do) either roll it thinner OR pull it apart so you’re dividing the layers of biscuit. You’ll also want to follow the temperature recommended on the biscuit can (instead of this recipe). It’s usually 350 on the biscuit can (my Christmas Tree bread is 400). It will take a little longer to bake but won’t get too brown before the cheese inside the balls is melted. Thanks for reaching out. I hope you enjoy the recipe and happy holidays! — Bernie
Anne Antonacci says
Do you have to use freshly grated garlic or can you substitute it for garlic powder. I making this for a Christmas work party and i have all the ingredients except the garlic
Hi Anne – Yes – you can definitely substitute garlic powder. Garlic powder is highly concentrated so you’ll only need 1/4 teaspoon in place of 1 clove of garlic.Thanks for reaching out. — Bernie
Delish!!!! So fun and simple to make
Leslie ann says
Can I sub pieces of cheddar cheese for mozzarella ?
Hello 🙂 — yes cheddar cheese would be delicious. You’ll want to use cubed cheese (instead of shredded). Someone wrote recently they tried it with shredded cheese and the balls didn’t form very well. Thanks for reaching out — Bernie
Last Christmas was my first time making this recipe and my family has requested that I make it this year again! I add spinach dip inside and this year thinking of adding crushed chili pepper flakes for a little kick. I will be making three of these this year! Would be awesome as a football shaped one for Super Bowl Party in February!
Please tell me what I did wrong. Really wanted this to work, so many positive comments on this recipe. It looked great, but there was no cheese inside, the balls came out empty, the dough was still intact. Do I need to lower the temp and/or the cooking time. Like I said, it came out of the oven looking awesome. Really want to give this another try.
Hi Sue – thanks for reaching out. First – I apologize — it’s never fun to spend your time and money on a recipe that doesn’t work out. I appreciate your willingness to try again. I’ve never seen or heard of this problem before. I’m wondering if your cheese pieces were too small and got lost or absorbed into the dough. I said ‘bite size’ in the recipe — they should be about 1″ in size and I will be adding that info the recipe right now. If you try the recipe again, I’d appreciate your feedback. Again, I’m sorry for the problem and hope the next go-around is as the recipe should be. — Bernie
I made it and dipped them into pesto. Delicious! I liked it so much I’m making another batch for a family Christmas Eve get together. I shared your recipe to many people. Thanks for sharing yours with us. Merry Christmas
Hi Linda – mmmm I am a HUGE pesto fan – that sounds really delicious! Thank you so, so much for sharing the recipe – I so appreciate the support. Merry Christmas to you and your family — Bernie
The Christmas tree bread was a huge hit! I brought it to a “Sweet or Cheesy” Bake-off & it won first place! It disappeared in less than 10 minutes! Thank you for this simple & delicious recipe; I’m making it again for Christmas!
Kathie – this makes my day — first place – fantastic! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this now prize-winning recipe and I appreciate you taking the time to write. Merry Christmas to you and your family! — Bernie
I’m making it now sounds delicious and easy to do.
Hi Marilyn – thanks so much for trying the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does 🙂 — Bernie
So easy and awesome!!! Lots of flavor, love the herbs in this recipes.
Hi Layla — perfect! Just what I wanted the recipe to be — easy and awesome!! Yes – I think fresh herbs elevates any recipe. Thanks for your kind words and taking the time to comment. — Bernie
Tava Brice says
I added pepperoni “twists” in amongst the pull-apart pizza dough rounds and stacked some at the base as my tree trunk. Soooo pretty and an added layer of flavor.
Hi Tava – What?! — pepperoni?? — that sounds AMAZING! I will be trying that next time I make it. Thanks for the inspiration! – Bernie
It did not raise or brown? Kept it in way longer than they said! What did I do wrong? Mgbu
Hi Debbie – I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work for you. It sounds like the oven temp was off. I’m wondering if there may be a problem with your oven. Have you tried an independent thermometer? They’re pretty expensive and would let you know if the oven isn’t registering as it should. — Bernie
My husband loved this recipe! So delicious!
Hi Anita – that makes my day! So glad he loved it – it’s one of my favorites — I hope you had a great holiday season. — Bernie
I made this for New Years Eve. So delicious, but…I used real pizza dough and got a pound. No way did I get 30 balls. I got like 22 and they were small but a good size. Is this tree with just one recipe or did you double it?
Hi Gayle – I’m happy you liked the recipe! Thanks for reaching out. Yes. I used only one package of Pillsbury pizza dough/crust and didn’t double the recipe. I wonder if the Pillsbury dough is rolled a little thinner so I’m able to get more dough balls from it. — Bernie
Could I make these and put them in a crockpot to keep warm?
I’ve never kept them in a crockpot but I think it would work really well and give them a just-baked texture. If you try it, I’d love your feedback. It would be great to add to the post for other readers. — Bernie