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.

 

tree shaped bread with bowl of marinara

Irresistible warm, garlic-buttery pull-apart Christmas Tree Pull Apart Bread filled with gooey, melty mozzarella cheese.

Easy Christmas Tree bread filled with its cheesy goodness is a show-stopping treat perfect for your holiday party and one the whole family will love.

tree shaped bread with marinara

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

  • This gorgeous Christmas Tree Bread is simple to make from pre-made pizza crust and a few simple grocery store ingredients.
  • Cheesy bread is popular with almost everyone so it’s a great Christmas party (or any holiday) appetizer.
  • The shape of a Christmas tree makes it so festive.
  • It’s even a great side dish with your Christmas dinner!

What’s in Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread RECIPE?

HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY CHRISTMAS TREE BREAD:

Preheat the oven to 400° then line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Open the tube of pizza dough and spread 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 (1″) approximatley equal pieces and a chunk of mozzarella to each piece of dough.

Roll the dough to form a tightly sealed ball, pinching to seal the edges.

Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet seam side down in the shape of a Christmas tree (the balls should be lightly touching).

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together then lightly brush with egg wash.

Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Microwave butter 15-30 seconds or until melted then stir in half of the parmesan cheese and all of the garlic and herbs to the melted butter.

When the bread is finished baking, remove from the oven and use a pastry brush to brush on the herb garlic butter then sprinkle with the rest of the parm cheese.

golden baked pull apart balls of bread on white parchment paper in shape of christmas tree

Serve with a side of marinara, pizza sauce or pesto for dipping.

What goes with christmas bread?

This bread is a solid appetizer on its own but also goes perfectly so many entrees, including the ones below.

Baked Mostaccioli

Braised Beef Ragu

Garlic Butter Scallops

Lasagna Soup

CAN I MAKE CHRISTMAS TREE BREAD AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes! Here’s how you do it.

  1. Roll cheese filled balls per recipe instructions then place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (do NOT add the egg wash).
  2. 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.
  3. Place frozen balls in a zip top bag and store in the freezer until you’re ready to bake (they take up less room this way).
  4. Freeze without egg wash.
  5. When you’re ready to bake the bread, remove the balls from the freezer and thaw on the counter about 45 minutes.
  6. After the dough balls are thawed, assemble the tree, brush with egg wash and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

bread balls shaped as christmas tree with bowl of marinara for dipping

Let’s cook together!

Tried this Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread? Leave a comment, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating and TAG ME with your photo on social media! @agoudalife or #agoudalife

tree shaped bread with bowl of marinara

Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread

Cheesy Christmas Tree Bread from refrigerated pizza dough. Warm, pull apart bread loaded with herby garlic butter and plenty of cheese. Dip in marinara or pesto for the ultimate appetizer or side dish.
3.66 from 991 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 15
Calories

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
Keyword pull apart bread, cheesy pull apart bread, holiday appetizers
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130 Comments

  1. 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?

    Thanks!

    1. 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.

  2. This looks wonderful!! Is this something that could be prepared the night before and then baked just before serving?

    1. 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

  3. 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!

    1. 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

    2. How did you do that? Just made a regular pizza dough or bread dough and went from there? I’d much rather make my own. Much healthier

      1. Hi – looks like this comment is directed to Debi Lytle — Debi if you have a pizza dough recipe you’d like to share, please post here in the comments. Thanks! — Bernie

    1. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

  5. 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

    1. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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

    1. 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

    1. 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! 🙂

  8. 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.

    1. 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

  9. 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.

    1. 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

  10. These are amazing!! So easy to make and so good!! I’ve made them several times and keep getting requests for more!

  11. This was very time consuming and it looked absolutely awful, but it was delicious. I used pizza dough, mozzarella sticks (sliced) and pepperoni slices.

  12. 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.

    1. 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

    1. 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

    1. 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

      1. 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!

        Thanks,
        Ann

        1. 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

        2. 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

          1. Brilliant, thanks so much Bernie for following up, I really appreciate it. Really looking forward to trying this!

    1. 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

  13. 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?

    1. 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

    1. 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

    1. 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

    1. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

    1. 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

  16. 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

    1. 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

  17. 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!

    1. 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

    1. 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

  18. 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.

    1. 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

  19. 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?

    1. 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

    1. 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

    1. Hi Christy – I have only used refrigerated pizza dough – never frozen. The dough needs to be soft enough to insert the cheese stick into it and reform the ball. — Bernie

  20. I just made these (not the tree form) for a girl’s weekend and it was a big hit…one girlfriend could not stop eating them. So I’m making them again for a Christmas party with the same girls and their hubby’s! Thanks for a great and easy recipe!

    1. Hi Norma – I love reading this! Thanks so much for the kind words and taking the time to write. I’m happy you enjoyed the recipe AND you’re making it again! Merry Christmas! — Bernie

  21. Hi There! Quick question… is the “dough” you recommend the refrigerated Pillsbury pizza CRUST dough?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Crystal! That’s what I like to hear! Thanks for your kind words – I appreciate it! If have a pic or make it again, please share on Instagram or Facebook and tag me – @agoudalife – I’d love to see it! — happy holidays! — Bernie

  22. Followed directions exactly and it was superb! Didn’t look nearly as beautiful as yours, but it was delicious. Everyone complimented the chef! Thanks for this recipe.

  23. Very difficult to make. If you do it in 2 inch dough circles you can hardly put any spinach mix in there not to mention the cheese they did not come out very well, and it took a lot longer than 16 minutes or 18 minutes to cook. would not recommend

    1. Hi Amy – you may have combined two different recipes – my recipe doesn’t contain any spinach (or spinach mix) in it at all. It’s simply mozzarella cheese sticks with pizza dough wrapped around it rolled into a ball. Take care == Bernie

  24. Hi Bernie, i did a practice run on the bread tree last month, my 20s something son gobbled down most of them, then took the rest home !
    I tired One…….delicious.
    I made my own basic pizza dough, worked beautifully. The brushing with fresh herbs/garlic and cheese sprinkle make it really something special. My son tells me , reheated for dinner it was just as good 😄
    Thank you for such an easy ,delicious, impressive bread addition to my Xmas table. Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

    1. Hi Elisabeth – thank YOU so much for your kind words! I’m really glad you all enjoyed the recipe. I’ve had people asking about a homemade dough recipe (I don’t have one) – if you don’t mind sharing yours here, I’m sure it would be appreciated. Merry Christmas to you and your family! — Bernie

    1. Hi Emily – thanks for reaching out. Yes – you can definitely use dry Italian seasoning instead of fresh rosemary and basil. You’ll want to use 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and can also use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder (instead of fresh garlic. Happy holidays – if you love this recipe like my family does, I’d appreciate if you’d come back and give it a 5 star review! — Bernie

  25. Wondering if you can use Crescent Dough for a similar effect?? I will definitely try this with the pizza dough but I was hoping to make an extra shape and I only have an extra tube of crescent dough on hand. Looks delicious I can’t wait either way!

    1. Hi Rindy – I haven’t tried it with crescent dough but it should work well. The doughs are similar – though crescent may be a little thinner so I’d watch the bake time. If you make it, I’d love your feedback (and star rating of the recipe too please!). Thanks for reaching out – happy holidays! — Bernie

    1. Hi Katie – thanks for including the homemade dough recipe – others have asked for one so that’s a big help! I love reading that the bread was a hit at your Christmas get-together! — and yes AGREED – garlic butter inside would be over the top good. It’s worth thinking about 🙂 — Thank you for taking the time to comment — Bernie

    1. Hi Kelly – thanks SO much! Just the way we like ’em around here! I’m really glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment — Bernie