You’ve been asked to bring an appetizer to a party, but you’re stumped. What would everyone like best? Let me help you! Everyone loves cheese, onions, and homemade pizza dough, so this pull apart skillet cheese bread is the perfect answer. Whether it’s the Christmas season, Super Bowl, or a church potluck, all the guests will be oohing and aahing over this simple appetizer in no time!
Can you make cheese bread ahead of time?
Absolutely! Make the dough the night before, then cover it and let it rise in the fridge overnight. (You can leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.) Proceed with the recipe as written the next day. The dough may take a little longer to rise for it’s second rise, since it will be cold from the fridge.
What can I serve with this cheese bread?
Personally, I think homemade marinara sauce is the best thing to serve with this skillet cheese bread. You may also want to try butter, extra virgin olive oil mixed with freshly ground black pepper, or cheese sauce.
How to Make Pull Apart Skillet Cheese Bread
Measure out the ingredients for the herbed pizza dough: flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, sugar, dried basil, dried oregano, and water.
Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl, then mix them in with your finger. (Why? The salt can kill the yeast if it touches it.)
Add the olive oil, sugar, and spices, then mix until blended.
Dump in three-quarters of the water and mix until a dry dough forms.
Keep the mixer running, and gradually add just enough water to form a sticky dough.
Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, not quite as sticky, and passes the windowpane test, about 5-8 minutes. See the recipe card below for an explanation of the windowpane test.
Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (Make ahead tip: put it in the fridge at this point and let it rise overnight, then proceed with the recipe as normal the next day.)
Now, we can prepare the filling: onion and cheese. 😋 You’ll need to grate some Asiago and extra sharp cheddar cheese and chop an onion.
Fry the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat until golden, then season with salt. Let them cool before adding them to the dough.
Once the pizza dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide it into 18 equal pieces. Use a scale for accuracy.
Roll out each piece of dough into a rough circle.
Place 1/2 teaspoon of cooked onion and a generous pinch of both cheddar and Asiago cheeses in the center of the dough. Fold the edges into the center and pinch to seal.
Place all the rolls seam side down in a lightly greased, 10 inch cast iron skillet. Cover the skillet and let the bread rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
When the rolls are done rising, their sides should be touching and the dough should be springy when you poke it.
Brush the rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese. You can never have too much cheese, right?
Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes, until the rolls are a rich golden brown and have an internal temperature of 190-200 F.
Let them cool completely, then serve with homemade marinara sauce. I think I might just take a second one…
Pro Tips for Making Pull Apart Skillet Cheese Bread
- Be sure to knead the dough long enough. Pizza dough needs a strong gluten structure, which is developed by a good kneading. Check the recipe card below to find out when to stop kneading the dough.
- Start the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight. It will save you time the next day, plus give you a better flavored dough.
- Make sure the cooked onions have cooled before adding them to the dough. If they’re steaming hot, they could kill the yeast in the pizza dough!
- Don’t skimp on the rising time. Otherwise, the bread will be dense and doughy, and may not rise very well in the oven.
- Use a meat thermometer to check if the bread is baked. This is one of my favorite tips because it’s so easy and effective. Just insert a meat thermometer into a thick part of the bread. It should read between 190-200 F.
- Let the bread cool before serving. The cast iron pan will stay hot for long after the bread comes out of the oven, and you don’t want someone to accidentally touch the hot pan. Also, freshly baked bread is full of steam, and needs time to cool and finish setting inside, or it will be gummy and doughy.
- Store leftover bread in a zip-top bag at room temperature or freeze for longer storage. Putting the baked bread in the fridge will make it go stale quickly.
Are you a cheese lover? You don’t want to miss out on these cheesy yeast breads!
- Three Cheese Roll-Up Buns: start these buns the night before and enjoy fragrant cheesy bread the next day!
- Giardiniera & Cheese Stuffed Bread: the sharp flavor of Asiago cheese blends perfectly with the pickled veggies (giardiniera).
- Pane Bianco: this rustic Italian white bread is packed with roasted red peppers, garlic, cheese, and fresh basil.
Did you make this pull apart skillet cheese bread? Please leave a star rating below the recipe to share how you enjoyed it.Print
Looking for a crowd pleasing appetizer for a Christmas party? This pull apart skillet cheese bread is so tasty, your guests will be coming back for seconds! It’s made from homemade yeast pizza dough and stuffed with onions and cheddar and asiago cheeses. Dip it into marinara sauce for a family favorite dinner idea!
For the Herbed Pizza Dough
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour (500g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (12g)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
- 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups warm water (300-350 ml)
For the Filling
- 1 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped (207g)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (106g)
- 3/4 cup asiago cheese, grated (47g)
For the Topping
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (21g)
Making the Dough (25 minutes + 1 hour rising)
- Warm the water in a small saucepan or the microwave until it’s 110-115 F.
- Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir each one in with your finger, being careful not to let the salt touch the yeast directly, or it will kill the yeast.
- Dump in the sugar, basil, oregano, and olive oil, then mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until a dough begins to form.
- Add three-quarters of the warm water to the mixture, keeping the mixer on low speed. Gradually trickle in the remaining water until a sticky dough has formed. You may not need all the water, but if you think the dough is too dry, add all the water.
- Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, a little less sticky, and passes the windowpane test, about 5-8 minutes. Do the windowpane test by stretching a lump of the dough between your hands to create a windowpane shape. If the dough can stretch to be translucent without breaking, it’s kneaded enough; if not, knead a minute longer and check again.
- Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until at least doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. (Alternatively, place the dough in the fridge for 8-12 hours for a slow, cold rise, which will result in a better flavored dough.)
Preparing the Filling (15 minutes)
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Chop the onions, then fry them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until golden. Season them with the salt and set aside to cool.
- Grate the two cheeses, including the extra cheddar cheese for the topping, and set aside in the fridge until needed.
Shaping the Cheese Bread (15 minutes + 45 minutes rising)
- Lightly grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil.
- Punch down the risen dough, then divide it into 18 equal pieces, using a kitchen scale for accuracy.
- Roll each piece of dough into a rough circle with a rolling pin. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the cooked onions and a generous pinch of cheddar and asiago cheeses in the center. Pinch the dough around the filling to seal and place seam side down in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
- Cover the skillet with a piece of plastic wrap or a clean garbage bag. Let the bread rise in a warm place until the rolls’ sides are touching and the dough is springy to the touch, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F about 15 minutes before the bread is done rising.
Baking the Cheese Bread (5 minutes + 25 minutes baking + cooling)
- Uncover the skillet and brush the rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle them with the 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese.
- Bake at 425 F until well browned, about 25 minutes. The rolls should have an internal temperature of 190-200 F on a meat thermometer.
- Let the bread cool completely in the skillet, then serve with homemade marinara sauce.