These Caprese Crostini Recipe are made with Italian bread, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, tomatoes and olive oil as desired.
Caprese Crostini is often served at room temperature and can be easily assembled ahead of time, making it a convenient and impressive option for entertaining. The combination of the ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil, and tangy balsamic glaze creates a burst of flavors in every bite. The crostini base provides a crunchy texture that complements the softness of the cheese and tomatoes, while the basil adds a fresh and aromatic note to the dish.
Caprese Crostini can be customized with variations, such as adding prosciutto or thinly sliced Italian ham for a salty and savory twist, or drizzling with extra virgin olive oil for added richness. It can also be made with different types of bread, such as baguette, ciabatta, or even crackers, depending on your preference.
I love to pair most Italian meals with bread on the side, but my favorite is making this caprese crostini as an appetizer. There is no such thing as carb overload in our house! Eating garlic bread or bread by itself is always delicious, but I decided to give bread a little makeover. This dish uses simple, fresh ingredients and it is always a crowd pleaser.
What is a Caprese Crostini?
Caprese Crostini is a type of appetizer or snack that typically consists of toasted baguette slices (crostini) topped with ingredients that are commonly used in a Caprese salad, which is a traditional Italian salad. The main ingredients in Caprese Crostini are fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze or reduction. The toasted crostini serve as a base for layering the fresh ingredients, creating a delicious and visually appealing appetizer that is perfect for parties, gatherings, or as a light snack.
Caprese Crostini Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- French or Italian Bread
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Olive oil
See recipe card for Caprese Crostini quantities.
How to make Caprese Crostini
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat or oven to 450°F. Start by slicing the Italian bread. Pour olive oil into a small bowl and with a brush gently brush the olive oil onto each sliced piece of bread.
Grill on each side for 3 minutes on each side or bake in oven for 6-9 minutes.
Place the toasted crostini on a big plate. Layer first with basil, then sliced tomato.
Finally add the mozzarella. Add more olive oil, salt and pepper as desired.
What to serve with Caprese Crostini
- Antipasto Platter: Create a beautiful spread of Italian-style antipasto items, such as olives, cured meats like prosciutto or salami, marinated vegetables, and cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino. The salty and savory flavors of antipasto items can balance out the freshness of Caprese Crostini and add more variety to your appetizer spread.
- Bruschetta: Another Italian classic, bruschetta is a perfect companion to Caprese Crostini. Bruschetta typically consists of diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, served on toasted bread. The combination of the tomato and basil flavors in both Caprese Crostini and bruschetta can create a cohesive and delicious appetizer pairing.
- Grilled Vegetables: Grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant, can add a smoky and charred flavor to your appetizer spread, which can complement the fresh flavors of Caprese Crostini. Serve the grilled vegetables as a side dish or arrange them on a platter alongside the crostini for a visually appealing and flavorful combination.
- Pasta Salad: A refreshing pasta salad with ingredients like cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and a light vinaigrette can be a great side dish to serve with Caprese Crostini. The similar flavors and ingredients in both Caprese Crostini and pasta salad can create a cohesive and satisfying meal. Check out my Fennel Salad Recipe.
- Bread: I chose to use a simple Italian bread although French bread or a baguette works just as well.
- Mozzarella cheese: You will need to use a fresh mozzarella, specifically mozzarella di bufala.
- Basil: Believe it or not, there are a ton of different types of basil, but the one we used for this recipe is the more popular, common basil called sweet basil. This basil is used in most Italian dishes, especially in pesto.
- Tomatoes: I used a red tomato on the vine for this recipe, although you can use Roma tomatoes or Campari tomatoes.
- Olive oil: I would use the best quality extra virgin olive oil for this.
Caprese Crostini Recipe Variations
- Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle a balsamic glaze over the top of the assembled Caprese Crostini for a sweet and tangy twist. Simply reduce balsamic vinegar in a saucepan with some sugar or honey until it thickens to a syrupy consistency, then drizzle it over the crostini before serving.
- Pesto: Spread a layer of pesto on the crostini before adding the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Pesto adds a burst of flavor with its combination of basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, and can elevate the taste of Caprese Crostini to a new level.
- Different Cheese: While traditional Caprese Crostini uses fresh mozzarella cheese, you can experiment with other types of cheese for a unique twist. Try using creamy burrata, tangy goat cheese, or even crumbled feta cheese for a different flavor profile.
- Different Bread: While baguette slices are commonly used for crostini, you can use different types of bread to change up the texture and taste of your Caprese Crostini. Try using ciabatta, sourdough, or even whole-grain bread for a healthier option.
- Roasted Vegetables: Instead of using fresh tomatoes, you can use roasted cherry tomatoes or other roasted vegetables for a different flavor profile. Roasting vegetables adds depth and sweetness to their flavor, which can add a delicious twist to your Caprese Crostini.
- Fruit Variations: For a unique twist, you can add different types of fruit to your Caprese Crostini. Try using sliced strawberries, peaches, or even figs for a sweet and savory combination.
- Baked Caprese Crostini: For a warm and gooey version, you can assemble the Caprese Crostini with cheese and tomatoes, then bake them in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This can add a different texture and flavor to the traditional Caprese Crostini.
Check out this Baby Corn Stir Fry.
- Oven or toaster oven: A toaster to toast the baguette slices or other bread of your choice.
- Baking sheet: To place the bread slices for toasting in the oven.
- Knife and cutting board: To slice tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil.
- Small bowl: To mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper for the dressing.
- Small spoon or brush: To drizzle or brush the dressing onto the bread slices.
- Optional: Balsamic glaze or pesto for additional variations (as mentioned in the recipe variations).
- Serving platter: To arrange the assembled Caprese Crostini for serving.
How to store Caprese Crostini
- Separate the bread slices from the toppings: If possible, remove the bread slices from the assembled Caprese Crostini and store them separately from the tomato, mozzarella, and basil toppings. This helps to prevent the bread from becoming too soggy.
- Store in an airtight container: Place the bread slices and the toppings in separate airtight containers to maintain freshness and prevent any cross-contamination.
- Refrigerate: Store the bread slices and toppings in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. The bread may lose some of its crispness over time, so it's best to consume the leftovers within a day or two.
- Assemble before serving: When ready to serve, you can assemble the Caprese Crostini by placing the toppings on the bread slices just before serving. This helps to keep the bread crisp and the toppings fresh.
Caprese Crostini Recipe Top tips
- Use fresh and high-quality ingredients: Since Caprese Crostini relies on simple and fresh ingredients, it's important to use ripe and flavorful tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil for the best results.
- Toast the bread slices properly: Toast the bread slices until they are golden and crispy to provide a sturdy base for the toppings. You can use a toaster oven or oven to toast the bread slices, and brushing them with olive oil before toasting can add extra flavor.
- Season the toppings: Season the tomato slices with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to enhance their natural flavors. You can also drizzle some balsamic glaze or pesto for added depth and tanginess.
- Arrange the toppings evenly: Assemble the tomato, mozzarella, and basil evenly on top of the toasted bread slices for a balanced flavor in each bite. You can stack them in layers or arrange them side by side, depending on your preference.
- Serve at room temperature: Caprese Crostini is typically served at room temperature, as it allows the flavors of the ingredients to meld together. However, if you prefer a warm version, you can assemble the Crostini and briefly heat them in the oven before serving.
- Customize with variations: Caprese Crostini is a versatile appetizer that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. You can experiment with different bread types, such as baguette, ciabatta, or sourdough, and add variations like balsamic glaze, pesto, prosciutto, or olives for unique flavor profiles.
- Serve promptly: Caprese Crostini is best served fresh, as the bread can become soggy if left sitting for too long. Assemble and serve the Crostini promptly for the best taste and texture.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove