Garlic Knots

“Got knots?” Simply Recipes contributor Hank Shaw does, and boy are they good. Enjoy! ~Elise

When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, one of my absolute favorite after-school treats would be to walk over to Ferraro’s, dig through my pockets for loose change and buy some garlic knots — garlicky, buttery rolls made from stray bits of pizza dough. At 25 cents apiece, I could buy a lotta knots with a little change.

Garlic knots are a pizzeria favorite, and in New Jersey, their presence was a sign that the pizza joint you just walked into was legit. Making knots is a thrifty way to use scraps of dough and the leftover garlic-butter-parsley sauce most pizzerias would use for their white pizzas or garlic bread.

Over the years I’ve seen people make gigantic garlic knots the size of croissants, but that seems weird to me. The knots of my youth could fit into the palm of your hand with ease. Eating eight of them at a sitting was no trouble at all.

What are they like? Crusty on the outside, light as air within. Chewy, and almost sour — most garlic knots I remember were made with old pizza dough that was already thinking about fermenting. The garlic-soaked butter (some places used olive oil) got all over your hands; I’d smell like Ferraro’s for hours after eating them, and if I didn’t finish my supper that night my mom would know why.

A big basket of garlic knots is a great party treat, and is pretty easy to make if you use premade pizza dough. Be warned: Make twice as many as you think you’ll need. You’ll find yourself reaching for another without thinking, and so will your guests. And if you have a New Jersey native in the house, make a triple batch. I ate half of this recipe at one sitting.

Garlic Knots Recipe

  • Prep time: 3 hours
  • Cook time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 20 knots.

It is perfectly OK to use store-bought pizza dough here. One 14-ounce package of pizza dough will approximate this recipe.



  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Garlic-Butter Coating:

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1 Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir to combine and let sit for another 5-10 minutes, until it begins to froth a bit.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil, then the yeast-water mixture. Mix this together to form a soft dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil. Put it in a large bowl, top the bowl with plastic wrap and set it at room temperature to rise.

3 When the dough has doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours, cut it in half. Set out a large baking sheet and line it with a silpat or parchment paper. Take one half of the dough and cut it in half. Working with one piece at a time, flatten into a rough rectangle about 5 inches long 1/2 inch thick.


4 Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips of about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Cut these strips in half. Take one piece and work it into a snake, then tie it in a knot. The dough will be sticky along the cut edges, so dust these with flour before you tie the knot. Set each knot down on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Remember that the dough will rise, so leave some space between each knot.


5 Once all the knots are tied, paint them with a little olive oil. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise again until doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours or so. Toward the end of this rising period, preheat the oven to 400°.


6 Uncover the knots and bake in the oven 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

7 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot and cook the garlic gently in it just long enough to take off that raw garlic edge, about 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the salt and parsley and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.


8 When the knots are done, take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Paint with the garlic-butter-parsley mixture and serve. These are best warm, but are good at room temperature, too.


Garlic knots from White on Rice Couple
Spicy Sriracha Garlic Knots - also from White on Rice Couple



  1. Christine

    Oh. Wow. These are my husband’s absolute favorite…and I think this is just the recipe to put his birthday dinner over the edge! Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  2. Val from PA

    Wow – these look awesome! They look exactly like the garlic knots that I pick up from a great little Italian market near my work. Might have to make a run over there for lunch today!

  3. Becki's Whole Life

    We have a lot of Italian restaurants/pizzerias down here in NC that make these knots and you are right they do prove some legitimacy and authenticity of the restaurant. Since we have so many transplants from the north (like myself) down here it’s actually pretty common to see these. The fresh garlicky flavor is key..real garlic makes all of the difference along with some fresh herbs. Soooo good!

  4. Julie

    I grew up in South Jersey and these yummy little guys are a taste of childhood. When I make pizza now and somehow have extra dough, I tend to fry plain knots and roll them in sugar (powdered or granulated with cinnamon), another thing that NJ pizzerias did – I believe they were called zeppoli. Thanks for the recipe and post – I’ll have to make these soon, since I’m living far from home!

  5. Lulu

    As a born and bred New Yorker, I can say for certain that no visit to a pizza place is complete without a side order of garlic knots wrapped in aluminum foil and a pile of napkins to wipe the garlicky oil off your fingers and chin.
    I also remember stopping by the corner pizza place, Giulia’s Pizza in Queens, and picking up a half-dozen knots to enjoy as an after-school snack while I watched General Hospital. Haha. I haven’t thought about that in years.

    Looks like I’m about to break my New Year’s resolution, 19 days in. Thanks for the recipe and for bringing up some good old memories!

  6. Lynda

    Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips of about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Cut these strips in half. Question: Cut strips in half lengthwise to make 1/2 inch by 5 inches or widthwise to make 1 inch by 2-1/2 inches? Thnx in advance.

    You want the final strips of dough to be about 1 inch wide by 2 1/2 inches long. If you don’t cut the initial 5-inch-long strip, the garlic knot will be too big — certainly fine to eat, but larger than the traditional knot. ~Hank

  7. Amber

    Oh boy! These look fantastic! As someone who makes a lot of pizzas and often has extra dough, this is right up my alley. Plus, now that soup weather has finally settled in, this is the kind of thing that’s perfect for dipping. Thanks!

  8. kathy

    Growing up on Long Island, we always walked over to the pizza parlor and had a slice and some garlic knots. No pizza place would be without it. Now living in the Syracuse Ny area, pizza places don’t have knots but they better have wings and a bunch of them! Maybe that could be your next recipe??

    Hey Kathy, we got your wings for ya, right here. ;-) ~Hank

  9. V

    Ferraro’s in Westfield? These look great, and will be a great way to tide myself over until they finish rebuilding the restaurant (it burned down several months ago) :(

    Yep, Ferraro’s in Westfield! And I heard about that fire. Lots of controversy, apparently. I went to high school with Vinnie Ferraro. ~Hank

  10. barb polo

    I wondered which town in NJ you are from? Almost every other town in northern Jersey has/had a Ferraro’s where you could get garlic knots. We grew up in West New York, NJ in Hudson County along the Palisades across from Manhatten. barb

    I grew up in Westfield, in Union County. ~Hank

  11. Marsha

    Wow!!! I lived in NJ for several years and remember that garlic knots and sauce was the best thing in the world. We used to live above a pizza place in Bayonne, NJ and I would go down at lunchtime on a Saturday and get two orders of knots and sauce. We would chase them down with cheap Chianti…awww cheap simple food. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I will be making these this weekend…and like you said a triple batch!

  12. Karen Rr

    I’ve never seen these here in Canada; we tend to have a dough ball in the center of the pizza to help hold the pizza box lid from sticking to the toppings. Since it’s one little ball, there tends to be fights of who gets it…

    These look good, and I’m thinking they would be great with a spaghetti dinner, instead of garlic bread.

  13. Amy

    Where in the oven do you need to bake these? I’ve read to bake pizza high, but I wonder if these would not cook as evenly if they are high up? And, what do you think about cooking stuff like this with convection? Thanks.

    I baked them in the middle. As for convection, no idea. Sorry! I don’t cook with a convection oven. ~Hank

  14. Rhonda Taylor

    Just so you know they are apparently loved in Tennessee also. I made a batch and watched them disappear in under five minutes. Oh And just for experimental purposes, I brushed 4 of the with melted butter cinnamon sugar mix for my daughter. Also delicious.
    I know garlic knots don’t necessarily go with Three Teacup chicken, but we are a bread loving family so I served them together anyway . Kid approved.

  15. Casey

    We’re in the middle of a big old snowstorm here in Jersey, but I still can walk to the pizza place up the street and get some garlic knots. Excellent idea, methinks.

  16. Sheeijan

    This right here is enough to make anybody fall to their knees and beg for seconds. And I’ve never even had these before, just looking at them makes me want to run out to the store for some pizza dough. Unfortunately there’s a flash flood warning out and it’s like monsoon season out there. I’m still tempted to brave the elements for these gorgeous looking things!

  17. Susan

    I made these yesterday as a test run for the weekend football game playoffs as a snack. First, they didn’t take as long to rise as the recipe states; they took only about 40 minutes each rise. I did use rapid rise yeast (and the method recommended for using it) but that shouldn’t make that much difference..and I was glad it rose so quickly! They were wonderful. I think I will make the dough through the first rise Saturday night then wrap and refrigerate it to shape and bake on Sunday. I think a little fermentation would add yet another level of flavor to them. Excellent and easy recipe that I will use again. Thanks, Hank!

  18. Matthew Hyner

    Awsome… might want to keep in mind, throw the dough in the fridge for a few days to allow for the flavor to develop. Said it yourself, the dough is usually ready to ferment with the real thing :) Still have some from my last pizza making debacle, never thought to make these with it. Will have to once I get a new stone!

  19. KatieC

    This looks delicious- I will probably take advantage of the premade dough option in order to save time. This would be a great snack food for a super bowl party!

    Can’t wait to try this out! Warm, fresh garlic knots are one of my favorite appetizers.


  20. Sam

    These are pretty good, but next time I’ll make them without salt in the topping. I think they will be better with just garlic, unsalted butter and parsley.

  21. Janis

    I am new to the world of yeast and dough and took these on. So glad I did! Very easy and yummy! Bye bye frozen garlic bread! Because I did use AP flour I used 2 1/4 tsp of yeast and they came out perfect not to crunchy, just right. Thank you for sharing this!

  22. Abby

    Wow not even one negative comment! (I always check before trying a new recipe)

    Sadly I have never had a garlic knot so I won’t know if they end up the way they’re supposed to be… But seeing as how there really is no negative comment on here… I’m not worried :)

    I can’t wait to make them!!!

  23. Bella

    For those that made mention of the extra fermentation for flavor: Just so that I’m clear on the first rise, do you let the dough rise *before* putting it in the fridge? Or do you let the dough rise *in the fridge*?

    I will often make the dough, wrap it and let it rise overnight in the fridge. Then you roll it out, shape it and let it rise the second time at warm room temperature. ~Hank

  24. Lynne

    I have a question: I got this recipe in my inbox and decided to make since I am going to friends house for dinner. My question is this: I followed the recipe to the letter, but after I mixed in the oil and yeast mixture, it never really made into a ball — it was gooey. I thought about adding some more flour as I tried to knead, but was hesitant to use too much as that sometimes makes the bread too tough. Can you offer any advice? Thanks!

    Huh. No idea, really. But when this sort of thing happens to me, I always add a little more flour. It’s never hurt anything so far. ~Hank

  25. Cyndy Norton

    I am single and hate to waste…. can these be frozen?? Thanks, in advance Hank.

    I doubt it. What I would do is make a batch of dough, then cut it in half and bake only a few knots at a time. Better to freeze unbaked dough than finished garlic knots. ~Hank

  26. Lois

    Woud love to try this recipe, it looks scrumptous. Can the dough be made in a bread machine, if so, do I still make it rise before baking. Thanks

    I suppose you could make the dough in a bread machine. I have never used one before, though. And yes, the dough needs to rise twice before baking, first time on its own, the second time once you’ve rolled out the dough and tied it in knots. ~Hank

  27. Abby

    OMG!!! These are soooo good! I tripled the recipe because I was taking them to a cast party from my drama class. They disappeared faster than the pizza!

    I am definitely making this again and saving the recipe…. I could seriously eat 20 of them….

  28. Holliday

    When I moved to Montana from Connecticut after high school I missed the little pizzerias in Boston we used to go to after Red Sox games (I know it’s not New Jersey pizza but they still make a mean pizza) and get these for the ride home. There was a pizza place opened by some true Jersey boys in Whitefish for a while that made them, but sadly they went out of business so I was stuck with my memories…. Anyways, point of the story is that I am going to make these this week and I can not wait!

  29. Mom24

    I made these tonight. Awesome! I made the dough in the morning, let it rise, then stuck it in the fridge until afternoon. Then, I got it out, patted it into the rectangle and proceeded. For topping I used the garlic and butter and sprinkled on KAF Tuscan salt. Very big hit. I was amazed at how crispy outside and tender and airy inside they were.

  30. Izreen

    I’m just wondering, have you tried freezing the dough? I hate to waste as well, and it would be great if you could provide a step-by-step instructions on how to freeze the dough. Thanks!

    I’ve never frozen this particular dough, but I’ve had good success freezing other doughs by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap, then in another layer of foil. ~Hank

  31. Kate

    Love love love this recipe. Made it so many times. I’m lazy (and a little impatient) so I don’t let them rise again after knotting them… but they still turn out perfect and soft. I also brush them with the garlic before I cook them since I prefer my garlic a little more cooked. Made them again today and brushed them with sweet chili sauce instead, was just as good!

  32. Andrea

    I’ve made these and they are delicious! Only thing different I do is add is shred Parmesan cheese on top after all finished.
    My 21 year old son was/ is a very picky kid. He was scared to taste anything I made, I dunno why??? lol He devoured these! Then when he came to do laundry asked me to make more. This kid never I mean NEVER has asked me to make him anything for him. Ty for the recipe !!

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