Garlic Knots with Marinara Sauce

Good luck holding yourself back from eating them all!

Back when I was in high school, my cafeteria had really, really, REALLY good garlic knots. I’m talking the-best-I’ve-ever-had-insanely-good-how-are-these-from-a-school-cafeteria?? good garlic knots. The chefs at school did an incredible job of getting a perfect soft but chewy texture, and tons of intense garlicky flavor. I was friends with the chefs, so I asked them about their method, and lucky for me, they shared all of their secrets! The dough is a fairly standard pizza dough, but the garlic-infused oil, how and when it gets brushed into the knots, and the pure, simple, delicious tomato dipping sauce make these the best of the best in the garlic knot department. Good luck holding yourself back from eating them all!

1. Bread Flour

Bread flour is super important in this recipe because it is a high-gluten flour, and the additional gluten is what gives this kind of bread it’s chewy texture.

2. My Tomato Sauce Secret

I always add a little bit of honey to my tomato sauce! It cuts and balances the acid of the tomatoes perfectly, and it dissolves more easily into the sauce that granulated white sugar.

3. Knotting Process

Tying dough in a knot may seem intimidating, but if you’ve ever played with play dough and/or tied your shoes, you’ve got this! Simply roll your dough ball into a 6 inch log, then cross the ends and push one end through the loop, just like you’re starting to tie your shoes. That’s it, you’re done!

Garlic Knots with Marinara Sauce

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 158.43 kcal


For the Dough

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 2 ¼ ounce packet active dry yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • Nonstick spray for greasing

For the Garlic Oil

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 heads of garlic chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup parmesan grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons honey or more to taste


For the Garlic Knots

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top of the warm water, cover with a tea towel and allow to proof for 5 minutes.
  • Once yeast has bloomed, add flour, olive oil, and salt. Fit stand mixer with dough hook attachment and process on medium low, until the dough comes together into a ball. Once it forms a ball, increase speed to medium and continue kneading for 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and smooth.
  • Transfer dough into a large greased bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.

For the Garlic Oil

  • In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together and set aside.

For the Tomato Sauce

  • In a medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until the garlic begins to brown on the edges. Add tomatoes, followed by pepper and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and honey, as needed. Cover with a lid and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Garlic Knots

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Transfer the dough out on a floured work surface and divide into 24 evenly sized balls, approximately 1 ounce each. Roll each ball into a 6-inch log then tie each log into a knot and tuck any excess underneath. Place on the baking sheets, 3 to a row, 4 rows in total.
  • Spray plastic wrap with nonstick spray and cover, then set aside to rise for an additional 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Once risen, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 15 minutes until they begin to become golden brown. Remove from the oven then brush each knot with the garlic oil mixture then pop back into the oven to bake for another 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and garlic begins to brown on edges.
  • Serve garlic knots hot with tomato sauce.
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