Pesto crostini are the easiest appetizer you’ll ever make. French baguette is baked to crisp perfection, slathered in delicious pesto, and piled with mouthwatering toppings. They are a great starter or appetizer that’s a favorite for parties!
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Easy pesto crostini 3 ways
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of crostini. The golden, crispy bread goes so well with pretty much everything. They come together quickly and disappear even quicker than you made them. Such a crowd pleaser!
One of my favorite things to pair with crostini is pesto. The combination is simply delicious! Every bite starts with crips baguette slathered with a layer of basil pesto and different toppings. I’m always a fan of anything easy and versatile.
What are crostini?
Crostini means “little crusts” or “little toasts” in Italian, and that describes exactly what they are: small, thin slices of bread, brushed with oil, baked until crispy, and then loaded with delicious toppings.
From cheese to vegetables to cured meats and seafood, the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to toppings. I’ve created 3 different crostini topping ideas to garnish that deliver a flavor explosion and only need 2 to 3 ingredients each.
You only need a few ingredients for each component of this appetizer. Crostini require only 3 materials, the rest are topping ideas. For specific measurements, scroll to the printable recipe card at the end of the post. Let’s get started!
- French baguette is essential with this recipe. You want to find thin baguette, so the crostini are small. One slice should be a two-bite canape. Sourdough and artisan bread work well because they toast up crunchy and stay crispier for longer.
- Olive oil is needed to toast the bread. I recommend extra virgin olive oil, but any good quality oil will work fine.
- Pesto: Classic basil pesto provides bold flavor, and some of the oils from the pesto drip into the cruncy bread.
- Caprese: For this classic flavor combo, you’ll need cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella or bocconcini, and a few fresh basil leaves.
- Grilled mushrooms: Earthy mushrooms combine with rosemary and parmesan shavings. I used a jar of grilled mushrooms in oil, but you can also pan-fry or grill fresh mushrooms.
- Ricotta prosciutto: Creamy ricotta pairs so well with rolled up prosciutto for another super simple no-prep crostini.
You’ll also need a serrated knife, paring knife, cutting board, baking sheet (tray), and some parchment paper (baking paper) or silicone baking mat.
How to make pesto crostini
Pesto crostini may be a gourmet-looking appetizer, but that doesn’t mean the recipe is difficult. You just need to follow the simple steps below to make it happen.
Step 1: Preheat oven
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (baking paper) or a silicone baking mat and set the prepared pan aside.
Step 2: Prep for baking
Cut the bread into thin slices, approximately 1/4 in / 0.5 cm. Brush both sides with olive oil and arrange on the prepared baking pan.
Step 3: Bake bread
Bake the baguette for 7 to 10 minutes, until completely crispy and golden brown. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before continuing with the toppings.
Step 4: Add pesto
Spread a heaping teaspoon of pesto onto each bread slice, and then add the topping of your choice.
Caprese pesto crostini
Cut the cherry tomatoes and mini mozzarella in half. Arrange 5 to 6 tomato and mozzarella halves on each crostino and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Grilled mushroom pesto crostini
Top the crostini with grilled mushrooms and insert a few sprigs of rosemary. Sprinkle generously with parmesan flakes.
Pesto ricotta crostini
Spoon a generous tablespoon of ricotta onto each bread piece. Roll up slices of prosciutto and place next to the ricotta. Season with a sprinkle of ground black pepper.
Tips for success
Don’t hurry to the kitchen just yet – check out these helpful tips and tricks first. They’ll help you make the most amazing basil pesto crostini.
- Stale bread works great. This starter is an excellent opportunity to put day-old bread or baguette to good use. Roasting puts new life into your bread!
- Slice the bread with a serrated knife. Cutting the bread into even, thin slices works best with a serrated knife.
- Add the toppings just before serving to avoid soggy bread. Juicy toppings like tomatoes should be added as close to serving time as possible so the crostini remain crispy.
Looking to switch things up? Great, because I have even more ideas for this pesto appetizer. Try one of these tasty variations.
- Pesto – If you aren’t too fond of basil pesto, try tomato pesto, pea pesto, pesto Calabrese, or any other type of pesto spread instead.
- Cheese – I can’t think of a single cheese that wouldn’t go great with crostini. Try making this appetizer with goat cheese, brie, or asiago.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – Another option for tomatoes would be to use sun-dried tomatoes.
- Chicken – You can easily pile shredded or cubed roasted chicken onto your crostini. I recommend pairing chicken with caramelized onion for the ultimate gourmet flavor.
- Shrimp – Grilled shrimp are right at home in this easy crostini recipe. Add them together with feta cheese, and you’re in for a treat.
How to store crostini
If you have any extra crostini, you can store them in the fridge for up to 2 days. Be sure to cover them tightly with plastic wrap (cling film) or place them in an airtight container.
Keep in mind that assembled crostini will start to lose their crunch after sitting a while. I don’t recommend storing this pesto appetizer recipe in the freezer.
Put baked, cooled crostini (without topping + pesto) in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and they will be good for up to 5 days.
Making crostini ahead of time
Crostini can be partly made ahead of time. You can toast the bread 4 to 5 days in advance, storing the toasted slices in an airtight container at room temperature. Toppings should be prepared fresh, but you can chop ingredients in advance.
Once assembled, crostini will stay crispy for about an hour. Even after that, they will still be crisp and delicious.
- 1 baguette or French stick
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup / 225 g / 8 oz basil pesto
Mozzarella Tomato Pesto Crostini (makes 30)
- 12 oz / 340 g mini mozzarella
- 10 oz / 300 g cherry tomatoes
- fresh basil leaves (optional)
Mushroom Pesto Crostini (makes 30)
- 8 oz / 225 g marinated grilled mushrooms
- 1/2 cup / 60 g / 2 oz shaved parmesan
- fresh rosemary (optional)
Pesto Ricotta Crostini (makes 30)
- 7 oz / 200 g ricotta
- 4 oz / 115 g sliced prosciutto
- ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (baking paper) or a silicone baking mat and set the prepared pan aside.
- Prep for baking. Cut the bread into thin slices, approximately 1/4 in / 0.5 cm. Brush both sides with olive oil and arrange on the prepared baking pan.
- Bake bread. Bake the baguette for 7 to 10 minutes, until completely crispy and golden brown. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before continuing with the toppings.
- Add pesto. Spread a heaping teaspoon of pesto onto each bread slice, and then add the topping of your choice.
- Caprese pesto crostini. Cut the cherry tomatoes and mini mozzarella in half. Arrange 5 to 6 tomato and mozzarella halves on each crostino and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
- Grilled mushroom pesto crostini. Top the crostini with grilled mushrooms and insert a few sprigs of rosemary. Sprinkle generously with parmesan flakes.
- Pesto ricotta crostini. Spoon a generous tablespoon of ricotta onto each bread piece. Roll up slices of prosciutto and place next to the ricotta. Season with a sprinkle of ground black pepper.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g