Fresh Bruschetta with basil and other herbs, garlic, and balsamic vinegar makes a great snack or appetizer and stays yummy in the fridge for days!

You’ll love how easy it is to make authentic, fresh bruschetta with just a few ingredients. We’ve got all the tips you need and offer lots of substitutions so you can make it work with what you have on hand!

Bruschetta on bread with glaze.

If I’m traveling for a party or potluck event, I like to take foods that pack well and can be used as easy appetizers or quick meals. My go-to recipes are pimento cheese, pound cake, baked apple Brie, and this easy fresh bruschetta recipe.

Throw in some toasted bread or crackers, and you will have a couple of tasty appetizers that you can make a day or two early and easily transport to someone’s house if need be.

What’s bruschetta?

How it started: toasted bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic.

How it’s going: toasted bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic, then topped with a savory blend of juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and whatever you want to add! We like to include fresh herbs and garlic, a touch of good quality balsamic vinegar, and a drizzle of bruschetta balsamic glaze.

How to pronounce bruschetta?

Bruschetta is one of those Italian foods that suffers from mispronunciation, not just in the South but in much of the non-Italian speaking world.

The correct pronunciation is “broo-SKEH-tah,” but around here, it’s generally pronounced “broo-SHEH-tah,” even by servers who know better. It’s such a common mispronunciation that it almost seems pretentious to pronounce it correctly. 

However you pronounce it, bruschetta is full of flavor, low-fat, low-calorie, and a perfect addition to a summer spread. It can be eaten on sliced French bread or even used as a salsa for fish or chicken.

Side Note: The term bruschetta actually refers to the bread, which is lightly toasted and brushed with olive oil and fresh garlic. We are so used to seeing it with the tomato topping, but actually, there are any number of toppings that can go on the bread and still be called bruschetta.

Bread with bruschetta on a plate.

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Here’s a twist on classic Bruschetta—try this Ricotta Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes! You’ll love how delicious and easy this make-ahead appetizer is!

What are the ingredients in bruschetta?

Fresh, fresh, fresh! I can’t say it enough—you need the freshest tomatoes and herbs for this recipe!

Tomatoes, olive oil, and other seasonings. 

Tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil…you just can’t go wrong with this combination!

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs: basil, oregano, marjoram
  • Fresh garlic (you do not want to use jarred for this recipe!)
  • Shallot
  • Balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good quality)
  • Salt and pepper

Bruschetta spices

If you’re short on time, you could use dried seasonings, but you will lose a lot of flavor. I strongly encourage you to grab the fresh herbs for this recipe because they make a world of difference.

I like to use basil, oregano, and marjoram, but you can play around with different herbs. The non-negotiable for this fresh bruschetta recipe would be basil!

How to make fresh bruschetta

Step 1. Start with several plum tomatoes and chop them, squeezing out most of the juice and pulp.

Step 2. Add fresh basil, marjoram, oregano, chopped shallot, and garlic, and then a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Pro Tip: You can use dried marjoram if you don’t have fresh (which is what I usually do), but don’t even think about using dried basil. If you don’t have fresh basil, then make something else. Trust me. 

Step 3. Toss everything into one bowl and stir gently.

Pro Tip: Serve bruschetta at room temperature for the best flavor. If you don’t serve it within a couple of hours of making it, store it in the refrigerator and remove it about 30 minutes before your event.

Bruschetta and balsamic glaze on bread.

Can you make bruschetta ahead of time?

Fresh bruschetta is a great make-ahead recipe! You can make it up to two days ahead. After about three days, the tomatoes start to get a little soggy.

Be sure you serve the bruschetta at room temperature for the best flavor.

Roma tomato bruschetta

My preference is for Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and/or cherry tomatoes. I love to mix them all together for the best flavor.

Best bread for bruschetta

The best bread for bruschetta is a baguette or crusty Italian bread, like ciabatta. Homemade sourdough bread is also a great option (it’s great for pretty much everything!).

Basically, any crusty bread strong enough to hold the toppings will work! And it doesn’t need to be fresh—bread that’s one or two days old is perfect.

Bruschetta balsamic glaze

Adding balsamic glaze to your fresh bruschetta is totally optional. We love the tangy-sweet glaze, but some folks like to let the tomato flavor shine without the addition of a glaze.

Fresh bruschetta recipe FAQs

How to store bruschetta

Store the bruschetta topping in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You’ll want to have a good container, otherwise your refrigerator will take on an overpowering garlic smell. Store the bread slices separately in a storage bag on the counter.

How long does bruschetta last in the fridge?

Bruschetta will keep in the refrigerator for about two days. After that, the tomatoes start to get soggy and the flavor is not as great.

What is bruschetta topping made of?

While tomatoes are the classic topping for bruschetta, you’ll find many variations and experiments, such as butternut squash, eggplant, fruits, meats, or even beans.

What kind of tomatoes are best for bruschetta?

Tomato bruschetta is where your summer tomatoes will shine. While I specify plum or Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes, you can use any type of tomato—just make sure they are sun-ripened and fresh.

What to do with leftover bruschetta

This homemade bruschetta is wonderful on toasted bread but is also delicious spooned over chicken breasts or even dumped in a pot of your favorite vegetable soup. Try it in my Chicken Vegetable Soup or Homemade Tomato Soup.

A pour shot of balsamic glaze.

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5 from 7 votes

Fresh Bruschetta Recipe

Fresh bruschetta flavored with basil, garlic, oregano, and a little balsamic vinegar. A wonderful summer appetizer with grilled bread.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Save This Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 5 large plum tomatoes, chopped, juices squeezed out
  • ¼ cup chopped, fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh marjoram
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Chop tomatoes, discarding most of the juice and pulp. Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and gently stir.
  • Cover and refrigerate until needed. Stir before serving.

Notes

Tips for Making Bruschetta:

  • Ingredients: Tomato bruschetta is where your summer tomatoes will shine. While I specify plum or Roma tomatoes, I also like to use heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes and mix them all together. You can use any type of tomato–just make sure they are sun-ripened and fresh.
  • Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to two days ahead. After about three days, the tomatoes start to get a little soggy.
  • Storage: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor. Bruschetta will keep in the fridge for about three days and actually tastes better the day after you make it since the flavors have melded together.
  • Leftovers: This homemade bruschetta is wonderful on toasted bread but also delicious spooned over chicken breasts or even dumped in a pot of your favorite vegetable soup. Try it in my Chicken Vegetable Soup or Homemade Tomato Soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 10servings, Calories: 25kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Sodium: 235mg, Sugar: 1g
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 25
Keyword: bruschetta, fresh bruschetta, tomato bruschetta
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

Update Notes: This post was originally published May 16, 2011, and on March 15, 2024, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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