Pesto Rolls

by Alice Currah on February 25, 2010. Updated March 2, 2010

Seriously, who doesn’t love garlic bread?  Now let me ask you this, who wouldn’t love a savory yeast bread dinner roll made with pesto and Parmesan cheese?  That’s what I thought.  I modified my cinnamon roll recipe into a savory version filled with garlic, basil, cheesy goodness.  All kidding aside, we really love these rolls.  There is something special about fresh baked bread right out of the oven but when you add pesto swirled inside a roll, it takes it up several notches.  The aroma of pesto and fresh bread is heavenly. Can life get any better?  Our family loves these rolls and I know yours will too. Enjoy! [/donotprint]

Savory Pesto Rolls

1/2 cup warm water (115 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm milk (115 degrees F)
1 egg (room temperature), slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups bread flour
1 (.25 ounce) package (2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
1/2 cup pesto (Savory Sweet Life pesto recipe)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
*Dough can be kneaded by hand, bread machine, or KitchenAid Mixer using the dough hook.  However, directions below are written for a KitchenAid.

*You can also use store bought frozen dinner roll dough and pesto to save time!


Place water, milk, egg, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a K.A mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of flour on top of all the liquid mixture sprinkling yeast on top.  Using the dough hook, knead bread mixture on speed 3 until dough is smooth and elastic adding additional flour as needed (approx. 5-7 min.).  Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour in a warm area.

*Hint: I typically preheat my oven to 200 degrees while dough is kneading and turn the oven off when kneading is complete.  From there, I stick my covered bowl into the oven and leave the oven door cracked open to allow the dough to rise.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle slightly larger than a 9×13 pan (rectangle).  Spread surface evenly with pesto and sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top.  Beginning with the long side, roll dough pinching the seam to seal.  Cut into 12 equal slices and place them in a greased muffin tin, cut side up.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from muffin cups and serve warm. Enjoy!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

jamieofalltrades February 25, 2010 at 1:12 am

Yummy! And after our weekend workshop, my favorite shot of yours is the one of the two rolls.
Side note: it was so fun to finally meet you! xo


jenn February 25, 2010 at 2:54 am

I just had some pesto today. Well, actually it was a semi pesto because I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand when I started making it.

I could totally eat this right up. It’s actually perfect appetizers.


Jessica @ How Sweet February 25, 2010 at 6:42 am

This is such a creative idea. They look so tasty. My favorite pesto is made with arugula, I bet it would be good too!


Shenandoah bed and breakfast February 25, 2010 at 8:08 am

This is very fairly tasty with some modifications. I have made this several times, each time it gets better and better, I have made a few changes… I usually do spinack, mushrom, ricotta cheese, but this looks fabulous!!

Best Regards,


Nikki Stoyko February 25, 2010 at 8:23 am

Be still me beating heart…. I love cinnamon rolls, and I love pesto, the basil, the parmesan cheese, simply divine, I will have to try these because I know I will love them too! Fantastic recipe!


grace February 25, 2010 at 8:51 am

if i’m gonna go to this much trouble, cinnamon rolls better be the end result. that said, this is a wonderful savory alternative…if someone else’ll make ‘em for me. :)


Flavia February 25, 2010 at 9:16 am

Alice, These look wonderful! What a fabulous idea!


LoveFeast Table February 25, 2010 at 9:49 am

These look divine and am thinking they would be good with a sundried tomato pesto as well!!


Joan Nova February 25, 2010 at 9:50 am

I did something similar a while back – only I used pastry dough (pre-made) and cut them thin, more like cracker canapes. These rolls would stand up well to a beef roast.


GrilledShane February 25, 2010 at 10:54 am

I never would have thought to put pesto in cinnamon rolls but after looking at yours, it seems like it should have always been an option. I wonder what other great ingredients, besides cinnamon and such, could be placed in a similar roll. Oh the possibilities.


Julie February 25, 2010 at 11:07 am

I must make these! I’m a pesto addict and these look ridiculously good. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Kitchen Monki Dan February 25, 2010 at 11:38 am

This looks like the perfect accompaniment for a dinner salad… they look so tasty, bet they smell unreal out of the oven!


kamran siddiqi February 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

I love this idea, and I love pesto! Great recipe and photos, Alice! :)


Sarah February 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

YUM! Thanks for the recipe–they look so beautiful! I also want to thank you for always posting pictures of your PROCESS of cooking. It’s so helpful and also your photos are just GORGEOUS! Thanks.


Amanda February 25, 2010 at 10:46 pm

AMAZING!! This is beyond creative. I have never seen anything like this and feel like I MUST have them! :)



hannah February 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm

mind packing up a couple (dozen) of these and shipping them to me? cause i need some right now!


Jennie February 25, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Mouth-watering Alice! I will have to bookmark this for my summer baking once the basil is in full swing in the backyard.


Janice February 26, 2010 at 12:02 am

Your rolls look amazing! I am going to have to try them. I’m sure my family will certainly snarf them up.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 26, 2010 at 12:11 am

These look so great… I need to make some ASAP!


Kim February 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

Just stumbled on your blog and what a yummy recipe to start my reading off with!! You got me thinking… I have some sundried tomato pesto…hmmmm…

Kim @


Gala February 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

Love these! They look like the perfect thing for a dinner party.


CakeSpy February 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but they vaguely resemble (in appearance) the “so-bad-but-so-good” ones that they have at Peet’s coffee. I love those things so hard. Yours are actually good quality in addition to being delicious though, so I might say they win!! You rule the school, Alice.


Carrie at Rhubarbsky February 26, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Holy Crow! I just made pesto yesterday with no plan at all.
These look amazing.
Thank you!


Sathya February 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Oh dear, I worry how many of these I could devour! They look sensational.


Cookin' Canuck February 28, 2010 at 12:06 am

What a brilliant little rolls! Pesto is the perfect filler, but I’ll bet this recipe would lend itself to so many variations.


ThatsSoYummy February 28, 2010 at 8:05 am

These look fabulous Alice… Thanks for sharing!



Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets February 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Wow, these look to-die-dor. Love that brilliant green color of the pesto, too.


ashley March 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

oh yum! looks delicious!


Vanessa March 4, 2010 at 6:29 am

Wow, these look amazing. I will definitely have to try them soon. And possibly with other variations of pesto like red pepper pesto or eggplant pesto. Yum! Feel free to check out my site as well, thanks for the post!

Vanessa @


Annica March 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I’m always looking for recipes to use all the pesto I make with my garden basil and freeze.


Sarah March 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I’m new to the site and I’m absolutely excited. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes. Especially with me being in college, I’m so glad that you directions are so exact (and that you include pictures as well). This is a great place to start. Thanks so much!


laura March 17, 2010 at 1:25 am

i didn’t read through all the comments, so if someone has suggested this already, sorry for the duplicate…
but i made these tonight. AWESOME!! and i made alfredo sauce for the pasta. we, of course, decided to drizzle some of the sauce over the rolls and make them appear even more like cinnamon rolls! they were beautiful and tasted even better. i highly recommend it.
easy (not healthy) recipe for alfredo?
equal parts heavy cream, butter, and grated parmesan melted in a saucepan, salt and pepper to taste. the end!


alice March 17, 2010 at 1:28 am

That is absolutely brilliant? Next time I make these I’m going to do what you suggested and take a picture. Just the visual thought of drizzling alfredo sauce to make them look like cinnamon rolls makes my evening. Thanks!


pita bread March 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I love this. I’m thinking with sun dried tomato pesto (my fave) and just a nice salad with italian or balsamic vinegar dressing, and I’m set.


LHM April 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

Oh I love garlic bread and I love pesto. The rolls look so tasty! I have to make them as soon as possible.


Sara June 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm

You have a great blog wth awesome pics. I love this recipe!!!!!


Barbara October 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I made these tonight for dinner and everyone raved about the rolls! They are definetely a keeper!! Thanks so much for all your great work


Eva October 24, 2010 at 4:01 am

I tried this recipe tonight and my family liked it! :))
Although I did substitute water with milk (because our milk is expiring soon…) and substituted part of the butter with olive oil (because we are out of butter…), I was surprised that it turned out fine and tasted good. I think if I had followed the recipe exactly it would have turned out even better! :)


Judy R December 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I am immediately forwarding this to my daughter who loves pesto! She’ll be delighted with this recipe! What a great idea!


Elaine June 20, 2011 at 7:57 am

I just made these last night, and they were so good! We had pizza and these….carb overload. But it was father’s day, so it was allowed. I made the dough with my handmixer dough hook attachments, and it worked perfectly. I was impressed. Thanks for the great recipe!


Jessica July 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Making these tonight. Hope they’re as delicious as they look!


Nicole M. September 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

These look lovely. I will definitely make these! :)


Tia October 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I am making these tonight for a potluck. thanks!!!


quiescentmind March 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

These look really good!!


James January 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm

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