This homemade focaccia bread is made with pesto and Parmesan cheese and covered in flaky sea salt! This is perfect for dipping in some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or making some fantastic sandwiches!

easy focaccia bread with basil on top

I love bread, there’s no way I can deny it, and I wouldn’t even try. But I’m not talking about regular sliced sandwich bread, I love crusty bread with a chewy texture, the kind you have to take a bite and almost yank the rest of it from your mouth chewy. It sounds a little weird but those kinds breads are the most flavorful and perfect for charcuterie boards and cheese plates.

And then there’s focaccia bread! The bread I love to dip in some good olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar. This can be dangerous sometimes if you do this at a restaurant, it’s hard not to fill up on the focaccia before your main course arrives. You can find a few other focaccia bread recipes on the blog like this olive and artichoke mini focaccia or my rosemary sea salt focaccia bread recipe.

This easy focaccia bread recipe has pesto and Parmesan cheese mixed through the dough. Pesto is such a great flavor and works well in so many Italian based recipes. Making your own focaccia bread, like any bread does take time but if you plan ahead and begin in the morning, you can have your pesto focaccia bread with dinner that same day.

ingredients needed for easy focaccia bread

  • Flour- All purpose, a pantry staple.
  • Salt- Sea salt tastes better than the harsher table salt for this recipe.
  • Yeast- Active dry yeast is perfect, so no need to hunt down fresh yeast for this bread. Make sure your yeast isn’t too old or it might not rise as well as it should.
  • Water- Make sure it’s hot-lukewarm in temperature as this will help the yeast activate.
  • Olive oil- Focaccia bread takes a lot of olive oil and you can really taste the flavor through the bread. So make sur to use the best olive oil you can find.
  • Pesto- You can find pesto either shelf stable in the pasta aisle or in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. I’ve found that the shelf stable versions are just as good as the fresher varieties in the cold section.
  • Parmesan- With so many different cuts of Parmesan such as shredded, grated or whole it can be confusing. I didn’t need a melted cheese for my easy focaccia recipe, I just needed flavor so after some testing, the powdered Parmesan works the best in my opinion. You can even use the shelf stable version of that too.

easy focaccia bread recipe with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

tips for making this focaccia bread

  • If the dough seems a little wet, just sprinkle some extra flour on top of it as you knead it. It will come together eventually but should be good straight out of the mixer bowl.
  • Depending on where you let your dough sit to rise will depend on how long it’ll take. I like to place mine on top of my stove with the oven switched on to create warm air. It should take no more than an hour for the first two rises.
  • You can use quick rise yeast which will speed things up.
  • This bread will soak up the olive oil so don’t skimp on it especially before you dimple the bread. It may look like a lot of oil but that flavor is the best.
  • Store the bread covered or sealed with plastic wrap to remain soft. I like to cut mine into squares and then store the pieces in zip lock bags.

pesto focaccia bread in squares with olive oil and a small bowl of balsamic for dipping.

more fantastic bread recipes

Easy Focaccia Bread with Pesto and Parmesan

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 10 people
Author: foodnessgracious
Tasty pesto flavored focaccia bread with Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
Print Recipe


  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm warm water divided
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup olive oil divided
  • 4 cups all purpose flour plus extra for kneading
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • Flaked sea salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 1/4 cup of the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk it together.
  • In a separate bowl add 3 tbsp of the oil to the remaining water (1 cup)
  • Once the yeast has been stirred add the remaining water/oil mixture to the stand mixer
  • Add the flour, salt, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and the pesto and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand into a ball shape.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl that had the oil/water mixture and cover with a clean towel.
  • Place in a warm area and let the dough rise for 1 hour or doubled in size.
  • After 1 hour dump the dough out onto a floured work surface and punch all the air out of it.
  • Knead back into a ball and repeat for the second rise process, cover for another hour.
  • Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with non stick spray and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • After the dough has completed its second rise, dump it out into the prepared baking pan and using your fingers flatten it out evenly to fill the pan making sure to push it into the corners.
  • Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes pour the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil over the dough making sure to cover all of it.
  • Using your fingertips press down on the dough to create the holes. The easiest way is to start at one end of the pan and move towards the other end.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan over the top.
  • Sprinkle generously with some flaked sea salt.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before cutting into squares and serve with extra olive oil or dipping.