12 Foods To Eat Out Of A Bread Bowl Besides Soup

Bread bowls are an incredible mealtime innovation. These round, hollowed-out chunks of fresh bread are more than just an edible bowl for an entree. They also take meals to a whole new level. The bread in these bowls lets you literally sop up every drop of whatever you're eating, giving you rich, savory, delectable bites of juice-infused bread. It's the kind of flavor you'd never get by just wiping excess liquid off your plate with half a biscuit or dinner roll. Besides tasting great, bread bowls are also highly portable, visually stunning to look at when filled, and incredibly satisfying to devour — they're the perfect way to make comfort foods even cozier and more inviting.

Although they're typically made from French or sourdough bread, you can also make a wonderful bread bowl with rye, multigrain or Italian dough, pumpernickel, ciabatta, or even challah or focaccia. And, this versatile invention can be used to serve an almost infinite number of dishes, ranging from entrees to appetizers — even desserts! Ready to get your bread bowl on? Then keep reading for a look at some of our favorite ways to use the carby wonders ... no clam chowder, tomato soup, or lobster bisque required!

Bread bowls make an incredible salad holder

Salads are one of the best things you can serve in a bread bowl — and you don't even need to turn on your oven to do it! To make your bread bowl-encased salad, first, buy pre-made bread bowls or easily craft your own. Just select any round loaf of fresh, unsliced bread you want. Then use a serrated knife to carefully slice off one end of the loaf (or both if you are serving two.) Next, hollow out the center of the loaf, gently removing the soft interior and leaving about a one-inch border around the edges and bottom. You can even save the removed bread for croutons!

Almost all types of salads will work in a bread bowl, but salads that go well with croutons are an especially appropriate choice since the bowl is basically acting as one giant crouton. Consider Caesar or Cobb salads, which pair perfectly with the crunchy texture of the bread. A Caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic dressing is another good choice. For a unique bread bowl entree, make a bold Southwest salad with grilled chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and a spicy dressing. Or use your bread bowl to house any gooey mayo-based salad (such as tuna, chicken, or ham). Easy, pretty, and insanely delicious!

Bread bowls are also ideal for serving warm queso

Whether you're serving a plate of nachos, onion rings, French fries, or jalapeño poppers, almost every app under the sun goes well with warm, savory, queso. But then, when the meal is over, half that wonderful cheese is still stuck to your bowl and ends up going in the trash. To avoid that problem, or to simply elevate any queso from a side dish to the star of the meal, try serving that golden melted spicy cheese in a bread bowl instead! It looks fancier, it gives your guests something else to munch on, and best of all — no queso will go to waste!

To serve queso in a warm, toasted bread bowl, first preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, warm your queso slightly on the stove or in the microwave so it's warm and easy to pour. Then simply fill your bread bowl with the warm cheese sauce and bake everything in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the queso is hot and bubbly and the bread is lightly toasted. You can serve the queso-filled bread bowl as is or top with some additional shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro for a truly festive party or dinnertime centerpiece. Try out this recipe for quick and easy homemade queso that you can whip up in minutes!

Chili is delicious served in a bread bowl

Chili is one of the most beloved and fundamental comfort foods around. Whether you make yours extra spicy, without meat, with added steak and beans, or even in a slow cooker, there are few dishes that evoke more family memories, are more satisfying to eat, or that can warm you better on a cold night. And, while chili is certainly good when downed by the bowlful, it's even tastier when served in a deliciously warm, crispy bread bowl.

To toast any bread bowl — homemade or store-bought — first preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, brush the interior of the bowl (along with its hollowed-out top or core) with a generous amount of melted butter or olive oil. Place both chunks of bread on a baking sheet and then toast for around 10 minutes. Watch for the bread to become crispy and golden brown but don't let it burn! When your bread bowl is nicely warmed and ready to eat, all you need to do is add a giant scoop of chili, plus all your favorite toppings (we're partial to grated cheese, sour cream, and a few dashes of hot sauce). 

Toasting your chili bread bowl is a win-win decision. It not only adds extra crunch to your meal, but will also help to keep the bowl from becoming soft or soggy as you eat. Score!

You can also use a bread bowl for mini lasagnas

What's better than a giant, steaming tray of freshly made lasagna, right from the oven? That same cheesy, tomato-packed dish, packed into your own personal bread bowl. And, the process to make one couldn't be easier. (Essentially, you're just taking the recipe for your own favorite regular homemade lasagna and just re-assembling it in a bread bowl before baking.) To start, you'll need some browned ground beef, pre-cooked lasagna noodles, marina sauce, a selection of cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan, and some of your favorite fresh Italian herbs like oregano and basil.

Once you have all of your ingredients, simply layer them within the bread bowl. Start with some sauce and a spoonful of cooked meat. Add some cooked lasagna noodles that have been trimmed so they fit into your bowl. Then pile on some cheese and fresh herbs. Repeat the same layering for a second and potentially third layer, depending on the size and depth of your bread bowl. 

When the bread bowl is full, add a final layer of cheese on top. Then bake your filled creation in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool. Top with a bit of additional spice, if the mood strikes, and serve. Your family and friends will be blown away by your creativity — and the delicious single-serving lasagnas you've made!

Bread bowls are wonderful for serving dips

Queso isn't the only party food that's perfectly suited for a bread bowl. No matter what kind of gathering you might be hosting — a casual get-together, Sunday brunch, or a more formal dinner party — any sort of dip is ideal to present in a bread bowl. For example, a classic spinach and artichoke dip pairs perfectly with the crisp, wheaty, malty taste of bread. You can even use the leftover bread from hollowing out the bowl to go with the dip — just insert toothpicks into the bread cubes and spread them out around the dip-filled bread bowl.

Making the dip is just as easy. Simply combine cooked and drained spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mayonnaise, grated Parmesan cheese, and some minced garlic. Stir it all together, salt and pepper to taste, and voila ... instant dip!

Similarly, bread bowls are also great for serving Buffalo chicken dip made with shredded cooked chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, shredded cheese, mayo, and spices. Or, for a twist on the classic seven-layer dip, use a bread bowl instead of a glass bowl. To make it, layer refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, and green onions and serve. (This is also a great option for potlucks and can be thrown together in no time!)

Put a hearty stew in that crusty bowl of bread

When it comes to foods with a savory sauce that you just can't get enough of, nothing packs that deep, rich, umami punch like a meat and veggie stew that has been simmering all day. Those chunks of beef, lamb, or pork surrounded by onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, mushroom, and a deep rich brown broth are the epitome of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. And, a bread bowl only makes the stew experience even more delightful! The bread captures and soaks up all that incredible juice, infusing it with so much flavor that you just can't help but want to eat it too.

A menu of bread bowls and stew — and perhaps a nice glass of dry red wine — is perfect for any relaxing weeknight either alone or with someone special. But, because of its comforting portability, the combo of stew and a bread bowl is also an ideal fall and winter meal option for eating outdoors. Tailgating? Fishing in the mountains? Escaping your hometown for a long weekend hike? Pack a thermos of stew and enough bread bowls for everyone in your party. Then dig in whenever mealtime hits. Simply empty the thermos of stew into the bread bowl. You'll get a delicious, hearty, and filling meal that's convenient and portable, with no mess! When you finish the stew, just eat your bowl and continue on your adventure.

Spaghetti and baked ziti make a delicious bread bowl meal

We've all been there before. What starts out as the idea for a rustic homemade meal of spaghetti or ziti and marina sauce suddenly becomes a meal big enough to feed an entire army. A little too much dry pasta or a bit more meat or sauce than you intended and bam! ... you're going to be having leftover Italian for the rest of the week. But don't despair. All you need to make any leftover Italian food shine like a brand meal is a few fresh bread bowls! 

Serving leftover pasta in a bread bowl couldn't be easier. Just grab your bread bowl, fill it with the leftover pasta, add a bit of extra sauce (if you have any available), and then top everything off with some cheese and fresh herbs. Bake the pasta-filled bowls in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook until the pasta is warmed through and the cheese topping has begun to melt and bubble. (Be careful to watch the bread so it doesn't burn or turn too crispy.) Even the pickiest eaters of eaters will dig in — this is one meal that's a million miles from basic reheated leftovers!

In the morning, try a bread bowl for eggs

Breakfast and bread bowls can be an incredible pairing for creative chefs and home cooks alike. Just think of the bread bowl as toast and then pair it with all your other breakfast favorites. On the easier side, bread bowls can be an incredible dish to serve scrambled eggs in. Just cook the eggs and scoop them into the bread bowl cavity. You can top them with slices of freshly cooked bacon or sausage, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, or even diced herbs and a dollop of sour cream.

For a more elevated dish, try actually cooking your eggs within the bread bowl. Start by adding any additional toppings you'd like to use into the middle of the bowl. Sautéed spinach or mushrooms, cooked bacon or sausage, or even a mixture of grated cheese are all great options. Next, crack a couple of eggs into the bowl on top of your other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and then bake it all at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the egg is cooked to your favorite consistency, nice and runny or firm and tender.

Philly cheesesteak is made for a bread bowl

The rich, savory, slightly sweet taste of a Philly cheesesteak seems almost custom-designed to fill a crusty bread. To transform a standard cheesesteak into a bread bowl meal fit for Philly royalty, all you have to do is fill a standard bread bowl with all your favorite cheese steak ingredients. Start with some thinly sliced roast beef. Then add sautéed green bell peppers or mushrooms. Finally, top it all off with the cheese of your choice — most Philly cheesesteaks include some variation of prepared Cheez Whiz, provolone, and American cheese. Bake the filled bread bowl in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese is melted and the bread is just starting to turn brown and crispy. If you're the type who likes toppings on your cheesesteak, then go ahead and add some ketchup, mayonnaise, or hot sauce before you dive in.

Cheesesteaks are the only sandwich that can easily transition to a bread bowl. You can also use bread bowls to make out-of-this-world Reubens, tuna melts, pulled pork "sandwiches," BLTs, and Caprese sandwiches with layers of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomato, and basil. Even a French Dip can effortlessly transition to become a bread bowl meal. Just fill the bread bowl with sliced roast beef, heat until warm, and then pour the savory au jus over the bowl instead of dipping the meat and bread into it!

Meatballs and bread bowls are a perfect match

It doesn't matter what kind of meatballs you're in the mood for — creamy Swedish meatballs, tangy sweet and south meatballs, spicy albóndigas, or garlic and ginger-packed Japanese tsukune meatballs in a savory soy sauce glaze — they all taste better served from a warm, crusty bread bowl! If you're entertaining, take the flavor profile of a classic meatball sub and transfer it to a bread bowl that will leave your friends clamoring for more. Bake or air fry your meatballs to golden perfection, toss them with some marina sauce and shredded mozzarella, and then fill your bread bowl to the rim. For a game-night meal of BBQ meatball sliders, follow a similar process but just swap the marina for your favorite robust, smokey barbecue sauce.

You can even pack a meatball and bread bowl meal for work! Try a Greek meatball bread bowl gyro for example. Pack some cooked meatballs, a fresh bread bowl, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and feta cheese in your lunch bag. Then, when you're ready to eat, assemble everything. Add the meatballs to the bread bowl and heat in the microwave until just warm. Top the meat and bread with the cheese, sauce, and fresh veggies, and dig in! Your work neighbors will be desperate to figure out where your incredible take-out-worthy dish came from!

Bread bowls help mac and cheese shine

The ooey gooey goodness of mac and cheese is another classic comfort food that is only made better with the addition of a good bread bowl. And, as with most of the recipes we profiled earlier, this one also couldn't be easier to throw together. It's just as perfect for a quick weeknight meal as it is for an indulgent Sunday brunch with the family. To get started, simply prepare your favorite mac and cheese recipe. You can use mac and cheese from a box or make your own depending on how ambitious you're feeling. (Of course, homemade is always better!)

Next, take a hollowed-out bread bowl and fill that empty cavity with a few scoops of that delicious mac and cheese. Don't be skimpy — you want the bowl so full it's just starting to overflow. Add some additional breadcrumbs or shredded cheese on top of the pasta. Then bake your bread bowl at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the mac and cheese is hot and bubbly, and the bread is toasted.

Once you've mastered this basic recipe, it's easy to amp up your meal even more. Try stirring bacon crumbles and chopped jalapeños into your mac and cheese before filling the bread bowl for a smokey, spicy mac and cheese experience. You can also add cooked crab or lobster meat into the mac and cheese before baking, or even stir in some truffle oil for an incredible truffle mac and cheese bowl. 

Finally, don't forget bread bowls for dessert

Bread bowls aren't just good for savory appetizers and entrees! You can also use them to make a number of decadent bread bowl desserts. For starters, consider trying a bread bowl pie. To make one, either use some pre-made canned pie filling or make your own. Apples are a great option. Peel, core, and thinly slice a few. Then toss the slices with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Once you've packed the bread bowl with the fruit filling, it's time to bake. 

If you're using premade filling where the fruit is already cooked, you just need to warm everything up. In that case, bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the filling is bubbling and the bread has begun to toast. For fresh fruit that will take longer to cook, loosely wrap your filled bread bowl in aluminum foil and bake for about twice as long. When your "pie" is done, remove it from the oven, sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon and sugar, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Bread bowls are also an ideal shell for bread pudding. For two servings, combine around 2 cups of bread cubes, 2 eggs, 1/2 to 1 cup of milk, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar, and a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix it all together, pour into two bread bowls, and bake at 350 degrees Farhenheit for 40 – 45 minutes or until the pudding is set. Let cool and serve!