In today’s post: Learn how to turn refrigerated dough into an adorable Christmas tree with these spinach dipped stuffed breadsticks!
As you know, my favorite part about any holiday (after the meaningful stuff like family and togetherness, etc.) is the food. Actually, my favorite part of any given day just might be the food, but hey, to each her own. Years ago I decided I needed a festive, but still easy, holiday snack you could take to any party, so I came up with these Christmas Tree Spinach Dip Breadsticks, and thousands of you have made them since!
These yummy stuffed breadsticks start with a refrigerated pizza crust, the kind that comes in a tube, so they’re easy to make and take just over half an hour start to finish. You layer an easy homemade spinach dip in between two layers of pizza crust, then cut and twist to create a tree shape. The finished result is an impressive holiday appetizer that looks much harder to make than it actually is – that also tastes amazing!
How to make Christmas tree spinach dip breadsticks
To make it easy for you to duplicate this recipe, I’m including a video that shows how to shape the Christmas tree. Right after the video you’ll find step by step photos and instructions. Then below the instructions there is a printable recipe card, followed by frequently asked questions. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe card, scroll back up to the blog post title and click the “jump to recipe” button (just realize you’ll miss out on some of the tips and tricks).
**Please Note: This recipe was created using a 12-14 oz refrigerated pizza crust dough tube. Pilsbury has recently drastically reduced the size of their pizza crust dough down to 8 oz, so you will likely need to use TWO tubes to make this recipe if you use that brand. Most store brands are still 13.8 oz so that may be a better bet.***
Christmas Tree Breadsticks VIDEO
You can watch this video to see how I shape the Christmas tree breadsticks. You’ll find detailed written instructions and photos beneath the video:
Layer Dough + Spinach Dip
For this recipe, you’ll start by mixing up the spinach dip ingredients. Make sure to thaw the frozen spinach (or just defrost it in the microwave) and squeeze it in handfuls to get most of the moisture out. Then use a hand or stand mixer to mix it with the softened cream cheese, garlic, seasonings, and cheeses as directed in the recipe (you’ll reserve some of the cheese to put on top of the dip).
Once the spinach dip is mixed up, unroll the pizza crust on a piece of parchment paper. I used the “thin” style pizza crust. Using a pizza slicer, cut the crust as shown below to make a tree shaped triangle:
This gives you one large triangle and two smaller ones. You’re going to put the two smaller triangles together on a second piece of parchment paper with the long sides together, so that you have two matching triangles of dough on separate piece of parchment paper. The dough will stretch out a little as you move it around – don’t worry! Just gently tug it into the same shape as the first triangle you cut, pressing the two halves together in the middle. This will be the base of the breadsticks, so you can also tug the dough at the bottom down in the center to create a short trunk. Spread the spinach dip over the base, and then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
Pick up the first triangle of dough, which you have set aside on another piece of parchment paper. Flip it over on top of the spinach dip. You’ll likely have to tug at the dough a little bit to make sure it completely covers the base triangle.
Cut and Twist
Now you have three layers in a tree shaped triangle: pizza dough/spinach dip/pizza dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut slices from the middle to each edge about every inch down the triangle as shown below. Don’t slice all the way across; leave about an inch down the middle of the tree intact.
Grab each “slice” and twist it to form a tree shape, as shown below. For the top slice that’s very short you’ll just give it a half twist; as you go further down the tree and the slices are longer you’ll give them two or three full twists.
Once the tree is shaped, it’s ready to bake immediately. Bake at 400 degrees for about 22 minutes until the bottom is completely cooked through. The top is going to get nice and browned, but make sure to check that the bottom is cooked through. If you are cooking on a heavy cookie sheet, like I did, you may want to cook this on the lower rack in your oven.
Once out of the oven you can move the breadsticks onto a pretty wood cutting board or charcuterie board for serving. Be sure to brush the breadsticks with melted butter, garlic salt, and seasonings. Then serve it up while it’s still warm. Everyone can tear off a breadstick or two to enjoy.
- 12 oz Frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
- 6 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar OR mozzarella cheese separated
- 1 tube refrigerated thin crust pizza crust **at least 12 oz**
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
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- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a bowl, beat together the spinach and cream cheese.
- Add garlic, salt, onion powder, chili powder, pepper, and Italian seasoning and beat to combine.
- Add parmesan cheese and half of the cheddar or mozzarella cheese and beat to combine. (The other half of the cheddar or mozzarella cheese will be sprinkled over the filling when you shape the Christmas tree.)
- To make the Christmas tree shape, unroll the pizza crust onto a sheet of parchment paper. Use a pizza cutter to cut it as shown into one larger tree shaped triangle and two smaller triangles. Move the smaller triangles to a second sheet of parchment paper with their straight edges touching to create a second triangle of dough that is the same shape as the first.
- Spread the spinach dip across the second triangle you made and sprinkle it with the rest of the cheese. Flip the first triangle over on top so you have layers of pizza dough with spinach dip sandwiched between them.
- Now you'll make cuts, leaving about an inch in the center intact. Cut from near the center out to the side on both the left and right every inch or so to create slices.
- Grab each "slice" and twist it upwards. At the top where they are short you'll only twist halfway around. At the bottom where they are longer you can do two or three full twists.
- Bake for about 22 minutes until quite golden brown on top and cooked through on the bottom.
- Melt butter and stir in garlic salt and seasoning, then brush over breadsticks, and serve warm.
Answers to questions about the recipe
So I’ve had lots of questions about this recipe, and I’ll try to answer them all right here!
I wouldn’t recommend it. The refrigerated pizza dough from a tube that I used may not hold up well to sitting in the fridge for a few hours before baking.
I’m sure you can, although I have not done so. This is a lot like a pizza, and like pizzas will taste best directly out of the oven, so your best option may be to shape it right before you leave for the party and then bake it once you get there. However, that’s not always an option. So you’re next best bet would be to bake right before you leave and then wrap it in foil and just serve it warm-ish (still tastes just fine!) or pop it in the oven for just a few minutes to heat through at the party. Some readers have suggested baking on a baking stone and transporting on the warm stone to keep it hot.
Of course! You’ll just have to adjust your baking method a bit. Homemade pizza dough should work beautifully – just let it rise a bit before shaping and then watch it while baking as the bake time will vary a bit with different dough recipes. You could also use frozen Rhodes bread dough: you’ll just need to thaw it and allow it to rise before shaping.
Sure! Either you can sprinkle it with flour and gently roll it into a bit larger rectangle to begin with, or you can just make a tree that’s slightly smaller and a little thicker.
Absolutely! I made a pretty tear&share bread using a pesto filling in this post, which was delicious! Other readers have recommended a buffalo chicken filling, which also sounds yummy. Just avoid really runny fillings as they may leak out too much and make a mess.
Yes you can, but be aware that some store bought spinach dips are quite runny. My recipe is quite thick to make sure it doesn’t leak out while baking, so if you use a thinner dip it may not work as well.
I haven’t tried any of these options so I can’t say for sure, but I’m thinking it would work just fine with any of them! Just watch the cook time (and check some of the comments – readers are sharing different things they’ve tried).
Note: Be sure to check out the football version for game day and the sweet nutella heart version for Valentine’s Day. And if you’re looking for a fun holiday gift exchange game, visit this post: the LEFT RIGHT Christmas gift exchange game.