Gumbo’s a great comfort food because it can stand up to whatever you throw at it—it tastes good with just about anything.
But when you’re serving gumbo, you want to make sure your bread is up to the task.
It should complement the gumbo, not compete with it.
In this post, we’ve gathered a list of 15 breads that are perfect for gumbo!
What Bread to Serve with Gumbo
The first rule of any meal is: there must be bread. It’s one of the universal constants.
And when it comes to gumbo, this rule is especially important because it rounds out the soft, rich texture of the stew.
So, what kind of bread do you choose?
It all depends on your taste, but we prefer a simple French or Italian loaf that you can slice into pieces and share around the table.
This keeps things simple and makes cleanup a breeze.
Or you can get really fancy and make some garlic bread to go with your gumbo.
Just halve a loaf lengthwise, slather on some butter, sprinkle with garlic powder, and bake until the edges are golden brown and delicious.
Still looking for options?
Then keep scrolling!
1. French bread
French bread is easy to make, easy to serve, and a fantastic complement to this hearty soup.
Making French bread is surprisingly easy, and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix until a dough forms. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of flour if it seems too sticky—the dough should be smooth and pliable but not wet or crumbly.
- Knead the dough for about 5 minutes on a floured surface (you can also just do this in the bowl).
- Form into a loaf shape and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Let rise for about 1 hour (if you want, you can refrigerate overnight instead).
- Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325°F and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown (check by tapping the top of the loaf—it should sound hollow). Cool before slicing.
Another great bread for gumbo is challah.
You may have heard of it—it’s the traditional Jewish bread that has a slightly sweet flavor and a golden, flaky crust.
It complements the roux in gumbo beautifully, and the sweet taste balances out the heat and spices.
This recipe is simple: you’ll need 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup milk.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and salt until smooth.
- Add milk to the mixture and mix until combined.
- Pour batter onto pan (the size depends on if you want one loaf or two)
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until top is golden-brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- While it’s cooling, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into slices to serve with your gumbo!
3. Garlic bread
Garlic bread is a classic for a reason—it complements gumbo expertly, and it’s not hard at all to make.
Here’s how to make it:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set out a cookie sheet
- Slice a loaf of French bread in half lengthwise and place on cookie sheet
- Mince 2 cloves of garlic and sprinkle over bread, then drizzle each half with 1 tbsp olive oil
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 1-inch pieces
With gumbo, cornbread is a great accompaniment because it has a very earthy flavor that goes well with the spices that are usually used in gumbo recipes.
Plus, if you’re serving it to kids, they’ll love how sweet it is!
Cornbread is super easy to make!
All you need are a few ingredients:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg (or 3 tablespoons of milk)
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter (optional)
- Mix all these things together until they form a batter.
- Pour into a greased skillet or pan and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes!
The right kind of bread can take your gumbo dinner from good to great.
Baguettes are a classic choice, especially when they’re freshly baked.
Here’s how to make baguettes from scratch in five easy steps:
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Mix 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast in a large bowl and set aside
- In another bowl, combine 2 cups warm water, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 tbsp sugar
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until dough is mixed. Knead for 5 minutes on medium-low speed or 10 minutes by hand
- Let dough rest for 30 minutes, then shape into two loaves and bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is browned.
Pretzels are a great pairing for gumbo because:
- They have a mild enough flavor profile that they don’t clash with the spices in the soup.
- The “soft” variation is soft enough that it will soak up flavors without becoming mushy or falling apart.
- The “hard” variation has just enough crunch that you’ll feel like you’re getting a well-textured meal.
- Pretzels also pair well with gumbo because they’re easy to make and customize, so you can make them ahead of time and even add ingredients that match your gumbo recipe.
And here’s how to make pretzels in just 5 steps:
- First, pre-heat your oven to 450°F. Then, mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 packet of yeast. Let this sit for 10 minutes.
- Next, combine 3 cups of flour and salt. Add the water/yeast mixture, plus 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix it all together until smooth.
- Now, in a large pot, bring water to a boil and add baking soda. Dip each piece of dough into the boiling water for 30 seconds on each side using a slotted spoon or spatula.
- Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on top!
Now, just pair them with your favorite dipping sauce (honey mustard is great) and let your taste buds do the rest!
Sourdough is a great accompaniment for gumbo because it’s savory and not too sweet, so it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the meal.
And this recipe is easy to make!
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups water (lukewarm)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine ingredients until you have a sticky ball of dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 hours.
- It should be doubled in size by then.
- Now comes the waiting game—move the dough to an airtight container, and refrigerate it for at least 12 hours or up to two days before baking.
- To bake, place your dough in an oiled oven-safe pot, cover with lid, and bake in a 450°F oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and bake another 15 minutes or until top is browned.
- Let cool completely before slicing!
8. Brioche loaf
Brioche is the perfect complement to gumbo because it’s not too heavy, but not too light, either; it’s just right.
Plus, it’s so easy to make at home—you can have your very own brioche loaf in less than five steps!
Brioche is also versatile enough to use alongside other dishes besides gumbo.
It also goes well with chowder or stew, as an appetizer with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or even as a quick snack with butter and jam.
No matter how you decide to serve your brioche, we know you’re going to love it!
Biscuits and their hard exterior provides a crunchy contrast to the soft, creamy interior of the gumbo itself, creating a satisfyingly contrasting texture experience in every bite.
You can even make them ahead of time and freeze them for later.
Here’s how to make them from scratch:
- Mix flour and baking powder, then cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in buttermilk, cream, and egg until just blended.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead 8 times. Pat or roll dough into an 8-inch circle; cut into 8 wedges.
- Place wedges on an ungreased baking sheet; brush with 3 tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle with paprika (if desired).
- Bake at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with extra butter!
10. Ciabatta bread
You might have had Ciabatta in restaurants or bakeries, but did you know it’s actually really easy to make at home?
It takes a little time and patience, but it’s worth every second.
Here’s how to make ciabatta bread at home in five steps:
- Mix your ingredients together in one bowl until they form into dough.
- Knead the dough for about 20 minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic.
- Leave the dough out so that it can rise. Let it sit for about one hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
- Flatten the dough and cut it into small portions. Place them on an oiled baking tray and let them rise again for 30 minutes.
- Bake the bread at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!
Plus, you can dress this bread up for any occasion.
If you’re hosting a casual dinner, you can serve it sliced and simply buttered.
If you have more time, try one of these ideas for serving ciabatta:
- Toasted with olive oil and fresh herbs
- Topped with herbed goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes
- As croutons on top of your gumbo
11. Olive bread
It might seem strange to serve olive bread with a soup that already has so many strong flavors, but trust us when we say that these two were meant for each other.
The briny olives and tangy capers in the bread are the perfect compliment to the slightly spicy tomato-based soup.
Here’s how to make it:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a loaf pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oil, water and eggs; mix well with a wire whisk. Gradually add to dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in olives and cheese. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool loaf 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
12. Rye bread
Bread is like the icing on the cake.
Or, in this case, the bread on the gumbo.
If you’ve got some hot gumbo ready and waiting to get served, make sure you pair it with a delicious bread that’ll complement your soup perfectly.
We’re talking about rye bread—the perfect kind of bread for a warm bowl of gumbo.
You can make rye bread in less than five steps:
- Add water, butter, olive oil and yeast to a bowl and whisk together.
- Add flour and salt to the mixture and stir until you’ve got a loose dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Put dough into a greased bowl and let rise for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Punch down dough, shape into a ball, put onto baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
- Cut up into slices or cubes, serve with your favorite gumbo recipe!
13. Irish soda bread
When you’re having a gumbo dinner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different ingredients and flavors.
While it might feel like there are a lot of things going on, the good news is that you can actually pair it with an incredibly simple bread: Irish soda bread!
And the best part?
It’s super easy to make.
Here’s how to get your own batch in under five steps:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Mix in raisins (or any other fruit or nuts, if desired).
- In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg together; pour into the dry mixture and stir well until a dough forms.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and make into a round loaf shape, then sprinkle with flour and cut an “X” into the top of the dough. Bake for 40–50 minutes until browned on top and cooked through (check by inserting a knife into the bread to make sure it comes out clean).
Now enjoy your gumbo dinner with freshly baked Irish soda bread for dipping!
14. Naan bread
Naan has a unique texture that will complement your gumbo perfectly.
Made from wheat flour, yogurt, and butter, it’s both sturdy and soft.
You can make a big batch of naan in less than five steps:
- Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, yogurt and butter. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Shape each part into a ball and flatten slightly on a work surface.
- Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes each side.
- Take out of the oven, brush with some butter and serve warm or cold!
15. Breadsticks (because why not?)
Breadsticks are the perfect match for gumbo.
They’re easy to make and serve, and they add just the right hint of crunch to your favorite comfort meal.
This recipe takes less than five steps, and it can be made in advance up until baking time.
Here are a few different ways to serve them:
- You can bake them all at once, then store some in a ziplock bag or tupperware container. When you’re ready to eat them, microwave them for 10 seconds!
- You can bake half of them now and store the other half in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them later.
- If you have friends over, you can slice the dough into pieces and let everyone roll their own breadsticks!
How to Choose What Bread to Serve with Gumbo
Do you know how to choose the best bread for serving with gumbo?
When serving gumbo, it’s important to consider what kind of bread to serve with it.
Gumbo is a dish that is often served with crusty bread on the side.
Bread is an important part of many dishes and meals, but it’s especially crucial for gumbo because the gumbo itself can’t be soaked up by the bread.
The right kind of bread will complement the dish, while the wrong kind can completely ruin it.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing what to serve with your gumbo:
Evaluate the texture of your gumbo
- Is your gumbo very thick and creamy?
- Or does it have just a little bit of texture?
These are important questions to ask yourself when choosing a bread to serve with your gumbo.
If you want something that’s light and airy, go for a baguette, but if you’re looking for something more substantial, try using sourdough instead.
Consider the flavor profile of your soup
- What flavors do you taste most prominently in your gumbo?
- Is it spicy or savory?
- Is there a bit of sweetness to your gumbo?
If so, look for something like cornbread or even a ciabatta roll to serve with your soup; both have just a touch of sweetness that will blend well with those flavors.
If you’re looking for more heat and spice, consider a hearty Italian loaf that can both stand up to and complement spicier soups.
Don’t go too light
When eating soup, many people like having something to soak up the liquid so they don’t end up drinking their soup—and as we mentioned earlier, French bread won’t be able to do that for you.
Instead, look for a hearty roll or slice of bread that can stand up to being dipped into the gumbo without getting soggy or disintegrating.
What Bread to Serve with Gumbo (15 Bread Options)
- French bread
- Garlic bread
- Brioche loaf
- Ciabatta bread
- Olive bread
- Rye bread
- Irish soda bread
- Naan bread
- Pick your favorite bread from this list to serve with your dinner.
- Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready to munch in no time!