What is a Crostini

A crostini is simply Italian for toasted bread, usually a fairly thin sliced baguette as we’ve done here. But the toasted bread is just the canvas. Other ingredients like melted cheese, herbs, garlic, and meats can be added to make that slice of toasted bread, or in this case grilled crostinis, into something magical.

I have posted how to do crostinis on the site before but the pictures were so bad that I thought I should revisit the crostini. Here is the original post. Turns out this photography stuff is hard but grilled crostinis are not! 

Back to grilled crostinis.  They’re simple to do and can be done any number of ways.  This is an overview of how to make them.  Feel free to try your own combos of herbs and cheeses and breads.

***Editor’s Note ~ Since writing this post in 2010, it has come to my attention that the plural of crostino is crostini not crostinis. I don’t speak Italian, so I’m leaving it as is***

Grilled Crostinis Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette of soft sided bread (crusty bread will get very hard, so make sure to go with soft sided).
  • Minced garlic
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Dried basil
  • Havarti cheese (once slice per slice of bread)
  • Olive oil

No amounts here on the ingredients as each ingredient needs to be enough to cover the bread.  You’ll understand in a few moments.

Prepare the Bread

Slice baguette into 1-1.5 inch thick slices:

***Pro Tip ~ Avoid super crusty or hard sided bread

You can use any soft sided bread. French, Italian or my favorite, sour dough.  If it is a crusty bread it will be like a hockey puck when it’s done so stick with the soft

Pour olive oil into a small dish or bowl to dip the bread in:

Set both flat sides of the bread in the oil to coat each side:

I had to refill the plate multiple times before I got all of the bread coated on each side as the bread is essentially a sponge so make sure not to leave them in the oil any longer than to coat each side:

Now put some fresh cracked black pepper over one side of the slices of bread:

Here’s a close up of about how much pepper:

Now sprinkle some basil over each slice of bread:

Garlic, lots of Garlic!

And then put about a half teaspoon of minced garlic on each slice of bread.  I know this all sounds (and looks) like a ton, but it isn’t once you see how we grill the crostinis:

Use the back of the spoon or a butter knife to grind the garlic into the bread a bit to help it stick because later on we are going to lose a bunch of it. So don’t sweat it (see what I did there!?!? I crack myself up!)

Here are all the slices with the pepper, basil and garlic:

Slice the havarti. One slice per crostini:

Hold the cheese till the end.

You can use many different types of cheeses.  Asiago, parm, romano, work really well too.  Romano is my favorite for crostinis.  Substituting dill for the basil and dill havarti is my wife’s favorite crostini.

How to Make Grilled Crostinis

Prepare the grill for two zone, or indirect, grilling.  Coals on one side and none on the other. The desired temp is over 400F degrees over the coals so we’re going medium high heat here.

Now put only a few crostinis on at one time as these require constant maintenance in that you can’t walk away for more than about 30 seconds before they burn. You need to constantly check the bottom and rotate the grilled crostinis as they toast, so don’t put these on and head for a beverage or to relieve yourself. Trust me, I know from personal experience:

It takes only about 60 seconds per side to brown the bread.  Flip the toasted ones once they are browned on the bottom:

It will take a little longer to toast on the top because the garlic and basil will insulate the bread. All we are looking to do is toast the outer edge of each slice.

Also, this is why we added so much garlic because we are going to lose a lot of it as we cook the tops.

Once the bread toasts around the outer edges on the top, flip it back over and put on the side of the grill with no heat and add a slice of cheese per slice of bread:

Grilled Crostinis

Here you can see all of our crostinis covered with cheese on the side with no coals to finish grilling and melt that cheese:

Grilled Crostinis

Close the lid on the grill to melt the cheese and in only a couple minutes, they’re done:

Grilled Crostinis

Crostini Summary

Give them a couple minutes before you serve them. Not to let the juices rest, because they will be about the temperature of molten lava when they first come off the grill. Make sure to memorize this recipe, because once you serve them the first time, you will be asked to do them all the time.

Also, be sure to follow the order I put forth here on the ingredients or you will lose a lot more when you flip the crostinis.  If you put the garlic on first, you will lose a ton of the pepper and basil.

Also, don’t be tempted to put some crostinis over the coals while the cheese is melting on the others on the side with no heat.  I made that mistake once.  I turned the bread of the second batch into cinders well before the cheese melted on the first.  If serving a crowd, after they come off the grill, slice the grilled crostinis in half so more people can sample per batch.

If you have any questions about the crostinis, feel free to ask them below or shoot me an email.  Also, I would love to hear your own herb/cheese combos with these.  Please share them if you have one you like.

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Grilled Crostinis

Grilled Crostinis: Grill toasted bread topped with garlic and basil plus havarti cheese melting down the sides like French onion soup
Prep Time8 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 6


  • 1 baguette soft sided bread (crusty bread will be get very hard, so make sure to go with soft sided)
  • garlic minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dried basil
  • Havarti cheese , one slice per slice of bread
  • olive oil


  • Slice baguette into 1-1.5 inch thick slices
  • Pour olive oil into a small dish or bowl to dip the bread
  • Dunk both sides of the bread in the oil to coat
  • Put fresh cracked black pepper over one side of the slices of bread
  • Sprinkle a heavy coat of basil over each slice of bread
  • Put about a half teaspoon of minced garlic on each slice. It sounds like a ton, but a lot of topping will be lost when the crostini is flipped over
  • Take the back of the spoon and mash the toppings into the bread to minimize toppings loss when flipped over
  • Prepare the grill for two zone grilling: coals on one side and nothing on the other
  • Place the crostinis topping side up over the coals, but no more than 6 at a time otherwise you will burn one or two
  • Check the bottoms of the crostinis frequently and flip each once it is toasted on the bottom. This should take no more than 45-75 seconds
  • Once the side with the toppings browns, flip over and move to the side with no coals
  • Place the a slice of havarti on top of each crostini and close the lid
  • Once the cheese melts down the side of the crostini (4-5 minutes), remove from the heat and serve


No amounts as each ingredient needs to be enough to cover the bread
Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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Well that certainly looks great and seems simple to do but a lot of that goodness is falling through the grate! I love garlic and hate to waste a single bit 🙂

Great share, thanks.



I have been baptized into the world of the crostini…These were the hit of last nights party and came out EXACTLY like your pictures. The taste was fantastic.

Since finding your site I’ve entered a new world of what can be done on the grill…and this year I bought a charcoal grill, which was a huge step since I grew up with die hard gas grillers.

Looking forward to a great grilling season…Thanks for all the grilling smarts you share with the world.



Tried this recipe with provel instead of havarti and it was amazing!


I do a similar dish using Appenzeller Swiss. I simply use a french bagette and a slice of cheese and bake it. It is divine. Very simple, but amazing. I am sure to try this recipe soon.


Wow !!!

Can’t wait to try these with some pork steaks.




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