Italian Bagna Cauda

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5 from 8 votes

Bagna Cauda is a traditional Italian olive oil dip, served hot, infused with tons of garlic and anchovies. Dip assorted raw or lightly steamed veggies and crusty bread in this “hot bath” of heaven.

Roughly pronounced “banya cowda” translating to “hot bath” in English, this Italian anchovy and garlic infused olive oil dip is assertive and complex and unexpectedly delicious, even for those who aren’t big anchovy fans!

The best way I can describe Bagna Cauda is like taking your taste buds on a deep ocean dive, submerging them into a warm, buttery bath of sea water. Your mouth will be on a wild trip, with touches of sweet from the garlic, salty from the anchovy, buttery and peppery from the olive oil, and richness from a touch of butter swirled in before serving. YUM.

Why You’ll Love This Bagna Cauda Recipe

There are many bagna cauda recipes out there, but this one’s the best! Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Easy to make
  • Only need 4 ingredients to make, plus assorted veggies and bread for dipping
  • You can make it ahead
  • It’s DELISH!

What Does Bagna Cauda Taste Like?

Bagna Cauda is a simple Italian anchovy and garlic infused olive oil dip. It is rich, savory, and intense, with umami and saltiness from anchovies, and robust garlic flavor. The olive oil and s butter contribute to its richness, creating a complex, yummy dip. It’s served hot with raw or lightly steamed vegetables and breads to dip into it!

Bagna Cauda originated in Piedmont, which is in Northwestern Italy. Bagna Cauda is classically enjoyed as part of Christmas Eve dinner…but it’s really delicious year-round with a variety seasonal vegetables!

How to Make Bagna Cauda

Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!

  1. Peel.

    Remove garlic cloves from head and peel cloves.

  2. Heat.

    Pour garlic oil into a medium skillet. Over low heat, slowly heat garlic oil for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Oil should bubble gently.

  3. Add.

    Add anchovies to skillet and shred anchovies into small pieces. Let anchovies melt into the oil for 10-15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add more.

    Remove bagna cauda from heat and add butter.

  5. Serve.

    Serve bagna cauda hot with veggies and bread for dipping.

Bagna Cauda Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil is the base of Bagna Cauda.
  • Garlic – garlic…and lots of it! You’ll need a whole head!
  • Flat fillet anchovies – I use anchovies in olive oil.
  • Unsalted butter – a touch of butter is swirled in at the end of the cooking process to add richness and a slight creaminess. Yes please!
  • Assorted vegetables & breads – for dipping!

Pro Tips

  • Serve with assorted raw or lightly steamed vegetables and bread.
  • Heat olive oil low and slow. It’s important to not scorch the oil or anchovies, which will alter the taste.
  • While butter is optional, it adds richness and is often an ingredient in traditional bagna cauda recipes!
  • Using good-quality extra virgin olive oil (from Italy is preferred!), and good-quality anchovies, is key.

How to Serve Bagna Cauda

Raw or lightly steamed in-season vegetables and breads are traditionally dipped into Bagna Cauda. Here’s a list of my favorite options:

  1. Fennel
  2. Cauliflower florets
  3. Broccoli florets
  4. Artichokes
  5. Carrots
  6. Peppers
  7. Radishes
  8. Cucumber
  9. Asparagus (or Broiled Asparagus!)
  10. And crusty bread (even a good Baguette)

How to Store Leftover Bagna Cauda

Bagna Cauda keeps quite well in a covered bowl for a day or two in the fridge. Reheat slowly in the microwave or on the stove. Best if enjoyed the day-of! I don’t recommend freezing Bagna Cauda.

Other Dip and Spread Recipes on Tastefully Grace!

Italian Bagna Cauda

Bagna Cauda is a traditional Italian olive oil dip, served hot, infused with tons of garlic and anchovies.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Veggie Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: any season
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 409kcal
Author: Tastefully Grace

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head garlic peeled (about 10 large cloves)
  • 2 ounce can flat fillet anchovies in olive oil drained
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Assorted cut vegetables & breads see post for ideas!

Instructions

  • Remove garlic cloves from head and peel cloves.
  • Add cloves to a food processor with olive oil. Pulse food processor until garlic cloves are minced (not smooth).
  • Pour garlic oil into a medium skillet. Over low heat, slowly heat garlic oil for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Oil should bubble gently. Do not turn heat too high (which would scorch the garlic).
  • Add anchovies to skillet and shred anchovies into small pieces with 2 forks. Let anchovies melt into the oil for 10-15 minutes over low heat. Stir occasionally.
  • Remove bagna cauda from heat and add butter. Swirl in until melted.
  • Serve bagna cauda hot in a ramekin or bowl along with veggies and bread for dipping. If you have a small fondue pot over a warmer or flame, that would be even better!

Assorted Veggies & Breads To Dip

  • While anchovies are melting, steam veggies for 5-10 minutes in a covered pot with about an inch of water, if desired. You can also serve some or all veggies raw. Heat bread in oven until warm.

Video

Notes

  • Serve with assorted raw or lightly steamed vegetables (like fennel, cauliflower, broccolini, carrots, peppers, radishes) and bread. See full post above for more ideas!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 523mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 181IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
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