Soft bread rolls partially cut then stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and dunked in custardy garlic butter and baked again. Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread is a tasty snack popular on the streets of Korea and it is no wonder why!
For the past few months, I have been hearing more and more about Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread. Even saw it made on one of my favourite daytime talk shows a week or so ago.
It was love at first sight and I knew I had to recreate the magic I saw. I am not sure what program or what the recipe exactly was so this is not an authentic recipe but it is really such a simple recipe it didn’t take much for me to figure it out!
The gist, a soft bread roll, partially cut into a 6 pronged star and then filled with sweet cream cheese and dipped in sweet and custardy garlic butter. Then some parsley for colour and to help with the garlic breath you will have for sure.
Where did Korean Garlic Cheese Bread Originate?
Korea of course. That goes without saying but to be exact it started at a bakery in Gangneung, Korea where a viral video made this a worldwide sensation!
According to The Food Network, the Korean name for this bread is yook jjok maneul ppang which translates into 6-sided garlic bread.
What makes this recipe great?
- It is easy shareable. The bread is sliced into 6 tearable pieces so you can easily share with friends.
- Totally portable. It is a street food after all and since it is pre-sliced you can walk around and tear bite sized pieces while on the move.
- The perfect balance between sweet and salty.
- You can cheat and make this with pre-made fluffy buns from the grocery store.
- Adjust the sweetness level as you wish.
- Not a fan of cream cheese? Just swap it out for mozzarella or maybe even goat cheese.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Bread flour – you can use all-purpose flour but it may mean that the bread is less chewy and has a little less structure to it. I highly recommend bread flour and think it makes a world of difference.
- Milk – adds flavour and moisture to the bread and used to create the custardy coating.
- Instant quick-rise dry yeast – make sure it is fresh and the instant kind so that you can toss it right into dry ingredients vs having to let it bloom first.
- Sugar – feeds the yeast which relases gas (yeast farts) and causes the bread dough to rise. The sugar also adds sweetness to the dough. This bread is fairly sweet so you can reduce the sugar by a 1/3 if you wish. It is also used to sweeten the cream cheese.
- Unsalted butter – adds fat to the bread to give it a light fluffy texture, a crispy crust and extends the shelf life. It is also the base of the garlic butter coating that you will dip the bread into
- Salt – a flavour enhancer but mostly works to stregthen the gluten-protein so that the bread has the strength to rise.
- Cream cheese – make sure it is softened to room temperature.
- Heavy cream – used to thin out the cream cheese so that it is lighter can be piped into the bread. You can use whole milk as well if you con’t have cream.
- Garlic – and loads of it!
- Honey – traditionally sweetened condensed milk is used but I don’t like opening a whole can up when I only need a bit so honey is a great option. It is used to sweetened the garlic butter.
- Egg – added to the garlic butter with the milk to form a custard thicker creamier coating for the bread versus a regular Italian style garlic butter.
- Parsley– because something needs to kill the bad breath from all that garlic and because it adds a pop of colour.
- Coarse salt – optional
How to Make Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread
In a large bowl or stand mixer add the bread flour, salt, eggs, sugar, instant quick-rise yeast, 1 cup of warm milk and melted butter. Mix with the paddle of a stand or hand mixer using a dough hook until it’s all combined or as much of it as possible. Some dry ingredients will be left behind but that’s fine.
To warm the milk, just toss it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. You don’t want super hot milk just warm. The warm milk and butter are necessary to activate the yeast.
The dough will still be sticky at this point. If using a stand mixer switch to a dough hook and continue to mix for about 5 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky and it is smooth and stretchy.
If you are old-school like me and still don’t have a stand-mixer (I will never) take the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface.
Continue to do so for about 5 minutes or just until the dough is smooth and stretchy. It should be able to pass the windowpane test.
Then place the smooth round ball of dough in a lightly greased dish and spray the top with cooking spray as well so the dough won’t stick to the dish when rising.
Cover it with a cloth or loose-fitting plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for about 90 minutes. My air fryer has a proofing setting so I set it to 90°F. I top it with foil loosely on top for an hour or so.
The dough will be ready for the next step when it has doubled in size and you can punch the centre and the indent will stick like a pucker.
Need the dough for about 2-3 more minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. You can use a bench scrape or sharp knife to do this. This isn’t my favourite method but I did it here just because I thought it would look better in pictures.
I find that doing it this way it is much harder to get even pieces and you will see later that I have one gigantic piece and then two smaller rolls.
The better way I think is to roll the dough into a long log and then cut the bread dough into 6 pieces this way. It tends to be a little more accurate.
Next, roll and tuck the dough under each piece to form a smooth ball for each one. They need to be “tight” so that they rise properly and don’t stay flat. So you sort of fold the edges of the dough under and pinch the edges at the bottom.
I also like to cup the top of each ball of dough with the palm of my hand and then roll the bottom of the dough on the floured surface to create a more rounded and uniform ball.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let them rise again for another 30 minutes.
In a small bowl combine one egg and two tables spoons of milk to make an egg wash. Brush with the egg wash if you wish and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. When done, take the bread out of the oven and let cool down until the bread is cool enough to easily handle.
Preparing the fillings for the Korean Garlic Bread
For the cream cheese filling, add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy.
For the garlic butter, in a smaller bowl add the garlic, milk, honey, eggs and chopped parsley. Mix well until the honey is completely absorbed into the wet ingredients.
Assembling korean garlic cream cheese bread
Once the bread has cooled so you can handle it without burning your hands, carefully slice each bun into 6 equal slices 3/4 of the way through. Make sure not to cut through to the bottom of the buns or you won’t be able to stuff the bread.
Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese mixture. You use a fancy star tip if you wish to get the groovy look to your cream cheese.
If you don’t have a piping bag, which I usually don’t, just use a large plastic freezer bag. Just cut a bit of the end off. I even place my piping tip into the bag.
Then seal the bag 3/4 of the way and twist to let all of the air out pushing the cream cheese down like you would with a piping bag. Then you can pipe the cream cheese easily.
Pipe the cream cheese into each slit of the bun. Don’t pipe too much into each at first. Make sure you have gone around to each bun and filled and then circle back with the leftover cream cheese.
The worst thing that could happen is that you run out by putting too much in one and then have none left to fill the last bun or two.
Once the cream cheese is evenly piped into the bread dunk the whole bread into the garlic butter mixture.
Don’t be afraid the cream cheese won’t come out. Start by placing the top side into the garlic butter. Then flip it over to make sure you coat the underside of the bun as well.
Then place each coated bun on a parchment-lined baking tray as you go.
You will likely have more of the garlic butter left over after all of the buns are sufficiently dunked. Drizzle the remaining garlic butter over the tops of each bun. None of it should go to waste because this custardy garlic butter is amazing!
Then if you like, sprinkle the top of each bun with a little of the coarse salt. The cream cheese can be salty depending on the brand so judge this for yourself. The salt is totally optional.
Bake the bread in the oven at 350°F for another 8 minutes. This will heat the garlic mixture that has been mixed with the egg and milk and will form a sweet, thickened garlic butter coating that makes this bread “jump on a plane to Korea tomorrow” good.
Since everyone’s oven is different be sure to keep an eye on them. At this stage so that the sugar in the garlic mixture doesn’t over brown the bread. You may need to take the Korean cream cheese garlic bread recipe out of the oven a bit earlier.
Let them cool slightly so you don’t burn your mouth and eat warm. Like a chocolate chip cookie warm not burning hot.
How to Store Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread
Once completely cooled store them in the fridge inside an airtight container for up to 4 days. Then when you are ready to eat you can quickly microwave. Ideally, pop them back in the oven at 350°F for 5-7 minutes to warm.
I don’t like warming my whole oven up for a few minutes. I pop mine into the air-fryer for a few minutes.
Can Korean Garlic Bread be Frozen?
Yes! Once the garlic bread is completely cooled I like to freeze them individually on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once they are frozen wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or store them in a tightly sealed freezer container for up to 2 months.
Thaw them in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven or microwave as you would reheat.
Do I have to make my own buns to make this Korean cream cheese garlic bread recipe?
Absolutely not! I highly recommend it but totally get that it takes time to make bread. And it isn’t the easiest thing for a beginner baker.
You can use large dinner rolls or kaiser buns. Or if you are able to, look for frozen dinner rolls that you can pop in the oven so that you have fresh buns!
More delicious Asian-Inspired Recipes To Try
Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread
- 3 3/4 cup bread flour
- 2 1/4 tsp instant quick-rise dry yeast or 1 packet
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup milk warmed
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp salt
Egg Wash (optional)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp water
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Garlic Butter Coating
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp milk
- 8 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley minced
- In a large bowl or stand mixer add the bread flour, salt, eggs, sugar, instant yeast, warm milk and melted butter. Mix until it's all combined (some visible flour is ok).
- Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface or with a dough hook using a stand mixer until the dough is no longer sticky and becomes smooth and stretchy. Check to see if it passes the window-pane test –when you stretch out a small piece of dough, it doesn’t break easily, it’s very stretchy, and light can shine through it.
- Roll the edges of the dough under and tuck then pinch the dough at the bottom to form a smooth tight ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap.
- Let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place to let rise until dough is about double in size.
- Poke the dough and the indent should stay. Punch down the dough to get rid of all the air. Knead with your hands for another 3-5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll and tuck the dough under each piece to form a smooth tight ball for each one.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let them rise for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush with the egg wash if you wish and bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
Cream Cheese Filling
- Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy.
Garlic Butter Coating
- Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside
- When the buns have cooled enough to handle use a serrated knife to cut each bun 3/4 of the way down into 6 equal slices. Do not cut all the way through.
- Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese filling and pipe the cream cheese evenly into the slits of each bun. Be sure to not overfill so you have enough for all the buns.
- Dip the entire bun top side down first into the garlic butter mixture. Flip the bun over and make sure to cover the entire bun including the bottom.
- Place the coated buns back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for another 8-10 minutes. Just enough to set the custardy coating. Keep an eye on them so they don't over-brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before enjoying. Serve warm.
Pin It For Later!
For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread Story.