Skip to Content

Do you leave Bosco sticks in the wrapper?

Bosco sticks, also known as cheese breadsticks, are a popular appetizer found at many Italian restaurants. They consist of breadsticks coated in a garlic butter sauce and Parmesan cheese. Bosco sticks are served warm, direct from the oven, and are meant to be eaten right away while still hot and crispy. This leads to a common question – should you leave Bosco sticks in the wrapper while eating them or take them out of the wrapper?

The Purpose of the Wrapper

Bosco sticks are usually individually wrapped in aluminum foil or paper. This serves a few purposes:

  • Keeps the breadsticks warm and crispy straight from the oven
  • Prevents the cheese and garlic butter from getting all over your hands as you eat
  • Allows for easy transportation from kitchen to table without making a mess

The wrapper helps maintain the integrity of the Bosco sticks so they arrive hot and fresh at your table.

Reasons to Leave Wrapped

There are a few good reasons you may want to leave Bosco sticks wrapped while eating them:

  1. Heat Retention – The foil wrapper traps heat and steam to keep the Bosco sticks warmer for longer. If you unwrap them right away, they’ll start cooling down faster.
  2. Less Mess – With the wrapper on, any falling crumbs or dripping cheese stays contained. Unwrapped Bosco sticks can create a mess on your hands, plate, and table.
  3. Portion Control – Leaving Bosco sticks wrapped can prevent you from mindlessly overeating. You need to unwrap each stick individually which slows down consumption.

For these reasons, some people prefer to leave the wrapper on the breadstick while they are eating it, slowly unwrapping one end as they go.

Reasons to Unwrap

On the other hand, there are also some good reasons for unwrapping your Bosco sticks right away:

  1. Better Texture – Unwrapped sticks stay crispy on the outside but are easier to bite through. The wrapper can make bites messy and awkward.
  2. Full Breadstick Flavor – Without the wrapper, you can better taste and enjoy the full flavors of the cheese, garlic butter, and breadstick.
  3. Cool Faster if Preferred – If you don’t like your Bosco sticks piping hot, unwrapping them helps release the heat so they cool down quicker.

Those who want the optimal edible experience may want to peel off the wrapper immediately to enjoy the full taste and texture.

The Verdict

So should you leave Bosco sticks wrapped or unwrap them right away? There are good arguments on both sides of the issue. Here are some final tips on getting the best Bosco stick experience:

  • If you want to keep them as hot and messy-free as possible, leave wrapped.
  • If optimal flavor and texture is your priority, unwrap immediately.
  • Compromise by unwrapping partially as you eat each stick.
  • Unwrap fully but keep some wrappers to wrap up any unfinished sticks.
  • Ask for a side of marinara sauce and use wrappers to hold sticks for dipping.

The choice depends on your personal preferences and priorities. There’s no definitively right or wrong answer here. The most important thing is to enjoy these tasty appetizers whichever way you choose!

Nutrition Information

Here is some background on the nutrition facts for a typical order of Bosco sticks:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 150
Fat 8g
Carbohydrates 15g
Protein 4g

As you can see, a single serving of around 3-4 Bosco sticks provides 150 calories, with about half coming from fat due to the cheese and butter. The carbohydrate content derives mainly from the white flour breadsticks.

Bosco sticks make a tasty appetizer, but the fat and refined carbs add up quickly if you eat too many. Enjoy them in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

Recipe and Cooking Tips

Here are some tips if you want to make homemade Bosco sticks:

  • Look for breadstick dough at the grocery store near the refrigerated pizza dough. Or make your own dough.
  • Brush breadsticks with a mix of melted butter, olive oil, garlic powder, and parsley.
  • Sprinkle generously with a blend of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  • Brush with a little more butter when they come out for extra richness.
  • Wrap in foil to serve warm. Provide marinara dipping sauce.

Making them at home lets you control the quality of ingredients. Serve fresh from the oven and enjoy!

How to Reheat Leftovers

Have leftover Bosco sticks? Here are some good ways to reheat them:


Place unwrapped Bosco sticks on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven for 4-5 minutes until warmed through.


Microwave individual wrapped sticks for 15-20 seconds at a time until hot. Watch to prevent burning.

Air Fryer

Reheat uncovered in the air fryer at 350°F for 3-5 minutes, flipping halfway.

Toaster Oven

Place foil wrapped sticks in toaster oven at 325°F. Heat 5-7 minutes until crisped.

The oven tends to work best for reheating Bosco sticks to be as crispy and melty as when originally served. Enjoy your leftovers!

Common Accompaniments

Bosco sticks pair well with a variety of dipping sauces and other menu items. Here are some popular pairings:

  • Marinara sauce – The classic dipping companion, adding a tangy tomato flavor.
  • Alfredo sauce – For a creamy, cheesy accent to the breadsticks.
  • Pesto – Herby basil pesto makes a fresh, vibrant dipping sauce.
  • Soups – Especially Italian wedding soup or baked potato soup.
  • Salads – A breadstick alongside a Caesar or house salad balances the meal.
  • Wine – Pair with a glass of red or white wine, whatever you prefer.

Think about what sauces and sides sound good to complement the Bosco sticks for a well-rounded meal.

Popularity and Origin

Bosco sticks have become a staple appetizer on Italian-American restaurant menus across the United States. Their origin appears to be from the 1970s, but no single restaurant or chef has been credited with inventing them.

Their name comes from the word “Bosco”, which means woodland or forest in Italian. This likely refers to the wooded herbs used to flavor the breadstick dough.

Cheese breadsticks were rising in popularity through the 70s before being dubbed “Bosco sticks” sometime in the late 70s or 80s. Their popularity has grown over recent decades as Italian food became more mainstream and ubiquitous in the U.S.

Today, Bosco sticks are served at most casual dining Italian chains like Olive Garden as well as independent Italian restaurants coast to coast.


There are many possible variations on classic Bosco sticks to give them different flavors. Some ideas include:

  • Cheesy Jalapeno – Add diced jalapenos and use a mix of cheddar and Parmesan.
  • Herb & Garlic – Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, rosemary, and extra garlic.
  • Southwest – Top with taco spices, salsa, corn, and pepper jack cheese.
  • Dessert – Coat in butter, cinnamon sugar, and icing for a sweet treat.

The basic cheese breadstick can take on so many flavors. Try mixing up the herbs, spices, cheese, and toppings to create your own signature Bosco sticks.

In Pop Culture

Bosco sticks have made occasional appearances in pop culture over the years:

  • In a 1999 episode of Family Guy called “Mind Over Murder” Lois asks the family what appetizer they want with dinner and Chris excitedly shouts “Bosco! Bosco!”
  • A 2013 episode of Parks and Recreation shows character Tom Haverford eagerly digging into a basket of Bosco sticks.
  • On a 2010 episode of 30 Rock Jack Donaghy uses dipping a Bosco stick into his ice cream sundae as an example of successful risk-taking.

Though not hugely common, references like these show that Bosco sticks have made enough of an impact to be mentioned and joked about on popular TV shows.

Where to Enjoy Bosco Sticks

Here are some top places to try delicious Bosco sticks:

Restaurant Chains

  • Olive Garden – The prototypical home of unlimited breadsticks, including Bosco sticks.
  • Carrabba’s – Their cheese-stuffed Farfalle Bread sticks put a unique spin on the concept.
  • Outback Steakhouse – Alongside the famous Bloomin’ Onion, Outback serves piping hot Aussie Cheese Fries.

Grocery Stores

  • Trader Joe’s – Their frozen “Breadsticks with Cheese” are a quick and easy weeknight dish.
  • Whole Foods – Freshly baked Parmesan breadsticks available in the bakery section.
  • Albertsons – Look for take-and-bake garlic breadsticks coated in a cheese blend.

Frozen Varieties

  • DiGiorno – Various flavors of frozen Rising Crust pizza come with Breadsticks & Dip.
  • Freschetta – Select frozen pizzas include a side of cheese or pepperoni breadsticks.
  • Red Baron – Look for their Deep Dish pizza which includes an order of mozzarella breadsticks.

You have lots of options for enjoying hot, cheesy Bosco sticks on any budget!


Bosco sticks hold a special place in Italian-American cuisine – the perfect hot and tasty accompaniment to a variety of dishes. While there’s no right or wrong way to eat them, removing the wrapper lets you fully savor the flavor. Dip them in marinara, pair with a chilled beer or Chianti, and buon appetito!