23 Easy Italian Desserts

Italy has some of the finest food in the world, and this is no different when it comes to delicious desserts.

One of the things that sets their desserts apart from other places is the authenticity, because of their natural and fresh flavoring, rather than leaning on the artificial. 

23 Easy Italian Desserts

Though you’ll know classics like tiramisu, there are so many more tasty delights to discover from Italian cuisine – and we’ve got the best of them below!

In our handy guide to 23 easy Italian desserts, we’re going to bring you some of the best and simplest recipes for a whole range of Italian puddings. 

There’ll be something for everyone, and you feel like you’re enjoying sweet treats in Italy in no time!

23 Easy Italian Desserts

1. Italian Breakfast Cookies

Though these are perfect for starting your day with, they double just as well as a dessert treat to enjoy after your meal! 

Cookies are very simple to bake, and these authentic Italian delights are no different. All you’ll need is the usual: eggs, sugar, baking powder, vegetable oil, flour.

Add to that some vanilla extract for an extra kick of flavor, plus some optional sprinkles, and you’ve got an Italian cookie! 

The big difference, besides the great taste, is that these are long and thin – almost like a little cookie baguette! Though you may expect cookies to be round, these will pleasantly surprise you.

2. Chocolate Triple Berry Panna Cotta Tart

This is a gorgeous dessert blend of rich chocolate, healthy berry sauce, and vanilla panna cotta. 

Panna cotta is an Italian classic, a lovely sweetened cream that’s thickened and molded.

You can get them in coffee and other flavors, but the one for this tart is vanilla flavored – which really adds a hint of freshness and sweetness to the dessert.

All the ingredients mix together to create a multi-colored delight, with reds, pinks, whites, and browns all at play. In the truest sense, it looks good enough to eat! And it’s delicious on top of that. 

3. Italian Butter Cookies

More tasty Italian biscuits here, which are both supremely easy to bake and supremely delicious to eat!

Better yet, you can make them in all different kinds of shapes and styles, such as the sandwich or star cookies that are detailed in this recipe. In addition to that, you can always add whatever toppings you might want. 

Butter cookies always prove to be light and rich, giving you full flavor while not proving too sickly as other cookies might. With that being said, they’re so good that you’re sure to help yourself to more!

4. Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

If you want a great and gooey Italian cake, there are few better than this delicious pick! 

You’ll get a perfect blend of flavors, with the sharpness of the lemon and the richness of the almond nuts. On top of that, the ricotta cheese adds a perfect creaminess and softness to the cake too. 

5. Cranberry Almond Biscotti

Another deliciously nutty dessert made using almonds, biscotti is a classic Italian biscuit.  

However, the big difference here is the use of cranberries. With these thrown into the mix, you’ll find that the nutty biscuit takes on an extra level of sharpness.

This really complements the nuttiness, adding a great contrast of sharp and sweet.

These crisp biscuits are also very easy to make, first cooking your mixture, before cutting the biscotti into diagonal slices and cooking it further. After cooling, you’ll have these deliciously crunchy treats.

6. “Canestrelli” – Italian Egg Yolk Cookies

These tasty cookies are a unique Italian tradition, and making them will be unlike any biscuit you’ve made before! Needless to say, though, the outcome will be extremely delicious.

Why will they be so different? Well, the recipe adds hard boiled egg yolks right into the dough!

This is because doing so will make the cookie extremely light and crumbly, which makes them feel like they just melt in your mouth. 

The flavors are wonderful too, a delicate blend of sharp lemon and sweet vanilla bean – all with the airiness and richness of butter. 

7. Panettone 

You may have had a Panettone cake at Christmas time, which is the time period that they were originally made for. However, they’re so good that it’s worth having them all year round!

It’s hard to find a cake as fluffy and full as this, with a brilliant blend of soft sponge and healthy additions like raisins and orange. 

With that being said, excellence comes at a cost: these aren’t the quickest cakes to make. To get the best of one, you may even need a few days. However, they are relatively easy and they are worth it – so give it a try!

8. Authentic Tiramisu

Another Italian classic, this has become famous the world over – and it’s no wonder why! There have been lots of different versions over the years, but this one is an authentic recipe. 

Having tiramisu for dessert will give you a full canvas of flavors: creamy cheese filling, rich chocolate, sharp coffee, soft ladyfingers sponge.

Add to that the small hint of alcohol (either rum or Marsala wine), and you’ve got a dessert that will please every person who tries it.

9. “Marron Glacé” – Candied Chestnuts

If you’ve ever had chestnuts before, then it was probably roasted. This Italian classic takes a whole different perspective, making them all chewy and moist!

On top of that, it’s an incredibly simple recipe, and you only need the chestnuts, water, sugar, and some vanilla. All you really have to do is shell and peel the chestnuts before cooking them in some sugar syrup.

-You’ll have these sweet and chewy treats ready in no time, with minimum effort!

10. Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

If you’re in the mood for something both tasty and indulgent, full of rich flavors, then you’ll want to try making this authentic Italian chocolate hazelnut cake. 

All it takes are a few simple ingredients, amounting to a delicious cake with a perfect blend of hazelnut and sickly chocolate.

Better yet, the cake is improved with a homemade frosting. What does that consist of, you ask? Coffee and Frangelico liqueur!

You may have thought you needed it before, but that great mix brings out even more texture and flavor from the cake. 

11. “Pizzelle” – Italian Waffle Cookies

If you want a cookie that just screams “Italy”, these totally light waffle-like cookies are extremely delicious and easy to make. 

The only downside is that you’ll need a special iron to make them, but once you get one of those, you’ll be able to enjoy having these waffle-looking cookies all the time.

Just make sure to experiment with getting the right amount of batter with the iron – it’s an art!

The traditional Italian version will have anise in place, but some people use vanilla or chocolate. 

12. 5 Ingredient Homemade Cannoli

When it comes to Italian desserts that are easy to make, it’s hard to beat this homemade cannoli. After all, when it only features 5 ingredients (by name!), it’s sure to be easy!

On top of that, the recipe uses pre-made cannoli shells, meaning that you don’t have to spend extra time making them yourself.

These are sure to give you a perfect blend of flavors, with the rich mini chocolate chips, hints of vanilla, and some ricotta cheese. 

13. Italian Christmas Cookies

Just like the Panettone, this is an Italian Christmas treat that shouldn’t just be kept to the holiday season – instead, enjoy them all year round!

These mini, bite-sized delights don’t resemble cookies as you might picture them. Instead, they look more like little cake balls, just with crispy outsides and fluffy insides.

It’s the perfect blend in textures! Add to that delicious hints of vanilla and the tasty icing, and you’ve got a cookie that’s going to make your mouth water. 

14. Thick Italian Hot Chocolate

You may think that you’ve had hot chocolate before, but you haven’t had Italian hot chocolate!

If you ever thought that the usual hot drink wouldn’t really serve as a dessert itself, the Italian version more than justifies itself as a pudding. 

That’s because Italian hot chocolate is very thick and creamy, like a bowl of chocolate-flavored custard.

If you’ve ever used the chocolate and cream combination that is ganache in a recipe, then this is like having a whole dessert of that.

 15. Chocolate Gelato

Gelato is one of the richest and most refreshing desserts there is, and the chocolate variety is possibly the best type there is. 

Many might confuse gelato with ice cream, but they are different. Ice cream will give you a lighter texture, while gelato contains less fat and is very smooth. 

It takes only a few ingredients to make, with milk, cream, egg yolks, and sugar. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate! 70% dark chocolate is used for this, giving the gelato an incredibly rich and impactful flavor (see also ‘20 Delicious Talenti Gelato Flavors To Try‘). 

16. Tiramisu Cake

The tiramisu we looked at earlier is already one of the best Italian desserts that you can get, but what might make it better? Making it a cake! That’s right, you can bake your very own tiramisu cake.

This easy to make authentic Italian dessert gives you a perfect mix of rich coffee and creamy mascarpone, all with the soft texture that you’d expect from a cake.

This is a génoise cake, meaning that it is slightly more complicated than a traditional sponge cake, with plenty of different layers of various fillings. 

17. Pear Almond Cake

Pear is, undoubtedly, one of the best fruits. It’s so refreshing!

When you then add that to a rich and delicious cake, with the nuttiness of the almonds too, then you’re going to have an extremely tasty Italian dessert that keeps you coming back again and again.

If you’re used to baking cakes, then this will be no different! There are a handful of easy to get ingredients, like eggs, granulated sugar, and baking powder.

On top of those, the key flavors are going to be coming from the flaked almonds and the medium sized pears (check out our favorite pear desserts). 

18. “Zeppole” – Italian Donut Holes

When you picture a doughnut, you might picture the classic ring one, with the gap in the middle. What if I told you that the non-existent gap could be the best bit?

Well, it can! Doughnut balls are like the dough that came out of the middle of a ring doughnut, and no less delicious. 

Italy does some of the best doughnut balls with their “Zeppole”, a delicious and doughy treat that’s perfect for any dessert. These will take just half an hour to make, making them the perfect snack – quick! 

At the end, you can sprinkle them with sugar, but some choose to sprinkle cinnamon instead for an added spicy kick.

19. Strawberry Gelato

We covered chocolate gelato earlier, but making one that is strawberry flavored is just as great an idea – and just as delicious!

This tasty alternative to ice cream offers a lot more than that refreshing dessert, adding more milk than cream to create a smoother pudding.

On top of that, gelato is notoriously creamy, because it is churned slower in order to use less air. With less air, you get something that’s thicker and creamier. 

It also takes very few ingredients! All you need is some whole milk, a cup of granulated sugar, some heavy whipping cream, and the fresh strawberries that’ll give it that great taste.

Additionally, some lemon juice is added, just to give it a hint of sharpness.

20. Affogato

This is one of the many great coffee-based desserts on this list, with that famous drink giving it a richness and strength it wouldn’t normally have. Better yet, it even involves gelato like we’ve just been discussing! 

Put simply, this tasty dessert is a scoop of gelato (or ice cream if you want!) all topped off with a shot of hot coffee. As you can guess, it doesn’t take a lot of ingredients, nor time – you’ll have it ready in only 10 minutes!

21. Tiramisu Bombe

A lovely twist on the tiramisu cake we had earlier, this bombe is the perfect way to indulge in all the delights that tiramisu has to offer. 

Better yet, it’s very easy to make, because this recipe uses pre-made sponge cake to save you plenty of time – and get you closer to enjoying this perfect dessert!

22. Torta Barozzi

This scrumptious Italian cake is extremely rich and chocolatey – not just any old chocolate either, but 70% dark chocolate.

Add to that some almonds for a hint of nuttiness, and you’ve got a cake that’s quick to make and even quicker to eat!  On top of that, rum and coffee are also included, adding to the richness. 

23. “Zuccotto” –  Creamy Italian Cake

We’re finishing with a cake because, well, every meal should be finished with a cake. This both looks and tastes great, with a creamy beige dome that’s full of creamy flavor.

Like the best Italian puddings, this also has just a hint of alcohol added to it, livening up the taste even more. 

Originally made for the Medici family, this is certainly good enough for royalty! There’s a handful of tasty ingredients to use, such as Italian pastry cream and a bit of dark chocolate.

On top of that (literally!), the cake is topped with grated chocolate, giving it a decadent, stylish texture to the outside. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Pastries Come From Italy? 

Italy is famous for its pastries, many of which can be enjoyed with the desserts above. One of our recipes involved cannoli, and this is certainly one of the most beloved Italian pastries.

In addition to that type, other famous ones are crostata, cornetto, and torrone. 

What Does Tiramisu Mean In Italian?

This is a fun one! The Italian translation of “tiramisu” roughly comes to something like “pick me up”. This is a pretty fitting name for it, since you will always feel picked up and cheered up by a slice of tiramisu.

If you look at our list above, you’ll see that there are plenty of ways to have a tiramisu, too!

Is Gelato Healthier Than Ice Cream?

We covered both chocolate and strawberry gelatos in the list above, each time noting how they were different to ice cream. It turns out that gelato is also healthier than ice cream, too!

This is because gelatos have fewer calories in them than ice creams do, as well as a lower fat content and less sugar. 

Final Thoughts

Italy is responsible for some of the best desserts in the world, each with their own perfect blends of flavors. We’ve helpfully collected together some of the very best for you to try making at home.

Whichever ones take your fancy, you’ll find that they are easy and quick to make! That way, you can spend less time baking and more time tasting. Enjoy!

23 Easy Italian Desserts

23 Easy Italian Desserts

Recipe by Jenna

Italy has some of the best desserts in the world, guaranteed to delight your taste buds. Read our collection of the best and easiest Italian desserts.

Course: Dessert
5 from 1 vote
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