Italian Dessert Recipes That Tantalize the Tastebuds

...and the tummy! Italian dessert recipes MUST be discussed when talking about cooking Italian food. There is just something about Italian desserts that makes me go mmmm.

Whether you want to serve a beautiful rich cake dessert or a more casual frozen dessert, this is the place to be.

From Anise cookies to Zabaglione, the how-to's are here waiting for you to test and adopt as your own.

Which Italian Dessert Do You Choose?


Of course there are the widely recognized favorites, like tiramisu and cannoli.

But Italian dessert recipes go far beyond these iconic dishes.

Something you may want to try is a traditional granita. Most Americans may compare this frozen treat to what is sold in U.S. stores as "Italian Lemon Ice". However, making your own at home is MUCH closer to what you would actually find in any cafe in Italy.

Or, if you're going for something a little fancier, but still just as simple, try a creamy zabaglione. This warm and delicious treat will please any crowd.

And if you think that sounds good, what about serving a simple fruit salad?

Italians treat fruit as a dessert.

My mom still offers to peel me an apple or orange after even the most stomach-stretching dinner! And a super easy melon and berries fruit salad has often been spotted at our table post-mealtime.

You might be surprised how much your family enjoys this refreshing treat, too.

And if you're simply interested in learning more about dessert in the Italian culture, read all about gelato, the Italian ice cream that's so delicious the natives indulge at any time of day - or night!

When cooking Italian food as the main meal, it's only natural to follow with an Italian dessert.

Check out the Italian dessert recipes below for the best of the best!

Italian Dessert Recipes

amaretti cookies

Amaretti Cookies - These are a very light cookie that can be made with your choice of nuts. This recipe calls for almonds, but pine nuts are also a popular alternative.

Italian Biscotti

Italian Biscotti Recipes - Two different biscotti recipes, one flavored with anise and the other a chocolate biscotto. Both delicious and hardy - these cookies will last a long time before going stale, which is perfect if you want to make them way ahead or give them as gifts for the holidays!

Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies - Anise Cookies - Traditionally Christmas cookies, don't be afraid to whip these up at any time of year. A drop of food coloring to the frosting makes them blend into any special occasion from baby shower to birthday party! 

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta - Meaning "cooked cream" this recipe can be topped with any sweet you prefer: sugared fruit (like raspberries or strawberries) or even a chocolate sauce.


Pizzelle Recipe - Although this recipe requires a special press, the final product is so light and yummy that it just might be worth buying! These also make great gifts during the holiday season.

Strawberry Topping

Sweet Strawberry Topping - Very easy and fast to make, this recipe can be used to top a variety of different desserts or just eaten plain with some whipped cream.


Tiramisu - An iconic dish that has become the symbol of Italian desserts, your family will surely love this "pick-me-up" dish!

Authentic Cannoli

Authentic Cannoli - There's nothing like a cannoli! Sweet and satisfying. This recipe requires a special cannoli form which you can find for sale here!

Cream Puff

Cream Puff Recipe - One of my favorites. This pastry dough recipe makes a very light dessert. Fill with your favorite custard or whipped cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Lemon Granita

Lemon Ice and Coffee Granita - This icey treat is a perfect summertime dessert. Served in caffe's all around Italy the flavors can vary from strawberry to fig to chocolate. These are the recipes to make your own lemon and coffee varieties at home!

Melon Berry Salad

Melon and Berries Fruit Salad - Fruit is a perfectly acceptable dessert choice in Italy. This salad consists of juicy melon and plump blueberries.

Apple Fritters

Italian Apple Fritters - Best served warm, sprinkled with sugar and topped with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Yummy!

Easter Eggs

Easter Bread - A festive sweet bread that is the perfect centerpiece for your Easter celebration.


Holiday Panettone - This sweet bread generally makes an appearance at Christmas time in Italian households, but is also sometimes eaten at other holidays including Easter.


Macedonia Fruit Salad - Nothing says summer like ripe and delicious fruit chopped up and tossed together to create this light dessert.


Creamy Zabaglione - A classic Italian dessert, this dish is best made right before you intend to serve it to your guests.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake - Certainly not as sweet as the American version, this cheesecake uses the very Italian ricotta cheese as its main ingredient.

Easter dessert thumbnail

An Easter Dessert recipe made with rice, eggs, milk and cheese. But is it cake, custard, or pie? Whatever it's called, it's delicious!