Nobody is unhappy when given something sweet. In La Mafia se sienta a la mesa, we also have a sweet tooth. Traditional Italian cuisine brings out its dolce side. In this post, we bring you the 28 most typical and delicious Italian desserts.
Discover the best Italian desserts
Cakes, cookies, sponge cakes, ice cream… fall in love with the best Italian desserts in the following list.
Ground almonds, powdered sugar, egg whites, and a spoonful of Amaretto liqueur; with these ingredients you will make one of the easiest Italian desserts. Amaretti are almond cookies, ideal for accompanying a good coffee.
As a curiosity: although they are present throughout Italy, their most important production is in the northern regions of Piedmont and Lombardy; but it is believed that they have an Arab origin.
Another famous Italian dessert is the bocconotti. It is an Italian tartlet, which depending on the area, can be filled with chocolate and hazelnut cream or jam. Also depending on the place, the dough is accompanied by lemon or orange zest.
Sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied by a sweet wine, bocconotti are a delight!
We travel to the north, to the Piedmont region. Bonèt is another typical Italian dessert that resembles a pudding or a flan. Interestingly, it is made with the aforementioned ground amaretti cookies, along with fresh milk, cocoa powder, Amaretto liqueur, sugar, and eggs. Without a doubt, a dessert to succeed and very easy to make!
A cookie in the shape of a daisy? Yes, it exists, and it’s called canestrelli. These 6-petal flower-shaped cookies are one of the most typical Italian desserts.
In addition, they are very easy to make. You will only need: flour, butter, powdered sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and salt. Canestrelli have a very particular texture, this is because, during preparation, the egg yolk is previously cooked.
Coming from Sicily, cannoli are a sweet tube of crispy pastry, filled with ricotta, powdered sugar, and lemon or orange zest. They are usually accompanied by fruits, chocolate, or pieces of pistachio. A spectacular “”crunch””!
As a particularity, the dough is made with Marsala wine, a sweet Italian wine.
If we think of a fried Italian dessert, cartocci could not be missing. To put it simply, they are a kind of churro; in fact, they are usually eaten for breakfast.
Like cannoli, cartocci are Sicilian and are filled with ricotta sweetened with vanilla or orange essence and chocolate. Are you already salivating?
We continue on the same island, in Sicily, cassata is also typical. A cake with ricotta, sugar, marzipan, sponge cake, powdered sugar, and candied fruit for decoration. It is very visually pleasing and tastes even better! Although the recipe varies slightly depending on the pastry chef.
The Italian version of the ‘American pie’. Crostata is a tart with a crispy frolla pastry base and a filling of jam. This can be strawberry, peach, or cherry, you choose!
If you like sweet, crostata is one of the Italian desserts to succeed in meals and snacks.
Undoubtedly, it is the most famous Italian dessert and the most international. Italian gelato has nothing to do with frozen supermarket products. Gelatos are made with milk, not cream.
Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cream, lemon… but also fiore di latte, pistachio, or hazelnut. The options are almost endless!
A traditional Italian dessert recipe? The Genovese. It is a very easy cake to make but serves as a base for more complex recipes.
The Genovese is a cake that does not contain yeast. Its fluffy texture is due to the amount of beaten eggs included in the recipe. With eggs, melted butter, flour, sugar, and salt, and if you want lemon zest, you get a very tasty cake.
One of the most important Italian Christmas desserts in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, but which is eaten all year round. We refer to gubana, a sweet bread filled with nuts, raisins, and orange or lemon zest.
On the other hand, mostaccioli are a type of cookie made with ground almonds, cinnamon, eggs, flour, brown sugar, and, if you like, lemon zest and cocoa powder. In fact, there are recipes that cover the cookie with dark chocolate.
Mostaccioli is one of the oldest Italian desserts. Thus, it is said that Saint Francis of Assisi was a big fan of these cookies.
13. Pan di Saba
As its name implies, it is a sweet sin. Pan di Saba or Queen of Sheba chocolate cake is an excellent choice for chocolate lovers (also suitable for celiacs!).
It is a fluffy and very soft Italian dessert and easy to prepare. Are you up for it?
In this list of the 28 most typical Italian desserts of Italian gastronomy, we could not ignore the pandoro. The pandoro, originating from Verona, is one of the most popular Christmas sweets and its recipe dates back to the Middle Ages.
It resembles panettone, but the dough is brioche-like. And, as is obvious, its interior is yellow (due to the egg and vanilla), hence its name.
It is the classic sweet bread of Italian Christmas. One of the most important Italian desserts. Such is its fame that the panettone has crossed borders, and can be found easily in supermarkets anywhere on the planet.
Its shape, texture, flavor… make it a must-have in Italian cuisine.
For the panettone recipe, we mainly need flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, milk, butter, as well as raisins and candied fruit.
16. Panna cotta
Panna cotta is a dessert very similar to our egg custard. Made with milk, cream, sugar, gelatin, and vanilla, it can be accompanied by red fruits, caramel, or coffee.
With a very simple recipe, this Italian dessert does not need an oven. You will see how you succeed with your homemade panna cotta!
Typical of the island of Sardinia, pardulas are small pastries typical of Easter. Their dough is prepared with flour, butter, and oil and, for the filling, you only need ricotta, sugar, and lemon zest. Delicious!
Again in Naples, pastiera is similar to crostata. It also uses pasta frolla, but its filling is made with cooked wheat grain, milk, ricotta, sugar, and orange zest.
Despite their French origin, profiteroles are one of the essential desserts for Italians. A delicious mixture of choux pastry with a filling of whipped cream, chocolate, or pastry cream. Authentic bites of pleasure!
A recipe for those who truly love sweets. Seadas is also native to Sardinia and consists of a bun filled with cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon or orange zest. For the dough, lard is needed. Once cooked, the seadas is served with more sugar or honey. One of the most traditional homemade Italian desserts!
It is one of the most difficult Italian desserts to make. “Sfogliatelle” comes from “sfoglia,” which means “puff pastry,” and as you might imagine, this dessert is made with this type of dough.
It is a type of croissant with Neapolitan origins, and it is filled with ricotta cheese, fine semolina, candied fruit, and sugar. Sensational!
Meanwhile, taralli are crunchy rings made of strong flour, salt, olive oil, and fennel seeds. They are actually savory cookies, but with fennel, they have a very special flavor.
Tegole or tiles are wafers made with almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. To make them, you need to grind these nuts well and mix this kind of flour with egg whites, wheat flour, and that’s it!
Undoubtedly, one of the most famous Italian desserts. For the recipe for the most classic tiramisu, you cannot do without coffee, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, cocoa, and ladyfingers. Some people also add a splash of amaretto liqueur. A pleasure for the palate!
Italians also eat nougat. Torrone is typical during Christmas. Like in Spain, there are many varieties, but if you want to make a traditional one, you only need almonds, eggs, sugar, honey, salt, lemon zest, cornstarch, and vanilla extract.
26. Torta Caprese
An Italian dessert for celiacs? The torta caprese! You won’t find wheat flour among its ingredients, but rather almonds, sugar, eggs, chocolate, and butter. Very easy to make, and its taste is incredible.
Zuccotto is also one of the easy and delicious Italian desserts. It has a semi-spherical shape and consists of a cake with a base of ladyfingers soaked in liquor and whipped cream. Although there are also recipes that include Nutella or melted chocolate.
28. Crema Carsolina
To conclude this list of 28 Italian desserts, the Crema Carsolina is a typical mille-feuille from Trieste, and its filling contains fresh milk, zabaglione or sabayon, vanilla, and lemon.
At La Mafia, you can try some of these delicious desserts.
And if you want to try Italian desserts, our menu at La Mafia offers a great variety. From classic tiramisu and panna cotta to different gelatos: dark chocolate, mascarpone, Madagascar vanilla, or strawberry. But we also have cakes, sorbets, chocolate coulant, or our wonderful torrija.
Book now at your nearest La Mafia restaurant and try our Italian desserts!