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27 Amazing Italian Desserts

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If Italian desserts are your thing, or if you are looking to expand your culinary skills in the kitchen, you have come to the right place!

There are some beautifully delicious Italian desserts (ranging from simple to slightly more intricate) that will definitely fulfill your cravings.

Work your way through the below list of Italian desserts in the kitchen to try some of the classic favorites, and learn to make some that you’ve never heard of before!

1. Classic Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert, and while the flavors are complex and so comforting, it is actually a fairly easy dessert to make!

This no-bake tiramisu consists of layers of ladyfingers biscuits soaked in espresso, mascarpone, whipped cream, and cocoa dusting. The recipe does contain some rum, but you can leave it out if you want it to be alcohol-free.

If you are looking for an easy-to-make dessert that is rich, comforting, creamy, and full of Italian flavors, tiramisu should definitely be your first choice! 

2. Almond Tart

Learning to make this almond tart should definitely be on your to-do list! Learn to make it from scratch, from the buttery crust to the soft almond filling and the apricot preserve for some fruity flavor.

It is an easy dessert to make, but it does take some time as you will start with the crust and then the filling and the topping.

At the end of the process, you will be proud of the dessert you have made from scratch and you will definitely be happy that you have a delicious dessert to enjoy!

3. Chiacchiere

Chiacchiere Napoletane, or Crostoli, are Italian ribbon cookies that are often found at carnivals. They are light, crispy, and have you coming back for more.

The cookies are made by first creating a dough, which you can knead by hand or using a stand mixer. You then cut the dough and deep fry it, and once fried, you sprinkle powdered sugar on top!

You can eat these ribbon cookies hot or cold, they are delicious either way. The secret to the extra flavor in the deep-fried cookies is the addition of a liquor of your choice to the dough before it is fried.

Crispy, sweet, and reminiscent of carnival food, this is a great recipe to keep for special celebrations!

4. Italian Castagnole – Sweet Dough Balls

Castagnole are deep-fried or oven-baked donut holes that can be filled with custard or simply coated with some sweet sugar. These dough balls are sweet, aromatic, crunchy, and considerably easy to make!

The best bit is that this recipe is vegan, so many different diets get to enjoy the great taste of this traditional carnival food.

A basic recipe for castagnole includes flour, sugar, baking powder, citrus zest, anise powder, plant milk, white wine, oil, and vanilla extract. You can play around with different ingredients to find the flavor you like best.

5. Amaretti Cookies

Amaretti cookies are an Italian classic. The crispy, sweet outside and the chewy inside make for a light dessert or treat to enjoy with coffee in the afternoons.

These cookies have a distinctive almond flavor, thanks to the use of ground almonds and Amaretto liqueur!

Along with some egg whites, caster sugar, vanilla extract, and some powdered sugar for dusting, amaretti cookies are simple enough to make!

The chewy almond biscuits are finished off by being rolled in a mix of caster sugar and powdered sugar for an extra dose of sweetness.

6. Tiramisu Layer Cake

Take your favorite Italian dessert and now change it into this decadent layer cake which is made with layers of vanilla cake topped with an espresso and Kahlua mixture.

This is placed between a tiramisu filling and some mascarpone buttercream—what more could you ask for?

This is a great cake to make for a birthday when you want something a little different, and if the birthday cake is for someone who loves Italian desserts!

The cake does take a little bit of skill to make, but by just following the recipe you should be able to get it baked perfectly.

7. Italian Rainbow Cookies 

These Italian rainbow cookies are a bit of a process to make, but the recipe is easy enough and you don’t need any special culinary skills to put it all together.

Even though they are made up of layers of colors, there are minimal ingredients needed to make these rainbow cookies. You just need some eggs, sugar, almond paste, butter, salt, raspberry preserve, semi-sweet chocolate, and food coloring.

Layers of green, white, and pink are topped and finished off with melted chocolate on either side, making for the perfect bite-sized cookie, with almond, chocolate, and raspberry flavors all wrapped into one.

8. Creamy Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

This creamy ricotta cheesecake makes for a rich, creamy dessert that can be made ahead of time! It is a baked cheesecake made with both ricotta and cream cheese, giving it a delicious creamy taste and a dense texture.

The cheesecake is made with a graham cracker crust and is best when topped with a fresh berry sauce (which you can make yourself), some whole berries, and some sprigs of mint.

However, if you prefer a different topping, the recipe allows for it, so you can get creative with different flavors and toppings, keeping with the creamy and rich ricotta and cream cheese base.

9. Italian Christmas Cookies

These classic Italian Christmas cookies are cakey, tender, and have the perfect level of sweetness. They make for the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie display and are also wonderful served all year round!

Made with almond extract, the cookies are delicious and aromatic and are finished off with light sugary icing and colorful sprinkles.

All you need is a few simple baking ingredients and some time in the kitchen to get baking, and you will have nostalgic Christmas cookies baked soon enough!

10. Italian Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cake

Ricotta is such a versatile ingredient, and other than being used for savory dishes, it is the perfect ingredient to use to make a rich, moist cake.

This Italian chocolate chip ricotta cake is a favorite among many and holds enough flavor and moisture to not need any icing or glaze, it just needs to be finished off with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

The cake can be enjoyed all day long, as it isn’t too sweet, but still with the chocolate chips which make it taste like such a treat!

11. Homemade Cannoli

Who doesn’t love cannoli? Now you don’t have to wait to visit an Italian bakery to enjoy the amazing flavors and textures of cannoli, and instead, use this recipe to make your own at home!

This recipe does take some time and patience, but once you have finished, you would have learned some new skills in the kitchen and you can definitely show off with your new cannoli-making skills (or keep them all for yourself to enjoy!)

The filling of the cannoli consists of heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon and orange zest, and optional pistachio flavoring.

The shells are crisp and hard, and the inside is creamy and full of flavor!

12. Homemade Ladyfingers

Ladyfingers are an iconic Italian biscuit. They are absolutely delicious enjoyed on their own, and they make great (and essential) additions to many Italian recipes.

If you want to avoid purchasing ladyfingers from the store and instead make your own, this recipe is the best one to try!

You simply need some eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, cream of tartar, cornstarch, and salt to make these tasty biscuits. Once done, sprinkle with some granulated sugar for extra sweetness and crunch!

13. Bomboloni Italian Donuts

Bomboloni are Italian donuts that are filled with an Italian pastry cream (crema pasticciera) and rolled in sugar. They are ridiculously delicious and are the perfect afternoon or after-dinner treat.

You only need simple pantry ingredients to make these donuts which are packed with flavor. The ingredient list includes flour, eggs, butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, yeast, salt, and pastry cream.

You make the dough from scratch, allow it to rise, roll it out, cut to shape, and fry. Once fried, you fill the donuts with homemade cream and that’s it! Take a bit and enjoy the doughy goodness and the rich, creamy filling.

14. Italian Pistachio Ricotta Crostata

Italian Pistachio Ricotta Crostata is a sophisticated dessert that is sure to wow dinner party guests (or just to serve as a special treat to yourself)!

It is a creamy, delicious pie that is made with a ricotta cheese filling and chopped pistachios. It is the perfect balance of creamy and nutty.

You prepare the dough from scratch, refrigerate it for 30 mins, and in the meantime make the ricotta filling using ricotta, vanilla, egg, sugar, and cream. The pistachios are then folded in for extra flavor and crunch.

To get creative, you can use leftover dough to make a lattice topping, and then bake the pie until golden brown.

15. Zuccotto

Zuccotto is a creamy Italian dessert cake that is made in the shape of a dome or a pumpkin, which is where it gets its name from!

There are three layers in the cake, and it is topped off with a delicious frosting. The layers hold flavors of liqueur (your choice), chocolate, espresso, and amazing Italian pastry cream.

The cake might seem quite intimidating to make, but if you follow the recipe it really isn’t all that hard, and it is a cake that you will definitely be proud to make!

16. Cannoli Cake

Can’t decide between cannoli and cake for dessert? Why not combine the two to make this amazing cannoli cake!

This cannoli cake recipe can be made from scratch. It is an Italian cake with a cannoli filling, consisting of easy-to-source ingredients such as ricotta, mascarpone, orange zest, and chocolate chips.

You can also play around with different flavors to make a cannoli cake that suits your tastes best, and include as many layers of sponge and cannoli filling as you want.

Use predominantly chocolate or pistachio—you are free to choose the flavors you love best!

17. Italian Cream Cake

An Italian cream cake is an essential Italian dessert, and having one in your recipe inventory will see to birthdays and other celebrations having the best cake possible!

The cream cake has a rich thick pecan and coconut-filled batter with a delicious cream cheese frosting. It is a beautiful traditional cake that will be devoured in minutes.

Italian cream cakes might seem intimidating to make at first, but they are actually fairly easy to put together if you follow the recipe properly, and put in a little extra effort to really make the coconut and pecan nuts pop with flavor!

18. Italian Cream Filled Pastries

This Italian cream-filled puff pastry square recipe was born in southern Italy, and it is as good as fast and easy desserts can get!

Also known as sporcamuss, this delicious flaky puff pastry is filled with Italian cream and then dusted with icing sugar.

To cut out too much fuss, you can use store-bought puff pastry, and just cut it into squares and make the Italian cream from scratch to fill the squares with.

This is the perfect quick dessert or treat to make on a weekend afternoon, and it works great when packed for a picnic as well. 

Sprinkled with some powdered sugar, these sweet and creamy pastries are sure to be a favorite in your family.

19. Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti Recipe

Take your biscotti to the next level with this chocolate pistachio biscotti recipe. Everyone loves a good biscotti, but topped with chocolate and pistachios (not to mention the pistachios in the biscuit itself) it is nutty, rich, and oh-so-delicious!

Different from traditional biscotti, these are slightly softer and easier to bite into. They are super easy to make, loaded with flavors, and are not too dry either.

Make these near Christmas time as the perfect festive treat, and you can also wrap them up and gift them during the festive season too.

20. Lemon Ricotta Cake

Sometimes the simplest dessert recipes are the best, and this lemon ricotta cake really proves that!

It is the perfect light dessert or cake for afternoon tea, and the best part is that it can be made in one bowl! Once baked, it has a decadent light and fluffy texture, with the citrus notes of the lemon and the creaminess from the ricotta.

The tanginess of the cake makes for a great after-dinner treat, as it is refreshing and light, which is great after a heavy meal. To add to the flavor, you can top the cake with berry sauce or some lemon curd and whipped cream.

21. Easter Rice Pie

This Easter rice pie is a traditional dessert in many Italian homes, and like many Italian dessert recipes, it is simple and not too sweet, but this makes it all the more decadent.

When baked, the rice settles to the bottom of the pie and leaves a custard-like layer on the top. Served with some whipped cream on top, this is the perfect Easter time recipe that only needs a few simple pantry ingredients to make!

22. Cannoli Dip

If you have decided to make some Italian cookies, there is no reason you shouldn’t make some cannoli dip to enjoy them with!

To make this dip you will need cream cheese, ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, almond extract, lemon zest, and chocolate chips. Italian biscuits or waffle cones are the perfect things to dip into this cannoli creation.

Once made, the dip can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days for you to enjoy!

23. Italian Pastry Cream

Many Italian desserts call for Italian pastry cream, so it is definitely something you should learn to make if you plan to include Italian desserts in your meal plan going forward!

This recipe shows you how to make Italian pastry cream in just 10 minutes. It can be used to fill donuts, pastries, layered in a cake and so much more.

You can also adjust yours to be more citrusy or with different flavors depending on what you prefer!

24. Italian Fig Cookies

These Italian fig cookies are flavorful, moist, and beautifully tender. The dried fig and hints of citrus give the cookies a fresh taste, while still being perfectly spiced to make for a great Christmas cookie.

Filled cookies seem hard to make, but these are not difficult to put together at all, and you will really be happy you went through with the process! 

25. Strawberry Tiramisu

Tiramisu might be a classic Italian dessert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a twist on it!

This strawberry tiramisu recipe is a refreshing no-bake summer dessert which is made with fresh strawberries.

It is wonderfully easy to prepare and turns out to be a refreshing, creamy, and fruity dessert that is perfect for the warmer months. It features the perfect balance of sourness and sweetness that will do great at any gathering.

26. Italian Lemon Pound Cake

This Italian lemon pound cake is wonderfully simple and so tasty, and has a moist texture and refreshing citrus flavors that will keep you coming back for more.

The cake isn’t too sour and it isn’t too sweet, and you can change and adapt the recipe to have it fit perfectly to your tastes.

When making this cake, it is a good idea to make it the day before as it tastes even better the next day!

27. Italian Lemon Stuffed Cookies

These Italian lemon stuffed cookies will be your guilty pleasure in no time! It is a simple dough filled with lemon Italian pastry cream and then baked.

Biting through the biscuit crust will get you through to the rich, creamy, zesty filling, and there is no way you won’t be going back for seconds!

To top them off, you can dust them with some powdered sugar or a lemon glaze for extra sweetness and flavor!

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