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30 Authentic Italian Dessert Recipes

The Italian food adventure is an endless journey, and one of the best parts of this journey definitely includes Italian dessert recipes!

Italian cuisine is distinguished worldwide for the recipes our grandmothers and mothers have handed down from generation to generation for decades.

Some of the best parts of these recipes that have been handed down are definitely the sweeter recipes!

Italian dessert recipes

So, if you are looking for a few ideas to make an authentic Italian dessert, the Italian recipes below are exactly what you need. 

There are so many unique recipes from every different region in Italy when it comes to desserts.

What are my favorite Italian desserts?

Two of my absolute favorites are tiramisu and cannoli – they never fail to remind me of home.

Tiramisu’s rich coffee flavor and light mascarpone cream is always my favorite easy dessert, while cannoli are the ultimate sweet treat with crispy pastry shells filled with sweet ricotta cheese.

30 easy Italian dessert recipes

I have included ones that I, as an Italian, feel are worthy to be called authentic Italian desserts!

So, below are the 30 best Italian dessert recipes that I personally love!

#1 authentic tiramisu

Tiramisu is the most popular Italian dessert that combines layers of ladyfingers soaked in coffee, creamy mascarpone cheese, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

This treat is perfect for those who crave a balance of sweetness and a hint of bitterness.

With its velvety texture and rich flavors, tiramisu is a beloved dessert that never fails to impress.

#2 Chocolate Caramel Affogato 

If you’re a coffee lover, the Chocolate Caramel Affogato is a dessert you shouldn’t miss.

Be sure to enjoy it before the gelato melts completely!

#3 Zuccotto: A Creamy Italian Dessert Cake

Zuccotto is a delightful Italian dessert cake that originated in Florence.

This dome-shaped cake is made by layering slices of sponge cake with a rich filling of whipped cream, chocolate, and nuts.

#4 Cherry Panna Cotta

Cherry Panna Cotta takes this traditional dessert to new heights by infusing it with the sweet and tangy flavors of fresh cherries. 

Panna cotta translates to “cooked cream” in Italian, highlighting its simple ingredients.

#5 Classic Italian Cream Custard (Zabaglione)

Made with just eggs, sugar, and Marsala wine, zabaglione is a decadent Italian dessert that’s surprisingly simple to prepare.

I like to serve it still warm in small glasses with crisp biscotti – the perfect ending to any meal. 

#6 Chocolate Genoise Sponge Cake Recipe

If you’re a chocolate lover, then the Italian cream cake is a must-try dessert.

I like to fill mine with fresh berries for an extra element of flavor. 

#7 Ricotta Cake

#8 Lemon Ricotta cake

For a refreshing twist on the classic Ricotta Cake, try the Lemon Ricotta Cake.

 I sometimes like to add a drizzle of limoncello syrup for an extra kick of lemony freshness. 

#9 homemade cannoli

As a proud Sicilian, cannoli holds a very special place in my heart as one of the best desserts ever created!

Crisp pastry tubes are filled with sweet ricotta filling, candied citrus, or chocolate chips.

I remember helping my nonna make them from scratch, from rolling the dough to filling the cannoli shells.

Cannoli transported me straight back to my childhood in Sicily.

#10 Italian Cream Puffs With Custard Filling

Light and airy on the inside with a crispy shell, they’re a special treat to serve with afternoon cappuccino.

I like to fill mine with homemade Italian pastry cream for maximum flavor and indulge in at least two – they’re just too good to stop at one!

#11 Pastiera Napoletana Recipe

Pastiera is a traditional Neapolitan tart eaten during Easter. Its wheat berries, ricotta, and citrus zest base have a unique, slightly nutty flavor.

I top mine with a dusting of powdered sugar to let the flavors really shine.

#12 Classic Italian Crostata (Italian Pie)

For a classic Italian dessert, you can’t go past a crostata.

Buttery, flaky pastry is filled with seasonal fruit and baked until golden. I love using mixed berries in summer and apples in fall.

A light dusting of powdered sugar finishes it off perfectly.

Crostata is so versatile – enjoy a slice with an afternoon espresso, or pack one for a picnic.

#13 Babá

Originating in Naples, babá is a light and airy yeast cake soaked in rum.

Its soft, fluffy crumb truly melts in the mouth. I like to serve it simply dusted with powdered sugar so its subtle flavors can really shine.

Babá is the perfect ending to any meal, especially in the warmer months when you want something refreshing rather than heavy.

#14 Italian Mimosa Cake

Mimosa cake is a layered sponge cake with a light, mousse-like filling of mascarpone, pastry cream, and liqueur.

Bright yellow like the flower, it’s a beautiful centerpiece for any celebration table.

#15 Torrone

Made with honey, nuts, egg whites, and spices, its texture is chewy yet crisp.

I prefer the classic version layered with almonds but have been known to indulge in variations like chocolate, too! Torrone is the perfect treat to nibble on with after-dinner espresso or serve with panettone.

It really gets me in the festive holiday season.

More popular italian desserts

#16 Chocolate Salami 

Chocolate salami might sound strange, but it tastes absolutely divine! Cocoa powder, butter, sugar, and nuts are rolled into logs and chilled to resemble salami.

Sliced and served, its texture is rich yet crumbly. I like to pair it with a hot cup of tea for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Chocolate salami is such a unique treat – you won’t want to stop at just one slice!

#17 Italian Pear Almond Cake

This moist pear and almond cake has such a lovely aroma and flavor.

Fresh pears are baked into the batter, their juices mingling with the subtle notes of almond extract.

I like to serve it warm with a scoop of gelato.

#18 Panforte with Chocolate, Hazelnuts and Cherries

Originally from Siena, panforte is a chewy, fruit-studded cake with hints of spice. I like to make a batch and enjoy it over a few weeks.

This dark chocolate version with dried cherries would be just perfect with espresso!

#19 Italian Pistachio Cake 

Pistachio cake is one of my all-time favorites.

Fresh pistachio paste mixed into the tender vanilla batter results in a subtle yet vibrant green hue.

like to top mine with a cloud-like mascarpone frosting infused with just a hint of almond. 


 Made with fresh apples, this apple cake is light, moist, not too sweet, and looks pretty on top.

Make it all in one bowl with just 6 main ingredients and 15 minutes of hands-on time!


Get into the festive spirit and prepare to dive into a world of pure decadence with this quick cassata ice cream recipe, perfect for a Christmas treat!

It’s a shortcut recipe that still captures the essence of this famous Sicilian ice cream cake in a snap, making it a beautiful addition to your holiday celebrations.

#22 Italian Cannoli Cake Roll

This creative dessert combines everyone’s favorite cannoli flavors into a delicious cake roll.

The sponge cake is layered with a sweet ricotta filling dotted with chocolate chips and zest, then tightly rolled up. 

I love serving it for special occasions when I want something a bit different from the usual cakes.

#23 Torta Caprese

Torta Caprese hails from the beautiful island of Capri, and dreams are made of its light, moist crumb.

I like to pair it with an evening espresso, as its subtle flavors truly shine that way.


In autumn, chestnut cake, castagnaccio, is a staple in Tuscan homes.

Dense hearty, its crumb is flecked with nuts, dried fruit, and rosemary. I love its earthy, rustic flavor profile.


Limoncello Sorbet is a tangy and refreshing frozen dessert.

It’s a perfect palate cleanser or a light and refreshing treat on a hot summer day.


Take classic cannoli to nuanced new heights by filling the crispy pastry shells with a light pistachio cream instead of the usual ricotta.

The vibrant green color and intense nutty notes make these a perfect dessert for dinner parties.

#27 Italian Paradise Cake / Torta Paradiso

This light-air sponge cake truly lives up to its name. Its melt-in-your-mouth texture is simply divine.

I like to serve small slices so guests can really savor each bite. 

#28 Italian Rice Pie (Pastiera di Riso)

Pastiera is a specialty of Naples traditionally served at Easter.

It’s a sweet, saffron-scented ricotta custard baked in a crust of wheat berries, rice, eggs, and citrus zest.

 Its rice, ricotta, lemon or orange zest base, and spices have such a unique aroma.

#29 Limoncello Tiramisu

A classic tiramisu gets modern twists with limoncello.

Soaked ladyfingers are layered with a light mascarpone cream spiked with the bright citrus liqueur. Its zesty flavor cuts through the richness perfectly.

I like to serve it in pretty glass jars for a dressed-up presentation. 

#30 Easy classic pizzelle recipe

Pizzelle are Italian anise-flavored wafer cookies traditionally made using a pizzelle iron.

This simple recipe results in the lightest, most aromatic pizzelle.

Their anise and citrus notes transport me straight to the streets of Rome. Enjoy them freshly made or store them with afternoon coffee or gelato.


Italian dessert recipes

See also:

If you want delicious Italian cookies like Italian butter cookies, rainbow cookies, anise cookies, or wedding cookies, check this article with 22 of the best Italian cookie recipes.

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Tuesday 27th of February 2024

So much deliciousness, how pretty is that mimosa cake!!


Tuesday 27th of February 2024

These are the best Italian dessert recipes that I have ever come across! I want to make them all!!!!


Wednesday 21st of February 2024

So much here to love, it's tough to pick a favorite. I guess I'll just have to try them all!


Tuesday 20th of February 2024

There are so many delicious recipes I can't wait to make them!

Sandhya Ramakrishnan

Tuesday 20th of February 2024

I don’t even know where to begin trying out these delicious desserts! There is something for everyone. There are a few that I am hearing about for the first time. Can’t wait to try them.

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