If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Italian recipes is decadent plates of spaghetti and meatballs, thin-crust pizza, or heaping piles of caprese salad, you're probably not alone. Italian appetizers and entree recipes are some of the most beloved in the world. Just think: You can't really go anywhere in the world without there being a pizza and pasta shop around the corner. But Italian desserts deserve some love, too, because they're just as delicious. From classic recipes like coffee-filled tiramisu to slightly lesser-known delicacies like panna cotta and anise cookies, Italian desserts really offer something for everyone.
So next time you're planning a pasta night or a make-your-own-pizza evening, round out the night with one of the below Italian desserts, too. It'll help you explore complementary flavor profiles and give you the excuse to whip up a sweet treat in the kitchen just because. Worried the desserts will be too complicated? Don't be! Most Italian desserts are surprisingly simple to make, and some of these are simply Italian twists on more classic, basic recipes. In other words, no matter what your level of comfort is in the kitchen or baking aisle, these 24 recipes are ones that you can tackle confidently.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Roasted Rhubarb
Panna cotta is a delicious, creamy dessert that is classically Italian. Combining it with toasty, sweet roasted rhubarb gives it a new, modern twist.
Italian Anise Cookies
Put a spin on traditional butter cookies with this Italian favorite that's made with anise extract in the batter as well as in the powdered sugar-based glaze, and topped with crunchy nonpareils.
Tiramisu, the darling of Italian desserts, is always a crowd pleaser. This version speeds things up by alternating layers of premade ladyfingers, coffee liqueur, and ready-made cheesecake filling, which is all finished off with a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder.
There's nothing boring about these brilliant-colored cookies, decked in red, green, and brown stripes (flavored with raspberry, almond, and chocolate-vanilla, respectively) and dipped in white chocolate.
Neapolitan Honey Balls
These deep-fried dough balls are drenched in honey and sprinkled with nonpareils and candied orange peel. The golden brown treats pack more flavor than expected, thanks to orange zest in the mix.
Strawberry Panna Cotta
This strawberry and sugar panna cotta is a delicious gelatin-like treat. Top this dish off with strawberry sauce for extra flavor.
Combine a classic dessert with a popular fruit to create this sweet treat. Just fold the berry and almond extract into the ricotta mixture and pipe the filling into the cones before garnishing.
Ginger and lemon are a match made in culinary heaven in this dessert. Garnish the treat with sugared lemon slices to heighten the presentation.
Raspberry Ricotta Fool
Raspberry isn't the only fruity flavor you'll taste here—orange peel and orange juice complete this treat that's ready in just 20 minutes.
Matcha Panna Cotta
You've never had a panna cotta quite like this. Combining maple syrup, matcha tea powder, and heavy cream, this dish is as tasty as it is beautiful.
Get the recipe at The Pioneer Woman.
This chocolate-dipped mocha cannoli will truly make you exclaim, "Holy Cannoli!" From presentation to flavor, this dessert would be a hit at any office party or potluck.
Get the recipe at The Pioneer Woman.
Italian Ricotta Cookies
If putting cheese in a cookie sounds a bit odd, don't let this cookie scare you. These treats taste more like sugar cookies, making them oh so yummy.
Limoncello No-Bake Cheesecake
The classic Italian drink takes on a new (and extra tasty) life in this pastry. Even better, the recipe has just four steps!
Olivia Muenter is a freelance writer and former fashion and beauty editor who writes about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, relationships, travel, home decor, and more for Woman's Day and beyond. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Refinery 29, Glamour, Byrdie, Apartment Therapy, Philadelphia Magazine, and more. When she's not reading (or talking about reading on Bad on Paper, the bookish podcast she co-hosts), you can find Olivia working on her first novel, curating the perfect playlist, or shopping online.
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