22 Italian-Inspired Desserts Worthy Of A Chef's Kiss

These Italian desserts are what dreams are made of. 🤌

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cuccidati cookie delish
Lucy schaeffer

Italians have perfected so many dishes: pasta, pizza, chicken cacciatore, osso buco... okay, we could go on (and on, and on). And Italian desserts are works of art all their own too. We don't know about you, but when it comes to holiday cookie exchanges, we can make a batch of Italian cookies magically *disappear*. These easy Italian dessert recipes don't just stop at tiramisu and cannoli either. Whether you fry up a decadent struffoli or a refreshing granita, your taste buds will feel like they've been transported straight to Sicily.

Italian desserts have such a beautiful range of flavors, there's something for everyone. We love nutty sesame cookies and pignoli cookies, fig-stuffed cuccidati cookies, and almond-flavored Italian rainbow cookies layered with fruity jams. If you love French macarons, we think you'll really love our amaretti cookies. And why not start your day with a biscotti? As far as we're concerned, there's truly no better way to begin or end a day than with our nutty peppermint chocolate biscotti and a shot of espresso.

We love taking classic Italian recipes and adding our own Delish flair to it. We took classic coffee- and rum-soaked tiramisu and added a bright zip of fruitiness in our raspberry tiramisu recipe. And if we can add cannoli flavor to something, we're absolutely going to do it. Which is why we love how easy it is to get our cannoli fix sans frying with a batch of cannoli chips and dip (as well as our cannoli cupcakes and cannoli cheesecake, naturally).

Lucy schaeffer
1 of 22

If Fig Newtons had a grown-up, glamorous sister, she would be cuccidati. Packed with a sticky-sweet, spiced fig filling and showered in rainbow sprinkles, these bite-sized Italian cookies are more than ready for a party. They’re traditionally made during the winter holidays, but to be honest, we think they’d be perfect for any celebration, any time of the year.

Get the Cuccidati recipe.

Ethan calabrese
2 of 22

Tiramisu is admittedly a bit of a process to make, but it's so worth it. Set yourself up for success by keeping your workspace as tidy as possible, particularly when dipping your ladyfingers in the rum and coffee.

Get the Tiramisu recipe.

best biscotti
Parker Feierbach
3 of 22
Perfect Biscotti

Unlike most cookies that form a dough that gets sliced or cut out, biscotti bakes in two oblong-shaped logs. They are made for dipping into coffee or another favorite hot drink. We think of them as an acceptable excuse to eat cookies for breakfast, but also love them as an afternoon and after-dinner treat. Clearly, we can eat them any time of day.

Get the Perfect Biscotti recipe.

sesame cookies
erik bernstein
4 of 22
Sesame Cookies

Sesame’s nutty flavors can pack a bitter undertone, which is why these sesame cookies use licorice-like anise and bright citrus zest to neutralize the earthiness for a more balanced flavor. Have some for a simple breakfast with a cup of espresso for the full experience!

Get the Sesame Cookies recipe.

granita delish
Lucy schaeffer
5 of 22

Hailing from Sicily, classic granita ranks among the most refreshing desserts ever, up there with snow cones and Popsicles. Simple to make and easily modified, it’s perfect on its own as a light palate cleanser or dressed up with whipped cream and toppings. This pineapple version is big on tropical flavors, with heavy notes of vanilla and toffee thanks to a splash of rum and a scoop of dark brown sugar.

Get the Granita recipe.

cannoli delishcom
Parker Feierbach
6 of 22

Italian bakeries have been serving up cannoli forever. The crispy shell and creamy sweet filling are nearly irresistible. Oftentimes, they come with mini chocolate chips or chopped pistachios or dipped in chocolate. No matter what topping you pick, they're a MAJOR treat. (It's why we couldn't stop ourselves from making cannoli cupcakes!)

Get the Cannoli recipe.

Erik bernstein
7 of 22

Affogato is a simple Italian dessert—just espresso poured over a scoop of gelato—but sometimes the easiest things require the most attention to detail. Affogato means “drowned” in Italian, but in reality you want enough gelato to keep things more sundae than soup. A shot of espresso is about 2 tablespoons, so 2 scoops of gelato will be enough to keep it above the liquid line. The ideal bite will have some cold gelato and a pool of warm espresso on the spoon.

Get the Affogato recipe.

Andrew bui
8 of 22

Zeppole are the perfect snack for serving with coffee for a midmorning pastry break, or serve with chocolate sauce for a more decadent dessert. In Italy, larger zeppole are often filled with pastry cream. For a take on that version, use a paring knife to poke a small hole in the side of the donut, then fill with pastry cream using a piping bag. (Use the filling recipe from these eclairs.)

Get the Zeppole recipe.

raspberry tiramisu
Joel Goldberg
9 of 22
Raspberry Tiramisu

We love a classic tiramisu and couldn’t imagine it getting much better—until raspberries entered the picture. We use a little orange liqueur instead of rum to amplify the bright flavors.

Get the Raspberry Tiramisu recipe.

amaretti cookies
Rachel vanni
10 of 22
Amaretti Cookies

If you like French macarons, you'll love this take on Italian amaretti cookies. Soft, pillowy, moist, sweet, and lightly scented with amaretto liqueur as well as citrus zests, amaretti is in our top 10 cookies of all time.

Get the Amaretti Cookies recipe.

cannoli chips  dip
Andrew bui
11 of 22
Cannoli Chips & Dip

A Sicilian favorite across the globe, cannoli are and will always be a dreamy delicacy. But in this version, it’s turned from a creamy ricotta-filled crispy shell to a chip and dip party favorite. The best part is that the shells won’t get soggy!

Get the Cannoli Chips & Dip recipe.

italian rainbow cookies
Lucy schaeffer
12 of 22
Italian Rainbow Cookies

In this Italian classic, almond-flavored cakes are sandwiched between chocolate with layers of raspberry and apricot jam. It's true these do take some patience, but we promise, it's VERY worth the effort.

Get the Italian Rainbow Cookies recipe.

perfect panna cotta
Lucy schaeffer
13 of 22
Perfect Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a cream-based Italian dessert that is set with gelatin, and any dessert that uses cream as the main dessert is a must-make in our books. This no-bake dessert is delicate, creamy, and all-around decadent.

Get the Perfect Panna Cotta recipe.

Lucy schaeffer
14 of 22

Struffoli are a traditional Neapolitan dessert served at Christmas. To make struffoli, little balls of dough are flavored with citrus zest and a splash of wine, deep-fried until crispy and light, and tossed in honey to sweeten the deal. As if this isn’t already enough of a delight, the balls then get shaped into a wreath (the honey comes into play again, helping everything stick together) and covered in rainbow nonpareil sprinkles.

Get the Struffoli recipe.

cannoli cookies
Andrew bui
15 of 22
Cannoli Cookies

If you love cannoli but making them from scratch seems daunting, let us introduce you to cannoli cookies. This cookie recipe has all of the flavors you love in a cannoli, like ricotta, orange zest, mini chocolate chips, and pistachios, but with a fraction of the effort. The result is a soft, cake-like cookie with flavors that are reminiscent of cannoli.

Get the Cannoli Cookies recipe.

pignoli cookies
Parker feierbach
16 of 22
Pignoli Cookies

This classic Italian cookie is perfect for the almond lovers in your life. You'll find this cookie in practically any Italian bakery, and it's commonly found throughout Southern Italy and Sicily. The treat is studded with "pignoli," Italian for pine nuts, and gets even more nutty flavor from a hefty amount of almond paste (our new favorite baking secret weapon).

Get the Pignoli Cookies recipe.

spumoni ice cream cake
suzanne clements
17 of 22
Spumoni Ice Cream Cake

Six pints of ice cream and magic shell to top it off? This ice cream cake, inspired by the classic Italian gelato flavor of pistachio, strawberry, and chocolate, is too good.

Get the Spumoni Ice Cream Cake recipe.

nutty peppermint chocolate biscotti
erik bernstein
18 of 22
Nutty Peppermint Chocolate Biscotti

If you'd prefer just almonds, our OG perfect biscotti recipe is the one to turn to, but if you're a believer in "more is more," this chocolate biscotti combines chocolate and peppermint with a medley of your favorite toasty nuts into a special treat that you can have all year round.

Get the Nutty Peppermint Chocolate Biscotti recipe.

italian ricotta cookies
Andrew bui
19 of 22
Italian Ricotta Cookies

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are an Italian classic and a breeze to make. What’s more fun than frosting? Sprinkles! You can adorn these cookies with any combination of sprinkles, whether for a celebration or just another Tuesday.

Get the Italian Ricotta Cookies recipe.

delish cannoli cheesecake
Ethan Calabrese
20 of 22
Cannoli Cheesecake

Studded with mini chocolate chips and topped with pieces of waffle cones, this Italian-inspired cheesecake tastes like an even richer version of your favorite cannoli.

Get the Cannoli Cheesecake recipe.

flourless chocolate cake
Parker feierbach
21 of 22
Flourless Chocolate Cake

The best part about this flourless cake is that it doesn't require any flour alternatives and is 100% gluten-free. Cocoa powder and eggs give it all the lift and structure it needs. Elegant and sleek, this is the cake we make the most whenever we're having dinner guests or need to throw together a quick and easy dessert for a party.

Get the Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe.

cannoli cupcakes
Parker feierbach
22 of 22
Cannoli Cupcakes

Let's be the real: The filling of the cannoli is the best part, and that's why these cupcakes are so amazing. If you love stuffed cupcakes, then you really need to try these ice cream stuffed cupcakes.

Get the Cannoli Cupcakes recipe.

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