Easy Italian Panettone

Anthony-Masterson / Getty Images
Prep: 4 hrs
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 4 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
133 Calories
7g Fat
16g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 133
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 178mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 3g
Calcium 26mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Panettone (roughly translated as "big bread") is a delicious Italian holiday fruitcake that in its original version is rather labor-intensive—it requires up to 36 hours of proofing, not counting the mother dough (starter) which ferments for several days.

This version takes less than 5 hours, with just one rising period. Its wonderful buttery and sweet citrus flavor are simply irresistible, not to mention that it's filled with raisins and optional nuts.

It might seem like a big cake but trust us, it won't last long on your kitchen counter. Eat it the Italian way with a glass of Moscato or Spumante, and you'll be in panettone heaven.


  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Sift all the flour and set aside. This process will get rid of small particles and will air the flour for a nicer rise.

  3. In a small-sized pot, heat the milk on low heat until it's warm to the touch, about 100 F. Remove from heat.

  4. Stir the yeast into the milk and add 1 cup flour. Mix well and set aside, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.

  5. In the bowl of a large food processor, place the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, yolks, vanilla, orange juice, and orange and lemon zest. Pulse until the butter is mixed in and broken up and the mixture looks curdled.

  6. After 20 minutes, add the yeast mixture to the food processor and pulse briefly.

  7. Add the remaining flour, one cup at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to come together.

  8. Pour the dough (it will be sticky and wet) onto a lightly floured counter and sprinkle nuts, if using, and raisins on top. Use a dough scraper or a large spatula to fold and knead the dough, adding a little extra flour if necessary, until dough is well mixed and smooth, but still sticky.

  9. Shape the dough into a ball using floured hands, and place it inside a 6- to 7-inch diameter panettone mold, bread pan, or coffee can.

  10. Brush the top of the dough with melted butter and then place it in a warm place to rise for 3 to 4 hours until it is almost doubled in size.

  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. With a very sharp knife, make a cross-shaped cut on top of your dough, and then brush it with a beaten egg.

  12. Bake the panettone until it has risen, is golden brown, and sounds slightly hollow when you tap on it gently, approximately 40 minutes.

  13. Remove from oven and let cool off a little on a cooling rack without unmolding it.

  14. Unmold and drizzle with glaze if desired.

  15. Cut in slices and serve warm with softened unsalted butter on the side.

  16. Enjoy!

Baking in a Coffee Can

Panettone has a signature round and tall shape. If you don't have the appropriate baking pan, follow these steps to make your own using a medium-to-large sized empty coffee can:

  • Empty can and store coffee in a Tupperware.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the coffee can.
  • Trace the bottom of the can on parchment paper, cut and place paper circle inside of the coffee can.
  • Cut a rectangle of parchment paper as tall as the coffee can. Cover the inside of the can for baking.
  • Use lined can to bake panettone.
  • Once done, let the bread cool inside.
  • If you're making panettone for a gift, decorate the can with colorful paper and string.

Panettone as a Gift

Panettone makes a great gift for the holidays; here are some ideas:

  • Small individual panettones wrapped in colorful paper or with a Christmas bow are always a nice thought for co-workers or neighbors. Use artfully arranged parchment paper, bread pans, or coffee cans for your presentation.
  • Write in icing the name of the person you're giving the cake to, or dust with powdered sugar before wrapping for a quick and easy decoration.
  • Find the proper paper panettone cups online or at a specialty baking store to bake within. This will give the cake a more elegant look and will add to the holiday appearance.

Panettone Glazes

You can glaze your cake for a beautiful presentation with a simple glaze:

  • Citrus: Combine in a bowl 2 cups of powdered sugar with 4 to 6 tablespoons of lime juice (orange works well, too). Mix vigorously and use immediately on top of your warm panettone.
  • Vanilla: Combine in a bowl 2 cups of powdered sugar with 4 tablespoons of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. If your glaze seems too thick, use more milk, 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Mix vigorously and use immediately on top of your warm panettone.
  • Almond: Combine in a bowl 2 cups of powdered sugar with 3 to 4 tablespoons of whole milk, 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 tablespoon of almond extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix vigorously and use immediately on top of your warm panettone.
  • Decorations: Use edible flowers and candied citrus peels to place on top of the glaze.