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The 13 tastiest Italian desserts

The best Italian desserts
The best Italian desserts

Everyone knows tiramisu, of course. But there are many more delicious Italian desserts and many that are easy to make in your own kitchen. Here are 13 Italian desserts that will make you want to make room in your stomach after a lavish dinner.


Tiramisu: Italian desserts
Tiramisu: the king of Italian desserts (photo: Pixabay)

Okay, we can't get around it. That's why we kick the open door with perhaps the most famous Italian dessert: tiramisu, the tasty combination of lady fingers, mascarpone and espresso coffee.

Tiramisu literally means 'lift me up' and was originally intended to give the sick and infirm a pick-me-up.

Today there are many different variants of the original recipe, such as the tiramisu al limoncello† Italians are proud of it and that even leads to political disputes.

Hmmm, our mouths are watering again.

2. Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is often on the menu of restaurants because it is so tasty and easy to make (photo: Pixabay)

This Italian dessert is also a real classic. With few ingredients and little effort you can make something that is incredibly tasty.

It also looks chic on the restaurant's menu: panna cotta† But the literal translation is boiled cream and this Italian dessert is really not much more than that, supplemented with gelatin, sugar, milk and some vanilla.

Combines well with some fresh red fruit in the summer or with a caramel or chocolate sauce in the winter. Once you get started with panna cotta, you can try many different variations.

3. Semifreddo

You can also combine semifreddo with fresh fruit (photo: Wikimedia)

Another typical Italian dessert. Semifreddo means 'half frozen' and that is exactly what it is. Not ice cream, but a kind of frozen mousse that you can make without an ice cream machine. Also delicious as a snack on hot days.

The recipe for a You can find semifreddo with pistachio flavor here.

4. Limoncello Cheesecake

Limoncello cheesecake: a finger-licking dessert (Image: YouTube)

A limoncello after dinner is a real Italian digestif. If you don't like the strong alcoholic taste of limoncello, but like cheesecake, then a limoncello cheesecake for dessert is a must.

Limoncello cheesecake is not difficult to make and is guaranteed to get you compliments at the table.

Here you will find a recipe.

5. Cream caramel

Mamma mia! This is the crème caramel (image: YouTube)

With its creamy and refined taste, the Italian crème caramel is a dessert that can count on appreciation all over the world!

As with the Italian panna cotta, you can make the crème caramel without adding gelatin or starch. The eggs will thicken the mixture and cooking it gently will give it its smooth and compact texture.

You can easily combine the result with whipped cream or fresh fruit. Enjoy how the crème caramel melts on your tongue!

Francesca has a delicious recipe for you.


sicilian cannoli - italian desserts
Sicilian cannoli (photo: Wikimedia)

'Leave the gun, take the cannoli† Well, then you know how important this Sicilian delicacy is.

These sugary rolls aren't for everyone, but if you love them, you'll love them for dessert.

This is of course not a light fare, so you may want to adjust the main course accordingly.

A great recipe for real Sicilian cannoli you can find here.

7. Zabaglione

The tastiest and easiest Italian dessert is perhaps zabaglione (image: YouTube)

Zabaglione is a light Italian dessert of beaten egg yolks, sugar and marsala. If you have the following at home, you can get started right away.

For 4 people

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50 grams fine granulated sugar
  • 120 ml sweet marsala

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a heatproof bowl until light and fluffy. Then stir in the drink little by little.

Then place the bowl on a pan that is boiling over a low heat. The mixture will now rise. Keep beating and don't let it boil. It is good if the volume has become twice as large.

You can also replace the marsala wine with vin santo, port, dry white wine or sherry, depending on your taste.

You can serve this classic dessert lukewarm, immediately after preparation or let it cool in the fridge first.

By the way, with zabaglione also the bomb created that popular Italian winter sports cocktail.

8. Sorbetto al lemone

Sorbetto al limone - Italian desserts
Sorbetto al limone: serve something special on the table (image: YouTube)

In Italy you buy the lemon sorbet (lemon sorbet) ready-to-use in a package from the supermarket. Just add water, freeze and you're done.

But you can also work just that little bit harder, for example in combination with a shot of limoncello and a hollowed-out, frozen lemon half.

Here's a simple recipe for a real Italian lemon sorbet:


  • 300 grams fine granulated sugar
  • 250 ml lemon juice
  • 100 ml limoncello
  • 500 ml water
  • 6 to 8 lemon halves, hollowed out and frozen
  • A dash of lemon zest


Heat the granulated sugar and 350 ml water in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring the sugar water to a boil and let it boil for another 2 minutes. Then let it cool down completely.

Add the lemon juice, limoncello and 150 ml water to the sugar syrup. Stir together.

Then freeze the mixture in a metal container or bowl. In the meantime (for example every 2 hours) you break the ice crystals with a fork, until you have the fine texture of a sorbet.

De lemon sorbet then serve in the frozen lemon halves and garnish with a slice of lemon or some lemon zest.


Italian ice cream - Italian desserts
Gelato, certo! (pxhere)

Hello Captain Obvious! Do we really need to include the original Italian scoop ice cream in this list of Italian desserts? Yes of course. Because what would this list be without real Italian ice cream, aka gelato.

You can almost always get a scoop of Italian ice cream at an Italian restaurant (classic flavors such as stracciatella, pistachio, malaga, lemon, hazelnut or something special?), which is always a tasty and fresh end to your Italian meal.

10. Fresh Fruit

Just a piece of fruit for dessert, that's also possible (photo: PxHere)

Italians often eat a piece of fresh fruit for dessert. An apple, an orange or a banana to sink your teeth into for a tasty finish. It couldn't be easier!

11. Cake!

Italian recipe - torta Santa Pallastra - 3
Torta Santa Pallastra, one of those delicious Italian cakes that you can eat for dessert (photo: Lotje Lomme)

Italians even eat cake at the breakfast, so why not after dinner too? With a good cake you fill those last holes nicely. And that trouser button had to open anyway, so who cares?

There are many types of Italian cakes. From a classic apple pie or a torta al cioccalato to a typical Italian pie or a pastiera.

De 10 tastiest Italian cakes with accompanying recipes we have listed it here for you.

12. Espresso, what else?

a nice espresso for dessert
A nice espresso for dessert (photo: Unsplash)

You don't necessarily have to end your meal with an Italian dessert. It is also very Italian to just take a nice espresso. It also saves a lot of calories!

13. Affogato

affogato: the dessert you won't say 'no' to (photo: Unsplash)

Still in need of something more than just an espresso? The drown is the perfect dessert for ice cream and coffee lovers. You 'drown' a scoop of vanilla or hazelnut ice cream (or both) in the espresso.

It is now the intention that you drink the coffee instead of spooning out the ice.

And, what do you think is the best Italian dessert? Have we missed any Italian desserts that definitely belong in this list?

Also check this out easy Italian side dishes and this one finger licking appetizers.

Written by This Is Italy

Benvenuto su This is Italy! This is Italy is a web magazine aimed at lovers of the country. We are too. We have been coming to Italy several times a year for almost 25 years to enjoy la dolce vita, good food, the Italian language and 'made in Italy'. On you will find Italy news, fun stories, facts, tips, recipes, travel tips, must-sees and everything more about Italy. Your Italy tips are also welcome!


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