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Italian Easter Bread

Buona Pasqua!  I've made this Easter bread for years for my kids. It's a sweet bread, made with milk and sugar and has an Easter Egg in the middle! There's a lot of Italian recipes for Easter breads, some are savory and some are sweet. This one is fun.

Italian Easter Bread

for a printer friendly recipe, click here
makes 6 individual loaves
  • 1 package Rapid Rise yeast
  • 1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3.5 cups flour (approximate)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • 6 dyed Easter eggs
  • sprinkles

tip: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs right out of the fridge, without hardboiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack!


In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook.   Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore.  Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends,  and loop into a circle.

Place on a greased baking sheet or line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.


** Note:  For an updated version of this bread, see my most recent Easter Bread post.  It's made with golden eggs and pearl sugar:

Another cute idea for Easter is making these Edible Egg Nests for your table:


 You might also like to try Italian Easter Torta (Torta Pasqualina): 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (171)

I probably won't be upstairs for a while mom, but I just wanted to let you know it was amazing.

I'm glad I got to come home now, I would hate to break my 19 year run on having this once a year.

March 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBMac

Wow, These look amazing! So glad I found your blog! I took a visit and I'll be back for sure!

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterProud Italian Cook


March 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe italian dish

I love these breads. How fun.
What a great tradition.

March 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary Coleman

My mom make those cakes too,every Easter, every year.
Then she present them to everyone she knows.
Sicerly, i don't like them so much...

June 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFabio

These look wonderful! So this recipe makes more of a sweet bread? Can you put something other than an egg in the center?

March 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

wow !! they are very nice !! good job .. they saved my project ...

March 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Va bene! But no anise seed? What region of Italy is this recipe from?

March 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

mmm! these look prettier than the loaves i grew up with! i like the mini-size--sooo cute!

QUESTION: i would like to make them for gifts. do you think they would travel unrefrigerated for a couple days or spoil?

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterflappergirl425

Flappergirl: I made them once to send to my nephews and I wrapped them tightly with plastic wrap and they were great when they got there. However, tell the recipient not to eat the egg. It will probably be spoiled.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Italian Dish

Is there an Italian name for these breads?

April 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These individual Sweet Breads look Great!

April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

can i substitute the 1/3 cup of butter with margarine

April 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteritaliandiva567

Perfect recipe!
My family loved it!

April 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thank you. This Bread was not only declious,
but looked great with all the colors of Easter.
Made me very happy

April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

YUM. we will be making these!! thank you!

April 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessie Voigts

Love the pictures...and love the Easter Bread (which in my family we call Casatiello).

Happy Easter Everyone!

April 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Great bread. I make this every Holy Saturday with my mother and we make it in the shape of a cross. Everyone always loves it.

April 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What a beautiful bread! I need to find time to make this before Easter.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

I made this bread today and it came out good .It looks beautiful and tastes yummy !!!.Thanks for the recipe .


April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

so preeeettty!:)

April 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchocolatecup

In italian these are called "Pupa con l'uova" at least in Sicily.

April 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

i love these. my local guy makes them and the egg is not cooked through so when you peel them you can dip the sweet bread into the yoke. it is the perfect breakfast.

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercook eat FRET

Che cose?

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

italian diva567: I think you could substitute margarine, but why would you? Butter tastes better and is healthier than margarine.

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Italian Dish

we made this tonight - it is so yummy! thanks!

Calabrians call it Sguta. I called it "ah shoota" which the spelling is incorrect but the transaltion means dry.LOL. Grew up with it, always a tradtion.But never had the recipe.Thankyou I will try it and see if it tastes the same.Will have to ask an older relative if they use anise.

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCHRIS from Milford, PA

CEF: I wonder how he makes them so that they yolks are not cooked all the way through??
Anonymous: "Che cose?" Really?
Jesse and Chris : So glad you made them.

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Italian Dish

Just wanted to comment that I made these yesterday for Easter and they were superb. They tasted so similar to the Easter bread my grandmother used to make, which was exactly what I was hoping for!

Only change I made was using instant yeast instead of rapid rise, and a tad less sugar. Also, I refrigerated the shaped rolls after their first rise, and then took them out to finish rising in the morning (this took about 1 1/2 hours--I went back to bed!).

We had them for breakfast, spread with butter and nutella. So delicious! Thank you!

April 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Amanda: So glad you made them and liked them. I will have to remember the Nutella addition! That sounds great.

April 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Italian Dish

Just what I was looking for, they look just like the breads my mom used to make. Can't wait to try the recipe. Buon Pasqua!

April 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I baked these for Easter and just baked them again. My family loves them.

Great recipe.

Thank you for sharing it

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDolores

I found you looking for an Italian Easter bread recipe. And what a gorgeous one this is! Your blog is just lovely.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue

Thank you for posting the recipe. My mom and dad were from Calabrian and every Holy Thursday my mother was start the recipe and wake up early on Good Friday to bake them. Where my mom came from she called them "cosuppa".

Can't wait to try your recipe out, they look amazing.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm so glad you posted this recipe. My mom passed away this past July and this was one of my favorites. I will carry the tradition on. What a wonderful web site. Thank you!

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

What a delight to discover your blog! I recently have been trying to re-create some of the recipes that my Sicilian grandmother (from Catania) used to make. Of course, she never used written recipes, so your recipe for Easter Bread is a real find! I can't wait to try it! I plan to surprise my 85 year-old mother with this treat from her childhood.

Also, so interesting to see that we both share loves for cooking, painting and anything Italian. (My art is at

Thank you for sharing.
Buona Pasqua!

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

My mother made these every Easter in much larger quantities. She was from a small village outside Rome and they called them "umbigno" in Italian ( as best as I can spell what it sounded like). She added anise oil or anise extract. What do you think would be the right amount of extract to add? I was thinking 2 teaspoons.

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoretta

From The Italian Dish:

Deb: My mother went to school in Catania! Hope you like the Easter bread - ciao to your grandmother!

Loretta: I've never added anise to the dough for this, so I'm not sure what the quantity would be! Sorry I can't help you on that. I guess you will have to experiment a little!

March 21, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I love your blog site an this recipe. My parents and siblings are from Cefalu Sicily and I absolutely love traditional recipes. In response (and about 1 year late) to the anonymous entry that stated these are called Pupa con l'uova" In our family Pupa con l'uova is a sweet cookie flavored with orange, lemon, & vanilla extracts, shaped like bunnies or baskets, frosted with a yummy lemon-rum glaze & sprinked with non-perils. I wish I could put a picture here. Anyway it is really fun to read and share in other family traditions. Thanks so much!

March 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNanc y

hello, is it possible to refrigerate the dough, so that i can bake them in the morning?

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterashley

From The Italian Dish:

Ashley: You can make the dough, let it rise, punch it down and then stick it in the fridge, covered. The next day take it out and let it come to room temperature and then form your breads and let them do their second rising.

Hope this helps!

March 24, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

oh my kids would love these.. it's the first time I've heard of Easter bread, thanks for sharing..I hope I can make it as nice as you did but I'm no good at bread goodluck to me :)

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOlive

ok, thanks :) that helps a lot!!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterashley


March 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

A feast for the eyes.

March 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

Love this. I'm making these on Friday along with Pizzagaina. I love this recipe and the rings are so cute. My nana will love it. She's from Controne, Naples. :) Much love, Happy Easter!

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAGinzoGirl76

These look great! What do you use to dye your eggs? I am going to try these this Sunday.

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAimee

From The Italian Dish:

Aimee: I just used regular Easter Egg dye in those little dye kits you buy in the grocery store! Have fun!

March 31, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I love this recipe, but I cheated and made the dough in my bread machine - worked perfectly. Your recipes and photos are awesome, yum. Thank you for this site.

March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoralynnB

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