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Italian Christmas Panettone Recipe

Panettone is the classic recipe for a proper Italian Christmas and the recipe for traditional panettone is one that every Italian, sooner or later, at least once in their life, try to prepare at home. It is a long and sometimes complex recipe but the satisfaction is really guaranteed. After all, the pandoro recipe also has the same fate!

Unlike pandoro, the panettone requires not only a very long leavening but also a post-cooking rest not indifferent; its heaviness, in fact, could make it fall on itself when cooked so it should be placed upside down on a pot and allowed to cool completely so that it does not lose shape and consistency.

The origins of the panettone are traced back to the city of Milan and specifically to the Chef Toni who found himself having to serve a Christmas dessert prepared only with flour, butter, eggs, candied fruit, and raisins during a noble lunch. Ludovico Il Moro, the landlord, was ecstatic and Toni improvised the name for this sweet bread, “‘l pan del Toni” or “Il pane del Toni” [Toni’s Bread] that over time became Panettone.


Apart from the amount of time requested, you need a stand mixer and a special mold. In addition, it is necessary to have a food thermometer and a panettone stopper at your fingertips, which are essential for checking the cooking of the panettone and allowing it to cool down. If you do not have a kitchen thermometer,  insert a clean wooden skewer into the center of the panettone and remove it. The panettone is ready if the skewer comes out clean.


Let’s now move onto the recipe: as you will see, the sugar doses are quite small. Usually, more sugar is used but I prefer that the panettone is not very sweet. You can increase the doses by 10 grams per single dough, if you prefer it sweeter. The traditional recipe of panettone requires the use of candied fruit but if you do not like them you can replace them with drops of dark chocolate.

Ingredients for a panettone (2.2 pounds – 1Kg)


    • 50 grams of Manitoba flour (2 ounces)
    • 5 grams of fresh yeast (0.18 ounces)
  • 30 grams of water (2 tablespoons)

For the aromas

  • 30 grams of honey (0.09 cups)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 spoon of Marsala
  • The grated peel of 1 untreated lemon
  • The grated peel of 1 untreated orange

First Dough

    • Poolish (see the method below)
    • 160 grams of Manitoba flour
    • 180 ml of lukewarm water
    • 100 grams of 00 flour
    • 100 grams of soft butter
    • 80 grams of sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Second Dough

    • 50 grams of Manitoba flour
    • 30 grams of All Purpose
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 40 grams of sugar
    • 25 grams of soft butter
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 150 grams of raisins
    • 40 grams of candied orange
  • 40 grams of candied cedar


  1.  The evening before preparing the pandoro, prepare the poolish by mixing all the ingredients (Manitoba flour, yeast, and water) until you’ll get a homogeneous loaf. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight;
  2. The evening before also mix all the ingredients for the aromatic mix and let them rest in a bowl;
  3. The day after, start the first dough for the panettone by kneading the poolish with flour then, always keeping the stand mixer at a low speed, adding one yolk at a time so that the liquid ingredients will be assimilated by the solids. Once the egg yolks are amalgamated, gradually add the sugar and butter and knead everything until a smooth paste is obtained;
  4. Leave the dough in the bowl of the machine after having given it the shape of a ball, then cover it with cling paper and put it to rise for a couple of hours in a hot oven with the light on or let it rise for 4-5 hours at room temperature. In both cases, the dough should double in volume;
  5. While the dough rises, put the raisins inside the water, squeeze it well after a few minutes and mix it with candied orange and citron;
  6. Once leavened, resume the dough and cover with the aromatic mix. Then add, always with the mixer at a medium-low speed, the flour gradually so that the first mixture will be able to absorb all the flour. Add the sugar gradually, the salt, the two egg yolks one at a time and always kneading and finally the butter. Turn off the mixer, widen the dough removing any remaining from the walls of the stand mixer and add raisins and candied fruit;
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a floured surface and make the folds to the dough, folding it first towards you and then from above to below. Then make a ball of smooth and compact dough;
  8. Place the dough in a bowl and let it rest for at least 1 hour under a cotton rag;
  9. After the hour, resume the dough, practice again the folds as done earlier and lay the dough inside the mold. Place the mold inside the oven with the light on and let the panettone rise for 6-8 hours or let it rise at room temperature for 8-10 hours. In this case, the leavening will be completed when the dough has reached 2-3 cm from the edge of the mold;
  10. Slightly incise the surface of the panettone with two perpendicular cuts to form a cross and place a few small pieces of butter on the cuts;
  11. Bake the panettone at 190° C for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 170° C and let the panettone cook for 40-50 minutes; the panettone will be ready when its internal temperature  will have reached 92° C, which can be controlled using a special food thermometer;
  12. Remove the panettone from the oven, insert it with two knitting needles or a special panettone stopper and place it upside down inside a large empty pot so that it cools down and cools down evenly.
  13. Once it is cold, place it in a tightly closed plastic bag.

Preparation time: 36 hours + rest

Small tricks and tips for your homemade Italian panettone

  • Remember to store your panettone in a plastic bag so it will not dry out. Properly stored, the homemade panettone bread lasts at least 7 days;
  • You can freeze the panettone in slices but remember to defrost it in the refrigerator before putting it in the oven to heat it quickly (clearly the taste could change a lot);
  • Once hardened, do not throw it but recycle it: you can prepare truffles, a tiramisu, an English cake, and many other sweets and more.

Check for more Italian and International Christmas Recipes

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About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska works as SEO Manager and Localization Project Manager She's an accredited journalist, a member of the British Guild of Travel Writer, and a certified sommelier. She's the co-owner of TheFoodellers and a bunch of other websites.
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