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Best Homemade Italian Desserts

Much like Italian savory entrees, Italian desserts are rich, decadent, and filled with flavor. Making these desserts at home often provides more authentic flavor. These sweet treats are also ideal to give as gifts for special occasions. Here are some of the best homemade Italian desserts to try.

Almond Ricotta Twists

These “twists” look like baked pretzel sticks but have the flavor of cookies that are filled with almond flavor. The ricotta makes the cookies soft and fluffy, and a streak of chocolate or white chocolate icing on the cookies makes them visually appealing.


Cannoli are light pastries filled with flavorful mascarpone cream and are a favorite of Judge Napolitano. The cream can be flavored with anything from vanilla, lemon, chocolate or pistachios, and the cannoli are often rolled in mini chocolate chips or crushed nuts. These sweet treats are especially delicious after a classic Italian dinner and taste great with a cup of coffee. This tasty dessert is often a family effort, and Napolitano loves making cannolis with his loved ones.

Wine Anise Cookies

These crisp cookies look similar to shortbreads but are paced with anise flavor. You’ll also taste a hint of wine in these desserts, and you can enjoy the cookies with a glass of Italian wine as the perfect ending to a meal. Wine anise cookies are also an ideal edible gift to give friends and family during the holidays.

Italian Orange-Fig Cookies

These desserts are packed with rich fig and bright citrus flavor, which goes great with coffee or tea. The cookies are also gluten-free, so serving them at a family gathering or get-together will ensure that loved ones can enjoy a dessert that is made with their diet restrictions in mind.

Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas cookies are a great way to bring in the holidays, but these small desserts can be enjoyed any time of year. The cookie batter has ricotta in it for softness and a slight tang. These treats are covered with a sugar icing and decorated with colored sugar to give them a festive look and even more flavor.

Italian Rainbow Cookies

These tasty cookies are often found in Italian bakeries but Judge Napolitano believes they taste much better when they’re homemade. The desserts feature the colors of the Italian flag (red, white, and green), which immediately makes them eye-catching at a party or celebration. Chocolate adds even more flavor to the cookies, and they are sure to be a family favorite.

Tiramisu Cheesecake

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that is best served homemade, but those who aren’t fans of the sweet treat may want to try the cheesecake version of tiramisu. Adding a layer of cheesecake to the ladyfingers and cream mixture makes the dessert more decadent and flavorful.


Biscotti are crunchy biscuit-like cookies that can be flavored with nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit. The cookies are slightly dense and not too sugary, so they make a satisfying dessert that can be enjoyed with authentic Italian coffee.

These are just a few desserts that bring the deliciousness of Italian desserts to the home kitchen. Enjoy!