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Italian Easter Bread, Revisited


When I first posted the recipe for Italian Easter Bread three years ago, I couldn't believe the response. Every year as Easter approaches, I still get many e-mails about this recipe, so I thought I would make it again in a little different way and this also gives me the chance to update the recipe a little.

This bread is a sweet, delicious bread and so kids love it.  When I've made it for my kids I've usually topped it with colored sprinkles and eggs dyed different colors.  This year, I made golden eggs and topped the breads with Swedish Pearl Sugar from Lars, which doesn't melt when you bake the bread and looks pretty. 



Italian Easter Bread

for a printable recipe, click here

makes 6 breads


  • 1 package Rapid Rise (instant) yeast, about 2-1/4 teaspoons
  • 1.25 cups milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 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 or pearl sugar




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

In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just till butter melts.    In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar.  Add the warm (not hot - it will kill the yeast) milk and butter. 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 two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats.  Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again.  Brush each  bread with beaten egg wash.  Put on the sprinkles or sugar.   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 minutes.  Cool on rack.

You can eat the eggs, but if you leave the bread sitting out for a few hours, don't eat them.  Common sense.


 . . . or you can use sprinkles and colored eggs:

Try another Italian Easter recipe, Easter Torta:


Buona Pasqua! 

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Reader Comments (113)

From The Italian Dish:

Jennifer: It is not hard to swap out yeasts. You just need a little bit more of the active dry yeast than the instant. I wrote a post about this, if you are interested:

If you use 2-1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast, you should be just fine. The downside, however, is that you need to proof the yeast first in a little water. That is why I like instant yeast - no proofing required. So proof your yeast in about 1/4 cup of water and then cut back the amount of milk in the recipe by that much.

Hope this helps.

March 24, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

With the Rapid Rise yeast, I can make bread start to finish in 5 hours. With regular yeast it takes a lot longer.

March 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSister Julianna

Just made these and they are awesome! My egg dye ran a bit though. Any tips on how to prevent that?

March 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMegansf

Can I do the first rise, form the bread braids then put them in the refrigerator to rise slowly for the following day?

March 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

From The Italian Dish:

Megan: Look through the comments - there has been some discussion about this. The dye will bleed a little.
Lindsey: My only concern with doing that is that the dough may rise too much overnight and may disrupt your form of your braid!

March 27, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Can i freeze the Easter bread??

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

This recipe is one of the best I have tried. I made several to distribute among friends. The egg, however, did not cook during the allotted time in the oven. It was the consistency of a three-minute egg. Fortunately, I told the recipients not to eat it. I will hard boil the eggs in the future, before adding to the dough ring.

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

From The Italian Dish:

Lisa: I have never frozen the bread, but I would imagine it would freeze well (not the egg) because most breads freeze pretty well. If you freeze it, let me know how it is!

Christina: I'm mystified by why your egg would not be cooked all the way through. Cooking it at 350 degrees at 20 minutes should be plenty. I have no explanation for that!

April 19, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Just wondering if these could be frozen after they are shaped, but before they rise

March 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I am going to make the Easter bread. My ItalianGrandmother made it for us haven’t had it for along time. She used to make a cake like donut. Nothing fancy just like she pinched dough off an deep fried.never greasycrunchy an soft inside do you have recipe I am so glad I found you Thanks Dianna

March 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDianna

Glad I found your site my Italian Grandmother made this bread when I was small. Haven’t had it for years.Going to make it this weekend. She used to make a cake like dough ,like she pinched it an deep fried in a big pan on stove top we had them at Christmas . Do you have a recipe. for them.

March 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDianna. Leonardo

From The Italian Dish:

Dianna: I'm not sure what you are talking about. Maybe it was Cenci? I wrote a post about that a while ago. It doesn't sound like it exactly, but maybe it could be.

March 27, 2018 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I think she is talking about struffoli?!

March 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJulie green

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