Traditional recipes

Italian Easter egg bread recipe

Italian Easter egg bread recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • Italian bread

This bread dough is lightly sweetened and enriched with egg. Although traditionally served at Easter, feel free to enjoy them any time of the year.

6 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 6

  • 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 (7g) sachet dried active baking yeast
  • 250ml scalded milk
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 440g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 6 whole eggs in the shell
  • 65g sugar sprinkles

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:35min ›Extra time:2hr proofing › Ready in:3hr5min

  1. Mix yeast, water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In another larger bowl, mix milk, salt, butter, 2 eggs and remaining 100g of sugar. Add about half of the flour and beat until very smooth, then pour in the yeast mixture. Add the remaining flour, making a stiff dough - add additional flour if necessary.
  3. Place dough on a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Put dough into greased bowl, cover bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size.
  4. Punch the dough down, place on a floured board and divide it into 6 equal pieces.
  5. Roll each piece with your hands to form a 2.5cm thick rope and then shape rope into a "U" shape. Put a whole, raw egg into the inside of the "U", twisting the rope to form a fishtail at the bottom.
  6. Brush with the beaten egg, shake on some of the coloured sprinkles and place on a greased baking tray. Cover and let them rise until doubled in size. Bake at 180 C / Gas 4 for about 35 to 40 minutes

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(4)

Reviews in English (4)

by mandy

This is a very tasty bread. I loved the recipe. Perfect just the way it is.One reviewer had stated that the breads are not called pregnant dolls, I come from a traditional Italian family and my Grandmother refered to them as"a fertal Goddess" I think in reference to Spring being the time for new life. Which is why we have eggs for Easter. So all names lead to the same great bread.-08 Feb 2008

by Anna-MariaAgnello

This recipe worked beautifully! thank you for sharing it with us all, my family loved the taste! Buona Pasqua!-17 Apr 2017(Review from this site AU | NZ)

Nana’s Recipe for Traditional Italian Easter Bread

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays – for the tradition not the religious stuff. Always right at the beginning of Spring, Easter comes just as the flowers are starting to bloom and the weather is turning warmer. Raised in an Italian family, one of my favorite traditions with this colorful recipe for Italian Easter Bread.

When I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, we would often visit my Sicilian grandparents in Sacramento for Easter. My nana didn’t speak or write English very well, but boy that woman could COOK. She made this traditional Italian Easter Bread each year, and I couldn’t wait to dig into it. Whenever I see it now, I remember my sweet little Sicilian nana bringing it to the Easter table.

Reviews (30)

Most helpful positive review

YUM! Finally, I decided that I wanted a sweet glaze on top, so I baked it plain and then made a simple glaze of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and drizzled that on top before topping with the colored sprinkles. The dough for this bread was wonderfully soft and super easy to work with. It smelled amazing while baking, and once I was able to cut into it, it had the most wonderful, light and airy texture that I just loved! This will be a new Easter staple for my family. I am sooo happy that I found this recipe! Thanks for sharing. :) Read More

Recipe Summary

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 whole eggs, dyed if desired
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.

Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.


1 lb. bread flour
1 cup whole milk
½ cup water
5 oz. butter
2 large eggs
5 oz. brown sugar
1 tsp. dry yeast

To decorate:
6 large eggs
1 beaten egg or a cup of milk
Raisins, to taste

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar and yeast, followed by warm water and warm milk. Add the eggs and soft butter.

Knead by hand or in a stationary mixer with a dough hook.

Form a smooth ball and let rise for a couple of hours in a glass container covered with plastic wrap.

Meanwhile, soften the dried raisins in lukewarm water and prepare 6 hard-boiled eggs. To do this, gently immerse the eggs in a small pot of boiling water. After 9 minutes of cooking, drain them and immediately put them under running cold water.

Once the dough has risen, ring out the raisins, add them to the dough, and work the dough once more.

Divide the dough into two pieces and form two loaves about 27″ long.

Braid each piece to make a crown shape. Arrange the eggs equidistant from each other, pressing them into the dough.

Brush the surface with milk or a beaten egg and bake in the oven at 350°F for 40 minutes.


Looking for other popular authentic Italian Easter recipes? Try this so, so delicious easy Tiramisu recipe with a difference - it's savoury!

We love Italian bread, and this tastiest ever Focaccia bread recipe is one of the most delicious and simple recipes we know.

Family, chocolate and picnics - catch up with other Italian Easter Monday traditions here.

Love bread making but just don't have the time?  e have been using an electric bread maker for twenty years! Our best bread machine review will help you know if it's the right thing for you too.

Easter Bread Wreath

This bread is a not-too-sweet, orange-scented rendition of Italian Easter bread. We've chosen to braid it, form it into a ring, and top it with colorful sprinkles but feel free to embellish and decorate it however you'd like.


  • 2 1/4 cups (269g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (8g) salt
  • 2 teaspoons SAF Gold instant yeast, for best rise or regular instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoons Fiori di Sicilia*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed, optional
  • grated peel of 1 large orange

*If you don't have Fiori di Sicilia, you can substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1/4 teaspoon orange oil.

  • 1 cup (113g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (28g to 43g) orange juice or milk
  • sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating


To make the bread: Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix together the starter ingredients, cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours.

Next day, combine the bubbly starter with all the remaining dough ingredients. Mix and knead, using a mixer or bread machine, until the dough is elastic and satiny. We don't recommend preparing this dough by hand, as it's quite sticky and challenging to bring together.

Grease a large bowl and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it's noticeably puffy. If you've used SAF Gold instant yeast, the rising time will be shorter.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it into three pieces, and shape each piece into an 18"-long rope. Braid the ropes together, and connect the two ends to form a wreath.

Perfect your technique

Easter Bread

Cover the wreath and allow it to rise until puffy, about 1 to 2 hours (again, SAF Gold will work faster). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the wreath for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, tenting it for the final 10 minutes of baking. The finished loaf will be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register at least 190°F.

Remove the wreath from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.

To make the glaze: Stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the milk or orange juice. Add more liquid 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is thin and pourable.

What Is Italian Easter Bread?

Italian Easter Bread is a traditional Easter bread dish that uses a sweetened dough that’s been shaped into a wreath. Before baking, gently tuck raw dyed Easter eggs into the centers. Bake the bread at 350°F or until golden (about 20 minutes). The eggs will cook as the bread bakes.

I love when these wreaths bake because they sort of look like bunny paws when they’re done! You’ll notice I also had a little fun with the wreath shaping and made one into a bunny head.

In Italy, Italian Easter Bread is known as Pane di Pasqua, But, depending on what region of Italy you’re in, Easter Bread may have another name! In the Calabria region in the Southwest, it’s known as Sguta, cuzzupa, or cu l’ovo, where in other regions it’s called Scarcella or Gurrugulo. Each version is a little bit different.

Italian Easter Egg Bread

Return to your roots this spring with Italian Easter Egg Bread. This classic Italian Easter recipe is sure to add a splash of color to any dinner table. Colored eggs are nestled in the pockets of a braided sweet dough. A confectioner's glaze and a ton of colorful sprinkles add even more sweetness to this already irresistible treat. It will take all of your family's willpower not to cut into it before Easter brunch or dinner is over. Whether you're starting a new tradition or carrying on an old one, this colorful Easter dessert will be enjoyed by all.

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I have never heard of egg bread, but wow, this is so pretty. I like the idea of making it with lemon zest. The colored eggs and colored sprinkles are so wonderful for Easter day. Is it difficult to make a yeast bread? I have only used yeast to make bread machine breads.

This is so pretty and colorful! I LOVE egg bread and think this would be a super fun way to celebrate Easter this year. I'm bummed it's so late in the year, we have to wait almost an entire other month!

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Disclosure: This recipe was originally posted to this blog 2010. It was edited and re-published in 2017.


It looks the Easter Bread that my maternal grandmother called "Tortano", a typical bread of her country. Great recipe!

Very beautiful! Reminds of of honey balls AND Easter breads. My mom did a yeasty anise bread bread with the colored eggs every Easter, and its a wonderful childhood memory of mine. Happy Easter <3

What a wonderful bread and an even better way to always have your grandmother with you!

Gorgeous bread Claudia. Great tribute to your grandmother. Hope you have a wonderful, Blessed Easter.

wonderful post,claudia!i made yesterday our traditional easter bread,the same recipe like yours but with a filling with cocoa and you,that bread remind me by my granny ,a beautiful soul.(my granny had a aunt in italy but i lost the contact with relativ from there since ྌ years.)

Your Grandmather's Easter bread is wonderful. Happy Easter :X

That's such a beautiful Easter bread. Love the soft texture. I bet it taste awesome. Happy Easter, Claudia!

What is it about those little multicolored sprinkles that everyone loves? I love this bread toasted in the morning with a big gob of butter on it for breakfast. What a classic!

What a beautiful Easter Bread! Happy Easter!

Isn't grandma just the best? Mine has a lot of delicate recipes too :) I just started an online cooking show, Swedish Home Cooking. Please check it out! I stared making grandmas blueberry pie in one of them..See how it went!

Ah, the number 1 foodbuzz bread! no wonder!! Your bread is beautiful.

Neat article - I've been trying to find my Nona's recipe since she never wrote anything down and her Easter bread is one of those lost recipes. My question for you is - do you put the hard boiled egg IN the dough? My Nona did and then it was a tradition to try and cut thru it (I think it was supposed to mean luck for the person who cut thru the egg). Anyway, I'm just curious because if you make your bread the same way, then this recpe is probably pretty close.

YOur Easter bread looks so good. I think I'm drooling. Great to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

That Easter bread looks good enough to eat! LOL

The bread looks amazing and what special memories-enjoy:@)

This looks delicious! I love the idea of being able to make it into different shapes. Fun!

Memories of food are always so special, especially when you can create them yourself and feel all of the emotions again.
My kids would LOVE this bread with my daughter being partial to the frosting and sprinkles. I'm somewhat partial to the pic by the pool!
Well done!
Happy Spring!