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Breads & Doughs

Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Bread)

4.83 from 34 votes
My Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Bread) looks just like the loaves you can buy at the store during the holidays, but tastes way, way better!
Panettone baked and sliced.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

If you’ve never had Panettone, or Italian Christmas Bread, before, then I’m willing to bet you’ve at least seen them for sale at bakeries or grocery stores. Their height and iconic look are hard to miss!

Originating in Milan, panettone is now a Christmas staple in homes around the world. Unlike fruitcake, which has a reputation for being quite dense and maybe even a bit dry, panettone is an incredibly fluffy, slightly sweet bread full of dried fruits and candied citrus peels

To get that light, fluffy texture, you do have to start this bread the day before you plan on baking in order to make the starter. This is a preferment starter known as BIGA, it is a firm-textured starter that you blend with the other ingredients. You want to give the starter plenty of time to rest, around 8 to 12 hours, so you get a super light panettone! 

Speaking of holiday sweet bread — have you tried my new Stollen recipe yet? It’s a part of my Bold Baking Holidays Worldwide! You can find the other recipes from around the globe in my Holiday Headquarters.

Panettone proofing overnight — it takes more time, but is very simple!

What Is Panettone?

Panettone is an Italian yeast-leavened bread usually made with dried fruits and candied citrus peels. I like to use golden raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, and candied orange peels.  If you like you can soak the dried fruit in a little water or juice and drain it before adding to the dough.

The history of panettone is a matter of debate, but it’s believed to have been invented way back during the Roman Empire!

Panettone may get its name from “pan del ton,” which translates to “cake of luxury,” but after World War II, the iconic Christmas bread had become cheap enough for more people to afford, and it’s popularity soared. According to Smithsonian.com, Italy produces over 7,100 tons of panettone a year! 

What You Need To Make Panettone

You do some special equipment to make panettone, but if you can’t find them in stores, you’ll be able to find them on Amazon or other online retailers!

Adding the fruit and mixed peel to Panettone dough.

How To Make Panettone

This Christmas bread does take time, as you need to let the starter rest overnight. This is a firm starter, a Biga, so be sure to start this recipe the day before you plan to bake! Here’s how you make it (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. To make the starter, combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and 1/3 cup of lukewarm water in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cover the bowl and all the starter to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours.) The starter sponges a little but will not rise too much.
  2. The next day, make the dough by combing all of the dough ingredients, except the dried fruit and zest, and knead them by hand or using a stand mixer until it is a soft, smooth dough.
  3. Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy (but not nec3ssarily doubled in size.)
  4. Once puffy, gently deflate the dough and knead in the fruits and citrus zest.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone pan or a straight-sided, tall 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise until it just crests over the rim of the pan. This should take about 1 hour. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat once more to 350°F and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. If the crust is brown too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil. Panettone should be a deep brown when it is done and should sound hollow when tapped. If you have a digital thermometer, stick it into the center of the bread. It should be 190°F.
  7. Remove the panettone from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Shaping and wrapping my Panettone recipe.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Panettone

  • Read through the recipe fully before you start. This recipe has to be started the day before to make the starter!
  • I like to use raisins, apricots, candied peel, and cranberries, but feel free to mix it up and add what you have.
  • Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature, so they easily blend into the other ingredients.
  • Add in some chopped, bittersweet chocolate for the chocolate lovers out there!

How Do I Store Panettone?

You can store any leftover panettone at room temperature, well-wrapped, for up to a week. You can also freeze panettone for up to 2 months!

The inside of my Panettone after baking.

Make More Holiday Bread Recipes!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Bread)

4.83 from 34 votes
My Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Bread) looks just like the loaves you can buy at the store during the holidays, but tastes way, way better!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 people
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
My Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Bread) looks just like the loaves you can buy at the store during the holidays, but tastes way, way better!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 people

Ingredients

Starter

  • ¾ cup (3 ¾oz/105g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/16 teaspoon instant yeast* see note
  • cup (2 ½ floz/71ml) lukewarm water

Dough

  • add all of the starter to the bowl (above)
  • 2 ¼ cups (11 ¼oz/319g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (2floz/57ml) lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (2oz/57g) butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia flavoring OR 1 teaspoon vanilla + 1/8 teaspoon orange oil
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • cup (2 ½ oz/71g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (2 ½oz/71g) golden raisins
  • ½ cup (2 ½oz/71g) dried apricots chopped
  • ½ cup (2 ½oz/71g) dried cranberries
  • ½ cup (2 ½oz/71g) candied peel
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Instructions

The Starter

  • Combine the starter ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover, and allow them to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours).

The Dough

  • Combine all of the dough ingredients except the fruit and zest, and mix and knead them together by hand or stand mixer — until you've made a soft, smooth dough.
  • Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it's puffy (though not necessarily doubled in size).
  • After this time, gently deflate the dough, and knead in the fruits and citrus zest.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone pan or other straight-sided, tall 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise until it's just crested over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
  • Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. Panettone should be a deep brown when done, should sound hollow when tapped, and will read 190°F at the center using a digital thermometer. (It's easy to underbake, since it browns so quickly!)
  • Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.
  • *Note: 1/16th of a teaspoon is 1/4 of 1/4 teaspoon. or a large pinch.
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Nikky
Nikky
1 year ago

Hello
I’m so happy you are sharing a Panettone recipe!
Can u use orange extract instead of just orange oil it has oil and orange oil in it?
I can’t access pure orange oil
Thank you
🌸

Kay
Kay
1 year ago

Hi Gemma, I would also see a video on this recipe. Thanks

Tina Tierson
Tina Tierson
11 months ago

I’m looking forward to making this at Christmas! I have a question though – do you use the paper Panettone mold alone on a baking sheet instead of a metal panettone pan?

Emmet O'Donoghue
Emmet O'Donoghue
1 month ago

Gemma I didn’t have candied peel when I made the pannettone last time but I have made the candied peel now. I’m just wondering if you dry off the syrup from the peel before putting it into the dough. The bread was beautiful last time although I didn’t have all the ingredients no orange oil but I suppose the syrup will fix that. I also left the starter for 2 days so I might do the same again. I also made it in a 9 inch round 4 1/4 inches deep cake tin but as you saw it came out… Read more »

Emmet O'Donoghue
Emmet O'Donoghue
1 month ago

This is my third time to write a review keep losing them. This one I’ll keep short and sweet, what a beautiful bread. Thanks for the recipe Gemma. Emmet

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Nikky
Nikky
8 months ago

Hi there
do u place the starter in the already kneaded dough? Or with the unmixed dough ingredients?
Kind regards

Nad
Nad
9 months ago

Thank You So much for this recipe!! This year I couldn’t find Panettones anywhere so I tried your recipe. It’s now a new Xmas tradition to make it. Loved it. I soaked the raisins and sultanas in brandy two days ahead of time. It turned out really good. Merry Xmas to you and your family!! 🙂

Meetu
Meetu
9 months ago

Hi Gemma! Thanks for sharing the recipe.Can I halve the quantity of the ingredients? Will that also need me to halve the yeast?

Monique
Monique
10 months ago

Hello! Quick question on the starter – is it supposed to be runny, like in the picture above? Mine turned out to be more doughy. Thank you!

Angie
Angie
10 months ago

Hi Gemma. Is grated orange peel means orange zest?

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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