Italian Breakfast Food with Recipes

Like here in the United States the precursor to (colazione) Italian breakfast food is hot steaming coffee; maybe in the form of espresso or cappuccino; usually hot chocolate, plain milk and hot milk are also included.

This is where the similarities end between this first meal in the two different countries. The traditional Italian breakfast food is continental in style with the offerings of cake, cookies, sweet bread and fette biscottate (a crisp bread or toast) with butter and jam.

If you are traveling to Italy from other countries like the United States, you should keep in mind what the typical Italian breakfast food menu is like. Do not expect the large breakfast buffets that are available here with the ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits, gravy, pancakes and on and on; if you do find them that cater to foreigners you will pay high prices for them. But even saying this, most Americans tell me that they like this light breakfast style; it is fast so they can get on with the day. I am told that most beds and breakfast businesses are restricted by their license to only serve the guests prepackaged foods so keep this in mind.

If tourists decide to eat Italian breakfast food in a coffee shop they might find a little bit more in the offerings. Besides traditional food like the pieces of cake, cookies and sweet bread like a panettone recipe you might be able to purchase brioche, filled croissants. Maybe even fruit, yogurt and cereals will be available; mostly (finger foods) to eat while standing or walking. Today with the massive influx of tourists visiting Italy, the idea of larger breakfast menus are becoming more popular. In some regions, in a few hotels full breakfast is available including meats, pancakes, eggs or omelets such as frittatas.

ITALIAN FRITTATA RECIPE a typical Italian breakfast food

  • ½ Pound Italian sausage (chopped small pieces and cooked)
  • 2 Large potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Large green pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 to 10 Beaten eggs
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook sausage in a large skillet. Remove sausage to plate. Add potatoes, onion and green pepper and sauté until tender. (Remove any excess liquid) Return cooked sausage to skillet mixture. Add salt, pepper, butter and eggs. Stir to blend. Reduce heat to medium low. Top with cheese, cover with a lid and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until eggs have set. Cut in pie shape to serve.

RICOTTA CRUMB CAKE RECIPE (Italian breakfast food)

Italian Ricotta Crumb CakeItalian Ricotta Crumb Cake
Piece of Italian Ricotta Crumb CakePiece of Italian Ricotta Crumb Cake


  • 2/3 Cup toasted almonds, ground
  • 3 ¼ Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2/3 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 7/8 Cup cold butter
  • 1 Beaten egg
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla

Mix in a bowl the almonds, flour, baking powder, brown sugar. Using a pastry cut in the cold butter with the dry ingredients. Pour the egg and vanilla over the butter mixture and toss together just until moistened. Spoon half of crumb mixture into a 10 inch springform pan, slightly higher on sides.


  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 2/3 Cup slivered almonds
  • 3 ½ Cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  • ¾ Cup sugar
  • 4 Ounces chopped semi sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Put 1/3 cup sugar in a heavy pan over medium heat; cook until sugar liquefies and turns golden. Stir in slivered almonds and immediately turn out on a buttered shallow pan. Press mixture to flatten slightly. Let cool and break into pieces.

In a bowl mix together the ricotta, rum and ¾ cup sugar until blended. Stir in chocolate and almond brittle. Spoon ricotta mixture over crumb crust in springform pan. Spoon remaining crumb mixture over the ricotta filling and pat down to make top flat.

Bake for 45 minutes, Let cool and sprinkle top with powdered sugar.

Ricotta Crumb Cake Baked in Square Springform PanRicotta Crumb Cake Baked in Square Springform Pan


Although brioche recipes are traced back to France, they have become popular as Italian breakfast food.

  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 Cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Cups flour
  • Salt
  • ¼ Cup melted butter
  • 2 Eggs Milk for glazing

Dissolve ½ teaspoon sugar in warm water; sprinkle yeast on top and set until frothy.

Sift flour, pinch of salt and remaining sugar in large bowl; add yeast mixture, butter and eggs.

Mix to a soft dough and knead until smooth; cover and let rise in warm place until double in size.

Punch down dough and knead until smooth 3-4 minutes.

To make 12 small brioches divide dough into 12 equal pieces; remove ¼ of each piece.

Shape all pieces into balls; place each large ball in a brioche mold.

Push finger down through center and place small ball on top pressing down slightly.

Let rise until double in size.

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.

Brush each brioche with milk and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.


Sometimes you may be able to get pancetta with the Italian breakfast food. It is often referred to as Italian bacon. Although it looks similar to American bacon the flavor of this cured and air dried meat is different.

  • 2 Packages active dry yeast
  • 2 Cups warm water (105F degrees)
  • 4 ½ Cups flour
  • ½ Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse salt
  • ½ Cup coarse cornmeal
  • 4 Ounces pancetta sliced thin
  • 8 Ounces mozzarella cut in 1/3 inch cubes
  • Cornmeal for dusting

Combine in ½ cup of the water in small bowl and stir to dissolve; let set 15 minutes.

In large bowl combine 4 ½ cups flour, whole wheat flour, salt and coarse cornmeal.

Add remaining warm water and mix well; dough is sticky.

Add additional flour to make dough firm enough to knead.

Turn out on floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 15 minutes.

Put dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat dough with oil; cover and let rise to double 1 ½ hours.

Punch down and let rise again another hour.

Over moderate heat cook pancetta in skillet until crisp; drain cool and crumble coarsely.

Punch down dough and knead in the pancetta and mozzarella cheese.

Shape dough into large round loaf; place on baking sheet dusted with fine cornmeal.

Cover and let rise until double in bulk about 1 hour.Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

Brush top of loaf with water; let dry 5 minutes and brush again.

Bake 10 minutes at 425F degrees; reduce heat to 350F degrees and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer.

Bread should be golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Cool before slicing.


An Italian breakfast food generally includes biscotti recipes.

  • 1 Cup softened butter
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon anise extract
  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup chopped almonds

Cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs; add extracts.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to creamed mixture; stir in almonds.

Line baking sheet with foil and grease the foil; divide dough in half.

On foil shape dough into two 11 X 3 inch rectangles; bake at 300F degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven; increase oven temperature to 325F degrees.

Using foil lift rectangles to cooling rack; cool completely.

Place on cutting board and cut diagonally with serrated knife ¾ inch thick slices.

Place with cut side down on ungreased baking sheets; bake for 10 minutes.

Turn slices over and bake additional 10 minutes.

Cool completely and store in airtight container.

› Italian Breakfast Foods

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