Italian Panettone: A Christmas Staple

This Old World favorite is a staple of Italian Christmas festivities. It's easy to make and great to give as gifts!

This traditional light and airy citrus-flavored fruit bread originated in Milan, Italy, and is a staple of Italian Christmas festivities. Its history dates back as far as the Middle Ages when, to celebrate Christmas, people would replace their daily bread with a richer recipe. The actual translation is “big bread,” — from panetto meaning bread, and one meaning large.

This recipe is for the Panettone Milanese version, which is similar to brioche in texture and consistency. These cakes are usually taller than they are wide, with a domed top and light and fluffy. Italians enjoy it with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Traditional Italian Panettone Recipe


1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup currants, soaked in warm water for 1 hour and drained, or golden raisins, or any candied fruit.
2 oranges, zested
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


Preheat the oven to 375° F. Use a mixer to cream together the butter, eggs, and egg yolks until pale yellow. Using a dough hook attachment, add half of the flour to the mixture with the mixer running. Add half the milk and mix for one minute. Add the remaining flour, milk, and sugar and mix well.  Next, add the currants, orange zest, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Mix well.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a buttered and floured 8” round deep cake pan or panettone pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and invert onto a rack to cool.

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D. Smith

I’m not understanding exactly what kind of pan you’re referring to here. Would a bundt cake pan work or should I use something more like an angel food cake pan?? Or what else?


Is it just me or am I not seeing yeast in the recipe? This is a bread. Don’t breads need yeast?

Mary Allan

I agree. Just baking soda doesn’t seem right


Cream of tartar plus Baking Soda are the leavening agents in this bread. Combined together, they cause a gas bubble reaction to lighten and leaven the dough.

D. Smith

Yesm these two together will act in the same manner as yeast, at least in this type of recipe it will !


You can use golden raisins, or any candied fruit (all grocery stores carry them) … We prefer candied orange or lemon (don’t soak these) … I think those flavors lend themselves well for panettone. Good luck & enjoy!

Terry Walter

Can you use another fruit?

Brenda Morton

I am guessing, but I think it meant dried currants. If you have a natural foods store or one with a wide variety of bulk foods they should have them


Where I can found the currants?

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