If you’re in love with rich, delicious Italian flavors, boy, have I got a treat for you! I put together a list of the best Italian recipes ever.
You’ll find everything from sweet desserts to savory appetizers and everything in between.
These 27 timeless Italian food recipes are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Want to know the best part?
Anyone can make them. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just beginning, I’ve got you covered.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking.
1. Tomato Bruschetta
Tomato bruschetta is a classical Italian dish and a must-have appetizer at every barbecue and cookout.
You’ll need to start with some toasted Italian bread, preferably with some butter and garlic. Next, dice some tomatoes, onions, celery, and fresh basil leaves.
Mix them in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Finally, spread the mixture on the toasted bread. Then, sink your teeth into the heavenly taste and best ways to top bruschetta.
2. Garlic Shrimp
This dish is so easy to make, you’ll be making it all the time. Plus, it’s so tasty, you’ll never get tired of it!
In a pan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Stir until it’s golden brown.
Next, add the raw shrimp after you’ve deveined it. Then, sprinkle some Italian seasoning. Cover and leave on medium heat.
Now, here’s the kicker:
Squeeze half a lemon, followed by some Parmesan cheese. Cook for a couple of minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when the shrimp turns white.
Enjoy with some veggies or pasta. Garlic shrimp goes great with basically any of your favorite side dishes.
3. Stuffed Mushrooms
If you’re looking for the perfect appetizer, this is it! Stuffed mushrooms are simple to make and can be easily included in any vegetarian diet.
They’re also great for parties and get-togethers. You can make them the day before or on the morning of the party.
Then, half an hour before your guests arrive, bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Your guests will enjoy eating those cute little mushroom cups with the delicious cheese filling that melts in their mouths.
Trust me; these will disappear off the tray before you know it!
4. Zucchini Rolls
Easy, quick, and delicious. That basically sums up these tasty zucchini rolls.
First, start by slicing the zucchinis lengthways. Next, place them on a tray, drizzle with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Then, put them in a hot oven for about 10 – 15 minutes.
For the filling, mix some ricotta with Parmigiano for that authentic Italian flavor. Then, add one egg, basil, and a pinch of salt.
Place a teaspoon of the filling on each zucchini, roll it up, and place in a high-walled pan.
Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. Finally, put it back into the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Classic Baked Ziti
Are you in the mood for lasagna with a twist? Then, this classic baked ziti dish is for you!
It has layers of three types of cheese covering delicious ziti pasta.
Don’t forget about the homemade tomato sauce with bits of mouth-watering Italian sausage.
Serve it with some garlic bread or a colorful salad. Oven-roasted broccoli also works great as a side dish and adds a bit of crunch.
You might be wondering why this dish is a fan-favorite:
In short, it’s the best-tasting comfort food. You don’t have to fret over getting the pasta just right or the sauce layered to perfection.
6. Chicken Parmigiana
I’ve searched far and wide for a chicken parmesan recipe. None come close to this family recipe. You have to try it for yourself to see.
I think the key is in the mixture of herbs and spices. They give the dish that distinct flavor that’s uniquely Italian.
The other secret?
Homemade Italian breadcrumbs. It takes several minutes to make, but what a difference it makes!
To make your own, toast about five to seven pieces of bread.
Puree them in the food processor along with two teaspoons of Italian herbs, one teaspoon garlic powder, and half a teaspoon of salt.
Serve with your favorite chicken parmesan side dishes. Easy, right?
7. Sausage Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce
Imagine mixing sweet Italian sausage with spicy tomato sauce! That’s one heavenly combination for sure.
You’ll need a handful of ingredients for this recipe. Yet, don’t let the long list fool you. This tasty dish only takes 30 minutes to prepare.
The best part is it has everything to make this main course a well-balanced Italian meal. You have the protein and the veggies.
Then, you’ve got your carbs in the rigatoni pasta. Along with some dairy once you add the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream.
With almost every food group in one meal, this is one of the best Italian dinner ideas ever.
8. Beef and Sausage Pie
This dish makes for an all-around delicious Italian dinner recipe. The beef works beautifully with the sweet Italian sausage.
There are three kinds of cheese, bell peppers, onions. Not to mention all the mouth-watering herbs and seasoning that give this dish its distinctive Italian flavor.
Want to know the best part?
The cheese melts in your mouth, and you get this tender, but firm, center. The bottom and top crusts bake to a crispy crust.
Why not serve this savory pie with a fresh salad? You can also add a side dish of creamy mashed potatoes or steamed veggies.
9. Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meatballs
You’ve never tasted juicy meatballs like these. Add them to your bowl of spaghetti, and you’ve got yourself one killer combination.
All you need is ground beef along with some chopped garlic and onions.
Mix them with some parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Shape the mixture to make them the size of softballs. Then, bake them in a hot oven for 15 minutes before adding them to your favorite red sauce for another 10 minutes.
Plate your spaghetti and top it with the meatballs and sauce. Finally, sprinkle some chopped parsley to complete this tasty Italian dish.
10. Philly-Style Italian Hoagies
Need something quick and delicious you can take with you for lunch? Then, look no further than these Philly-style Italian hoagies.
So, what’s a hoagie anyway?
Here’s the deal:
A hoagie is a long sandwich made using a long, hard roll of bread. You slice it lengthwise and fill it with anything your heart desires.
Now, let’s get back to our Italian hoagies. They’re made from 13 ingredients, including dressing, condiments, and hoagie rolls.
Other ingredients include your choice of meats, cherry pepper spread, and lots of cheese and veggies.
All these flavors combined make for one dynamic and tasty sandwich. Plus, it’s an easy Italian recipe everyone’s sure to love!
11. Italian Panini
I’d be remiss if I left out paninis in this list!
These hot-pressed sandwiches are like no others. You have your choice of meats, veggies, cheeses, and even sauces.
Instead of listing all the options, check out our list of fave panini recipes:
You’ll find one (ok, more like 10!) that you’ll absolutely love and will return again and again!
12. Pasta Salad
I can’t write a post about Italian recipes and not include at least one pasta salad? It’s unheard of!
You can’t go wrong with this classic Italian dish. It’s easily adaptable if someone in your family is vegetarian.
Plus, it’s always a hit no matter where you’re going. Parties, potlucks, cookouts—they’re all better with a bit of classic Italian pasta salad.
The key to making this dish stand out is the Italian dressing. You can buy a bottle or make your own.
Just mix a packet of Italian dressing seasoning with some vinegar and oil. Shake well and drizzle over your pasta salad.
Have you ever made homemade stromboli? Then, this is your lucky day!
For starters, you’ll need some homemade pizza dough. It’s a basic 6-ingredient dough you’ll have no trouble making.
If I can do it, you definitely can!
You’ll find the dough recipe included here. So, you don’t have to scour the Internet looking for one.
Once your dough is ready, fill it up with your favorite choice of meats and cheese.
Your friends and family will be begging you to make some at each party or get-together.
It’s a great Italian lunch idea and works as a snack or appetizer.
14. Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
This soup is one of my favorite vegetarian soup recipes of all time.
It’s made from a blend of canned and fresh tomatoes that bring out the textures and flavors.
Add some fresh basil and thyme, and you’ve got yourself a tasty addition to a yummy Italian meal.
Another plus is you can enjoy the soup on its own! Toast some Italian bread and just dip away.
I have to mention that the texture can be a bit chunky. If you prefer yours smoother, you can always puree it with an immersion blender or even your food processor.
15. Orzo Spinach Soup
This orzo spinach soup is chock-full of tasty veggies and wholesome goodness. It’s also a terrific vegan dish that doubles as delicious Italian comfort food.
One of the things I love about this soup is how it combines spinach with carrots and fire-roasted tomatoes.
The Italian seasoning, along with the garlic and onions, turns an ordinary soup into a traditional Italian recipe.
Then, you have the orzo pasta, which ties everything together so wonderfully.
Sometimes, I add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes to add an extra zing. It’s up to you.
Either way, this soup will be bursting with flavor.
16. Zuppa Toscana
‘Zuppa’ means soup in Italian, whereas ‘Toscana’ refers to Tuscany, where this soup originates from.
This is one of my favorite Italian soups because it’s so colorful and full of flavor. It’s one of the best Italian recipes I’ve ever tried, and it’s quick too.
I can have this soup cooked and ready to serve in just half an hour.
It’s also one of my family’s favorites. With all the veggies and proteins in this soup, I’m not complaining.
I have to mention that restaurants traditionally use heavy cream in this recipe. If you prefer, you can use a lighter substitute.
17. Sausage Tortellini Soup
This sausage tortellini soup is a definite winner in my book. I can make it knowing that my family will get all the nutrition they need in one delicious Italian meal!
That’s not even mentioning the amazing taste and flavors that will explode in your mouth.
All you need is some sweet Italian sausage, pasta, and a variety of veggies.
It’s hearty and chock-full of nutrients and vitamins—perfect for cold, winter evenings.
It gets better:
This soup is also easy to customize. For example, say you’re vegetarian, you can prepare this Italian dish the same way, but leave out the sausage.
18. Potato Croquettes
A favorite Italian snack and appetizer, these potato croquettes are finger-licking good! I was impressed by their rich flavor, yet they’re so easy to make.
They’re crisp and golden on the outside, but once you take a bite, they’re soft and gooey.
Here’s the bottom line:
There are several ways to prepare the potatoes. You can boil them, which is the standard way. You can also steam or bake them.
Whichever way you choose, add a couple of garlic cloves to boost the flavor.
The best thing I love about these tasty snacks is that they’re oven-baked as a healthier alternative.
19. Zesty Pretzels
Who can resist an addictive snack like pretzels made with some zesty, full-of-flavor Italian seasoning?
Turning these common snacks into something out of this world is easy! First, empty a bag of regular pretzels in a Ziplock bag. Add oil, butter, and Italian seasoning.
Close the bag and shake. Set aside for about 15 minutes.
Then, shake again, flip the bag over, and leave for an additional 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 480℉. Then, get a cookie sheet and spread out the pretzels evenly on the sheet.
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring them halfway. You’ll know when they’re done when the pretzels look golden brown and not as oily.
20. Ricotta Cheese Balls
These ricotta cheese balls are nutritious and full of flavor. They also make the best snack or appetizer for any vegetarian menu.
For this tasty snack, you’ll need some bread. Other ingredients include ricotta and two other kinds of cheese: pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Once you’ve made the actual cheese balls, cook them in the tomato sauce for about 10 minutes on medium heat. That’s it!
For me, the sauce is the best part because it’s so easy to make. At the same time, it’s so delicious and aromatic. It makes the whole house smell like an Italian bistro.
This fancy, espresso-flavored dessert is no-bake, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.
I especially like making tiramisu whenever there’s a summer barbecue.
The trick to making this dessert is to use hard ladyfingers. Also known as savoiardi, they’re dry sponge biscuits.
You might be wondering about the raw eggs. Here’s the deal:
If you prefer not to use raw eggs, you can mix the mascarpone cheese with the powdered sugar until they’re smooth and creamy.
Another idea is to add half a cup of whipping cream and whisk together until they form stiff peaks.
22. Traditional Zeppoles
Zeppoles are basically fluffy, Italian donut holes. They’re rolled in powdered sugar for a sweet, crisp outside and a puffy, airy inside.
Best of all, they’re made with simple ingredients, like flour, butter, and eggs.
Mix them with some salt, sugar, and milk, and you’ll be making delicious Zeppoles like a pro.
You’ll need to fry them in a deep fryer. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular pot and attach a clip-on thermometer.
Once they’re done, transfer them onto a plate with some paper towels to absorb the extra oil.
When they cool down, sprinkle them with powdered or granulated sugar.
23. Lemon Ricotta Cake
This traditional Italian recipe for lemon ricotta cake is always a fan-favorite. It’s light and fluffy.
The main ingredients are fresh lemons and ricotta cheese. The trick to making it fluffy is to beat the cheese with the sugar and butter for several minutes first.
Then, add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix everything together before adding three eggs, one at a time. This gives the mixture time to absorb each one.
Finally, after baking for 25 – 30 minutes, let it cool. Then, give it a light coating of powdered sugar.
Why not go the extra mile and make some lemon cream cheese frosting? Yum-o!
This delicious Italian dessert starts with a homemade shell filled with some creamy filling. Then, you dip the tips in chocolate chips.
Cannolis have always been one of my favorite desserts. They’re easy to make, even if they require a bit more patience than traditional desserts.
Although I promise you, they’re definitely worth the wait!
Ok, let’s start at the beginning:
A cannoli is one type of Italian pastry that consists of a rigid tube for a shell. Then, you can fill that shell with anything you like.
Some like to fill it with chocolate cream, sweetened ricotta cheese, as well as nuts, and chocolate chips.
25. Easy Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Think of hot summer days. What’s the best way to cool off and relax? Drink some strawberry basil lemonade, of course.
This easy lemonade recipe is made with about a dozen strawberries, some water, and a cup of freshly squeezed lemons.
The second twist is that it uses fresh basil leaves. We typically associate basil with tomato sauce and pasta. Yet, here, it’s like a match made in heaven.
If you’re not into basil, you can switch it for mint.
There’s also a hint of vanilla and maple syrup to sweeten the deal.
Need a little pick-me-up on a hot summer day? This recipe has everything you need to make the best limoncello you’ve ever tasted!
I’ve been told that limoncello is a preferred after-dinner drink in Italy. It’s soothing, delicious, and makes for the perfect end to the perfect Italian meal.
Even store-bought limoncello tastes great, but the homemade version is way more delicious.
All you need is four ingredients and a bit of patience. Trust me; once you taste it, you’ll know it was well worth the wait.
27. Vanilla Raspberry Italian Cream Soda
In five minutes, you can make eight servings of this bright, fun drink.
Vanilla raspberry Italian cream soda is one of the most festive and refreshing drinks you can serve. It’s great at parties, holidays, or just on an ordinary Tuesday!
This is what you do: fill your cups with crushed ice. Then, add club soda to about halfway. Add a shot of vanilla syrup and some raspberry syrup on top of that.
Next, add some half and half, then top everything off with whipped cream. Place some fresh raspberries on top to make it look pretty.
Put a colorful straw and serve!
28. Italian Hot Chocolate
In under 15 minutes, you can be holding a cup of creamy, indulgent Italian hot chocolate in your hands. It’s that simple!
But wait, there’s more:
It’s vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free. Plus, there’s all that warm, rich chocolate. What’s not to love!
To make four servings, you’ll need milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and eight ounces of dark chocolate.
You’ll also need some sugar, a pinch of salt, and some cornstarch to make it nice and thick.
Don’t forget the whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top!
It’s the perfect drink for cold, winter nights. Try serving it with some butter or shortbread cookies for an extra special treat.
Leftover Recipe Roundup
In this section, I rounded up some handy tips on the best ways you can use your leftovers.
Great Ways to Store Leftovers
The best way to store leftovers is in air-tight food-grade containers. You can pick either glass or plastic, but the latter is lighter and less of a hazard if it breaks.
Taking plastic containers on the go is also less of a hassle, especially if you have kids.
In addition, you can store leftovers in clear, leak-proof freezer bags from your extra cooked pasta to your surplus of leftover meatballs.
Just make sure you remove any trapped air in the bag before sealing it tightly.
How Long Can You Keep Leftovers
As long as they’re stored in air-tight containers, you can keep leftover foods in the fridge for up to a week.
If you’re not going to reuse them within that time, it’s better if you move them to the freezer. There, they’ll be good for up to six months at most.
A great idea to help you keep track of leftovers is to write the date on each container.
This way, you can keep track of everything and keep your freezer less cluttered. You eat the foods you put in first, known as the ‘first in, first out’ rule.
Tips on Reheating Leftovers
Reheating leftovers isn’t just about warming them up so you can eat. It’s about killing any potential bacteria.
To do that, you have to maintain oven temperature at an even 165℉. Remember to stir the food to distribute the heat, even when using a microwave.
I should mention that you should heat any leftovers only once. It just takes away from the flavor, leaving it bland and tasteless.
So, you should only reheat the amount you need each time.
Also, try to avoid refreezing leftovers that have defrosted. It can increase the risk of harmful bacteria growth, which can lead to food poisoning.
- Tomato Bruschetta
- Garlic Shrimp
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Zucchini Rolls
- Classic Baked Ziti
- Chicken Parmigiana
- Sausage Rigatoni
- Beef and Sausage Pie
- Pasta Salad
- Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- Orzo Spinach Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Potato Croquettes
- Zesty Pretzels
- Ricotta Cheese Balls
- Traditional Zeppoles
- Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Easy Strawberry Basil Lemonade
- Vanilla Raspberry Italian Cream Soda
- Italian Hot Chocolate
- Choose your desired Italian recipe
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create a tasty recipe to complete your meal!