Italian Easter Bread

4.77 from 591 votes
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A traditional festive Italian Easter Bread recipe that’s easy to make! This holiday bread with an egg in the middle is fun to decorate with family and makes a great gift for loved ones.

Easter Bread recipe with colored eggs

This Italian Easter bread is a fun and festive recipe similar to a challah egg bread. It’s a slightly sweet yeast-leavened baked treat that yields soft and tender slices with colorful sprinkles on top. You can work through each step, mixing, proofing, shaping and have time in between to decorate Easter eggs.

The eye-catching egg in the center will have your guests saying “oohs, and ahhs” about your beautiful creation. This recipe has been a family tradition starting with my husband’s grandmother Rose who made this every holiday. I love the vibrant colors and the fact this bread can be shaped in a variety of designs.

cutting a large piece of dough in half

What is yeast?

This Italian Easter Bread is made from a yeast-raised dough, the yeast acting as the leavening agent. Yeast is living organisms, so just like us, they need food to grow. During fermentation, the yeast eats the sugars in the dough, and the result (by-product) is the creation of alcohol and carbon dioxide. The alcohol evaporates during baking and the carbon dioxide assists in leavening giving you airy bread.

three long ropes of dough on a lightly floured cutting board

How do you make yeast-leavened bread?

I use Fleischmann’s RapidRise instant yeast, which is added directly to the dry ingredients. The advantage of using instant yeast compared to active dry is you need only one rising step after shaping the bread into wreaths. This cuts preparation time in half!

I like to make my own homemade oven proofing box to create a warm and moist environment for the dough to elevate and expand. Just simply place the dough in a pan and cover with plastic wrap then place it in the oven.

twisting two pieces of dough around each other

How do you shape and decorate Easter bread?

This recipe yields three large wreaths, or you can make six mini wreaths with the dough. Two long ropes of dough are rolled out and then twisted to form a ring. A simple egg wash is brushed on each wreath just before baking to achieve the perfect golden brown color and shine on the Italian Easter bread.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the sprinkles! The added pop of colors not only makes the finished product look beautiful, but it also adds just a touch of extra sweetness to each bite.

blue colored hard boiled eggs in the center of a ring of dough

Do you need to cook the eggs before baking?

No need for hard-boiled eggs since they will cook in the oven during the baking process. However, the eggs will be medium-hard with a soft center once baked. If you want a hard boiled egg, use the steam or boil method, or Instant Pot eggs work great too.

How do you decorate the eggs for the bread?

While the dough rises at room temperature, this is an excellent opportunity to color eggs, so they have plenty of time to dry. I use 24 Karat Easter Egg Coloring Kit which is a paint that sticks better to the shell, or Paas Golden Egg Decorating Kit from Target which is a traditional dye.

Raw eggs can be used, but make sure to remove them if you plan on saving the bread to be eaten the next day (food safety first!).

italian easter bread with a colorful blue egg in the center

How to not kill the yeast

Yeast is living organisms, sitting dormant when dried. When rehydrated with warm liquid, the yeast wakes up, become active, and starts to eat and ferment. Yeast dies at temperatures above 138°F (59ºC). In this recipe, warm milk is added at between 120 to130°F (49 to 54ºC). Any higher and the yeast will die, and the bread will not rise!

Italian Easter Bread

A traditional Italian Easter Bread recipe that’s easy to make! A holiday bread with a colorful egg in the middle that's fun to decorate with family.
4.77 from 591 votes
Prep Time2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 18 servings
Course Bread
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid rise instant yeast, 1 package
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
  • 1 large egg, beaten plus 1 teaspoon water
  • 3 dyed easter eggs, raw or hard boiled
  • colored sprinkles


  • In a small saucepan, add milk and butter. Heat to 120 to 130°F (49 to 54ºC), stirring until the butter melts. Do not allow the milk to go above 130°F (54ºC).
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk together. Add the warmed milk and butter mixture. Add 2 cups of flour.
  • Attach a dough hook to a stand mixer and combine on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides with a spatula as needed to incorporate the flour.
  • Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the mixer on medium-low speed and scrape the sides as needed. Knead until the dough is stiff and slightly sticky, about 12 minutes.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured board and hand knead for about 3 to 4 minutes, adding a little more flour to prevent sticking. Do not use more than ¼ cup of flour.
  • Shape dough into a ball, cover with a dish towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch wide rope, about 14-inches long.
  • Taking 2 pieces, braid the rope, pinching the ends together and then loop into a circle. Make sure the ends are securely joined together.
  • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (2 per sheet), providing enough room to rise.
  • Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap or a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm area, like a proofing box, until it doubles in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177ºC). Set the rack in the middle position. 
  • Whisk together the large egg and 1 teaspoon water. Brush each braided bread with the egg wash.
  • If desired, top the bread with sprinkles.
  • Gently place one dyed egg in the center of each braided ring. Do not press into the dough, it will sink as it bakes.
  • Bake one tray at a time until golden brown, approximately 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Quickly transfer the baked bread to a cooling rack.


  • The recipe makes 3 Easter bread rings.
  • Each ring serves 6 people.
  • Six smaller rings can be made, adjust baking time accordingly.
  • Raw or hardboiled and dyed eggs can be used. Raw eggs will be softboiled after baking.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 18 servings
Calories 163kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 27g (9%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Cholesterol 10mg (3%)Sodium 24mg (1%)Potassium 52mg (1%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 135IU (3%)Calcium 24mg (2%)Iron 1.3mg (7%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

272 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Rose Moretti says

    I just made this Easter Bread I followed it exactly as instructed and it came out wonderful my entire family loved it and there wasn’t a crumb left. I will definitely make it again!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so happy that your family enjoyed the easter bread! I hope it becomes a tradition 🙂 We made some too and my daughter ate a whole loaf herself, haha!

  2. Yerania says

    Great bread! I made it for Easter yesterday. How do I keep the leftover bread fresh? Should I place it in the refrigerator or the counter at room temperature? How long will the leftovers keep?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can place it on the counter for a few days then toast. Otherwise I like to slice up the bread and freeze it. Then just toast the frozen slices, it’s so yummy!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can only use the dough setting if you are using active dry yeast or bread machine yeast which would require two rise steps. My recipe uses instant dry yeast, which only needs one rise after shaping, therefore you can’t use the dough setting.

  3. Ann says

    I would like to make this for Easter (tomorrow) can I make the bread dough today and then bake tomorrow so it is freshly baked when served?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes! I would shape it, then cover it, and refrigerate the tray. Do not let it rise (step 1)! Take it out in the morning to let the dough come to room temp, them let it double in size in a warm area. Give yourself a few hours to allow the bread to rise since it will be cold. Here is my oven proofing box method:

  4. Lily says

    I made this last year and it was great! I’m going to make it again today, to be eaten tomorrow, and was wondering whether it would work to do step 1-10 today and keep the dough in the fridge and bake it tomorrow so it’s freshly baked when we eat it? I don’t have time to make it tomorrow, so just wondering if you’ve done this before. Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question! If you want to make the dough ahead of time, I would shape it, then cover it, and refrigerate the tray. Do not let it rise! I would take it out in the morning the next day to let the dough come to room temp, them let it double in size in a warm area, or use my proofing box. You can’t let the dough rise the night before, or it will collapse. Make sure to give yourself a few hours to allow the bread to rise since it will be cold. Here is my oven proofing box method:

  5. Steph says

    I made this for Easter tomorrow and am keeping one loaf to take to my sister-in-laws in 4-5 days. Will it last a few days or should I freeze and then take out the day of?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think the bread will taste the best frozen, defrosted, then you can warm in the oven if you’d like.

  6. Cynthia Crimi says

    Just made your Italian Easter bread. It was a success! Delicious! Was very timid to try bread but your recipe was very straightforward and easy to follow. Reminded me of the bread my mom used to make.Ppl

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can double or triple the recipe, but it depends on the size of your mixer. A large mass of dough could make it difficult to mix. I would personally mix separate batches for consistent mixing, or not more than double the recipe. Feel free to shape the bread however you’d like.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can freeze the dough after shaping, but before proofing. You’ll have to defrost and increase proofing time in a warm area until the bread doubles in size. You could also bake the bread, remove the eggs (or add later), freeze, then defrost. I like to warm it up before serving and add back the eggs.

  7. Rosemary Yanosik says

    I grew up every Easter having this bread and was so delicious. Look forward to making it this morning. I would like to double the recipe however your recipe has 1 packet of yeast for single double or triple. Please inform. Thank you.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Rosemary- If doubling or tripling the recipe, than also increase the amount of yeast. You’ll see in the recipe card that the teaspoon amounts of yeast increase, follow that amount.

  8. Vicki says

    In the directions for the doubled recipe..u have 8 cups of flour, however in the directions it states to add 2 cups of flour at first and then add the remaining 2 cups of flour…ummm that’s only 4 cups of flour total….so did u mean to say add the remaining 4 cups of flour?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Sorry for the confusion! Yes, you would double the amount to 4 cups of flour at a time if doubling the recipe.

  9. Mary Ann Motto says

    Hi I just made your Easter bread but for some reason it didn’t double in size when rising. I’m not sure what happened. I followed the instructions completely. I have made homemade Sicilian pizza several times over the last 38 years and never had any issue with the dough rising. I will give it a second chance during the week. I did make Easter bread in the 80’s and it came out perfectly I guess I missed something this time.
    I’ll be back. Mary Ann Motto

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can shape the bread into wreaths, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I would then do the long proofing step the day you plan bake. Give yourself a few hours, know that the dough is cold and will need more time to warm up and rise.

  10. Elizabeth L. says

    The best Italian Easter sweet bread I’ve made! Recipe is easy to follow ( I made half a recipe). I used dyed, hard boiled eggs.Also brushed with simple syrup after bread had cooled. Very clear instructions and relatively quick to make. Make it!!!

  11. Nancy Lee says

    Omg. I love your recipe. I tried another one and did not come out great. I tried yours with your instructions and they came out beautiful!! Thank you . A definite keeper.

  12. Carolyn Price says

    This is THE BEST recipe and the bread … which I generally over-handle … came out perfectly!! There are many elements in this recipe that I have not seen in an Easter bread recipe before (and I’ve tried several over the years), which I attribute to the success I experienced: the min.-max. temp for the milk-butter combination, the use of the upright mixer (my bread came out fine w/out the hook; used the paddle I had instead), the use of Rapid Rise yeast, the step to “rest” the bread for 10 mins., and the use of parchment (slid right off the sheet of parchment) paper.
    The flavoring my Nona always used was always lemon. Because there is no “flavoring” called for, I remembered the flavoring at the last minute and could have cried. But just as I broke the dough into thirds to braid, I zested two lemons and added the rinds. Next time, I will add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the liquids on the stove.
    My grandmother never braided in eggs or used sprinkles but I had to dress it up a bit with sprinkles.
    This is my Italian Easter Bread recipe forever!! As it baked last night, the aroma made my eyes water. It is absolutely just like my grandmother’s … only a touch lighter and more moist. Don’t tell her I said that, OK? ; )

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much! It’s an honor to be able to help you create traditional family recipes. I’ll have to try the lemon zest next year. Happy baking!

  13. Connie C says

    Hi Jessica.
    How long would the baking time be if 2 loaves were made instead of 3?

    Great recipes. My kids loved it!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Grace- I’m sorry to hear that you had that issue! Did you try adding in more flour or the 2 cups after the first 2 cups? How was it measured? Also, letting the dough sit a little helps the starches hydrate and thicken up. I recommend adding more flour until stiff and slightly sticky.

  14. Rose says

    I bake a lot and never had this issue. I baked the Easter bread for 18 minutes. It seemed well baked but once it started cooling off the centers were doughy. I think the bake time should be increased. Bread was good but really doughy in the center😢

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Rose- Thanks for your feedback! You can definitely increase the bake time as needed. I also make sure to let the oven come back up to temperature when baking the second tray, as it can cool down in between.

  15. Maria Neglia says

    Been trying different recipes over the years. This had the best results. Taste look and texture. Thank you

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Whoo-hoo!Thrilled to hear that you found this recipe to be the best east bread. Happy easter!

  16. Baker says

    Is there only one rise to this recipe – after initial kneading and resting for 10 mins — then it says to for the loaves and let rise? Just want to be sure there is not an initial rise, shape and final rise. Thank you.

  17. Anna says

    Do you eat the hard boiled egg? Or is it decorative? I wanted to make the day before but would the egg spoil if it’s out overnight? Cause refrigerating the cooked bread would stale it quickly

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Some people eat the egg or it can be just for decoration. However, if you make it that day before, I would not consume the egg.

  18. Jackie says

    Hi Jessica, I decided to bake ahead and freeze the rings. I added the rind of an orange for a little extra flavor. The dough was more like a very thick cake batter after kneading with the mixer hook. I added another 1/4 c of flour, then another. It was still very sticky. Could the moisture orange rind cause this? Anyway, I waiting for the rings to rise now and keeping my fingers crossed

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I don’t think the orange zest should make the do extra sticky. How did you measure the flour? That can contribute to adding in possibly not enough. I think it’s great that you used your instincts to add more as needed. Also, depending on how the flour is stored and how long it has been sitting, it can pick up some moisture. Sometimes the dough just needs a little more time to hydrate the starches in the flour to become not as sticky. There is sugar in the recipe, so it will be slightly tacky, but you can use extra flour to shape it into ropes.Let me know how it goes!

    • Carolyn Price says

      Just an FYI.
      Maybe there is more liquid in orange rind … Who hasn’t caught a splash to the eye when peeling? … than in lemon rind but I had no problem whatsoever with my bread after adding the zested lemons just before separating and allowing to proof.
      I made my Italian Easter Bread 4/8/23.

  19. Franca says

    I’ve done this recipe twice now, first according to the exact recipe and it was such a big win! Second time I substituted Splenda as my husband is diabetic and I could’ve put less Splenda in but otherwise came out just a delicious!
    Thanks for the Great recipe.

  20. Jackie says

    Forgive me if this has already been answered. I want to make these lovely bread rings but it will be impossible to make the entire recipe start to finish on Easter Sunday. What would be best….to make ahead and freeze or save time by lettting the dough rise overnight?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question! Since the recipe calls for using instant yeast, you only need one 10-minute rest step and one rise step after shaping until it doubles in size. For the best taste, I would shape the rings, place them on a sheet tray, cover them, refrigerate, and take them out in the morning on the day you plan to bake them. Let it proof in a warm area until it doubles in size. This will take longer since it’s cold. Plan for about 2 hours, just in case. Alternatively, you could bake, freeze the bread, and then reheat, but I would wait to place a hardboiled egg in the center, pressing it in the middle right before serving. Let me know what you choose to do!

  21. Georgianne says

    If you steam your eggs ahead of time, when would you put them in your bread? Also do I need to be worried about the bread with the eggs sitting out at room temperature ? I love the idea, but concerned about the eggs, if I bake this and give it to a neighbor. Please respond soon. Thank you

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would place the hardboiled egg into the center of the bread after baking. You can cut a small well or lightly press it in. You can leave the egg out at room temperature for up to two hours if you plan to eat it, then I would refrigerate it.

  22. Claire says

    This was my first time making Easter bread. The three loaves look perfect. I’m trying hard not to dig in right now. I put each loaf in a freezer bag for Easter breakfast. How would you recommend reheating? Also, if I reheat them will the sprinkles run?
    Thanks so much for this recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Maria, yes! Rapid-rise yeast may also be marketed and sold as instant or quick-rise yeast, depending on the brand.

  23. Dorothy Dechant says

    Hi! I was wondering: if you bake one ring at a time, what do you do with the other rings in the meantime ? The third ring will have an extra 40 minutes of rise. Will this affect the outcome?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can place the other rings in a cooler area in your home, or in the refrigerator briefly to slow down any additional fermentation. I would remove it from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before baking.

  24. Catherine says

    Not only was this the first time I’ve made Easter bread, but this was my first time making any bread! (And it came out SO good! I ended up eating an entire braid!)

    I wish more recipes were this accurate and easy to follow. Although I did make the slight error in forgetting that I always need to add one extra egg for recipes that specify large eggs; the ones I use are just too small. But it was easily fixable by simply adding less flour.

    This will be something I will continue to make in the future! Thank you so much Jessica for posting this recipe!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, I’m so proud of you, Catherine! I’m so happy that the first bread you ever made was this Easter Bread recipe. What will you make next?

  25. Amanda says

    Love this recipe! 2nd time making them and my family and I adore them! One of my siblings didn’t get to try it the 1st time, but they did this year and said (multiple times throughout the day) that I should make it all the time and not just for Easter, lol.

    Do you think this recipe would work in a pullman loaf? I’d love to try it as a sandwich bread (may be a little sweet for it, but I like sweeter bread, so maybe it’ll actually be perfect for me, who knows). If so, do you think the bake time should be different? I’d love to know your thoughts.

    Thank you for the recipe – this will definitely be a bread I wind up making every Easter (and probably many times a year now!)

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so happy to hear that the family enjoyed the easter bread! I have used this dough to make two larger breaded challah shaped longer loaves that would work great for slicing. I haven’t tried baking into a more traditional shaped Pullman loaf, but I think it would be worth a try! I would use two 9X5-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then check every few minutes until it reaches 190 to 200ºF (87 to 93ºC) in the center. It usually takes about 30-35 minutes for homemade white bread. Let me know how it goes!

  26. Jessica says

    This was my first time making Easter bread. I was nervous to try it and this recipe came out SO good! This will be my go-to recipe from now on!

  27. Katie C says

    Really enjoyed this recipe! I have tried a number of recipes in the past and I think this one is a new staple. Easy to follow and great results.

  28. Marilia dos Santos says

    So good! I couldn’t tag you on Instagram because my account is private but wanted to let you know it came out delicious! Thank you!

  29. Maggie says

    I made this today. I made 4 small round loaves with the hard boiled eggs as it didn’t make enough dough to make three large braids or six smaller ones.

    I just cut one of them and the bread is delicious. It was fun to make and will make again.

    Excellent recipe and thanks so much for it.

    • Andrea says

      Hi Mary, the active yeast requires time to rise when the rapid doesn’t follow the same rule, making the baking process faster.
      Happy Easter! ?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Active yeast you need to hydrate with warm water and sugar, plus do two rise steps. Rapid yeast you can add to the dry ingredients and only need one rise step.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can shape the bread cover and refrigerate it a day ahead. I would take it out the day of breaking in the morning. Leave at room temperature to let it warm up slightly and ferment to help it rise before baking.

  30. Ellen says

    I tried your recipe last year while we were in lockdown due to Covid. It was my first time making a sweet Easter bread, and it turned out beautifully! The taste and texture reminds me of the bread our Italian neighbours always shared with us at Easter while I was growing up. I’ll be making several batches to share with family and friends this Easter. (*I make mine without the egg in the center, and just add a coloured hard-boiled egg when serving it). Thank you so much for sharing your lovely recipe Jessica.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You’re so welcome, Ellen! I’m so glad that you got to try this recipe and will be making it this year for your family. I love that you added the egg after baking, so easy!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can make the dough ahead of time. When you’re ready to bake, I would let it sit at room temperature for a few hours until it increases in size to wake up the yeast.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Dolly- I think you could use the bread machine to mix the dough since the recipe uses rapid rise instant yeast directly added to the dried ingredients. Let me know how it goes!

  31. Doris says

    I don’t have a stand mixer, how long must I knead? Also, can I make this the night before and bake in the morning? Thank you for the recipe, I’m so excited to try it! It’s beautiful!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Doris- It will typically take about double the time to mix by hand compared to the stand mixer to mix by hand. You want it to feel smooth and elastic before shaping. You can shape the dough, cover and refrigerate it overnight. However, you will need to let it come to room temperature and still let it rise until doubles in size. I would take the bread out first thing in the morning. Let me know how it goes!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      If needed, you can add a little more flour to the dough, or on the rolling surface while you are shaping. Don’t add too much or it will become tough!

  32. Erin V. says

    How long would these stay fresh for? Would I be able to ship them without comprising taste or texture?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      The bread tastes the best when eaten on the same day. However, it can be gently reheated to soften the bread before serving. It’s not made with preservatives, so it’s best enjoyed within 3 days. I don’t recommend shipping the bread, especially with the egg in the center for food safety reasons.

  33. Nicole says

    Question about the egg. If I don’t use hard boiled and I make a day ahead. Should I remove egg, place in fridge then replace egg prior to serving or bringing to dinner?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Just to clarify, you are baking a raw egg in the easter bread? The egg gets pretty stuck once the bread bakes around it. I would recommend not to eat the egg. Just use it for decoration if leaving at room temperature and serving the next day. Or you can bake the bread without the egg, then press the decorated egg into the center of the bread so you don’t have to worry about removing, refrigerating, then replacing. I hope that helps!

  34. Joanne says

    Hello I was wondering can I just make loafs instead of the braid and if so how long do I have to cook it for? 8×4 or 9×5

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes! You can make two loaves. I would check after 15 minutes, adding more time if needed. Let me know how it goes!

  35. Keith Bender says

    I made this first time, taste just like my grandmas from 40 years ago. Can I add cinnamon and raisins to make raisin bread? How much of each?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Awesome, Keith! That’s the best when you can recreate something so special, like your grandma’s version of easter bread. I think you can add cinnamon, about 1 teaspoon, and raisins 1/2-3/4 cups. Let me know how it turns out! You can adjust the levels as you make it, adding more if desired.

  36. Hoda Saba says

    Hi thank you so much for the recepie just want to ask if I add more sugar is it going to affect the texture?

  37. Graceann Pepe says

    Hi Jessica, This looks great. I do prefer a sweeter Easter Bread and am wondering if I can add more sugar and also some Vanilla Extract? I know baking is chemistry and don’t want to do all this for it not to turn out good. Thank you ?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You could add more vanilla, but I wouldn’t add more sugar. The dough will get really sticky and require more flour, which might risk making it tough.

  38. Dina says

    Hi there, thank you so much for the recipe, excited to try it. Have you tried this with gluten-free flour? The dairy-free options would be easy to swap out. Your insight is appreciated.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Dina- I have not tried it with gluten-free flour. However from what I read you want a gluten-free flour blend that doesn’t have xanthan gum (a stabilizer that helps trap the gas bubbles created by the yeast), so you can add the amount you want later. You would need to experiment with the recipe since it’s not a straightforward ad. Let me know if you try it!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Kelly- According to the Fleischmann’s yeast company (the brand I use), 120°–130°F is the ideal temperature for RapidRise and 100°–110°F is the ideal temperature for Active Dry Yeast. The temperature listed in the recipe is correct.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I wouldn’t use the recipe in a bread machine unless you change the type of yeast. With the instant rise yeast you don’t have to do the bulk proofing of the dough. Just mix, let it sit for 10 minutes, then shape and proof.

  39. Liz says

    They came out great! But I lost the braided look… they puffed up… any suggestions to keep the braided shape? And how do I store them? I baked a day ahead… but they have an egg so in the fridge? Will that make the bread hard though? Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      How long did you let them rise for? Sometimes if it’s over-proofed it may lose shape or volume. Also, you could try doing a 3 rope braid for more design. If you don’t eat the egg you can store it at room temperature wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil. If you store it in the fridge it will make the bread less soft. I would recommend lightly reheat in the oven to bring back some freshness, but the surface may be a little sticky with the sprinkles.

  40. Ron says

    This was the first time a made bread.I wanted to make Easter bread and I came across your recipe. It was easy and they just came out of the oven ,and they look great. This is a keeper. Thank you and Buona Pasqua.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you, Ron! Great job! I’m so happy you gave the recipe a try and had success. Buona Pasqua!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      It tastes the best freshly baked. You can make it ahead of time, wrapped well, and I like to reheat it in a warm oven before serving to regain the fresh, soft texture.

  41. Anne says

    Hi! Can I make the dough one day and bake it the next? At what step do I stop and how can I keep the dough properly? Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can shape the dough, then cover it well in the refrigerator, then let it rise in a warm area the next day until doubled in size. Brush, sprinkle and bake.

  42. Luisa says

    Can dough be made a day in advance; put in fridge after has doubled; taken out in morning to get to room temp and then baked for brunch?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would shape the dough, then let it double in size in a warm area the next day, not the day before. It could lose it’s volume (air bubbles) if not baked the same day and get flat.

  43. David says

    Hi! What changes must i make to this recipe if I’m using active dry yeast instead of rapid rise instant yeast?
    Buona Pasqua !!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi David- Follow the directions, but make sure that the milk is not above 110ºF when adding it to the yeast mixutre. Let the bulk dough rise until doubled in size in a warm area, punch down, shape, then rise the shaped wreaths.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can use active dry yeast. Just make sure to proof the dough two times, instead of just once. The bulk dough should be risen until doubled in size, then punch down and shape, then rise again.

  44. BakingBee says

    These look beautiful! Thank you for the detailed recipe. The vibrant color of the eggs looks great. I have a question though: if you use the PAAS egg decorating kits and the dye bleeds onto the bread, is the bread still safe to eat with the dye on it? Thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I took a look at the label on their website and their dyes are FD&C, which are food dyes approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be used in foods for consumption. So it’s okay to eat if the dye bleeds onto the bread.

  45. Chris says

    I only have instant yeast in hand. Would I have to let it rise twice? Also. How do you measure your flour?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      If you have instant yeast that is the one specified in the recipe. You don’t have to let it rise twice. Just make sure to do the rise step after shaping in a warm environment.

  46. Rosa says

    Absolutely love this recipe!! Easy to make and is very delicious! Made it two years in a row for Easter and my family loves it

  47. Lauren says

    I don’t remember if I commented last year, so forgive me if I did. This recipe is so amazing I’m back this year to make it again. Super easy instructions and the results were amazing. This year I will make 6 smaller rings. The 3 rings were giant! They didn’t last very long in my house. We devoured them.

  48. Pat caroselli says


    This looks amazing! Can I make one large ring or loaf?
    What would the cooking time be?

    Thank you, Pat

  49. Angela B says

    Never made Easter bread and came across your recipe for traditional Italian Easter bread. The recipe was precise and perfect. For a first time try, this came out amazing. This recipe is my new tradition.

  50. Gina Marie says

    I made your Easter Bread in 2020 and we ate ALL of it in one day! In my Italian family, most recipes lived in my grandmothers’ heads and were seldom documented. I’m sure I offended a lot of relatives when I told them that this was the best Easter bread I have ever had – hands down. So easy and incredibly delicious! Thank you – I will be making this with my daughter for years to come.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, what a compliment! I love that this easter bread recipe has become a family tradition. Happy baking this week!

  51. toni says

    Can this be made ahead of time & frozen ?
    With the cooked egg ? Looking to make a few for Easter but a few days prior

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Toni- I always like the taste and texture of the bread made ahead of time. However you could let it cool down completely and freeze it with the egg, but I wouldn’t eat the egg. The bread would taste the best reheated after defrosting.

      • toni says

        So I can freeze with the egg, yayyy Ive always toasted/ heated the bread anyways, just wanted to make sure it could be frozen as well thank you

  52. Angela says

    My granddaughter cannot have any dairy. May I substitute Crisco butter flavored shortening for butter and oat milk for regular milk? Thank you so much.

  53. Pam D. says

    Hi Jessica, this was my first time making anything with yeast, and it was so much easier than I thought! I was always intimidated to make anything with yeast, but it worked! I was wondering how you store your bread and for how long? I made them this weekend as a trial, and they turned out great so wanted to give some to family and friends.

    Also, wanted to give a tip to others on a “proofing box” in case you don’t have one. If you turn on the light in your oven, it warms it slightly and works great (just the light on in the oven … do not turn on the oven)! I do this with store bought pizza dough and it works out great!

    Thanks for a great recipe! My family tradition from Italy is to have these at Easter, and this year with no easter gatherings, I’m happy that I can make my own for my family.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great job, Pam! I’m so impressed that this was your first yeast baking experience and you did so well. Thanks for the tip for proofing in the oven with the light on, I’ve heard of that working well. I personally think that bread tastes the best eaten the same day. If you have the sprinkles on top they get a little sticky over time, but it still tastes good within 1-2 days. I recommend just reheating the slices in the toaster or oven for the same fresh taste. If not eating the same day you can wrap the loaf in plastic wrap then in foil once completely cooled. However, I would not eat the egg since it will be at room temperature. You can also make the bread without the egg, just sprinkle decoration if giving as a gift.

  54. Pennmom says

    Coming from an Italian family, Easter bread is an annual tradition in our home. I must tell you that your recipe is easier than my mother’s recipe and fail-proof! It is also delicious and an Easter staple.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, that is a huge compliment! I’m thrilled to hear that you found the easter bread easy to make. Enjoy!

  55. Hazel says

    Thanks for sharing, just practised these to make with students in school. Halved the mix, added cranberries and orange rind and made 4 mini wreaths, decorated with sprinkles and Cadbury mini eggs pushed in part way through baking Thank you so much,

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You’re welcome! Wow, I love that you made mini wreaths and love the addition of the dried fruit. Great job teaching the students about food science!

  56. Karen Werner says

    I made your Easter Bread last year for Easter and it was so delicious. This recipe is a keeper !! Can’t wait to make it again. Greatest recipe !! Thank you for sharing it Jessica.

  57. Joe Becci says

    Hi … how would I adapt this recipe to use Instant Yeast (not Rapid Rise) — for example, SAF-Instant? Thanks. Joe

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Joe- I would heat the milk to 100 to 110ºF (lower temp). After kneading, let it rise until the dough doubles in size (step 6, amount 1 hour). Punch down and then shape, and follow the remaining instructions. Active dry yeast/SAF needs two long fermentation steps. Let me know how it goes!

      • Joe Becci says

        Jessica: This approach worked great with the SAF-instant yeast. I just kept the yeast amount the same. I didn’t get the same separation in the braids that are shown in your pictures. Maybe that’s a difference in the proofs?? Let me know if you have an idea about. But thanks, a pretty great 1st attempt.


        • Joe Becci says

          P.S., that idea for a “proofing box” worked great! I will use that for all kinds of recipes in the future!!

          • Jessica Gavin says

            I love the makeshift proofing box! I’ve also made a small one in my microwave.

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Thanks for your feedback, Joe! Perhaps if the dough did rise more, it makes it a little more difficult to have a defined shape. Did you punch down the dough at all before shaping? That might help with braiding, then letting it do the second rise.

          • Joe Becci says

            Jessica: Thanks.. I did punch it down.. I think I let the braided loaf proof too long.. My first attempt was pretty darn good… on to version #2! Thanks for proofing idea. I made some bread from the King Arthur website and used this approach.. It really helped in my cold kitchen… Thanks again!!

          • Jessica Gavin says

            Thanks for letting me know, Joe! Good luck on the next loaf, I know you’ll perfect it.

  58. Cristina says

    Thank you for the recipe I will be making it soon. I just have a question is the bread flaky or firm and soft. I’m asking because I had tried another recipe and I noticed that as I cut the bread it would flake so much.

    Thank you

  59. Mary B says

    I have been looking for a recipe for this bread for a long time, thank you for posting this here! Also, I followed the directions for using active dry yeast and it turned out perfectly! Is there a place I can get this recipe in print? I want to make it a permanent part of my Easter tradition.

  60. Cindy says

    I tried this recipe and the braids fused together when I baked it. They look like giant bagels lol. Not sure what I did wrong, I followed the recipe step by step. But they taste delicious!

  61. Tara says

    I have never made homemade bread of any sort before trying your recipe. The texture was almost like that of a soft pretzel. The taste was fine. The yeast leavened as my bread rised and I made sure the milk was not too warm. I was wondering if you have any ideas on what I did wrong. Thanks!

  62. chris suter says

    Your Italian easter bread was to die for so light and very good I am a chef too I’m so glad I found you. Happy EASTER

  63. Angela says

    My bread turned out perfectly with the directions you provided on using active instead of rapid dry yeast. Thank you for teaching me how to do this. I doubled the recipe and will be dropping 5 of them off at my siblings homes for Easter since we are trying to adhere to social distancing and will not be able to get together tomorrow. I really appreciate your help.

  64. Lynn says

    My nana made this every Easter. She’s been gone a while now so I’m trying this today to surprise my dad. Your recipe sounds like the one she made except it was one large ring?? My Nana’s had an orange glaze too, would that just be adding orange zest to the powdered sugar glaze?
    I’m so excited to try this but EXTREMELY nervous!!
    Thanks Lynn

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Lynn! You can add some orange zest and orange juice to the powdered sugar to make the glaze. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out.

  65. Megan says

    Can I let the bread do its last rise in the fridge overnight, then bake the next day? If so, should I let it come to room temp before baking? Will I need to bake it longer?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Megan- You can shape the dough and refrigerate it overnight. However, you will need to let it come to room temperature and still let it rise until doubled in size. Not much rise will happen in the refrigerator from the yeast because of the cool temperature. I would take the bread out first thing in the morning. Check out my oven proofing box method if you need a warmer environment. Let me know how it goes!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      The dough will be bit sticky from the sugars. When kneading on the board after mixing, did you add about an 1/4 cup more flour? If needed, add a few tablespoons more, but don’t add too much because the dough will get dry and stiff. You want it to be slightly tacky, smooth, and easy to work with.

  66. Steph says

    Hi there!
    I’m literally in the middle of making this – my rings are rising at the moment.
    I accidentally cut the dough into 8 pieces instead of 6 – so I’m now going to end up with 4 smaller rings Instead of 3.
    Question – how long should I put them into the oven for?
    Question two – I currently have 2 rings on baking paper and I’ve put them onto trays. So I have two trays with two rings on each.
    Can I cook two rings at a time, or can I only bake one at a time?
    Thanks heaps! I’ll update u once I’m done! X

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Steph- I would check the baking time after 10 minutes, then every minute or so after. It may be a shorter time since the bread size is smaller. I recommend baking 1 tray at a time. Put the other rings in a room that is not so warm so that it doesn’t rise too much as the other tray is baking.

  67. Charlene James says

    First time baking with yeast. Followed the instructions but the bread did not rise during baking. Tastes ok, but no where near as pretty as its picture. Any hints for avoiding this happening again are most appreciated. Thanks, and Happy Easter!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Charlene- I’m so excited for you! Did you check the temperature of the liquid before adding it to the dough? Too hot of liquid can kill the yeast. Did it double in size after shaping? What was the temperature of the room? Did you let the dough rise somewhere warm like in a sunny window?

  68. Steph says

    Turned out amaaazing! I doubled the recipe and added anise seeds and raisins (soaked together in citrus rind, honey, oj and dash of liquor). I formed about 18 large bunny shaped buns with my daughter, brushed with egg wash and added a few sprinkles – huge hit!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, all of the ingredients sound like they add a ton of flavor. I LOVE that you shaper them into bunnies. I’d love to see a photo if you have social media!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can definitely add some anise extract. I would add about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the extract to the milk and butter mixture after heating. Let me know how it tastes!

  69. Adriana Staley says

    During this time, and not having or able to find any yeast. Can I substitute the yeast?
    Thank you

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Adriana- Unfortunately you cannot use another substitute for this recipe. I’ve read that you can substitute equal amounts of double-acting baking powder for the yeast, but the texture will not be the same, it will be missing that springy chewy texture that yeast bread has and may be more dense.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Angela- Use equal amounts of active dry yeast in the recipe. You need to proof it first. Mix 1/4 cup of water (105ºF) with 1 teaspoon sugar, add the yeast, let it sit for 10 minutes until bubbling. Only use 1 cup of milk, and do not heat the milk and butter above 110ºF. Follow the rest of the direction starting at step 2. You’ll have to let the dough double in size for at least 1 – 2 hours in a warm spot (instead of 10 minutes rest). Shape the dough and then let it rise again as stated in the directions. Please let me know how it turns out!

  70. Ken Savino says

    Nice clear instructions. My Grandmother made one bread for each of 11 grandchildren for Easter. Always in the shape of an Easter Bunny, about 8’ x 18” tall. Colored egg in tummy, with a dough cross over the egg (representing Jesus resurrection) She jaded the breaded loaves for the adults. Thank you for keeping Pane Di Pasqua alive. I am going to do it!

  71. Cristina Carpanzano says

    I only have fresh yeast… do you know how much fresh yeast I should use and how would I use it in this recipe?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Cristina- To substitute fresh yeast for instant dry, use 3 times the amount. So use 6 3/4 teaspoons of fresh yeast in the recipe. Please let me know how it goes!

      • Cristina Carpanzano says

        Just one more question ,
        Do I add the fresh yeast to the milk, sugar and egg mixture like I would with the dry yeast or do I dissolve it in the milk alone first before adding the sugar and eggs

  72. judy anderson says

    Hello….Can I use sesame seeds on the top instead of sprinkles? Love the recipe. Heading out the door to find some yeast. I’m in NY and basically can only go out for food. I need some basics so I’ll dash down the yeast aisle to see if there is any.
    Stay safe.

  73. Jo says

    Hi. I will be making sixteen individùal bread with colored eggs. Do I have to refrigerate as I will be making them two days before Easter.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jo- Wow, you are amazing! Since there are eggs in the center I do feel that you would need to refrigerate them. However, I’m concerned that the sprinkles and dye on the eggs will get condensation on them and potentially bleed and not look as nice. Is it possible to make them without the eggs, store them at room temperature and then reheat in a warm oven before serving?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can overproof the dough where it might deflate when baking or taste a bit sour due to the extra fermentation time.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Linda- I think you can try the regular butter and omit the salt. I haven’t made it that way, it may be a little more savory. Let me know how it turns out!

  74. Kris says

    Thanks for this recipe Jessica! The bread would certainly be a hit in our home, though I will have to send the recipe to my husband, who is not afraid of yeast and is our breadmaker 🙂

  75. Layla says

    Wow. So great to find you this am. 1st time up for sunrise service. (at home). And a reak and certified person. I, too, am self-certified danger to self and others. I subscribed.

  76. Sara says

    Love this recipe! I’ve made a few different variations over the years and like this one the best. The only thing different is leave out the egg in the middle because they never get eaten at my house. I instead, but a (washed) plastic egg with candy in the middle!

  77. Sara says

    Hello! I want to make this, but only have active dry yeast on hand and the thought of running my 2 kids into the store the day before Easter makes my skin crawl. How can I substitute this?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Sara- You can use active dry yeast, but you will need to do a proofing step for about 1 hour when you first mix the dough, and then another proofing step after the dough is shaped until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

  78. Jean says

    I’ve always been afraid of yeast. Lol.
    But I have to say the recipe turned out great and I will try to be more adventurous in the near future.
    Thanks for the easy recipe.
    Delicious too.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so impressed Jean! Now you don’t have to be afraid of yeast leavening, what’s the next baking project?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I haven’t just because of the size of the dough and mixing required. I would probably make separate batches instead of combining it all together and to stagger rising and bake times.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Nadine- I’m glad to hear that the bread tasted good! Let’s figure out the issue with the eggs. What was the texture? Was it soft boiled? I have tried baking already hard boiled eggs but they cracked. I’m wondering if it needs about 10 more minutes bake time, but we don’t want the bread to over bake. Maybe soft boiling the eggs before you dye them, and then bake as the recipe indicates in the bread to get a hard boiled texture.

  79. Judy says

    This is super pretty. I hope my new range is here before Easter so I can make this. I love everything you do Jessica. Your recipes are always hits.

  80. Cathy says


    My first attempt at this bread (actually, my first attempt at any bread) and it came out great, texture-wise! However, we are used to a sweeter bread. Could I double the sugar and if so, would I have to add extra liquid?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You are awesome Cathy! I’m so happy to hear that your first attempt and yeast leavened bread was a success 🙂 I have not tried doubling the amount of sugar, although 1 cup seems like it would be a lot. If you want to go to the “extreme” you could try that amount, then if the dough seems very dry as it’s mixing, you could add a tablespoon of extra milk at a time until it gets closer to the original recipes texture. You may need a little extra flour as you are shaping the dough because the dough may be more sticky from the sugar. You could also try adding 3/4 cup sugar as a slight increase and see if that’s enough sweetness for you. My only concern with the high amount of sugar is if the outsides would possibly become really dark and caramelize, but it’s worth a try! If adding sugar doesn’t work, maybe you can do a powdered sugar glaze on top of the bread after it is baked and cooled instead? Let me know how it turns out!

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Hi Lucille! It tastes the best when you make it fresh the same day. If you don’t add the egg or sugar than you can make it 1-2 days before and just reheat before serving.

  81. Caycie says

    In the tips it says add yeast directly to dry ingredients but the recipe says to add if to the wet. Which is better?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Caycie- Great question! I made the bread today, so I updated the recipe slightly so it’s more clear. In general the rapid rise yeast can be added to dry ingredients like directly to flour, where as regular rise yeast you need to activate in warm milk first. For the easter bread recipe you mix the salt, sugar and yeast together, then add the liquid (eggs, milk, butter), and then gradually add the flour so it can gradually hydrate and then become a dough. This is a little bit of a combo method, and it will work as long as you don’t heat the milk and butter mixture about 130 degrees F. Please let me know if you have any additional questions 🙂

  82. Rosemary says

    Just made these. Absolutely delicious! Came out exactly as pictured. Better than the recipe I’ve been using for 30 yrs! Thank you for sharing!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Rosemary! Wow, you really made my day! Your comment means a lot to me, and I am so happy that you enjoyed the recipe 🙂 Happy easter!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much Andrea! My husband inspired me to make this recipe because it’s a childhood favorite 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jessica! Mixing by hand is a great alternative, as the hand mixer won’t be strong enough to mix the dough. It may take a little more time, but it’s great practice and you’ll be able to feel the dough gain elasticity and you knead it.

      • Sam says

        I always have the problem that my dough is still sticky and too runny, it never forms a ball unless I add more flour. Can you give me some tips? I’ve been mixing/kneading this dough for over half an hour…?

        • Jessica Gavin says

          It’s akay to add more flour if that helps it be less runny. Just don’t add to much that the dough becomes dry and not tacky at all.

  83. Adrian says


    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Cathy- Did you get a chance to try the bread for Easter? I cut large slices of the bread then froze it for french toast, it was delicious!

  84. KayleneP @ The Links Site says

    I agree the smell of fresh baked bread is hard to beat. I make all my own bread and I just love the shape of your italian easter bread. I might try this wreath shape some time – thanks for sharing!