Healthy Italian Dessert Recipes

Find healthy, delicious Italian dessert recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Kahluaccino

Rating: 4 stars 1
Coffee lovers will love the addition of Kahlua; Frangelico adds a lovely hazelnut note.

Creamy Chocolate Gelato

Rating: 4.33 stars 7
This ultra-chocolaty, dairy-free Sicilian-style gelato--made without eggs or cream--is relatively lean but still creamy-smooth and flavorful. The coconut milk used for the base gives it a silky, rich mouthfeel and a subtle coconut flavor.

Pandoro Tiramisù

In this take on tiramisù, the Italian Christmas bread pandoro is used instead of ladyfingers to make this praiseworthy dessert. If you prefer ladyfingers, use 8 ounces in place of the pandoro.

Italian Hazelnut Cookies

Rating: 3.9 stars 4
These crispy cookies are made with Piedmontese staples--hazelnuts and eggs--and called Brutti Ma Buoni: literally, “Ugly But Good.” But they are really more plain-looking than “ugly,” and pack a powerful, sweet, nutty burst of flavor, making them welcome at any table.

Nut & Honey Biscotti

Rating: 5 stars 1
This crunchy Italian cookie recipe isn't traditionally very sweet, so just a touch of honey adds flavor along with mild sweetness. Dipping them in chocolate makes them extra special.

Rosemary-Pine Nut Biscotti

Rating: 5 stars 5
These amazing olive oil biscotti are studded with rich, buttery-tasting pine nuts. Try them alongside fruit sorbet, cheese or summer peaches.

Almond Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce

Panna cotta means "cooked cream" in Italian. This version of the delicious Italian dessert is flavored with amaretto or almond extract and served with a luscious blueberry sauce.

Pignoli Cookies

This crispy-on-the-bottom-and-chewy-on-the-inside gluten-free cookie recipe is a twist on a traditional Italian holiday treat, pignoli, or pine nut cookies. Look for almond paste--a mixture of ground almonds and sugar (available in tubes or sometimes tubs)--near other baking supplies in well-stocked supermarkets or specialty stores. Sweeter marzipan doesn't work well in these cookies.

Orange-Almond Slices

These twice-baked almond- and orange-flavored cookies are wonderful on cookie trays or served with fresh fruit or ice cream. Dip one edge of the crunchy slices into melted chocolate to dress them up for a special celebration.

Coffee 'n' Cream Biscotti

These sweet Italian cookies will be perfect with your afternoon or evening coffee. Each coffee-flavored biscotti is covered in melted chocolate and will practically melt in your mouth.

Almond Cannoli with Lemon-Basil Ricotta Cream Filling

Homemade cannoli shells are filled with a creamy lemon and ricotta cheese filling with a hint of fresh basil for a gourmet dessert. For a shortcut, you can substitute purchased cannoli shells (8 full-size or 16 mini).

Double-Chocolate Biscotti

Rating: 4 stars 3
Dense and crunchy, these are the classic Italian dunking cookies. Although they are traditionally dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet Italian dessert wine, these chocolaty biscotti are ultra-satisfying with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Mascarpone-Stuffed Figs
A creamy, honey-scented mascarpone filling makes this fresh fig recipe luxurious, yet still lets the fruit be the star. Serve these pretty stuffed figs to top off a special meal.
Strawberry Bruschetta
Rating: Unrated 3
Astoundingly good for minimal effort, this makes an indulgent weekend breakfast or anyday dessert. A judicious smear of mascarpone (half the fat of butter) is part of the luxury, but even lighter low-fat cream cheese will work as well. The real secret is warming the berries just enough to make the flavor bloom and transform their juices into a rosy syrup.
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberries

This creamy Italian dessert is flavored with vanilla bean and topped with fresh strawberries. Feel free to mix it up and substitute blueberries or raspberries, or a combination of all three!