Grandma's Easter Bread

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Easter bread is a must-make tradition for everyone in our family thanks to my Grandmother.

We all love the taste of this egg style of delicious sweet bread with the addition of lemon or anisette.

Of course, you can just use vanilla in the yeast-risen batter, however, anisette remains the favorite for all of use here.

We start making it the day before Palm Sunday and several loaves some with boiled eggs, some frosted, and some left plain so we can toast it in the morning.

The kids love this bread made into bunny shapes, braids, or just loaves, whatever you decide to make the dough is so versatile to mold into festive shapes.

Grandma whips up this dough, let it rise overnight, and makes it fresh to eat warm the next morning, the memories are priceless.

The food is in abundance with of course the sugo (sauce) lamb, favorite pasta like lasagna, all kinds of vegetables, appetizers, and a ton of desserts like cassata, cream puffs, cannoli, cookies, and of course Grandma's Easter Bread

Easter was always one of our favorite holidays for baking and cooking along with Christmas in our Italian American family and the traditions live on in all of us.

Grandma's egg bread for Easter in an Easter basket with jelly beans and chicks in the photo near the pool outside

this is easter egg bread braided


This is an easy recipe I watched Grandma make every year.

She also made this bread is all kinds of flavors other than anisette.

Everyone loved different flavors, so add any extracts to prefer.

She loved anisette and most of the family loved lemon and lemon zest in their bread.

Whether you make orange with orange zest, lemon, almond or even plain vanilla this is a light and fluffy egg bread with a little sweetness.

The bread is great frosted or plain and makes fabulous toast the next day.

homemade easter bread with boiled eggs inside and anisette flavor

Easy Step By Step

  1. Soften yeast in lukewarm water to the wrist (should be 110 degrees)
  2. Mix eggs, anise, and oil with yeast after dissolved.
  3. Use a dough hook or hand knead, add the sugar then flour one cup at a dough until soft dough forms.
  4. Cover overnight with a light film of oil. Cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Set in a warm place to rise overnight.
  6. Shape into rounds, braids, animals whatever you like.
  7. For round shapes add a round glass to leave space for a boiled-colored Easter Egg in the center. Make sure the glass is oven-proof that is used.
  8. If you prefer to bake the egg in the dough, wrap strips of dough around the eggs to hold them in place
  9. Bake at 375 until brown.

this is easter bread sliced to see how fluffy it looks inside

Easter Traditions

Easter in Italian is “Pasqua,” and it’s a time of religious parades and celebrations.

These processions often have as their focus statues of Jesus or the Virgin Mary which are carried through the city streets by participants.

One of the largest and most famous processions is in the city of Enna in Sicily on Good Friday, where more than 2,000 friars parade through the city.

One of the oldest Good Friday processions takes place in the Abruzzo city of Chieti.

Of course, because Italy is such an overwhelmingly Catholic's you’ll find the majority of them head to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

For some more personal and local traditions, Catholic priests throughout Italy will stop by private homes and shops in order to bless them for Easter.

this is a frosted loaf of Easter Egg Bread sliced

Dough Shapes

  1. birds nests
  2. bunnies
  3. egg shapes
  4. animal shapes
  5. shaped into a cross
  6. braided
  7. Note: cooked eggs can be added dyed or nondyed and plain but hard-boil them first

homemade easter bread with boiled eggs inside and anisette flavor

Pans To Use

  1. loaf pans
  2. ring style pans
  3. character shaped pans
  4. cross pans
  5. cookie sheets
  6. bundt pan

this is Easter Bread made with egg and anisette flavors


  • Rise dough overnight for best results
  • Keep the dough covered with light oil and plastic wrap and towels over the top of the bowl
  • For the lightest dough, punch down and rise again
  • For a heavier dough rise only once

Grandma's egg bread for Easter in an Easter basket with jelly beans and chicks in the photo near the pool outside

Shopping List

  • dry yeast
  • egg yolks
  • sugar
  • oil
  • flour
  • anise extract or another flavoring you like IE lemon extract, almond etc.
  • 1 egg beaten for the top to brush top with
  • Colored and Boiled Easter Eggs
  • powdered sugar
  • water
  • sprinkles for decorating

this is collage of photos on how to make Easter Bread

Pin for later

this is a pin for later on how to make Italian Easter Bread

Try some of our other Holiday Recipes!

Italian Christmas Day and Eve Recipes
Italian Traditional Easter
Valentines Day Dinner
Best Holiday Side Dishes
Red White and Blue Recipes
Halloween Roundup
Thanksgiving Recipes
Christmas Recipes

Easter Recipes

this is a egg bread made at easter in most Italian homes

Easter bread, bread, egg bread, braided bread, colored Easter eggs , Easter foods, Easter bread with boiled eggs, Italian traditions
bread, Easter
Yield: 10

Grandma's Easter Bread

prep time: 15 min cook time: 4 hours total time: 4 hours and 15 mins
Delicious egg bread Grandma and mom made every year. This is a traditional Italian bread that has a boiled egg for Easter decoration inside and a little pretty decorated icing on top. Delicious toasted or plain with anisette flavor.


  • Grandma's Easter Bread Recipe
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 8 -1/2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons anise extract or another flavoring you like (IE lemon extract, almond, etc.)
  • 1 egg beaten for the top to brush top with
  • Colored and Boiled Easter Eggs
  • The frosting is powdered sugar and water to make a thin icing and
  • colorful candies to sprinkle on top


  1. Soften yeast in 1/3 cup water warm to the wrist. 
  2. Mix eggs, anise, oil with yeast after dissolved. 
  3. Use a dough hook or hand knead, add the sugar then flour one cup at a dough until soft dough forms. 
  4. Cover overnight with a light film of oil.
  5.  Cover with plastic wrap. 
  6. Set in a warm place to rise overnight. 
  7. Shape into rounds, braids, animals whatever you like. 
  8. For round shapes add a round glass to leave space for a boiled-colored Easter Egg in the center.
  9. Make sure the glass is oven-proof that is used. 
  10.  If you prefer to bake the egg in the dough, wrap strips of dough around the eggs to hold them in place. 
  11. Bake at 375 until brown. 
  12. Cool and frost with powdered sugar and water blended to make a thick frosting.
  13.  Sprinkle with colored candies. 
  14. Leave it plain if you like it toasted. 
  15. The bread freezes well also.
  16. We make this recipe every year. 
  17. Grandma and Mom made various shapes, birds nests, bunny shapes and egg shapes 
  18. We still do the same. 
  19. We boil and color Easter eggs first then are placed in the center adding strips of dough to hold the egg in place. 
  20. The dough has then risen until doubled and baked. 
  21. When cooled you can frost them or leave them plain.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Grandma's Victoria's Easter Bread Pin this recipe for later

Frosted Easter Bread with hard boiled eggs and sprinkles

Try My Easter Roundup of Recipes!

Click Here for the Easter Italian Recipe Roundup!

this is easter egg bread braided

Disclosure: This recipe was originally posted to this blog 2010. It was edited and re-published in 2017.


  1. It looks the Easter Bread that my maternal grandmother called "Tortano", a typical bread of her country. Great recipe!

  2. Very beautiful! Reminds of of honey balls AND Easter breads. My mom did a yeasty anise bread bread with the colored eggs every Easter, and its a wonderful childhood memory of mine. Happy Easter <3

  3. What a wonderful bread and an even better way to always have your grandmother with you!

  4. Gorgeous bread Claudia. Great tribute to your grandmother. Hope you have a wonderful, Blessed Easter.

  5. wonderful post,claudia!i made yesterday our traditional easter bread,the same recipe like yours but with a filling with cocoa and you,that bread remind me by my granny ,a beautiful soul.(my granny had a aunt in italy but i lost the contact with relativ from there since '80 years.)

  6. Your Grandmather's Easter bread is wonderful. Happy Easter :X

  7. That's such a beautiful Easter bread. Love the soft texture. I bet it taste awesome. Happy Easter, Claudia!

  8. What is it about those little multicolored sprinkles that everyone loves? I love this bread toasted in the morning with a big gob of butter on it for breakfast. What a classic!

  9. What a beautiful Easter Bread! Happy Easter!

  10. Isn't grandma just the best? Mine has a lot of delicate recipes too :) I just started an online cooking show, Swedish Home Cooking. Please check it out! I stared making grandmas blueberry pie in one of them..See how it went!

  11. Ah, the number 1 foodbuzz bread! no wonder!! Your bread is beautiful.

  12. Neat article - I've been trying to find my Nona's recipe since she never wrote anything down and her Easter bread is one of those lost recipes. My question for you is - do you put the hard boiled egg IN the dough? My Nona did and then it was a tradition to try and cut thru it (I think it was supposed to mean luck for the person who cut thru the egg). Anyway, I'm just curious because if you make your bread the same way, then this recpe is probably pretty close.

  13. YOur Easter bread looks so good. I think I'm drooling. Great to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  14. That Easter bread looks good enough to eat! LOL

  15. The bread looks amazing and what special memories-enjoy:@)

  16. This looks delicious! I love the idea of being able to make it into different shapes. Fun!

  17. Memories of food are always so special, especially when you can create them yourself and feel all of the emotions again.
    My kids would LOVE this bread with my daughter being partial to the frosting and sprinkles. I'm somewhat partial to the pic by the pool!
    Well done!
    Happy Spring!

  18. Such a wonderful holiday tradition!!! Gorgeous Easter bread!

  19. I'm such a big bread fan. This Easter bread looks scrumptious.

  20. Makes me very sad that I have no family recipes really. My sister took all of my mothers things after she died. She won't share them at all. Thankfully I inherited the talent to bake form watching my mother so closely as a child. I have tried to reproduce recipes from memory. I have to say, I've been very success in doing so. To me I always say, my sister might have the recipe. But I have the ability to bake them.She can not bake. So with my memory and patience I will have some recipes to pass to my girls. I wish I had my mothers Italian sauce recipe. I will continue to work at it until I master that one. I do have her Pizzelle cookie recipe and secret ingredient. So at least I have that. I thank you for sharing some of your recipes with us. Really appreciate that.

  21. Such a beautiful bread! It's golden perfection!


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