Recipe: Italian Easter Bread


We all have our family traditions, when it comes to the holidays, and they notoriously  revolve around food. Easter is my most favorite holiday of the year. Not only do I get to celebrate my Savior’s Resurrection, BUT, I get to celebrate the making and EATING of my mouth watering Italian Easter Bread!

As you may know, my blood runs thick with Italian tradition. And these traditions usually lend themselves to irresistable pasta dishes, multliple cookie fare, and wonderful moist bread choices. And as an adult diagnosed celiac, I find this as a welcome challenge to tweak each recipe my grandmother and mother have passed down to me, including and not limited to this bread.

I remember as a child my senses would come alive as the first batch went into the oven. I could not wait to sink my teeth into that first piece of the warm, icing laded, cool butter smothered slice of bread. The smell of the sweet anise would fill the air and activate my taste buds to overdrive. I remember my mother’s counter being lined with loaf after loaf of this Easter Bread to hand out to family, friends, neighbors, our postman, and anyone else who was smart enough to “stop by”, and “suprisingly” leave with loaf in hand.

My Italian mother is a generous woman and I am grateful for her handing down this special tradition to me so I may share it with my family, friends, neighbors, postmen, and now you -gluten free style. Thanks mom.

I have made the Italian Easter Bread gluten free, of course, and have chosen to use substitutes for the egg and milk since my daughter is currently struggling with these sensitivities.  Feel free to add them back in at your discretion.

Happy Easter, Ya’ll.

Italian Easter Bread

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Bread
Occasion Easter
Region Italian
By author Claudine Phillips


  • 3 cups GFGB All Purpose Flour (or any pre-made gluten free flour mixture)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Organic Natural Sea Salt
  • 1 packet Red Star Active Drive Yeast (.25 ounce)
  • 2/3 cups Almond Milk (Can use coconut milk or cow's milk)
  • 1 teaspoon Anise Oil
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Butter at room temperature (I skipped this step to eliminate dairy)
  • 1/4 cup Natural Apple Sauce (or 2 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup Maraschino Cherries (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Almond milk (Or any milk, add as needed)


*The bread is best served at room temperature. If you have leftovers, wrap well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store at room temperature for up to 3 days (but it won't last 3 days, promise).


Step 1
Sift 1 cup of the flour in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Step 2
Place the milk into a small saucepan over low heat, and warm to about 110 to 115 degrees F.
Step 3
Once the milk reaches the correct temperature, stir in the sugar, stirring constantly until dissolved. Add the yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Step 4
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the milk mixture; swirl with your hand, or standard mixer dough arm, in a circular motion to combine the flour mixture with the milk mixture.
Step 5
In a small bowl, combine the salt, applesauce (or eggs and butter) and anise oil. Add to the dough and continue mixing. Sift in remaining flour until dough begins to pull together.
Step 6
Once you have a sticky ball of dough formed, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and elastic. It will remain slightly tacky.
Step 7
Mix in maraschino cherries.
Step 8
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Step 9
Place the dough into bread pans, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 10
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Step 11
Once the bread is cooled to room temperature, whisk together the powdered sugar and the milk, adding more if necessary to reach the desired consistency (like a runny toothpaste). Pour the glaze onto the top of the bread, let it run down the sides, and decorate with colorful sprinkles. Slice, smother with butter, and enjoy all day!

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