What are typical Italian breakfast foods? Well, it kind of depends on the region.
Some areas go for warm focaccia with espresso, while others reach for flaky croissants or even ricotta pancakes.
I was lucky enough to vacation on the Italian coast recently, and the food was sensational.
And one thing I noticed was their love for all things focaccia! It was everywhere and had all kinds of tasty toppings.
That said, we also enjoyed croissants, crepes, brioche, and biscotti.
Plus, coffee is a must!
In the summer, it’s all about the Shakerato (espresso shaken with ice).
But the Italians also love a hot sip of cappuccino first thing in the morning – and only in the morning!
Ready to explore the world of Italian breakfast foods? Let’s dig in!
- Top 10 Italian Breakfast Recipes
- 1. Coffee
- 2. Cappuccino
- 3. Thick Italian Hot Chocolate
- 4. Biscotti – Italian Biscuits
- 5. Brioche
- 6. Crostata e Torta (Pies and Cakes)
- 7. Bread, Butter, and Jam
- 8. Italian Breakfast Frittata
- 9. Crepes
- 10. Croissants
- 10 Italian Breakfast Foods (+ Recipe Collection)
Top 10 Italian Breakfast Recipes
For Italians, drinking a hot cup of coffee is the only right way to start the day. We have them to thank for the many types of coffee we all love and enjoy.
But, do you know the difference between a macchiato, a latte, and other Italian coffee drinks?
If not, let me explain:
- Un Caffè – The basic, single espresso shot.
- Caffè al Vetro – An espresso served not in a ceramic mug but in a fancy glass cup.
- Caffelatte – An espresso topped with milk and served in a large glass.
- Macchiato – An espresso shot topped with foamy milk. Macchiato means “stained” or “spotted.”
- Latte Macchiato – The opposite of a macchiato, it is a milk-based drink with a shot of coffee, served in a tall glass.
- Decaffeinato – Also espresso, but decaf!
- Caffè Lungo – Watered-down espresso. It is left in the espresso machine longer than usual so that it is diluted in more water. In the States, this is what we call Americano.
- Cadè d’orzo – A barley-based coffee substitute.
Cappuccino is another Italian coffee that is consumed at breakfast.
The beverage is made with a double shot of espresso and creamy milk and topped with extra foamy milk.
Since it is fatty and heavy, Italians consider it a stand-alone breakfast and don’t drink it with other dishes.
And while some say there’s no truth to idea that Italians do not drink cappuccino beyond 11 AM, I suggest asking a real Italian.
Because they’re pretty passionate about it!
Of course, if you want a cappuccino for lunch or dinner, you do you!
If you’re not in the mood for a caffeine boost but want a delicious hot beverage, how about some hot chocolate?
Now, I’m not talking about an instant powdered chocolate drink, here. I’m talking super thick, chocolatey, pudding-like drink called cioccolata calda.
Italian hot chocolate is super rich and decadent, it can sometimes double as a dessert. It’s so thick, you will need to use a spoon to drink/eat it!
No wonder, because it’s made with actual pieces of chocolate, milk, and sugar. The chocolate is melted in a special machine that turns it into a delicious masterpiece.
While the Brits usually serve their biscuits during afternoon tea, Italians have them with coffee or milk for breakfast.
Biscotti are twice baked and very crunchy. That’s why they’re mostly served with coffee for dunking.
Brioches are another Italian pastry made of sweet dough.
You’ll see them in Italian pastry shops and cafes usually served with coffee.
There are many ways to eat brioche, but they are filled with vanilla cream, jam, or almond paste.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Italian crostata are for you!
This tasty jam tart became an obsession of mine when I was in Italy. From blueberry and raspberry to apricot, I loved them all!
They’re usually pretty thin with the most tender, buttery pastry ever.
In Italian, this combo is called pane, burro e marmellata. It’s another traditional breakfast that is usually served with, as you may have guessed, coffee.
Okay, here’s how to do it right: take a slice of freshly baked bread (whatever kind will do), spread a thin layer of butter on top, and top it with your favorite jam.
Simple, yet full of flavor. Delizioso!
If you’ve had a breakfast casserole, quiche, or omelet before, then you more or less know what a frittata tastes like.
This traditional Italian breakfast is also egg-based and usually infused with meats, vegetables, and cheese.
A frittata is like an unfolded omelet, or a quiche sans the crust.
Frittata fun fact: The Italian word translated means “fried.” It used to refer to any egg dish fried in butter or oil.
Crepes may have originated in France, but Italy has an equally tasty version.
They’re called crespelle. This Italian variant is much thinner and crisper than its French counterpart.
But, just like French crepes, you can use sweet and/or savory fillings or toppings to flavor them.
Whether it’s Nutella, fresh fruits, chocolate, or spinach, mushroom, and ricotta cheese, crespelle tastes fantastic.
Here’s an interesting fact about crepes: while it is now considered as an elegant dish, they were once perceived as a poor man’s food.
But, its reputation changed in 1895, when a chef accidentally served a much thinner version of pancakes to Edward the VIII, then Prince of Wales.
The young prince loved it so much that he suggested naming the dish after his friend, Crepes Suzette.
Croissants are another French pastry, but they’ve also got this tasty bread in Italy, and they call them cornetto.
Cornetto means little horn, which perfectly describes what the pastry looks like.
Unlike its French counterpart, though, cornetto is much softer and has less butter.
Now, you might be wondering, croissants/cornetto are not the healthiest of breakfast foods. So how do most Italians have such a fit figure? Well, the answer is simple: everything in moderation. They don’t eat croissants every morning!
Rather, it’s something they eat only from time to time, when they’re feeling indulgent.
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