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Traditional Italian Easter bread with a purple Easter egg in the middle.

Italian Easter Bread

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5 from 15 reviews

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 Large Wreaths 1x


Italian Easter bread is a festive family tradition. It’s light, fluffy, and slightly sweet. The braided wreaths are sprinkled with crunchy nonpareils, and a colorful Easter egg is tucked into the center. This easy recipe brings warmth and joy to any holiday table.


Units Scale

Dyed Easter Eggs

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • Food coloring – gel or liquid (or an egg dying kit)
  • 6 soft-boiled eggs (or hard boiled eggs)

Brioche Dough

  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed to 100-110ºF
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or lemon extract (optional)
  • 44 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 large egg (plus a splash of water), for the egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon rainbow nonpareils


Dye the Easter Eggs 

  1. In a heat-proof bowl, stir together hot water, white vinegar, and food coloring. Add 1 hard-boiled egg. Let it sit until it reaches the desired shade – about 3 minutes. Remove it to a plate. 
  2. Repeat the coloring process for the remaining 5 eggs. Allow them to dry completely. 

Prepare the Brioche Dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together warm milk, sugar and yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy. Whisk in 3 eggs, vanilla extract, and orange extract (if using). 
  2. Add 3 cups flour to the bowl. Mix on low speed using the dough hook attachment. Once the dough has come together into a loose ball, start adding softened butter – 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl (usually after adding 3 to 4 tablespoons butter), add another 1/4 cup flour. Continue alternating butter and flour until all of the ingredients have been added.
  3. Continue mixing until the dough comes together into a smooth, elastic ball – about 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, gradually add more flour until it’s smooth and elastic and springs back when pressed.
  4. Place the dough into a lightly-oiled boil and cover it with a dampened cloth. Set it  aside in a warm draft-free place. Allow it to rise until doubled in size – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface. Divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each piece into a 12-inch long rope. Twist 2 ropes together. Shape the braided rope into a circle. Pinch the seams together – we don’t want the wreath to unwrap in the oven. Gently tuck a dyed soft boiled egg into the center of each wreath.
  6. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the wreaths to the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to place them at least 3-inches apart. Cover the wreaths with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for another 30 to 60 minutes, until slightly puffed.
  7. In a ramekin, beat a large egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Brush the edges of the wreaths with egg wash to give them a shiny finish. Be sure to avoid the dyed egg or the color may bleed onto the dough. Sprinkle the wreaths with rainbow nonpareils.
  8. Bake the Easter egg bread for 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden blonde and cooked through. Allow the wreaths to cool completely on the pan. Slice and enjoy with butter or your favorite spreads.


Baker’s Tip: Feel free to shape the dough into various designs. Some years I’ll shape it into an Easter Bunny, placing a dyed egg onto its tummy.

How to store Italian Easter bread: Remove the eggs from the center of the bread. Eat or refrigerate the eggs. Transfer the wreaths to an airtight container. You can store the bread on the counter for up to 3 days, refrigerate the bread for up to 1 week, or freeze it for up to 1 month. 

  • Prep Time: 35 Minutes
  • 1.5 Hours: Rise Time
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian