How to Eat Panettone

Browse hundreds of extraordinary Christmas food gifts at Sous Chef. Or for the foodie Christmas gift that every food-lover is hoping for, see our finest Italian panettone.



From the bustling streets of Milan to the historic corners of Florence, the aroma of panettone wafts unmistakably across Italy over the festive season.

This classic Italian sweet cake, rich with candied fruit, raisins, and sometimes chocolate or pistachio cream, is a key player in Italy’s culinary story.

But what’s the right way to enjoy this festive treat? Let's dive in and explore the tradition of panettone, along with modern twists on classic recipes, and inventive ways to enjoy panettone at Christmas and all year-round.

The Sous Chef Milano Panettone is the panettone of all panettoni! We taste hundreds of panettones (or panettoni as they should really be called) every year.

So we're excited to share something extremely special with you -  we found the very best panettone to put our own name on. 

The Sous Chef Milano panettone is a product of decades of panettone expertise.

The Sous Chef Milano panettone is produced by a family of bakers in the north of Italy. Each panettone should be prized for its extraordinary heritage and flavour. 

This traditional classic panettone is a light and golden cake, rich with butter and sweet with dried citrus fruit. 

How do you eat panettone?

Panettone can be eaten in a variety of ways. It's commonly sliced and enjoyed as is, but it can also be toasted, buttered, used in desserts like bread pudding, or even paired with savoury dishes.

Here are three ways we like to eat panettone:

  • Straight from the box: The simplest and perhaps most traditional way to enjoy panettone is to cut it into wedge-shaped slices and eat it as is, savouring its soft, sweet crumb and the bursts of candied fruit or chocolate chips, depending on the variety. It’s important to smell it before you eat it, to get the full flavour profile.
  • Toasted with butter: Some like to take those slices of panettone and toast them lightly, then spread a bit of butter on top. The heat from the toasting process warms the fruits inside, releasing their aromas, and makes the crust a little crispier. The butter adds an extra layer of richness to the already rich and indulgent bread.
  • With a drink: In Italy, it's not uncommon to enjoy a slice of panettone alongside a cup of coffee or tea, or a sweet wine like Vin Santo. The idea is to tear a piece of the panettone and dip it into the drink, allowing the bread to soak up some of the liquid.

MORE: How to choose the best panettone

How to eat panettone

How to serve panettone?

  • Slice using a serrated knife. Cut from top to bottom like a cake. 

  • Tear with your hands. Leave out the knife and simply tear off pieces into beautiful chunks.

  • Warm it up. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, unwrap the plastic packaging, but keep the panettone in its paper mold. Warm in the oven (not microwave) for 5-10 minutes. Make sure the paper doesn't 'catch' or start browning.

  • Toast. Slice into half-inch slices, and put in the toaster. 

  • Make Panettone French Toast. Serve with plenty of honey.


How to eat panettone like an Italian

Italians enjoy panettone as an accompaniment to their afternoon coffee or tea. Dipping a slice into a hot drink softens it, making each bite melt in the mouth.

Some also enjoy it with a spread of sweetened ricotta or Nutella.

Panettone is synonymous with Christmas in Italy. Traditionally, it is enjoyed post the Christmas Eve meal or on Christmas morning.

Families gather around, often pairing slices of this sweet bread with a glass of sparkling wine like Prosecco or a sweet wine like Moscato d'Asti. Some even dip it in a luxurious zabaglione, a creamy and frothy wine-based custard.


How to eat panettone like an Italian

How do you serve panettone cake?

Beyond traditional methods, there are countless ways to serve panettone:

  • Mascarpone Cream: This thick and creamy cheese, native to Italy, is an ideal accompaniment to panettone.
    Its rich texture and slightly sweet taste harmoniously meld with the softness of the bread.
    You can whip mascarpone with a bit of sugar and vanilla to make it fluffy and light, then serve it as a dollop on the side or as a spread over toasted panettone slices.
  • Zesty Citrus Curd: Whether it's lemon, orange, or even grapefruit, citrus curd provides a tangy contrast to the sweet, buttery flavor of panettone.
    The bright, acidic notes of the curd cut through the richness of the bread, creating a balanced and refreshing bite.
    You can either spread the curd over slices of panettone or use it as a dip.
  • Dark Chocolate Ganache: Chocolate and panettone are a match made in heaven, especially when that chocolate is rich and slightly bitter.
    A smooth dark chocolate ganache or sauce drizzled over panettone brings out the fruity undertones of the bread, especially if you're enjoying a version with candied orange peel or raisins.
    The combination is pure indulgence and is especially delightful with a cup of espresso on the side.

Panettone and Pistachio Cream

Pistachio cream is a smooth, velvety spread made from ground pistachios, sugar, and often a touch of oil or another fat to give it a lush texture.

Its nutty, slightly sweet profile makes it a perfect match for the aromatic and fruity nuances of panettone.

When paired with panettone, the pistachio cream complements the bread’s buttery richness while adding an earthy depth of flavour.

The vibrant green colour of the cream also offers a visual contrast to the golden-brown panettone, making it an aesthetically pleasing addition to the plate.

Here's how you can enjoy this pairing of panettone and pistachio paste:

  • Toasted Panettone Spread: Slice panettone and toast it until it's golden and slightly crispy.
    Generously spread the pistachio cream over the warm slices, letting it slightly melt and infuse into the bread.
  • Panettone Pistachio Sandwich: For a dessert-like treat, you can make a panettone sandwich by slathering pistachio cream between two slices.
    Add some fresh berries or sliced bananas for added texture and flavour.
  • Layered Dessert: Create a layered dessert by alternating chunks of panettone, dollops of pistachio cream, and perhaps some whipped cream or mascarpone in a glass.
    It’s almost like a trifle but with the rich taste of pistachios shining through.

Should panettone be served warm?

While panettone is delectable at room temperature, warming it slightly accentuates its flavours and aroma.

A gentle toast or a brief stint in the oven can transform it, making the candied fruits and raisins even more luscious.

How to eat panettone at Christmas

Do you have to toast panettone?

Toasting is not obligatory but is a popular choice, especially for panettones that have been stored for some time.

A lightly toasted slice, with its crisp edges and warm, soft centre, is truly irresistible, especially with a pat of butter.

Find your favourite panettone

Browse our selection of Italy's finest panettone from artisan producers including Fiasconaro, Loison, Muzzi and Flamigni.

Plus discover our beautiful exclusive Sous Chef panettone, beautifully wrapped in bespoke paper!

Can you eat panettone on its own?

Absolutely! The beauty of panettone lies in its intricate flavours and textures. Each bite, with its mélange of sweet dough, candied fruits, and sometimes zesty citrus notes, is delightful on its own.

What can you serve with panettone?

Beyond traditional pairings, panettone pairs well with:

  • Cheeses: Brie, camembert, or blue cheese offer a savoury counterpoint.
  • Gelato: A scoop of vanilla or hazelnut gelato alongside a slice is heavenly.
  • Liqueurs: Amaretto or limoncello provide a spirited complement.

What recipes can you make with panettone?

The versatility of panettone shines in various recipes:

  • Panettone French Toast: Dip slices in an egg-milk mixture and pan-fry till golden.
  • Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding: Mix chunks with a custard base and bake to perfection.
  • Panettone Trifle: Layers of sliced panettone, custard, fruits, and whipped cream make for a festive dessert.
How to eat panettone - which one to buy

9 ways to eat panettone you need to try!

  1. Panettone Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Give your regular grilled cheese an upgrade.
    Slice a section of panettone, stuff it with a creamy brie or camembert cheese, and grill until the cheese is perfectly melted and the outside is toasted.
    The slight sweetness of the panettone combined with the creaminess of the cheese creates a delicious contrast that's perfect for a luxurious brunch or dessert sandwich.
  2. Panettone Tiramisu. Instead of ladyfingers, use panettone slices as the foundation for your tiramisu.
    Layer them at the base of your dish and soak with coffee (or a mix of coffee and a liqueur like amaretto).
    Follow with your traditional mascarpone mixture, a sprinkle of cocoa powder, and repeat.
    The panettone will add its distinct fruity and sweet touch to this classic dessert, making it even more memorable.
  3. Panettone Gelato Sandwich. For a cooling summer treat, slice your panettone horizontally, scoop your favourite gelato (such as pistachio, tiramisu, or even classic vanilla) and sandwich it between two slices. Press gently, and you have a divine Italian-inspired ice cream sandwich. Or even, make your panettone into ice cream itself!
  4. Savoury Panettone Stuffing. While panettone is inherently sweet, it can be a unique base for savoury dishes too.
    Consider using panettone as the main ingredient in a stuffing for roasted poultry.
    Combine it with traditional ingredients like celery, onion, and herbs, but also add in some Italian sausage, chestnuts, or dried cranberries. The sweet and savoury combination will make your festive roast truly stand out.
  5. Panettone Pizza. Surprise your guests with a dessert pizza using panettone as the base.
    Slice the panettone horizontally to get a flat, circular surface. Toast it slightly in the oven to firm it up.
    Then, spread a thin layer of sweetened mascarpone or ricotta cheese as your 'sauce'. Top with fresh fruit slices, such as strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries.
    Drizzle with honey or chocolate sauce, and finish with a sprinkle of chopped nuts or mint leaves. Slice like a traditional pizza and enjoy a dessert that's both familiar and utterly new.
  6. Panettone Bruschetta. Swap out the typical savoury bruschetta for a sweet version using panettone.
    Slice and toast panettone pieces until they are crispy on the outside.
    Top with a mixture of ricotta cheese sweetened with a touch of honey or sugar.
    Add fresh fig slices, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. This twist on bruschetta is a delightful way to start a brunch or end a dinner.
  7. As a Base for Canapés. Think of small slices or rounds of panettone as a base for sweet canapés.
    Toppings could include a dollop of ricotta cheese, a piece of candied orange, and a drizzle of honey. Or perhaps some dark chocolate spread with a sprinkle of sea salt.
  8. Panettone Treacle Tart. The rich brioche and candied fruit flavour take this classic British pud to a whole new level. Enjoy it with fresh cream poured over abundantly, or with a scoop of rum and raisin ice cream.
  9. And of course, Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding is a classic recipe!

Panettone is not just a cake; it's an experience, a journey into the heart of Italian festivity.

Whether you're enjoying it in traditional slices, toasted, or as part of a gourmet dessert, each bite carries with it the warmth of Italian tradition and the joy of the holiday season.


Check back each week, as we add more and more Italian panettone to the shop. Freshly baked to order in Italy!

Nicola, Sous Chef founder, says “I visited the bakery in summer, and was thrilled to see the panettone ‘mother yeast’ rising in its locked room - known as the 'treasure room'!

"Only very few people have access to that historic sourdough starter. In fact, a piece of the same ‘mother’ is kept off site for security - locked in a bank vault! Panettoni producers argue about which ‘mother’ produces the best flavour. This one is superb!”.

A collaboration between two iconic ingredients - Italian panettone and Fabbri Amarena cherries.

This pairing is glorious with a little mascarpone cream. Serve with an espresso for a simple pudding your friends will talk about for years to come!

This incredible Muzzi Black Cherry & Chocolate Chip panettone makes a fantastic gift – plus it’s already wrapped!

The black cherry filling is sweet and tart, perfectly paired with dark chocolate chips and the coating. It’s a real centrepiece.

Muzzi panettones are made with the finest ingredients – fresh eggs, delivered daily, along with carefully selected butter, milk and sugar.

The panettones and pandoros are made using a traditional recipe that has been perfected over many years, and with a mother sourdough yeast that is carefully tended.

The Fiasconaro traditional hand-wrapped panettone is a stunning festive gift. The panettone is made to a traditional recipe with raisins and candied orange peel.

Fiasconaro add a dash of Marsala and Zibibbo wines for an extra festive touch.

Serve a slice of the traditional panettone with tea or coffee, or enjoy as a lighter alternative to Christmas pudding after dinner.

Each panettone is wrapped in vibrant red paper by hand.

Each tin is adorned with Dolce & Gabbana’s vibrant designs, which makes this a fabulous gift for friends and family.

Domenico Dolce is originally from Polizzi Generosa in Palermo, Sicily, so the designer jumped at the chance to celebrate his home country with bespoke designs for Fiasconaro.

He designed two similar tins for the same panettone, so you can look through the images to decide which one you prefer: 



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