Tall, golden, enriched brioche-like bread that can be plain or with dried fruits and candied citrus peel, panettone has become a Christmas staple throughout much of the world. Panettone and variations are also traditionally enjoyed at New Year and on Twelfth Night.

Native to Milan in Italy, panettone can also be enhanced with tubes of orange or lemon or chocolate sauces, with chocolate nibs – and with other less common additions. There are also much smaller versions, which fans will describe as ‘single portions’ although this was never the intention.

Although said now to outsell traditional Christmas puddings and cakes in the UK, this is unlikely to be as a substitute for these staples but as a welcome, lighter addition to festive feasting and entertaining.

For our best ever panettone recipes, including deliciously festive serving suggestions, check out our collection.


Widely available in the months before Christmas.

Choose the best

When sliced and eaten very fresh, the differences between panettone can be minimal but richer versions, made with a greater proportion of butter and eggs, flavoured with real vanilla rather than with vanillin, will be smoother and more gratifying to eat. Check the label. Eat around and make a note of what was best for next year. The most expensive is not necessarily the best; beware of paying more for packaging than for content.

Store it

A very long life if unopened, well into the New Year.

Once opened, the high yeast content will mean a panettone might stale quickly. Keep cut surfaces tightly covered with cling film.