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Italian Ricotta Easter Bread

I changed our family's traditional Easter bread by adding ricotta and a few other ingredients. The almond flavoring works wonders! — Tina Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 45 min.
  • Makes
    18 servings


  • 3/4 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)
  • Sliced toasted almonds or assorted sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks,1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition, stirring in final 1 cup flour by hand.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and braid. Pinch ends to seal; tuck under braid. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes (do not overbake). Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Meanwhile, beat confectioners' sugar, milk and extract until smooth. Brush on bread while still warm; top with sliced almonds or sprinkles.
Editor's Note
To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 376 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 68mg cholesterol, 247mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • Jui
    Apr 12, 2020

    No comment left

  • LLH
    Apr 11, 2020

    This was pretty tasty but way too big. If I cut the recipe in half, or made 2 loaves, how long would you suggest I bake?

  • PLJanson
    Apr 6, 2020

    I’ve been making bread for a really long time and this one has become a new family favorite!

  • Mary
    Apr 3, 2020

    I don’t have shortening. Would butter work?

  • Sherry
    Apr 9, 2019

    I have not made the bread yet but noticed there are two lines that say 3/4 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening, room temperature and also two lines that say sliced toasted almonds or assorted sprinkles. Can I assume that this is a miss-print?

  • momzilla24
    May 1, 2018

    Very good flavor (used almond extract and almonds on top) but the texture was a bit disappointing. The bread had a thin , dry crust like a yeast bread but the inside was moist and quite dense. It was more like a pound cake consistency than a sweet bread. Followed suggestion of others and made 2 smaller loaves and that worked out well.

  • LeahL
    Apr 2, 2018

    Excellent recipe! Tried it for the first time for Easter to replace a yeast bread that I just had too much trouble with. This didn't disappoint. The only thing I would do different is to make 2 smaller loaves instead of one big loaf. Also, I didn't over bake but still felt like the minimum 45 minutes might have been 5 minutes too much in my oven. So I'd start checking at 40 minutes. Next time I will braid on the sheet pan or on the parchment paper for ease of lifting. Another thing that I did was instead of making 3 ropes to braid, I left the dough in one piece and cut it into 3rds about 2 inches down from the top and braided from there. This is a keeper!

  • suefalk
    May 28, 2017

    Wow, wow amazing! This will be an Easter tradition from now on. Easy to make, and perfect for hostess gifts!

  • Jellybug
    Apr 29, 2017

    For Easter I made several specialty breads, and this one was my favorite. Sweet and moist. Delicious!!!

  • Nancy
    Apr 17, 2017

    Flavor is excellent! And ease of preparation is a plus. My only suggestion is to separate the dough in half then divide each half into thirds and make two smaller loaves. I made one loaf as the recipe stated. It was huge and also cracked in half as I was trying to move it after it cooled. I had extra ricotta so I made a half recipe and made a smaller loaf ( each rope was about 12 inches or so in length). That loaf was beautiful! I did not add almonds or sprinkles. Lightly glazed was perfect!