Home » Entertaining » Holidays » Panettone for Holiday Gatherings and Gifts

Panettone for Holiday Gatherings and Gifts


Panettone is a Christmas tradition I didn’t start until I was an adult. You’ve probably seen it in stores but ignored it because you weren’t sure what it was. If you’ve been wondering how to eat Panetonne, I’m here to help! I just know you’ll love this Italian holiday treat.

Boxed panettone varieties on a wooden tray.
Don’t know how to eat panettone? I’m here to help!

I was sent a panettone Italian Christmas cake, by Bauducco, years ago, to use in a post. And I’ve bought at least one every year since.

As a result, I’ve bought dozens of these panettone cakes for myself every year since. I love it and want everyone to know about it!

It is one of my favorite holiday-time treats and traditions (like candy trains and making homemade cinnamon hard candy!).

What is Panettone

Bauducco yellow boxed panettone.

Panettone is an Italian Christmas bread. That cleared everything right up for you, didn’t it? :)

But I find that many people have never tried it and don’t know how awesome it is.

It usually comes in a box and you can’t really tell what is inside.

Maybe that puts people off. Or maybe when people read the description they wrongly accuse panettone of being a fruit cake.

It is like a really light and fluffy bread. Like a brioche but lighter. And what you are seeing in this photo is dried fruits. And they are delicious!

Related: Colomba Cake for Easter

The classic panettone is buttery with hints of vanilla and has bright citrus flavors from the fruit pieces. The fruit is super easy to eat and not at all gummy.

But it is shaped more like a cake. I know this is all rather confusing. But I implore you to pick one up and give it a try.

They are not all created equal. I love the Bauducco brand that comes in the yellow boxes. They always taste amazing.

If you need a holiday dessert and you don’t want to bake, you could and should absolutely grab a panettone.

How to Eat Panettone

Toasted slice of Panettone with butter.

You can eat panettone right out of the bag/box. You can pull off big chunks and shove them in your mouth, or you can try to be a bit more civilized and use a serrated knife to cut slices. 

My all-time favorite way to eat panettone is toasted with butter

I take a portion that is entirely too large for the average person and put it under the broiler to toast both sides.

If you put it in the toaster it will basically fall apart everywhere. That’s how delicate it is!

What you can’t tell from these images is how light this bread is! When you pick up a box it might feel heavy to you.

Trust me, when you slice off a portion, you will start to see how fluffy and airy it is. Panettone is my favorite holiday breakfast treat!

It usually starts showing up in stores around Thanksgiving. And I eat a few every season.

My youngest also loves it so I pick up a larger one now.

Panettone Serving Ideas

Small pieces of panettone on a table with jam and cream cheese.

I have to admit I haven’t tried too many recipes using panettone yet.

At some point, I will be making Panettone Bread Pudding with it because I can imagine how amazing it is from the way it tastes on its own.

Bauducco shares many recipes on their website and this one, called Romeo and Juliet, caught my eye.

I never, in a million years, thought I would find Guava marmalade. But I found it at my local grocery store on my first attempt.

You simply put a little guava marmalade and cream cheese on small pieces of panettone and heat in the oven until slightly melty.

OMG! My expectations were low. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese and I already love the panettone so I thought, how could it be better?

Guess what. Delish!

The Guava marmalade adds a sweet/tartness to the bread and the cheese adds the most delightful creamy element.

I love how adding these two ingredients took it from being bread to a little treat you could entertain with.

What does it taste like

Panettone is basically like an airy, pastry-like bread with dried fruits. It is slightly sweet and very delicate. It tastes a little bit citrus, and and like a much lighter and arier version of brioche.

It’s made with butter and sugar so you know it’s not going to be bad.

Varieties of Panettone

Mini Panettone gift boxes.


Panettone comes is a bunch of different sizes and a few flavors.

The Chocolate Chip panettone is delish! It has no fruit and milk chocolate pieces. While I love chocolate, I much prefer the classic version.

There is also a chocolate panettone that looks good but I haven’t tried yet. I’m guessing it would be a light chocolate flavor rather than a rich chocolate cake-like flavor.

I’ve also seen candied cherry panettone, limoncello panettone, orange and chocolate panettone, pear and chocolate panettone, pistachio panettone, and this year I also saw a pumpkin panettone. You can find all of these on Amazon.

Mini panettone on a plate.


The boxes make the panettone seem a lot bigger than they really are. You can find these Christmas cakes in a variety of sizes from mini to a larger size that would be better for a family.

This is the mini panettone pictured above. The box is almost twice this size so it seems like maybe it could be shared. But it’s a single serving.

Not sure if the box says that, but to me, it is. BUT this is a great size to try for your first time.

Just know if you are picking one up as a gift, the panettone bread will be smaller than it appears. Size up.

The bread is in a bag inside the box to keep it super fresh and I think this takes up a little space.

Next time you see them, buy two. You try one and gift one to a friend. They make the perfect little hostess gifts and are great for holiday entertaining.

How long does it stay fresh

If stored correctly, it should stay fresh for several days up to a week. I don’t think you’re going to have to worry too much about this as you’ll probably eat the heck out of it once you try it.

How do you store panettone

Once opened, panettone should be stored in an air-tight container or plastic wrap. it can dry out if exposed to too much air. It’s find to keep it at room temperature.

You can also freeze it (wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil then stored in a plastic bag made for the freezer). It can be frozen for several months. Since the boxes take up so much room, this is a great idea for keeping them around during the holiday entertaining season.

When is it eaten

2 Panettone slices on a small white dessert plate.

Most often, Panettone is eaten for Christmas and New Year celebrations. You’ll start to see it show up in stores early in fall so I think it also be a great sweet treat to add to your Thanksgiving table and any holiday brunch.

Overhead view of a mini panettone on a plate.

While you might be just starting out on your panettone journey I consider myself somewhat of a panettone snob.

Many years ago I grabbed a box on a whim because I needed to know what this panettone business was all about.

One bite and I was hooked. Now, because my family knows how much I enjoy it, they pick them up for me when they see them.

And I’ve tried a few brands. You can’t go wrong with the yellow box!

It is crumbly and will fall apart. It’s crazy delicious and I can’t believe you’ve never tried it.

I hope you will try panettone this season. And you know that the best hostess gifts are those things you normally wouldn’t buy for yourself.

Consider picking a few up for those holiday parties you will be attending or hosting. Once you try this, I know it will become part of your holiday tradition as it has for me.

And let me know what you think of it!

Panettone is the perfect holiday treat! Whether you serve it at breakfast, dessert or gift it, it will become part of your holiday traditions.

Candy cane martinis on a table with text next to it.

Where Can I Buy Panettone Near Me?

Panettone bread is sold in regular grocery stores, specialty stores like Trader Joe’s (they have their own version), retail stores like World Market and on Amazon

Panettone bread is sold in most regular grocery stores, specialty stores like Trader Joe’s (they have their own version) and Whole Foods, and retail stores like World Market. And there are tons of options available on Amazon

Click to share!


  1. Um hi. Panettone french toast. Do it. it’s amazeballs. With homemade syrup. Cinnamon syrup that uses brown sugar and cream. I’ll send you the recipes if you want them.

    1. Sharon Garofalow says:

      Yup, send that right over. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *