Our 10 Favorite Italian Recipes From Nonna's Cookbook

Nothing beats your Italian grandmother's cooking. Whether it's a delicious pasta meal or a sweet, anise-packed cookie, recipes made by Nonna just always taste better. Luckily for us, a few Allrecipes members have shared their Italian grandmothers' best recipes so we can recreate her spaghetti sauce and pizzelle cookies until the end of time. We've rounded up our favorite grandma-approved Italian recipes that you'll want to add to your collection and pass down to your grandchildren one day.

Italian Cookies with Anise on a cooling rack
Photo: Kim
01 of 11

Grandma Maggio's Spaghetti Sauce

There may be a litany of ingredients in this recipe, but we promise it's so worth it for the delicious sauce. Grandma Maggio's sauce is an all-around great sauce for topping pasta and meatballs—and for making meatball subs.

02 of 11


close up view of a stack of Pizzelles garnished with powdered sugar on a white plate

No need to wait for a holiday to make these vanilla-flavored waffle cookies. Whether you serve them as is or stuff them with cream, no one will be able to eat just one pizzelle.

03 of 11

Grandma Maul's Italian Beef

This easy slow cooker recipe produces the most tender and flavorful Italian beef. If you want, you can serve it on a sandwich roll, or simply eat it as-is with your favorite side.

04 of 11

Ricotta Cookies

"These cookies rocked!!! A sweet, soft, flavorful cookie that was also really cute to look at," says review selina777. "I made these originally because my grandma used to make them. They were virtually identical, maybe even slightly better (maybe, only maybe!). Will definitely make again."

05 of 11

Grandma's Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grandma's Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Upgrade your grilled cheese by using grandma's method of dunking the sandwich in a milk and egg mixture before cooking. By dipping in egg, milk, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning instead of just buttering the bread, you'll have a flavorful sandwich with a nice crisp bite.

06 of 11

Italian Cookies with Anise

"These are 10-star cookies right here! Buttery, tender, almost like a fluffy shortbread, with just the right amount of anise flavor. They are super, super easy to make too," says Allrecipes Allstar Kim.

07 of 11

Grandma's Gnocchi

If you've never made your own gnocchi, you'll be shocked at just how easy it is. With only five ingredients and 15 minutes of prep, you'll have delicious potato-pasta dumplings just like grandma always made.

08 of 11

Grandma Pizza

close up view of a Grandma Pizza with melted cheese and fresh herbs
Shayna's Dad

For your next pizza night, treat yourself to a homemade Grandma Pizza. This special pizza is known for its thin crust and homemade sauce that's the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. This recipe only calls for a cheese topping, but you could easily dress it up more to your family's preference.

09 of 11

Italian Fig Cookies (Cuccidati)

looking down at a bunch of Italian fig cookies

"This is my recreation of my great grandmother's recipe that we enjoy every Christmas...however I think I gave it a bit of an improvement...but don't tell my grandmother! The dough is super soft and tender and the filling is delightful," says recipe creator nnmclaughlin.

10 of 11

Nonna's Artichokes

Whole artichokes are stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese, and spices before being simmered in a decadent white wine sauce in this classic recipe. You don't want to let any of that wine sauce go to waste, so make sure you have a nice hunk of crusty bread to soak it all up!

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