Top 18 Most Popular Italian Dishes (With Photos)

Posted on

Top 18 Most Popular Italian Dishes

Food Types


Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


This article may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Italian cuisines are renowned for their craftiness in making quite simple meals elaborate and memorable. Although there are plethora of dishes that are likened to the Italian cuisines, yet a few are popular.

There are popular Italian dishes that should always stick to your mind. This is most important for anyone who intends to move to Italy or even go on vacation. You will have quite a stack of the menu to add up to your bucket list.

Below are all the popular and most eaten dishes in Italy that you should know about!

Most Popular Italian Dishes

Below are the most popular Italian dishes that many people cannot speak of Italy without remembering, especially for many people that had a personal encounter with the cuisines. So, read to find out about these popular Italian dishes.

See Also: Most Popular Ethnic Foods in The World

1. Pasta

Many people refer to pasta as the cultural Italian food. Pasta is a great dish that is known for its plain taste and the ability to adapt to many dishes. This is because the food does not alter the taste of any meal it finds itself in.

And just as many people refer to it as Italian pasta, it makes up for many dishes. Although it is a good standalone meal when you make it with stew, it is a great side dish, too.

There are several that pasta can come to life and this is to ensure nobody maintains just one recipe for a long time.

So, you can learn how to make several recipes with just pasta. Pasta is true of the popular Italian dishes to look out for, in case you want to change your culinary skills.

2. Risotto

Another popular Italian dish is risotto. Risotto is a northern Italian dish that is known for its creamy consistency. It is mainly prepared with Arborio rice, and then with a broth. It could be fish broth, meat broth, or even vegetable broth.

The risotto would, most times, take after the taste of the broth; this is because the Arborio rice is subtly plain and can accommodate many ingredients.

Italians are known for their overwhelming love for this dish. And the risotto is served as either a standalone meal or even an excellent side dish.

Other ingredients that make up risotto include; Bouillon, onions, butter, onion, white wine, and parmesan.

3. Lasagne

This is another popular Italian dish, and although it is pasta, it is the oldest type and notable for its flat layers. The pasta is stacked upon one another to make up a huge lasagne and with some fillings, which makes the meal appealing.

The three components that make up lasagne are cheese, noodles, and sauce. It is a nutritious meal that Italians enjoy having.

And although lasagne would be perfect as a side dish, many people would prepare to spice up their day in between meals and lasagne is always at their disposal.

You can also learn the assorted recipes you stand to make with just lasagne. They are a substantial meal and a good place to start for anyone interested in Italian foods.

4. Pizza

Pizza is what many parts of the world cannot replace with any other meal. And although it is now popular in many parts of the world, it is native to Italy.

So, pizza is a popular Italian dish Italians enjoy having at any point in time. A light meal is notable for the great fillings. These fillings are tasty and worth eating at all times.

And anytime pizza comes to the mind of people, it comes as a flat, spicy triangular-shaped snack that is sticky yet fulfilling as you relish it. Did you know that in each second, 350 slices of pizza are consumed in the U.S.? Pizza is quite popular now.

The ingredients that make up pizza include tomatoes, cheese, and often other ingredients. This is to add up to taste and nutrition.

5. Polenta

Polenta is a popular Italian dish that makes up the Italian cuisines. It is boiled cornmeal that is made from other grains. What makes polenta fun is that you can serve it and still get a rewarding result.

You can serve polenta as hot porridge, other times you can leave the polenta to solidify, after which you bake or even fry or grill it to reach whatever results you have in mind. More so, this would depend on the recipes you are making.

8Polenta, although can be sweet as a good standalone meal, pair it with many dishes to make a full course meal. You can pair polenta with vegetables or herbs and even mushrooms.

They are so quick to accommodate polenta. Polenta is a substantial meal, and you can learn how to make polenta at home to start your day the fun way.

6. Tortellini and ravioli

These two wonderful foods are also popular Italian dishes. Tortellini and ravioli are both made with pasta and then served for people to relish.

However, there are striking differences, so it is good to learn them so it does not take you time to recognize them.

Tortellini is pasta that many people make with some mix of cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), meat, egg, and nutmeg, after which the meal is served with capon broth. The tortellini is often sold as fresh as many people that would love to have tortellini handy.

Ravioli, on the other hand, is the pasta that comprises filings. It takes the shape of a square or even circle, which looks pillowy, and this is because of the filings.

The filings that make up ravioli are ricotta, meat, vegetables, and cheese. And this is almost similar to tortellini. And like tortellini, ravioli make up a full course when you pair them with dishes that complement them well. You can serve ravioli with some delicious tomato or cream-based pasta too.

So, when it is time to pick a popular Italian dish, always have tortellini and ravioli in mind.

7. Focaccia

Speak of any meal that makes up a full course meal without too many ingredients. Speak of focaccia. And just like pizza, people make focaccia with flour, water, salt, oil, and yeast. However, focaccia has more yeast content compared to pizza.

The yeast permits the meal to rise more, having this fluffy bread-like consistency. And to preserve the focaccia and make room for moisture, many people have it punctured before then baking it.

Many people would enjoy focaccia with broth, sauce, or stew. And in case you want to enjoy focaccia at home, you can learn how to make focaccia at home. It is relatively easy to make.

8. Arancini

Similar to the kibbeh of the Levantine cuisine is the Arancini. Arancini is a rice ball dish people make with breadcrumbs, after which they deep-fry it and then serve it.

Arancini is also a popular Italian dish. Many people enjoy having it as a snack. And, or simply paired with some complementary meal to make up a full course meal.

When it is served hot, it is relatively sticky compared to when it is cool. You can have these meaty rice balls with some stews or sauce to elevate your day when the time calls for it. Many people also serve it with vegetables.

9. Mozzarella

Here is another popular Italian dish many people love to have. Mozzarella is mostly popular in the southern part of Italy. People make mozzarella with buffalo’s milk, which makes it a good cheese to settle for most times.

The mozzarella cheese is relatively easy to make and would not seem tasky even if it were your first time making it.

Many people would delve into mozzarella because it is nutritious and, above all, it can serve as a snack for the day. However, many others go the extra mile to enjoy every bite by serving it with other ingredients.

So, when it is about time to have some good meals, then think of mozzarella. There are plenty of recipes to tryout with it.

10. Florentine

So, we are having another sandwich-like meal as a popular Italian dish. Florentine is a sandwich made with thinly sliced tripe. The tripe is boiled in broth and then seasoned with many spices, and now it is ready to leave the pot for a plate.

Florentine is notable for its scent too. No wonder many people would enjoy having it at all times. To get the best of it, you can also serve it with vegetables or broth even.

11. Lobster

Lobster is one of many kinds of seafood that people enjoy. It looks more like a crab; however, they are not the same. Lobster is from the family of large marine crustaceans.

They make sumptuous meals when you cook them or have them in the recipes that call for it.

In the Italian meal plan, lobster has also taken the hearts of many. That is why it is yet another popular Italian dish. There are plenty of recipes that you can make with lobster and have the best of the day. Many of these recipes are super easy to make too!

12. Seafood

Seafood is quite popular in many parts of the world, and Italy is not off the list. Seafood is, of course, any form of sea life that many people recognize as food.

Seafood comprises bony fish, primitive sharks, skates, rays, sturgeons, crabs, shrimps, prawns, crayfish, oysters, and of course, lobsters and many more! The most common of them all are shrimp, tuna, and clams.

So, it is not only attributed to the Italians. However, Italians are great at making seafood and they are served so appealingly. You can learn how to make several recipes with any seafood of your choice.

13. Panzerotti

This dish is referred to as a savory dough pouch that is filled and fried traditionally in lard. Panzerotti is a delicious meal that is equally popular in Italy.

This dish originates from Central and southern Italian cuisine. The dish takes the shape of a small calzone. It is stuffed up with fillings that enhance the taste and nutrients.

Panzerotti is a popular Italian dish many people can use to replace meals or even snacks. So you will have a fulfilled day with Panzerotti.

14. Frico

Also known as Italian potato pie, Frico is a popular Italian dish many people enjoy having. Frico is made of onions, cheese, and potatoes, hence the name potato pie.

Frico is a great dish that you can have a snack during the day or simply enjoy with other ingredients that complement it.

You can pair it also with wines if you do not want to pair it with any other dish. It is a great way to start or even end a stressful day.

15. Gnocchi

Also referred to as dumplings, gnocchi is an important staple that is popular in Italian cuisines. People make Gnocchi with semolina, wheat flour, and breadcrumbs and, just like Frico, it comprises potatoes too.

Although it is also pasta, however, it is relatively small compared to other pasta. Many people enjoy gnocchi with other dishes because gnocchi is plain and would need other dishes to complement it.

16. Truffles

Tartufo is another name that Italy calls truffles. And although truffles look more like mushrooms than it grows under the tree roots. Truffles are soft when cooked, and it is quite easy to relish.

The Italians add up some species and other ingredients to enhance the taste of the meal. There are many amazing recipes to try out when you want to relish truffles.

17. Ribollita

Here is a popular Italian dish that is known because people make it with several ingredients like; bread, cannellini beans, and vegetables. It relates to leftovers, so the name ribollitta originates from the word reboiled.

Many people refer to it as a vegetarian dish. This is because it is filled with vegetables and other herbs.

18. Parmigiano

Popularly known as parmesan, Parmigiano is an Italian dish you can find in many restaurants or households. Parmigiano is a cheese that is made with the milk of a cow. Thus, the cheese offers enormous nutrients.

Parmigiano is another popular Italian dish you should try out if you are looking forward to having a great time.

See Also: 17 Most Popular Indian Foods In The World


Many other dishes are quite popular in Italian cuisines. However, we sorted the best among the rest.

And these are great popular Italian dishes, in case you are looking forward to traveling to Italy, or you simply want to try out any of their dishes wherever you are, we just sorted it for you.

Hopefully, you make the best choices. Good luck doing that!


You might also like these recipes