This amazing vegan panettone recipe is based off of my great grandpa’s recipe, adapted to be both eggless and dairy free. With a beautifully risen enriched dough speckled with candied raisins, cherries, and citron pieces, this vegan panettone recipe tastes just like the classic panettone and is perfect for all Christmas celebrations!

Amazing Vegan Panettone Recipe

What is panettone?

If you’ve never had panettone before, you’re in for a treat. Panettone is a Christmas bread served in Italy that’s made from an enriched dough. The dough is made over the course of two days, and is folded with candied citron or orange peel, raisins, cherries, and almonds.

Panettone is more of a pastry bread than a cake; however, it is know throughout Italy as the Italian Christmas cake. Originating in Milan, the classic cake-like bread recipe has traversed throughout Italy and made its way to the United States and beyond.

My great grandpa, Andrea, who was Sicilian, absolutely adored making panettone. This recipe is adapted from his and attempt to incorporate some of his takes on the classic Italian Christmas bread.

panettone sprinkled with powdered sugar

My great grandpa’s panettone recipe:

This was Andrea’s panettone recipe that he used to make. He was an amazing chef and baker, but definitely not vegan, so the non-vegan ingredients will have to be different for our recipe. However, since I wanted to honor his memory, I thought it might be nice to provide the recipe he had passed down to my grandma.

Andrea’s Panettone:

  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 2 teaspoons lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 4 egg yolks room temperature
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2/3 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/2 cup candied citron peel, cut in small pieces 

My version of a vegan panettone:

I had to adapt Andrea’s recipe quite a bit, as vegan breads work a bit differently than regular breads if they’re enriched doughs (which is what panettone is).

I tried to stick as closely to the ratio as I could. However, we did need to change some things in order for this recipe to work! For instance, I’m adding in a touch of turmeric to give the classic Italian panettone a bit more of a golden hue. In a regular panettone, you would get this from the egg yolks. As this is vegan, and we’re not using eggs, I wanted to still find a way to add it in.

If you don’t have turmeric, you can simply omit. It’s not necessary for the overall success of the recipe!

Here’s my version of a vegan panettone:

  • 5 cups (600 grams) pastry flour, divided, plus more for kneading
  • 2/3 cup (167 grams) lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) dairy free unsweetened vanilla yogurt, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) vegan butter, melted but not hot
  • 1/2 cup candied citron or orange peel (or sub 1 tsp fiori di sicilia if you can’t find orange peel)
  • 1/2 cup each diced apricot, raisins, and cherries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup + 1/4 cup water or 3 tbsp rum extract
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp turmeric, for coloring
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
sliced vegan panettone

As you can see, the first difference is that I used weighted measurements. Andrea, my great grandpa, did not, but he was a pretty precise baker nonetheless, so I’m going to assume he was pretty close to the metric measurements.

You’ll also notice that we’re using more flour, less wet ingredients, and a touch less sugar. I reviewed other panettone recipes, and I’m realizing the reason I probably liked his so much was because it was so sweet ha! Most panettone recipes use about half the sugar he used. I tried to use a bit less because 1 cup of granulated sugar felt a bit aggressive. But this vegan version of the classic Italian Christmas cake is still sweet enough!

And lastly, he didn’t soak his dried fruit in rum nor rum extract! He actually added the fruit dry into the dough. I know at least the true Milanese version of Panettone likes to use the rum extract. Seeing as I’m alcohol free, I used a touch of maple syrup and water. This will simulate the rum extract for us. However, if you’d like to stick to a truer version of this panettone, you may use the rum extract.

Equipment & materials needed for panettone:

Panettone is not only a labor of love; it also requires a few specialty items in order to make it work!

I recommend making this panettone in with a stand mixer, especially if this is your first time making bread. This particular version, I made by hand, but I will say, it is easier with a stand mixer (and a lot less messy).

You will also need a panettone mold. You can pick this up at an Italian bakery or order them online via Amazon.

sliced panettone bread

How to make vegan panettone (overview)

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

Making panettone is simple enough in method, but it does require patience. You will need to make this classic Italian Christmas cake over the course of two days.

I recommend starting the vegan panettone on the morning of the first day. You will have about 6-8 hours of rising time on the first day, so you really need to utilize your hours in a day!

Here’s an overview of how to make panettone, but vegan:

Day 1:

On the first day, you’ll have quite a bit of work to get done. So as I mentioned above, you’ll need to get started early.

You’ll first start by making the starter. This will be the dough that carries us through the entire recipe. Unlike other panettone recipes you’ll find on the web, I chose to use active dry yeast instead of instant. My great grandpa used active, and I felt like it was a bit more reliable.

Start by blooming the yeast, then making the starter dough. After that, you’ll allow the starter to rest for 2 hours.

Then we’ll make the first dough, adding in both more pastry flour and lukewarm flour. Once your first dough is made, allow it to rise again for 2 hours.

Next, we’ll make the second dough by adding in more flour once again, followed by the sugar, dairy free yogurt, salt, vegan butter, and turmeric if you’d like. We’ll rise it once more for 2 hours! Then you’ll place the dough into the refrigerator to rise overnight.

I recommend using a stand mixer over making this dough by hand. It will be much less messy!

Day 2:

On the second day of making your vegan panettone, you’ll start by draining the fruit. The raisins and apricots should have soaked up a lot of the liquid. Then set the fruit aside.

panettone on the second day

Roll the dough into the shape of a rectangle and spread the fruit on top. Then you’ll fold the fruit in. I recommend folding the dough into thirds to create a column. Then take the top half and fold it down, followed by the bottom half and fold it up. Finally, take the four corners and fold them in to shape your dough into a ball.

panettone with fruit

Place the dough seam side down into the panettone mold to rise for 4-6 hours or until double in size.

Then you’ll bake the panettone! I created a cross hatch mark and placed a pat of vegan butter on top while it bakes.

Once baked, you’ll allow the panettone to rest for an hour. Then you can serve!

Is panettone a bread or a cake?

I personally believe panettone is more bread like than cake like. However, since it’s an enriched dough, it’s very similar to a brioche or challah bread. That being said, there really is nothing quite like it. With the fruit and candied orange rippled throughout the bread, the flavors are so distinct and unique, you truly only associate panettone with an Italian Christmas.

How do you eat panettone?

You can enjoy panettone either at breakfast as a sweet pastry or as a Christmas dessert! We always did either or both. Since panettone is so large, there are leftovers which will last several days! Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve with coffee or tea, as my grandmother suggested below! 😉 (This was her text to me, as she wrote out all of my great grandpa’s instructions!).

Why does panettone last so long?

This is a great question! Doesn’t bread go stale pretty quickly? Not panettone! Because of how many times we’re rising the dough, the multiple rises actually help to extend panettone’s shelf life!

Amazing Vegan Panettone Recipe

Enjoy this classic Italian Christmas dessert!

I hope you just love this vegan panettone recipe! It was so much fun to make, and really reminded me of my great grandpa, and the time we spent together. It’s a true Christmas bread treat, and well worth the wait!

More vegan Christmas desserts

Amazing Vegan Yule Log Cake

Best Vegan White Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Red Velvet Cake

Amazing Vegan Star Bread

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If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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Amazing Vegan Panettone Recipe

Amazing Vegan Panettone Recipe

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  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 40
  • 10 hours, rising plus overnight:
  • Cook Time: 65
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This amazing vegan panettone recipe is based off of my great grandpa’s recipe, adapted to be both eggless and dairy free. With a beautifully risen enriched dough speckled with candied raisins, cherries, and citron pieces, this vegan panettone recipe tastes just like the classic panettone and is perfect for all Christmas celebrations!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 cups (600 grams) pastry flour, divided, plus more for kneading
  • 2/3 cup (167 grams) lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) dairy free unsweetened vanilla yogurt, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) vegan butter, melted but not hot
  • 1/2 cup candied citron or orange peel (or sub 1 tsp fiori di sicilia if you can’t find orange peel)
  • 1/2 cup diced apricot
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cherries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup + 1/4 cup water or 3 tbsp rum extract
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp turmeric, for coloring
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, cold (for when the panettone bakes)

Special equipment:


Instructions

  1. Please read through all instructions before beginning. You will need to make this bread over two days. I recommend starting in the morning of the first day, as there are several rises that need to be done.

DAY 1: 

  1. Prep: Sift and measure flour. Make sure that the yogurt is measured and brought out to come to room temperature.
  2. Make the starter: In a medium bowl, gently mix the yeast with 1/3 cup of water and let it stand for 5 minutes. It should start to foam. Add 1 cup of flour to the bowl, and mix until you form a little ball of the dough. Cover the bowl, and place it in a warm place for 2 hours.
  3. While the starter is resting: In a medium bowl, combine the orange peel (if you’re using the fiori sicilia, hold off), apricots, raisins, and cherries until mixed. Add in maple syrup and water (or if you’re using alcohol, the rum extract), and cover. Set the bowl in the fridge to soak overnight. You won’t need this until Day 2. 
  4. First dough: When the ball of dough has tripled in size, it’s time to make the first dough. You can use either a stand mixer or mix the dough by hand. Place the starter dough into a large bowl, and add in 2 cups of flour, plus 1/3 cup of water. Mix on medium speed with a dough hook or knead the dough carefully in a bowl until you reach soft pliable ball. You may need more flour as you knead to reach a soft ball. 
  5. Proof the dough: Cover the bowl again and place the bowl in a warm area to rise again for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Second Dough: When the dough has risen again, place the dough into the stand mixer once more. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dairy free yogurt and sugar (and fiori di sicilia if not using orange), and set aside. Add in 1 cup of flour to the bowl, along the salt, turmeric, and melted butter. Mix or knead together until combined. Then add in the sugar and yogurt mixture in three increments, kneading or mixing constantly until everything is well absorbed. You may use more flour here as needed until a tacky ball is formed. Place the dough into a well greased bowl, and cover.
  7. Second proof plus overnightAllow the dough to rise for 2 hours in a warm area, then place it into the fridge to rise overnight.

DAY 2:

  1. Adding the fruit to the dough: Drain the liquid from the fruit and set aside. Remove your dough from the fridge, and flour a clean surface and a rolling pin. Place the dough in the middle of the clean surface, and roll the dough to be a large rectangle (does not need to be exact measurements but about 14×18″). Sprinkle the fruit on top of the dough, followed by the almonds. Then fold the dough into thirds, and then fold the top two sides on top of each other. Pinch the corners of the dough in to create a rounded ball (much like when making vegan dinner rolls).
  2. Place the dough into the panettone mold: Place the dough into the panettone mold seam side down (where you just pinched the corners). Cover the dough, and allow it to rise in a warm area for 4-6 hours until double in size (the top of the loaf should be popping over the rim of the mold).  
  3. Bake the panettone: Preheat the oven to 400F. When the oven is preheated, make a cross mark with a knife, and place the panettone on a baking sheet and into the oven to bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the panettone and place 1 tbsp of chilled vegan butter in the center of the cross mark. Place the panettone back into the oven to bake for 15 minutes. After, lower the heat to 375F and continue baking for another 45 minutes or until the top of the loaf is lightly golden.
  4. Serve and enjoy!  Remove the panettone from the oven and allow it to cool for an hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, slice and enjoy!

Notes

Please see the post for visual instructions and tips!