What do You Call a Croissant in Italian and How to Order It When You’re in Italy

In Italy, croissant-like pastries vary by region: "Brioche" in the north and "Cornetto" in the south. Both derive from the Austrian Kipferl, but cornetti have eggs and less butter than French croissants. Order by saying "Un cornetto/brioche, per favore," embracing Italy's take on this beloved pastry.

By Cookist

In Italy, the land renowned for its espresso and pasta, pastries hold a special place in the culinary tradition, especially for breakfast. Croissants, those buttery, flaky pastries that are a staple in French bakeries, also have their counterparts in Italy. However, what you call them—and what you get—varies significantly across the country.

Do Italians Eat Croissants?

Yes, Italians do enjoy croissant-like pastries, especially as part of their morning ritual, often accompanied by a cappuccino or caffè. But, depending on where you find yourself in Italy, the name and the recipe might change.

The Italian Version of a Croissant

In Italy, the croissant has two main variants: the Brioche in the north and the Cornetto in the central and southern regions. Though both are inspired by the French croissant and the Austrian Kipferl, they have distinct characteristics.


Croissants: Italian or French?

The croissant is decidedly French, known for its buttery layers and light texture. However, the croissant's ancestor, the Kipferl—a less buttery, crescent-shaped pastry from Austriainspired both the French and Italian versions. Thus, while the croissant is French, its Italian counterparts share a common heritage with this European pastry tradition.

What to Call a Croissant in Italian

When you’re in Italy and yearn for something croissant-like, remember these terms: brioche (pronounced bree−osh), used in Northern Italy and refers to pastries that resemble what many would recognize as a croissant but can also be more like a sweet bun; cornetto, (pronounced kor−net−to), used in Central and Southern Italy, is the term that comes closer to what most would identify as a croissant.

Differences Between Cornetto and Croissant


The Cornetto is often compared to the French croissant, but there are some key differences. The cornetto incorporates eggs and less butter in its dough, resulting in a slightly denser, softer pastry with a less flaky texture than its French cousin. This adaptation makes the cornetto a distinctly Italian take on the concept, offering a variation that's as delightful as the original.

How to Order a Croissant in Italy

Understanding the local terminology is crucial for navigating Italian bakeries. Whether you ask for a brioche or a cornetto, you'll be treated to the Italian version of the croissant, each with its unique charm. To order, simply say, “Un cornetto, per favore” or “Una brioche, per favore,” depending on your location. Accompany it with your preferred coffee, and you'll have set the stage for a perfect Italian morning.

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