Piadina is an Italian flatbread, a no-yeast soft dough made only with flour, water and extra virgin olive oil or lard. Just few ingredients to make a delicious bread for all of your favourite sandwiches.
In Italy it’s also known as Piadina Romagnola, for the name of the region where it’s born, Romagna.
The perfect Piadina has a soft texture and a slightly burnt surface. Unlike bread, Piadina has no leavening.
Its dough needs only a short rest to make it softer. If you don’t have time, it’s not even necessary. That’s why it’s so easy and fast to make.
Piadina is perfect with cheese, salami or vegetables. You can even serve it instead of bread with plenty of traditional Italian dishes, such as grilled meats and vegetables.
This below is the authentic Piadina Recipe, the classic one: not so thin and not so large, a little toasted on the surface, with little fat and a unique delicate flavor.
So follow our Piadina recipe with all the step-by-step tips! You will find that homemade Piadina is not only quick and easy to make but also really tasty.
Try other Emilia-Romagna recipes:
- Bolognese Sauce Recipe
- How to Make Homemade Passatelli
- Lasagna Bolognese Recipe
- Ciambella Romagnola
- Gnocco Fritto | Emilian Fried Puffy Bread
How to Make Piadina Recipe
- Prep Time: 5 Min
- Rest Time: 40 Min
- Cook Time: 20 Min
- Servings: 6 Piadina of about 20/25 cm (8/10 inch) in diameter
Homemade Piadina Ingredients
- 500 g (3 3/4 cups) of all purpose flour
- 220 ml (1 cup) of water at room temperature
- 80 ml (about 1/3 cup) of extra virgin olive oil or 80 g (about 1/3 cup) of lard
- 1 teaspoon of fine salt
- 1/3 teaspoon of baking soda
Kitchen Tools and Equipment for Making Piadina
To make homemade Piadina you cannot do without a rolling pin to roll out the dough and obviously a suitable pan to cook them.
There are various types of rolling pin that differ according to the material. Traditionally, wooden or marble rolling pins are perfect, which are also very beautiful as a gift idea for your friends who are passionate about cooking.
Even rolling pins of more modern materials like silicone will do. They are very practical and can even be put in the dishwasher.
In ancient times they cooked piadina on the “Testo romagnolo”, a terracotta pan that required particular care as it was delicate and easy to break. Actually in Italy grandmothers often still use this kitchen tool. You can find it in Romagna shops that sell handicraft products as souvenirs (have a look here.)
Step 1) – First place the flour in a bowl with the baking soda and salt. Mix well. Then add the oil or, if you prefer, the softened lard. We used extra virgin olive oil.
Step 2) – Now add the water at room temperature. Mix everything for a few minutes until you get a soft but compact dough. If the dough sticks to your fingers, add a sprinkling of flour again. Piadina dough must be soft but not sticky.
Step 3) – Cover the dough with cling film and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then divide the dough into 6 portions of about 100/110 g each (3.5/3.8 0z).
Step 4) – Work them a little with your hand on the work surface in order to have balls with a smooth surface and let them rest for another 10 minutes covered with a kitchen towel.
Roll out each ball with the help of a rolling pin, forming a disc with a thickness of 4/5 mm (about 0,20 inch) and a diameter of about 20/25 cm (8/10 inch).
Step 5) – Don’t worry if they don’t turn out perfectly round. Imperfection means “handmade” and no one will think you bought them! Now you have to cook them. But first an IMPORTANT TIP: while cooking a Piadina, keep the other raw Piadina covered with a cloth. This is to prevent the dough from drying out. (See more in the paragraph: “How to Make Best Piadina Bread: Cooking Tips”).
Step 6) – So now cook the Piadina one at a time in a preheated non-stick pan. Turn the Piadina after a minute or when bubbles form. Repeat it twice, pricking it here and there with a fork.
The piadina must cook about 2 minutes per side (4 minutes in total). Piadina is ready when it has taken on a slightly golden color and the characteristic small dark spots have appeared on the surface.
Step 7) – Your homemade Piadina is ready to be stuffed. Arrange them one on top of the other covered with a cloth that will help keep them warm. Bring them to the table stuffed as you like with what you prefer! Piadina is fantastic with everything, even on its own!
Piadina Recipe: Storage
Once cooked and cold, you can seal Piadinas in cling film or a plastic bag and store them at room temperature in a cool and dry place. Piadina remain soft for 2 days. TIP: reheat them for 1 minute in a pan on both sides before serving!
Can You Freeze Piadina?
Yes you can! In this case you must pre-cook them, first on one side, then on the other, for a very short time (1 min per side). Then froze them, each covered with parchment paper.
When you want to make a sandwich with a fresh homemade Piadina wrap, you don’t need to defrost them! Just put the still frozen Piadina directly on the hot pan and in a few minutes it will be ready, as just made!
Piadina Ingredients: Lard or Olive Oil?
In ancient times Piadina was made only with lard. Most of the rural people were also farmers and they had got plenty of lard. For this reason lard didn’t cost much, unlike the olive oil, used in the south of Italy.
Even today, in the Trattorias with traditional cuisine and in various Piadina kiosks throughout Romagna, they use lard from local farms, according to the authentic Piadina recipe. Lard really gives to the Piadina an intense and very particular flavor.
Nowadays, however, especially if you live in a big city, it’s not easy to find genuine lard. There is packaged lard but honestly it’s always better a good extra virgin olive oil. The result is still excellent. In fact, Piadina is lighter made with oil, less caloric and perfect for vegetarians!
How to Make Best Piadina Bread: Cooking Tips
Follow the next tips that help you have a perfect piadina: crunchy but soft inside and not dry like a cracker.
Using a Non-Stick Pan:
First you must preheat the non-stick pan before cooking and DO NOT turn on the fire while cooking Piadina.
Once people cooked Piadina on the “Testo romagnolo“, a terracotta pan that required particular care as it was delicate and subject to breakage.
Nowadays, cast iron or non-stick aluminum pans are much more common: they are three or four millimeters thick and the surface heats up evenly, thus allowing homogeneous cooking. (see the paragraph: “Kitchen Tools and Equipment for Making Piadina”)
Be Careful with the Heat:
Heat the pan very well with a high flame that you have to lower before placing the Piadina on top.
During cooking, too low a flame risks drying out the dough, while too high a flame causes everything to burn without cooking well. Adjust over medium heat and turn the piadina several times, pricking it here and there with a fork.
Cooking should not exceed two minutes per side. If bumps form on the surface during cooking, pierce them with the tines of a fork. This is because the bulges would burn giving a bitter taste to the flatbread.
Piadina Recipe: Some Variations
Like any traditional recipe, there are different versions of the Piadina recipe, depending on local traditions and also on the habits of individual families.
For example, some use cow’s milk instead of water to make a softer flatbread.
Others replace traditional lard with lighter, more readily available olive oil.
Others use yeast instead of baking soda or neither.
Those who love more rustic flavors and textures use less refined or completely wholemeal flours.
Variations Due to Local Traditions
Even from one location to another there are small differences, albeit within a narrow territory.
Of the various types of Piadina, Piadina Romagnola is the most famous and most widespread. It’s not very big, about 20/25 cm (8/10 inch) and about 5 mm thick (about 0,20 inch).
In the Rimini area, Piadina is thinner and larger.
Piadina of Cesena area is a little thicker and with less fat, it looks more like bread.
Finally, there is also the typical Piadina from the Marche region which is very good but richer in fat. It’s called “Piadina Sfogliata” because it’s very crumbly and made up of thin layers. This type of Piadina is made strictly with lard and often, among the ingredients, there is also a little black pepper.
How to Serve Piadina: Traditional Fillings
Piadina allows great variety in the choice of fillings as it goes well with many ingredients, both savory and sweet, according to everyone’s tastes.
However, we would like to point out which are the Piadina Fillings that are most linked to the Italian tradition.
Piadina Fillings: Ham, Salami, Cheese and …
In the Romagna hinterland the most common fillings are based on local cheeses and cured meats, in particular Parma Ham and Roast Porchetta.
Another classic of these areas is Piadina with Argula and Stracchino cheese or Squacquerone cheese and the other typical Italian fresh spreadable cheeses.
A typical filling used in the Marche areas is the Piadina with Tomato Gratin and slices of Pecorino cheese.
On the Adriatic coast it is also customary to stuff Piadina with fish.
In the Rimini area a typical Piadina is with grilled Sardines, Radicchio and Onion.
Another typical dish of the Romagna tradition is Piadina with Potatoes and Sausage or Chard and Sausage.
A traditional Piadina appreciated everywhere, especially in the summer season, is the Piadina stuffed with Caprese salad, namely Tomato, mozzarella and basil.
Piadina as a Dessert?
Often at the end of delicious Romagna dinners or for an afternoon snack, in Italy you can enjoy Piadina as a dessert. Try Piadina filled with homemade fruit jams, chocolate cream, Nutella or Pastry Cream and fresh fruit.
What is the Meaning of the Name “Piadina”?
The origins of the name “Piadina” are not very certain. One hypothesis is that it derives from “Platokis”, a Greek word that means flatbread.
Some others link its name to the Romagna dialect “piè, piès” which means: “firm up”.
The last hypothesis is the connection to “Piàdena”, always in the Emilia-Romagna dialect, that is the wooden plank on which the baked goods rest.
Origins and History of Piadina Recipe
The first evidence relating to the preparation of unleavened focaccia in the Italian peninsula dates back to the Etruscan period: as early as the 10th century BC. This people used to cook circular doughs made with water and cereal flours.
During the Middle Ages, the consumption of focaccia very similar to piadina was widespread in many regions and especially in the area corresponding to today’s Romagna. They soon became the food par excellence of the poorest people, used when bread, in famine, began to run out.
The real consecration of the name ‘Piadina’ was the work of the famous Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli, who in a poem celebrated the piadina, calling it “the national bread of Romagna”.
Piadina: a Family Homemade Recipe
Piadina for a long time remained a family and home recipe prepared by the “arzdore”, the housewives of Romagna, for their children and husbands.
The situation changed completely after World War II, especially from the 1950s, at the time of the economic boom. In those years large numbers of Italian and foreign tourists began to pour onto the beautiful beaches of the Adriatic Sea.
And so, along the roads that lead to the sea, the first kiosks opened: real “temples” of Piadina.
It was thanks to these small businesses that Piadina stopped being an exclusively “family food”, generally prepared by housewives, to become a gastronomic specialty famous all over the world.
Today Piadina Recipe is protected by the IPG (Protected Geographical Indication) by the European Union. The Piadina has become a street food symbol of Italian cuisine in the world!