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Italian Piadina (Romagna Flatbread)

Piadina is a simple yet incredibly delicious thin, golden Italian flatbread with crispy edges and soft, chewy middles. Straight from the heart of Emilia-Romagna, piadina will fill your kitchen with that inviting aroma.

If you love making flatbread as much as I do, also try my pocketless pita and also my flour tortillas.

Stack of piadina freshly cooked.
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Interesting Facts

The origins of piadina date far back to the Etruscan era. Due to its uncomplicated preparation and versatility, piadina served as the staple food for farmers and those with limited resources who relied on locally sourced ingredients.

In the 1940s and 1950s, piadina gained popularity among tourists. Along the seaside promenades, countless kiosks started offering this delightful, aromatic treat at an affordable price, cementing its status as a beloved classic.

Now, piadina is a popular street food in Italy.

Two very distinct types of traditional piadina (ie, thick and thin) are widespread in Romagna:

  • The thicker Romagna piadina, typical of the towns/cities of Forli, Cesenate, and Ravenna areas
  • Rimini piadina , which are thinner

Why Make Piadina?

Easy: Piadina dough comes together with just a few basic ingredients – flour, water, salt, and a touch of olive oil. It’s a quick bread to make, at least compared to traditional bread baked in the oven.

Endless Variations: Piadina is a blank canvas waiting for your creativity. Fill it with a variety of ingredients like prosciutto, cheese, fresh greens, or even Nutella for a sweet twist. It’s a fantastic way to use up leftovers and adapt to your preferences.

Ingredients and Notes

Ingredients for piadina in small bowls on white table.

For full details on ingredients and quantities, please see the recipe card.

Baking soda: To make the piadina softer and to prolong shelf life, a leavening agent was also introduced in more modern versions. These leavening agents can include baking soda (ie, sodium bicarbonate), which is used in this version. This is optional.

Fat: You can use olive oil or lard, depending on availability and dietary preferences.

Liquid: You can use water, milk, or a combination of the two. Milk will give you a softer flatbread.

Variations

Whole Wheat:Replace 2 cups of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour while keeping the other ingredients the same.

Herb-infused: Add 1-2 tablespoons of dried herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano) to the base recipe.

Cheesy: Add 1/2 to 1 cup of grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or your favorite cheese to the base recipe.

Spinach: Add 1/2 to 1 cup of finely chopped fresh spinach (blanched and squeezed dry) to the base recipe.

How to Make Piadina: Step by Step

Making piadina is a simple process. The hardest part is waiting for the dough to rest! Have a glass of wine and put on some Vivaldi while you wait. 🙂

Dry ingredients in a glass bowl.

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the all-purpose flour and baking powder. Mix them well to ensure even distribution.

pouring wet into dry ingredients in glass bowl.

Step 2: Gradually pour in the room temperature water (or water-milk mixture) while continuously stirring the mixture. This helps to gradually incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients.

Pouring oil into the piadina mixture.

Step 3: Add the olive oil (or lard) to the mixture.

Kneading the dough.

Step 4: Knead until you achieve a uniform and smooth dough. This should take around 5-7 minutes.

Cutting piadina dough into 6 pieces.

Step 5: Form the kneaded dough into a ball shape and cover it. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes. After the resting time, divide the dough into six equal portions. If you have a kitchen scale, you can divide the dough more evenly by weighing the total and dividing by six to find the most accurate target weight for each piadina ball.

Shaping into 6 small balls.

Step 6: Shape each portion into a small ball and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. Let them rest for another 30 minutes to improve the dough’s texture and elasticity.

Dough rolled out into a thin circle.

Step 7: On a floured countertop, take one of the rested dough balls and roll it out into a flat round shape. Aim for a diameter of approximately 6 to 8 inches.

Piadina cooking in skillet.

Step 8: Heat a skillet or a flat pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, carefully place the rolled-out dough onto the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the piadina turns golden and develops light brown spots. If the dough bubbles, promptly poke with a fork to deflate.

Step 9: As each piadina is cooked, remove it from the pan and stack them on a plate. You can place a clean kitchen towel on top of them to keep them warm.

Step 10: Serve the freshly cooked bread warm with your choice of fillings and toppings.

Tips for Making

The most essential tips relate to shaping the piadina and getting the skillet hot enough to cook the piadina in a short amount of time.

Use a well-rested dough: Allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling to relax the gluten.

Divide dough evenly: Maintain uniform dough portions to achieve consistent thickness. If you have a kitchen scale, you can ensure precise results by weighing the total dough and dividing it by six to determine the target weight for each dough ball.

Start with a ball: Shape dough into a ball before rolling and let it rest for 15 minutes or so.

Flatten gently: Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the ball gently into a small disc.

Rotate frequently: Turn the disc 90 degrees while rolling to maintain a circular shape.

Roll from the center: Start rolling from the center and work your way outwards to maintain even thickness.

Apply even pressure: Keep even pressure on the rolling pin to prevent irregularities.

Flip and roll: Flip the dough occasionally to ensure uniform thickness.

Dust with flour: Use flour to prevent sticking, but don’t overdo it.

Hot Surface: Make sure your skillet or griddle is hot before cooking the piadina. A hot surface ensures even cooking and a nice char.

Serving Suggestions

Classic Piadina: Enjoy piadina filled with a variety of Italian delicacies like prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Breakfast Piadina: Fill your piadina with scrambled eggs, spinach, and feta cheese for a hearty breakfast option.

Dessert Piadina: Satisfy your sweet tooth by spreading Nutella, banana slices, and chopped hazelnuts inside your piadina.

Piadina with meats and cheeses for serving.

More Bread Recipes

📖 Recipe

Stack of piadina freshly cooked.

Authentic Piadina (Italian Flatbread)

These piadina are versatile and can be enjoyed with various sweet or savory fillings. They are a delightful addition to any meal and are easy to make in advance for quick and delicious snacks or meals.
5 from 1 vote
Author: Marie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 breads (or 12 thinner smaller breads)
Calories 410 kcal

Equipment

  • Skillet to cook the piadina

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (177.44 g) room temperature water or a combination of water and milk for a softer version
  • 1.5 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (72 g) olive oil or 2/3 cup of lard
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) table salt

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the all-purpose flour and baking powder. Mix them well to ensure even distribution.
  • Gradually pour in the room temperature water (or water-milk mixture) while continuously stirring the mixture. This helps to gradually incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients.
  • Add the olive oil (or lard) to the mixture and start kneading the dough. Knead until you achieve a uniform and smooth dough. This should take around 5-7 minutes. You can knead by hand or using a standing mixer,
  • Form the kneaded dough into a ball shape and cover it. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes. This resting period helps relax the gluten and makes the dough easier to work with.
  • After the resting time, divide the dough into six equal portions. This will make slightly thicker piadina that are about 6 to 8 inches in diameter OR thinner ones that are 10 inches in diameter. Shape each portion into a small ball and then cover them with a clean kitchen towel. Let them rest for another 15 minutes. This second resting period further improves the dough's texture and elasticity.
  • Alternatively, you can divide the dough into 12 pieces to make smaller, thinner piadina (About 6 to 8 inches).
  • On a floured countertop, take one of the rested dough balls and gently flatten it into a round shape. Flour each side well and begin to roll each one out into a flat, round shape. Aim for a diameter of approximately 6 to 8 inches (or up to 10 inches for a thinner version). Rub extra flour, as needed, onto the rolling pin as you roll out each piadina and constantly turn as you roll. (see Notes for tips on rolling a uniform circular shape).
  • Heat a skillet or a flat pan over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, carefully place the rolled-out dough onto the pan. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes on each side or until the piadina turns golden and develops light brown spots. Check after one minute to gauge the heat/cooking. Poke large bubbles with a fork.
  • As each piadina is cooked, remove it from the pan and stack it on a plate. You can place a clean kitchen towel on them to keep them warm and soft.
  • Serve the freshly cooked piadine warm, with your choice of fillings and toppings.

Notes

Storage:
These are best enjoyed fresh off the griddle, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat it in a skillet or microwave to bring back its deliciousness.
The prepared piadina can also be frozen after cooling.
Piadina dough freezes well. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out.
Rolling: 
1. Use a well-rested dough: Allow the dough to rest for at least 15 minutes before rolling to relax the gluten.
2. Divide dough evenly: Ensure equal portions of dough for consistent thickness.
3. Start with a ball: Shape dough into a ball before rolling.
4. Flatten gently and flour lightly: Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the ball gently into a small disc and ensure both sides are dusted lightly with flour.
5. Rotate frequently: Turn the disc 90 degrees while rolling to maintain a circular shape.
6. Roll from the center: Start rolling from the center and work your way outwards to maintain even thickness.
7. Apply even pressure: Keep even pressure on the rolling pin to prevent irregularities.
8. Flip and roll: Flip the dough occasionally to ensure uniform thickness.
9. Dust with flour sparingly: Use flour to prevent sticking, but don’t overdo it.
10. Practice makes perfect: With practice, you’ll improve your circular flatbread rolling skills.
Dough weight: 
Makes about 790 grams of dough. If you divide by six, each will weigh approximately 132 grams. Divide further for thinner or lighter piadina. 

Nutrition

Calories: 410kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 9gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 497mgPotassium: 90mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.2gCalcium: 73mgIron: 4mg
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