Struffoli recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Dessert

This is a traditional Italian dish, which is served at Easter and Christmas. They are best served warm.

74 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 375g plain flour, divided
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 525g honey
  • 100g pine nuts
  • 65g coloured sugar sprinkles

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Melt the butter over low heat. Mix together in a large bowl, 300g flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the middle. Drop into it the eggs and the melted butter. Mix with a wooden spoon and then with the hands until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Add remaining flour as needed. Knead dough on floured surface until it isn't sticky anymore.
  2. Break off pieces of dough and roll into ropes about the size of a pencil. Cut into pieces 5mm long. Roll these pieces into little balls and set aside.
  3. In deep frying pan, heat oil about 5cm deep. Fry balls until golden brown. Drain on kitchen towels.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring honey to the boil. Let honey boil gently for about 3 minutes before adding little dough balls, stirring gently with wooden spoon until they are well-coated.
  5. Remove balls from honey with a slotted spoon and place in a deep dish or mound them on a serving plate. Sprinkle surface evenly with pine nuts and sugar sprinkles. Cool.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(60)

Reviews in English (47)

Made these for easter, the whole family enjoyed them.-24 May 2014

by Eileen

Excellent recipe. Just like my Grandma made. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the honey and toasted the pignoli (pine nuts) before sprinkling on top.I've also made them in individual servings, mounding a heaping spoonful into foiled muffin cups. Makes about 32 smaller servings. Great for giving a few small portions to the lovely elderly Italian couple next door!-20 Dec 2005

by Salami Mommy

I tried to copy my Grandmother's recipe. This was close, but not quite right. I was told that I should have cooked the honey longer to give it a darker color. It was not sticky enough, so the presentation was a flop.... literally. Very messy, too much work, not worth it. For those who attempt this, here's the best tip: When you roll the dough into "ropes", simply cut the ropes into the sizes you want them to be. Once you fry them, they will plump up into ball shapes. I wasted so much time shaping the dough into balls before frying them... a step that was completely unnecessary unless you have so much time on your hands that you don't know what else to do with your day.-16 Apr 2009

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, and the 1 teaspoon sugar until foamy. Sift the flour with the baking power and stir into the egg mixture. With your hands, work the mixture into a soft dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about the width of your index finger and 12 inches long.

Cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces. Toss the pieces with enough flour to dust them lightly, and shake off the excess flour. In a deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°F. Fry the struffoli a few handfuls at a time, until puffed up and golden brown. Transfer with a slotted spoon to brown paper to drain.

In a large saucepan, combine the honey ant the 1/2 cup sugar and heat over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved keep warm over low heat. Add the fried balls a few at a time, and turn them with a wooden spoon to coat on all sides. Transfer the balls to a large plate and mound them into a pyramid, shaping it with wet hands.

Sprinkle with the colored sprinkles and let stand for 1 to 2 hours. Then just break off pieces with your hands to eat.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and, one at a time, stir in the eggs. Add the vanilla and mix the well to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into a ¼ -inch-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into ½ -inch-wide stripes. Roll each strip under the palms of your hands on the work surface to make long pencil-thick ropes. Cut the ropes into ¼ -inch pieces. Transfer the dough pieces to a large rimmed baking sheet.

Line another large rimmed baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Pour enough oil into a large wide saucepan to come halfway up the sides and heat over high heat to 350 degrees F.

Working in batches, without crowding, add the dough pieces and deep-fry, turning them as needed, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet.

Lightly oil a round serving dish. Heat the honey in a large skillet over medium heat until fluid. Add the balls and stir until completely coated. Spoon the balls onto the baking sheet. Garnish with the nonpareils and cherries. Let cool.

Recipe Summary

  • 3.46 ounces white rice flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 3 ounces brown rice flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1.4 ounces tapioca flour (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 ⅔ ounces cornstarch (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • Peanut oil
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Weigh or lightly spoon flours and cornstarch into dry measuring cups level with a knife. Place flours, cornstarch, sugar, and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a food processor process 2 times or until blended. Add butter process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and eggs process until dough forms a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap chill 1 hour.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half of dough into 30 (1-inch) balls.

Add oil to a Dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 360°. Add half of dough balls to pan cook 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon cool on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining dough balls.

Add honey to a large saucepan over medium heat bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Add fried dough balls to honey mixture, tossing to coat. Cool 2 minutes.

Place on a serving platter. Drizzle with any remaining honey, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


For the honey glaze:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Cook, over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Do not bring to a boil.

Keep warm until ready to use.

For the struffoli:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well to combine.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and zest using a hand mixer.

Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a high-sided skillet, heat a couple inches of oil to 350°F.

Using a bench scraper, cut off 1/2-inch pieces of the dough.

Roll the dough into a rope slightly thicker than a 1/4-inch in width.

Use the bench scraper to cut the rope into 1/4-inch pieces.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball they do not need to be perfect and should be approximately the size of a hazelnut.

Repeat until all the dough has been shaped.

Working in small batches, carefully add the dough balls to the oil and fry until lightly golden brown, about 45-60 seconds.

Place the drained balls into a large bowl.

Drizzle all but a few tablespoons of the warm honey glaze over the balls and gently toss to coat.

Place the balls onto a serving plate, drizzle the remaining glaze over the top and sprinkle with the nonpareils.

Tips for Success!

  • Add Flour as Needed: If the dough is still sticky after you knead it for a couple minutes, it probably needs more flour. Add a tablespoon at a time until your dough has reached the right consistency.
  • Brown Evenly: Fried dough tends to float in the oil, especially when it’s shaped in little balls. You can use a slotted spoon to press the dough balls down into the oil to help them brown evenly.
  • Heat Oil Completely: Your oil needs to be at 350°F when you add in the dough. To ensure the oil has come to temperature, check it with an instant read thermometer.
  • Microwave Honey: Warming up the honey makes it so much easier to get a perfect, even coating on your fried dough balls!



In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece of dough into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.). In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (The rested and quartered dough can also be rolled on a floured work surface into 1/2-inch thick logs and cut into equal-sized 1/2-inch pieces. The dough pieces can then be rolled into small balls and fried as above.)

In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.

Spray the outside of a small, straight-sided water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a large spoon or damp hands, arrange the struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle any remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar, if using. Remove the glass from the center of the platter and serve.

I prefer clover honey but you can use wild flower if that’s what you like. I wouldn’t use buckwheat, personally, since it’s a strong flavor. Warming the honey slightly makes coating the struffoli a little easier but it’s not totally necessary. My aunt never heated it and I can assure you there were never any struffoli leftover.

Struffoli recipe | In Jennie’s Kitchen


Struffoli recipe, along with Babà, "Pastiera", and "Zeppole di San Giuseppe", is a classic sweet of the Neapolitan cuisine. Crispy honey balls with a tender heart seasoned with candied fruit, and sugar decorations. In Naples, this is traditionally a Christmas dessert, but in the rest of Italy, these delicious hone balls are a delicacy for all major festivities!


  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ Lb all porpuse flour (340 g)
  • 2 oz caster sugar (55 g)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (55 g)
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 organic orange
  • 3 tbsp candied fruit
  • 1 cup (340 g)
  • 2 tbsp sugar decorations
  • 2 drops Rum or Brandy
  • 1 drop Anise flavor
  • 1 pinch table salt



  1. Let the butter soften 30 minutes into the oven turned off with the light on, then cut it into pieces and stir with a fork until smooth and inflated.
  2. After that, grate the lemon and orange to obtain zests.
  3. Now, crack the eggs and pour them into a bowl along with the sugar, the softened butter, the lemon and orange zests, 2 drops of Rum or Brandy, 1 drop of Anise flavor, and 1 pinch of salt.
  4. Finally, whisk until consistent.


  1. Add the flour, a little at a time into the butter and eggs mixture.
  2. Pouring the flour, pinch the dough with your fingers until the liquid will be absorbed by the flour, creating a sort of pastry crumbs.
  3. Now, compact and stretch out the crumbs until obtaining a consistent dough.
  4. Eventually, wrap the dough ant store into the lower part of the fridge at least 2 hours.


  1. Take a fistful of dough and roll it into a log ½ inch thick.
  2. Now, reduce the log into pieces ½ inch long. After that, pour the sesame oil into a pot and place over medium heat until reach 356° F (180° C).
  3. Eventually, fry the Struffoli a little at a time until golden, then place on paper towels to dry the oil in excess.


  1. Pour the honey into a nonstick pan, big enough to contain Struffoli.
  2. Place the pan over low heat and stir until fluid.
  3. Finally, place the pan far from the heat and add Struffoli and sweet decorations.
  4. It is possible to serve Struffoli just prepared, but the following days they will be even more delicious!

Nutrition Information


Serving Size

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  • In a bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Add eggs and 2 cups flour mix well. Turn onto a floured surface and knead in remaining flour (dough will be soft). With a floured knife or scissors, cut into 20 pieces. With hands, roll each piece into pencil shapes. Cut “pencils” into 1/2-in. pieces. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 350°. Fry pieces, a few at a time, for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place in a large bowl. Heat honey to boiling pour over cookies and mix well. With a slotted spoon, spoon onto a serving platter and slowly mound into a tree shape if desired. Decorate with candy sprinkles. Cool completely.

If you have a favorite Italian cookie recipe that you want to share, please send it to me at [email protected] along with a brief story behind it. You can also include a photo of the cookies or of your family enjoying them!

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