The Best Struffoli Recipe (2024)

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Struffoli are deep-fried balls of dough that are hard on the outside, and slightly soft on the inside, and perfect for serving for dessert. They are also coated in honey to make them even more delicious. They're like the Italian version of loukoumades, and they're a staple in Italian households around the holidays, especially at Christmas time.

These struffoli (Italian honey balls) are a staple at Christmas since I can remember. If there's no struffoli, it doesn't seem like Christmas to me. They're the best tradition, and I have childhood memories filled with my mom making struffoli on Christmas eve day, so we could enjoy them on Christmas eve and Christmas day. This is her recipe, and she graciously allowed me to share it here on the blog.

What are struffoli?

Struffoli are small deep-fried balls of dough that are then coated in warm honey. They're not as soft as a doughnut; they're hard on the outside, and soft on the inside. They're then coated in warm honey, and topped with sprinkles, and sometimes candied fruit.

Depending on the region of Italy that you're from, struffoli can also be called "cicerchiata" or "pignolata."

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Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Canola oil
  • All purpose flour
  • Honey

How to serve?

My mom likes to serve her struffoli in muffin liners, so that each person has their own individual portion, and I prefer them this way. The traditional way to serve struffoli is on a round dish or cake stand, and to form a wreath with the struffoli while they are still warm. I've even seen them just piled on top of each other on a dish. It's really up to you how you'd like to serve them!

How long will they last? How can I store them?

Store your struffoli in an airtight container for up to 3 days. So if you make your struffoli on Dec 23 or 24, they will last you through to Christmas day. I would not refrigerate them since they will harden if you do. But that being said, they are best if enjoyed soon after coated in honey (even slightly warm!) When stored for a few days, they tend to lose their freshness.

Can struffoli be frozen?

Yes! The best way to freeze them is without the honey. Simply fry them in advance, put them in a plastic bag in the freezer, and when you're ready to eat them, defrost them, and coat them in the warm honey.

You can also add the struffoli to the warm honey straight from frozen, and they will warm up as they are coasted in the honey.

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How to make struffoli - step by step

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs well (photo 1), about 2 minutes.

Add the canola oil, lemon zest, and flour (photos 2, 3 & 4) until a ball of dough starts to form. Dough will not be fully formed at this point.

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Remove dough from mixer (photo 5), and on a clean surface, knead the dough with your hands (add more flour if needed). Knead until dough is smooth and not sticky (photo 6)

Wrap dough in a clean tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes (photos 7 & 8)

Cut a piece of dough off the ball, and roll it into a long rope (photo 9). Cut into 1-2 cm pieces (photo 10). Set aside.

Repeat this process until the dough is finished.

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In a deep pan, heat up canola oil until its hot enough to fry the dough.

Working in batches, place the balls in the oil, and fry, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. (photo 11) Remove from oil and place on plate lined with paper towel, so excess oil is absorbed. Repeat until all balls are fried.

In a pot, heat up honey until it melts slightly (photo 12). Place balls in honey and stir well with a wooden spoon, until all the balls are coated well in honey, about 2-3 minutes. Wait a few minutes (so the sprinkles don't melt), then add the sprinkles and stir. (photos 13 and 14)

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Extra tips to make struffoli:

  • I recommend canola oil for frying the struffoli. I've tried various oils, and get the best results with canola oil.
  • Once you have your ball of dough, you do not need to add more flour to the dough or the cut struffoli before you fry them. I find that adding more flour will dry them out and make the oil bubble when frying.
  • When rolling out the dough with your hands into ropes, I find that this is best done on a wooden board, as opposed to a countertop like granite or marble. Rolling it out on wood makes it easier to handle and maneuver.
  • When cutting the struffoli into pieces, I do not roll them into little balls after. Once they fry, they puff up and the shape becomes quite circular, so there's no need to spend the extra time rolling them into balls.
  • Sprinkles are very traditional to mix in at the end, and you can also add candied citrus and cherries, and almonds if you'd like.
  • When adding in sprinkles, depending on the type you're using, they may melt into the honey, lose their shape, and turn the honey a different color. It's a good idea to wait a few minutes before mixing them in so they don't melt.
  • Storing: while the struffoli will keep for a few days at room temperature once coated in honey, they are best if enjoyed soon after you've made them and coated them in honey (a couple hours). When stored for a few days, they lose a bit of their freshness.

Baking powder or not?

I've seen many struffoli recipes that use baking powder in the recipe. If using baking powder, it will make the struffoli rise slightly and make them softer in the middle. This sounds great right? But to me, struffoli should be slightly crunch and firm when eaten. A very traditional (ie. old) struffoli recipe does not have baking powder in it, and that's what this recipe is!

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Other Christmas desserts you might like:

  • Pandoro Christmas Tree
  • Pandoro Tiramisu
  • Raspberry Linzer Cookies
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If you’ve tried making theseStruffoli,or any other recipe on the blog please let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can alsoFOLLOW MEonINSTAGRAM,FACEBOOK,TWITTER,andPINTERESTto see more delicious food and what I’ve been up to.

Recipe

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4.63 from 24 votes

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The Best Struffoli Recipe

Struffoli are deep-fried balls of dough that are hard on the outside, and soft on the inside, and perfect for serving for dessert. They are also coated in honey to make them even more delicious. Struffoli are a staple in Italian households around the holidays, especially at Christmas time.

CourseDessert

CuisineItalian

Prep Time 30 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Resting Time 30 minutes

Total Time 1 hour

Servings 6 people

Calories 607.78 kcal

Author Pina Bresciani

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 4eggs
  • ¼cupcanola oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2cups + 2 tbspall-purpose flour, sifted

For frying and coating in honey

  • 3 ¼cupcanola oil
  • ¾cuphoney
  • sprinkles of various colors to top the struffoli

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs well, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add the canola oil, lemon zest, and flour until a ball of dough starts to form. Dough will not be fully formed at this point.

  3. Remove dough from mixer, and on a clean surface, knead the dough with your hands (add more flour if needed). Knead until dough is smooth and not sticky.

  4. Wrap dough in a clean tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Cut a piece of dough off the ball, and roll it into a long rope. Cut into 1-2 cm pieces. Set aside. Repeat this process until the dough is finished.

  6. Line up all the pieces of dough and cut into 1 cm balls. Set aside.

  7. In a deep pan, heat up canola oil until its hot enough to fry the dough.

  8. Working in batches, place the balls in the oil, and fry, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from oil and place on plate lined with paper towel, so excess oil is absorbed. Repeat until all balls are fried.

  9. In a pot, heat up honey until it melts slightly. Place balls in honey and stir well with a wooden spoon, until all the balls are coated well in honey, about 2-3 minutes.Wait a few minutes (so the sprinkles don't melt), then add the sprinkles and stir.

  10. Place honey-coated balls in individual muffin liners, and top with more sprinkles if desired.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • I recommend canola oil for frying the struffoli. I've tried various oils, and get the best results with canola oil.
  • Once you have your ball of dough, you do not need to add more flour to the dough or the cut struffoli before you fry them. I find that adding more flour will dry them out.
  • When rolling out the dough with your hands into ropes, I find that this is best done on a wooden board, as opposed to a countertop like granite or marble. Rolling it out on wood makes it easier to handle and maneuver.
  • When cutting the struffoli into pieces, I do not roll them into little balls after. Once they fry, they puff up and the shape becomes quite circular, so there's no need to spend the extra time rolling them into balls.
  • When adding in sprinkles, depending on the type you're using, they may melt into the honey, lose their shape, and turn the honey a different color. It's a good idea to wait a few minutes before mixing them in so they don't melt.
  • Storing: while the struffoli will keep for a few days at room temperature once coated in honey, they are best if enjoyed soon after you've made them and coated them in honey (a couple hours). When stored for a few days, they lose a bit of their freshness.

Nutrition Facts

The Best Struffoli Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 607.78Calories from Fat 167

% Daily Value*

Fat 18.54g29%

Saturated Fat 2.15g13%

Cholesterol 109.12mg36%

Sodium 45.02mg2%

Potassium 152.17mg4%

Carbohydrates 99.07g33%

Fiber 2.35g10%

Sugar 35.13g39%

Protein 12.47g25%

Vitamin A 158.4IU3%

Vitamin C 0.21mg0%

Calcium 31.54mg3%

Iron 4.58mg25%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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The Best Struffoli Recipe (2024)

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