Struffoli

Authentic homemade Struffoli is such a fun Christmas dessert! Cute little balls of fried dough are coated in sweet honey and topped with your favorite holiday sprinkles. They’re also called Italian Honey Balls and are a holiday tradition!

Make sure to try my Italian Ricotta Cookies too!

What is Struffoli?

Struffoli is an Italian dessert originating in Naples made of chickpea-sized balls of fried dough and fresh honey. Struffoli gets its name from the Greek word “strongulos,” which means round. There are various versions of Struffoli across Italy with different names depending on the region.

The fried dough balls are light and airy on the inside with a perfectly crisp outer layer. Served in the shape of a bundt cake, struffoli is basically an edible Christmas wreath! If you’re looking for a sweet treat to spoil your family with, this simple struffoli recipe is the way to go.

Drizzling honey onto a pile of Struffoli on a platter

What To Expect With My Struffoli Recipe 

  • The fried dough balls are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the honey adds sweetness without being too much
  • You will need to designate a few hours to make this, however, because the little balls are tiny and you literally make hundreds! The process is easy, it just takes a little time, so grab a friend and a bottle of wine and have a Stuffoli making party!
  • Struffoli is also super easy to decorate. You can use red and green sprinkles to add some Christmas spirit or white sugar pearls to give the illusion of snow. Either way, the golden little fried dough balls will be the star of the show!
Struffoli piled on a serving platter topped with honey and sprinkles

Recipe Ingredients/What You Need

Struffoli is made with only 7 ingredients and a handful of sprinkles. Using mainly kitchen staples, this is one of the least expensive Christmas desserts ever! Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to the recipe card for the full ingredient list with measurements!

  • Eggs
  • Orange Zest. You can also use lemon zest too. I like the added citrus flavor!
  • Vegetable Oil: You’ll need some oil for the dough as well as oil for frying. You can also use Canola Oil.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Kosher Salt
  • All-Purpose Flour: In addition to the flour for the fried dough, you’ll need some to dust over your baking sheet.
  • Honey
  • Garnishes: Sprinkles are traditional for decorting struffoli, but you can also use dried fruits, cherries, or crystalized orange or lemon zest!

How to Make Struffoli

I’ll walk you through all the easy steps, and remember to go the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full (and printable) recipe, but simply make your dough, form it into balls, fry them, coat them in honey and assemble your dessert.

Make the Dough: You’ll first whisk up your eggs in your stand mixer for about 2 minutes, then add in the orange zest, oil, vanilla, salt, and just 2 cups of the flour. Mix that for 2 minutes and then remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand for another 2 minutes and then add more flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover the dough with a clean towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Form the Dough Balls: Dust a larger baking sheet with flour and set to the side. Next, break off a small portion of the dough and roll it into a long rope. Use a knife or a bench scraper, cut the rope into 1-cm pieces and roll each piece into a ball (no larger than the size of a chickpea). Place the balls onto the baking sheet you set to the side and cover with a towel so the balls don’t dry out. Repeat this with the remaining dough.

Fry the Struffoli: Heat a large post with oil and working in batches place them into the hot oil. Cook them for about 3 minutes until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the heat and place onto another large baking sheet that you’ve lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Continue working in batches until all the dough is fried.

Stirring struffoli on a baking sheet coating them with honey

Coat With Honey: Heat your honey a bit in the microwave to loosen up and thin out making it more of a honey glaze consistency. Remove the paper towels from the baking sheet and you can pour the honeyt right on top of the struffoli on the pan and stir to coat. You can also put the Struffoli in a large bowl and coat them that way!

A pile of honey balls on a platter topped with nonpareil sprinkles

Assemble to Gift or Serve: Arrange the honey-coated balls on a large serving platter in a mound or wreath shape, which is super festive for the holidays. Alternatively, you can make individual servings by placing portions into muffin liners. Top with more honey, if desired, and then sprinkles.

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!
Struffoli honey balls on a silver serving plate topped with nonpareil sprinkles

How to Store Struffoli

Store your struffoli in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy it within 3 days. You can also store it without the honey for up to 5 days. If you make struffoli ahead of time, hold off on adding the sprinkles to prevent the colors from bleeding.

Print
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A pile of honey balls on a platter topped with nonpareil sprinkles

Struffoli

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This easy homemade Struffoli is such a fun Christmas dessert! Cute little balls of fried dough are coated in sweet honey and topped with your favorite holiday sprinkles.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus 5 cups more for frying
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 22 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • Sprinkles to garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the eggs in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until well whisked.
  2. Turn the mixer to medium and add in the orange zest, oil, vanilla, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix for 2 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand for 1-2 more minutes, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Add the extra 1/4 flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Dust a large baking sheet with flour and set it aside.
  6. Break off a small portion of the dough and roll it into a long rope. Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut the rope into 1-cm pieces and roll each piece into a ball (no larger than the size of a chickpea).
  7. Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, cover with a towel and repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. Line another large baking sheet with paper towels and set it aside.
  9. In a 5-6 quart deep pot (or Dutch oven) heat the remaining 5 cups of oil over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350°F. Working in batches of about 20-25 balls, place them in the hot oil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. If necessary, press the balls down into the oil using a slotted spoon to ensure the browning is even.
  10. Once golden, remove from the dough balls from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with all the dough.
  11. Place the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to thin the honey slightly.
  12. Remove the paper towels from under the fried dough balls. Pour the honey on top of the balls and use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to stir, coating them completely in honey.
  13. Arrange the honey-coated balls on a large platter in a mound or wreath shape. Alternatively, you can make individual servings by placing portions into muffin liners.
  14. Top with more honey, if desired, and then sprinkles.

Notes

Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Keywords: struffoli, struffoli recipe, fried dough, fried dough recipe, christmas desserts, christmas dessert recipes, easy christmas desserts, how to make fried dough

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3 comments on “Struffoli”

  1. Sabrina Adisano

    I was hoping this was great recipe to be healthy – but Without the butter and a tablespoon of sugar this recipe leaves you with very dry bread-like flavor to the struffoli….even with a ton of honey it’s just not a crowd pleaser unfortunately

  2. My grandmother would cook an Sicilian Christmas treat for the family , called sfingi no honey or ricotta cheese. when cooked the dough was rolled in regular sugar. I make this same dish now for my grand kids. The kids love it. For some reason it just doesn’t taste the same as when my Grandma made it for me.

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