Struffoli (Fried Italian Honey Balls)

Struffoli by Bakewell Junction

Struffoli by Bakewell Junction

I have another recipe that you just gotta try.  This recipe is a Neapolitan favorite.  There are similar recipes in other regions of Italy but this is the best.  My husband’s family had a recipe but it just wasn’t quite right, so I was thrilled a few years ago when I found this one.  There are many similarities between this recipe and last week’s post but I always make both because I can’t make just one.

Since this recipe is a little finicky, here are a few detailed tips.

Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and set aside.

Struffoli2 by Bakewell Junction

CuStruffoli3 by Bakewell Junctiont in the butter.

Add the vanilla and the first two eggs.

Struffoli4 by Bakewell Junction

Once combined, then repeat with the next two eggs and again with the last two eggs.

Struffoli5 by Bakewell Junction

Knead dough for 5 minutes and form into a ball.

Struffoli6 by Bakewell Junction

Place the dough on floured cutting board and lightly flour the top.

Struffoli7 by Bakewell Junction

After the dough has rested, begin forming the balls by rolling the 1/2 inch strips and cutting into 1/2 inch balls.

Struffoli8 by Bakewell Junction

A quarter of the dough formed into balls looks like this.

Struffoli9 by Bakewell Junction

After 3/4 of the dough balls have have been formed, begin heating the oil to 375 degrees.  Fry the balls in batches.  To ensure the cookies cook evenly on all sides, I shake the basket to turn them.

Struffoli9 by Bakewell Junction

Just to give you an idea of how much the little balls puff up.

Struffoli11 by Bakewell Junction

Move drained fried balls to a large bowl lined with paper towels.

Struffoli12 by Bakewell Junction

After all the cookies are fried, heat the honey in a medium sauce pan.

Italian Wine Cookies12 by Bakewell Junction

Add the cookies to a rubbermaid container and pour the warm honey over the cookies and turn them to coat.

Struffoli13 by Bakewell Junction

Great for gifts in ziploc containers.

Struffoli14 by Bakewell Junction


Yield:  too many to count                  Cook Time:  90 minutes


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • oil for deep frying (I use olive oil)
  • 40 ounces honey or more to taste, slightly warmed


  • Non-pareils
  • White candy coated almonds (Jordan Almonds)


Step 1:  Combine sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the butter is completely combined.  Mix in the vanilla.  Mix two eggs at a time.  The batter will look like a very thick cookie dough.

Step 2:  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Flour hands when the dough is sticky.  Form the dough into a ball and set the dough on a floured cutting board.  Dust the dough with flour, cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for at least 1/2 hour.

Step 3:  Divide the dough into quarters for easier handling.  Roll each quarter into 1/2 inch logs.  Cut into pieces that are about half of my pinky fingernail or 1/2 inch.  This will make a whole lot of little balls.  Be sure to keep them small as they will grow to 2.5 times the size as they cook.  Repeat with all the remaining dough.

Step 4:  When about 3/4 through forming the dough pieces, heat oil to 375 degrees in a sauce pan or a deep fryer.  I use a cast iron deep fryer with a basket.  Deep fry dough pieces about 2 to 3 dozen at a time depending on space until golden brown and cooked through (this works best if one person rolls the dough and another fries them).  Ensure the cookies are cooked on all sides evenly by shaking the basket to turn them or use a fork.  Place fried cookies in a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain.

Step 5:  Once all the cookies are fried and there is no more dough, transfer them to a large Rubbermaid container.  Heat honey in a sauce pan for at least 5 minutes on medium to high heat until it thins out and is quite warm.  Pour warm honey over fried cookies while they are still warm.  Stir cookies carefully (so they don’t get mashed) to ensure they are all covered with honey.

Step 6:  Place the cover on the container and flip the container upside down.  Repeat flipping the container every 30 minutes or so to ensure the cookies are well coated.  The cookies will soak up most of the honey as they are coated and recoated by flipping the container over and over.  Before serving sprinkle the cookies with hard candy colored balls (nonpareils) for decoration and add the candy coated almonds also.  Try not to eat them all.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.  The cookies are fine for many days when stored this way.


Recipe from Elodia Rigante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking cookbook.

9 thoughts on “Struffoli (Fried Italian Honey Balls)

  1. These look amazing! I have to admit, I am pretty hesitant to fry anything. Hot oil freaks me out!!! 🙂

    Stopping by via the GYB Hop. Would love for you to visit at!

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