Struffoli, also known as Honey Balls (and many other dialect names!) are the perfect sweet treat to serve at Christmas. This deep-fried, crunchy dessert originated in Southern Italy in regions like Campania, Calabria, and Puglia.

The intriguing part about struffoli is that everyone has a unique recipe and often the secrets to getting them just right are kept close by Nonna. I have a special ingredient from my Nonna that makes my struffoli original and slightly citrus. This struffoli recipe pairs the perfect citrus flavors of orange and lemon with the sweetness of honey to bring a pop of freshness to your Christmas dessert!

Watch the Struffoli Video Recipe here:

How To Make STRUFFOLI Like an Italian

Italian Struffoli Recipe

Vincenzo’s Plate Tips

Use My Nonna’s Limoncello

If you really want your struffoli to stand out, you should use the freshest ingredients you can find. And nothing is better than homemade limoncello. Of course, you can use store-bought limoncello, butmy Nonna’s limoncello recipewill bring your struffoli to the next level and give it an authentic Italian taste that money can’t buy!

No Mixer, No Problem

If you don’t have a standing mixer in your kitchen, that’s okay! You can still make the perfect struffoli by mixing the ingredients by hand. Plus, you’ll get a workout at the same time, ahead of your festive feast!

Resting the Dough

Once you finish kneading your dough, wrap it in a dry tea towel and let the dough rest for at least half an hour. Resting the dough allows the gluten to form. Don’t skip this step! Gluten helps hold the dough together and puff it up into the perfect stuffoli balls.

Rolling the Struffoli Dough

When you’re ready to roll your struffoli into a snake-like shape, start by placing your hands in the middle of the dough and gently move outwards as you roll.

Using Peanut Oil to Fry

When you deep-fry your struffoli, it’s best to use peanut oil. We use this in all sorts of Italian cooking, like to fry cannoli shells. Peanut oil adds the best flavor to deep-fried dishes and keeps them extra crispy.

Cooking the Struffoli

When you’re ready to cook your struffoli, drop each pillow-like shape into the oil one at a time. It will prevent the struffoli from sticking together. If you see the struffoli start to puff up, don’t worry!
This is exactly what we want to happen because it gives us a crispy, crunchy outside shell and a soft inside. Struffoli only take about one minute for each ball to cook, so make sure you are always watching to remove them before they start burning!
How to Make Struffoli

How To Serve Struffoli

To serve struffoli, scoop them up from the saucepan and start forming a mountain-like shape on your serving plate. If you want to make individual portions, serve a small amount of struffoli into a cupcake holder.
It is best to begin eating the struffoli once they have cooled to allow all the flavors to come
together, but I can’t blame you if you can’t wait any longer. Even I can’t resist eating the struffoli while they’re still warm!
Struffoli Recipe


Struffoli Recipe

Struffoli Recipe

Struffoli are an authentic Italian festive dessert. These crunchy balls smothered in honey are bursting with citrus flavours and create the perfect pairing of sweet and zesty. Shaped into small balls, once you taste them you won’t want to stop! Not just a crowd-pleaser, they are also a beautiful tradition to introduce to children at your next Christmas party – you can serve them each their very own portions!


  • Stand mixer (or your hands)
  • Rolling pin
  • Cutting board
  • knife
  • Zester or Grater
  • Dry tea towel for resting the dough
  • Baking Tray for the dough
  • Large plate for cooling
  • Parchment paper
  • Medium saucepan
  • Skimming ladle for frying
  • Paper towels
  • Large Frying pan
  • Spatula suitable for frying
  • Serving plater or Cupcake holders


  • 800 grams All-purpose flour 28.2 oz
  • 2 tbsp White sugar
  • 2 Organic eggs
  • 2 tbsp Llimoncello Preferably homemade
  • 2 tbsp Peanut oil Plus extra for frying
  • 1 Lemon medium sized
  • 1 Orange medium sized
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 grams Honey 5,29 oz
  • Candied fruit orange and lemon
  • Sprinkles Optional


To Make the struffoli dough

  • Add 1 ⅓ cups of flour (250g) to a mixing bowl, followed by 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 eggs.
  • Add zest from half a lemon and orange along with 2 tablespoons of limoncello, peanut oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Begin mixing on medium speed or by hand. It should take about 2 minutes to form a dough in a mixer.
  • If your dough is really sticky, add a little flour and mix again. Repeat this process until the dough soaks up all the ingredients from inside the bowl and on the sides.
  • Sprinkle a light amount of flour onto a wooden board or your work surface before removing the dough from the mixer.
  • Place dough on the surface and begin to gently knead it until it becomes nice and smooth. Incorporate small amounts of flour only as needed.
  • Cover the struffoli dough with a dry tea towel and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes.

To cook the struffoli

  • After 30 minutes, remove the dough from your tea towel and stretch it with a rolling pin into a wide oval – only roll it a few times, making sure it’s not too thin.
  • Cut a piece of the dough – up to 1.5cm wide – and begin rolling it with the palm of your hands until you get a long, medium-sized snake.
  • Place it to the side on a tray with some baking paper underneath so it doesn’t stick.
  • Keep forming the long snake-like shapes until you finish the struffoli dough.
  • Put up to 10 of them at a time back on your bench/wooden board and cut them straight down into pillow-like shapes, making each piece less than 1cm.
  • Place the cut pieces back onto the tray with baking paper, so they don’t stick.
  • Heat up peanut oil in a deep saucepan and bring it up to approx. 180°C (356°F).
  • Drop each small ball into the oil separately to make sure none of them stick together.
  • Gently lift and turn the struffoli until they are golden brown all around. Each stuffoli takes about 1 minute to cook, so keep an eye on them!
  • Lift out of the oil and strain each struffoli. Transfer them onto a plate with a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

To decorate the struffoli

  • Heat a large saucepan.
  • Add 5oz of honey (150 grams), followed by 1 tablespoon of sugar, and mix.
  • Add struffoli to the bubbling mixture of honey and sugar. Stir to coat the struffoli.
  • Add lemon and orange zest to your liking and continue to mix.
  • Turn off the heat and add candied fruit and sprinkles and mix well before transferring quickly to a serving plate or cupcake holders.
  • Add sprinkles or leave plain – they are so full of flavour already!
  • Serve cooled.


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!


Struffoli Recipe Vincenzo's Plate

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