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Struffoli: Italian honey balls on a white platter with Christmas decoration in the background

Struffoli: traditional Neapolitan Christmas treat

  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 20 portions 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Indulge in the sweet symphony of festive flavours with this traditional Italian honey balls recipe, known as Struffoli. These golden delights, crispy on the outside and tender within, are infused with aniseed liqueur and coated in luscious honey. Adorned with vibrant candied fruits and coloured sprinkles,  these delicious honey balls promise to elevate your holiday celebrations to a whole new level of sweetness. Let’s dive into the joy of creating these irresistible treats!


Units Scale
  • 500 grams of white spelt flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 grams of sugar
  • 50 grams of softened butter
  • 100 ml of aniseed liqueur
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • The zest of an orange (or lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate
  • 250 grams of honey
  • Candied pumpkin
  • Red glace cherries
  • Coloured Sprinkles
  • Silver balls
  • Sunflower oil


  1. Place the flour in a large bowl, creating a well in the centre.
  2. Add whole eggs, softened butter, 100 grams of sugar, anise liqueur, vanilla essence, grated orange zest, salt, and baking soda to the well.
  3. Knead the mixture for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth, uniform, and no longer sticks to your hands.- Shape the dough into tubes with the thickness of your index finger.
  4. Cut the tubes into 1 cm pieces.
  5. Fry the pieces in hot oil  at 170°C (or 340°F) until they achieve a lovely golden colour.
  6. Lift the fried pieces with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain.
  7. In a large pot, add 50 grams of sugar and one or two tablespoons of water.
  8. Melt the sugar over low heat until you get a thick syrup.
  9. Add the fried struffoli and the honey.
  10. Stir well with a wooden spoon until all the struffoli are evenly coated with honey.
  11. Remove the coated struffoli from the pan and place them on a plate.
  12. Decorate with candied pumpkin and glace cherries, coloured sprinkles, and silver balls.


Anise liqueur imparts the distinctive flavour to struffoli, but feel free to experiment with Limoncello, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier as delightful alternatives.

For a nod to traditional Southern frying, swap sunflower oil for 1 kg of lard, maintaining a constant temperature of 170°C.

Embrace authenticity by using lard instead of butter; substitute it equally for a richer, intensified taste.

Opt out of making candied pumpkin by incorporating candied orange peels or exclude them altogether based on preference.

Extend the delight by storing glazed struffoli under a glass cloche for 7-10 days.

Fried, unglazed struffoli can be safely stored in a tin box for up to 2-3 weeks.

Avoid freezing, as it is not recommended for optimal texture and taste.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Deep Fried
  • Cuisine: Italian
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