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My struffoli recipe is a tasty holiday dessert! Struffoli are Italian honey balls, small crunchy balls of dough mixed with honey and candy toppings. Check out how easy it is to make this classic dessert recipe. 

Another top down view of the finished Italian Honey balls, completed and ready to eat. Struffoli are made with a simple dough. This recipe for Italian honey balls is easy and I’m sure it will be a fast favorite in your house.

A view of the finished Italian honey balls piled up and decorated ready to be enjoyed.

Struffoli are a classic Italian dessert, like my Italian Ricotta Cookies and my Italian Anisette “S” Cookies, that are usually served around Christmas time. This style of dessert is also served in Sicily and further north as well, it’s a popular holiday treat in the whole region! Much, like my Grandma’s Tiramisu, I make these every year.

All the ingredients needed for making struffoli recipe before we begin the process.

These are the ingredients you will need to make my struffoli recipe:

Using simple ingredients gives these struffoli a delicious flavor that will quickly become a holiday staple for the whole family. You will notice that there is no processed sugar in this recipe. The sweetness comes from the honey coating and sprinkles on top.

Now we have a dough ball that is ready to be rolled and cut for struffoli!

 

The Italian honey balls are made with the gorgeous looking dough!

There’s no sugar going into the dough which is pretty common for Italian desserts. These tasty Italian honey balls are not overly sweet, they are the perfect balance of sweet and savory, a lot like my Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons.

The dough is rolled out and cut into bite sized pieces which will form the struffoli dough balls.

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups nonpareils

Here we see the glaze and the sprinkles for the topping are in the background, this is what gives the struffoli its sweetness.A top down shot of the finished struffoli recipe, perfectly brown and ready to be enjoyed.

Italian honey balls recipe instructions:

The main thing that you want to remember when making this struffoli recipe is to keep the dough balls small. A bit smaller than a marble before you fry them will be excellent. If you make them too large they’ll swell up even more when frying and they’ll lose their crunchy texture.

The struffoli is finished and ready to be coated and decorated!

  1. In a large bowl, add the eggs, flour, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, salt, and citrus zest. Mix together using your hands until it forms a sticky dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough ball for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into three equally sized amounts.
  4. Roll the individual pieces into long ropes about 1/2-inch thick.
  5. Cut the ropes into ¼  to ½ inch pieces and roll each piece into a small ball shape. Irregular sizes are normal and work fine.
  6. Pour oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan, enough to fill it about one third of the way. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
  7. Then set up a tray lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil after cooking.
  8. When the oil reaches 350 degrees F, carefully drop in the dough balls in small batches and fry until they puff and become golden brown on all sides.
  9. Using a metal strainer, remove the fried dough and transfer to a paper towel-lined tray to drain. Continue until all dough balls are fried.
  10. While the dough is frying in a small saucepan add the honey and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Set to medium heat.
  11. Stir occasionally and remove from heat once the mixture reaches a syrup-like consistency, about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the still-warm fried dough balls to a large bowl. And pour the hot honey mixture and the nonpareils into the bowl and mix until covered.
  13. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate

A close up shot of a serving of the struffoli on a plate ready to eat.

How to serve and shape the struffoli after they’re coated:

You can serve these in a big pile, in a bowl, or you can shape them into a ring. It’s almost like dumping them out of a bundt pan!

You can cut a piece of citrus fruit in half and use it as a guide to help keep the struffoli recipe from sticking to your hands while you shape and form the dough balls into whatever shape you like. I love citrus in desserts, like my Italian Lemon Drop Cookies.

The struffoli when finished looks great on a pile with sprinkles ready to be enjoyed.

Tips for making the perfect struffoli recipe:

Make sure you don’t refrigerate the struffoli recipe, they will become super hard and no one will want to eat them after that! The honey will solidify and turn them into a brick of dough essentially!

Keep the struffoli on a floured surface while you wait to fry them or they will start to form back together and turn into a giant dough pile.

A top down shot of the finished struffoli recipe, perfectly brown and ready to be enjoyed.

After the Italian honey balls are fried, you will want to let them rest on a paper towel for a few minutes to let them drain off any excess oil before you coat them in honey.

If you decide to swap out the type of oil for frying these dough balls make sure you choose one with a neutral flavor and a higher smoke point. This will make it easy to get the oil hot enough to quickly fry the struffoli dough.

For those who love Italian desserts, be sure to also try my Easy Christmas Rum Balls!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Italian Struffoli Honey Balls
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
My struffoli recipe is a tasty holiday dessert! Struffoli are Italian honey balls, small crunchy balls of dough mixed with honey and candy toppings. Check out how easy it is to make this classic dessert recipe.
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ to ¾ cups nonpareils sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, flour, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, salt, and citrus zest. Mix together using your hands until it forms a sticky dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough ball for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into three equally sized amounts.
  4. Roll the individual pieces into long ropes about ½-inch thick.
  5. Cut the ropes into ¼ to ½ inch pieces and roll each piece into a small ball shape. Irregular sizes are normal and work fine.
  6. Pour oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan, enough to fill it about one third of the way. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
  7. Then set up a tray lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil after cooking.
  8. When the oil reaches 350 degrees F, carefully drop in the dough balls in small batches and fry until they puff and become golden brown on all sides.
  9. Using a metal strainer, remove the fried dough and transfer to a paper towel-lined tray to drain. Continue until all dough balls are fried.
  10. While the dough is frying in a small saucepan add the honey and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Set to medium heat.
  11. Stir occasionally and remove from heat once the mixture reaches a syrup-like consistency, about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the still-warm fried dough balls to a large bowl. And pour the hot honey mixture and the nonpareils into the bowl and mix until covered.
  13. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate! Enjoy!

My struffoli recipe is a tasty holiday dessert! Struffoli are Italian honey balls, small crunchy balls of dough mixed with honey and candy toppings. Check out how easy it is to make this classic dessert recipe.

Sharing is caring!