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Honey Balls



It just wasn't Easter in our house without struffoli, little fried puffs coated with honey. What was so memorable about them was not so much their sticky exterior but their special pyramid shape on the serving platter.


3 large eggs

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup sugar

2 cups Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup honey

Flour for dusting

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Colored sprinkles


In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, and the 1 teaspoon sugar until foamy. Sift the flour with the baking power and stir into the egg mixture. With your hands, work the mixture into a soft dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about the width of your index finger and 12 inches long.

Cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces. Toss the pieces with enough flour to dust them lightly, and shake off the excess flour. In a deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°F. Fry the struffoli a few handfuls at a time, until puffed up and golden brown. Transfer with a slotted spoon to brown paper to drain.

In a large saucepan, combine the honey ant the 1/2 cup sugar and heat over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved; keep warm over low heat. Add the fried balls a few at a time, and turn them with a wooden spoon to coat on all sides. Transfer the balls to a large plate and mound them into a pyramid, shaping it with wet hands.

Sprinkle with the colored sprinkles and let stand for 1 to 2 hours. Then just break off pieces with your hands to eat.


  1. Rosemarie Cappetta's avatar

    Rosemarie Cappetta

    Maryann, thank you so much for creating the Struffoli that my Mom used to make, she passed before I could get her recipe but this is it. I've looked at the other "big name" chef's and they all add lemon and orange zest, nahhhh. THIS is the one!!!!
    Love your shows and your food. Keep producing authentic Italian recipes.
    Oh by the way: do you have a recipe for Aloi Oohia (spelt wrong I know) Anchovies, garlic and oil sauce for pasta, I didn't get that recipe from her either. Thank you again Maryann. :)
  2. Silvana's avatar


    My Family in Napels. never use butter in the ingredients. Just flour, baking powder, eggs and lemon/Orange zest. Not forgetting the oil to fry them. This recipe has been used for approx more than a 100 years within my mothers Family.
  3. theresa's avatar


    I would like to know how to store the struffoli.

    Is there a way to keep them in storage for a long time i.e. 3/4 mths? or more

    Thank you,
  4. Pauline's avatar


    thank you so much MaryAnn for this recipe! but where my family is from, the province of Caserta, near Naples, we call these "favette" but we also make "struffoli" and those are also fried but rolled in sugar. I haven't made these "favette" with the honey in soooo long! I can't wait to surprise my family on Christmas Eve! thanks so much! and I enjoy watching your show!! BUON NATALE E FELICE ANNO NUOVO!!
  5. Shelly's avatar


    My grandmother passed away at 100 and she made these every Easter this was the only recipe I couldn't find when she died cant wait to make them
  6. Linda's avatar


    I grew up in a large Italian family,,,I always had honey balls ( as we called them) as a kid, my Grandmoms sister used to make them all the time and take them to our house and everyone else's around the holidays,the problem was man grandmother as much as she tried could never get them like my Aunt , hers always got hard and stuck together,,is there a secret to make them so the honey doesn't get like glue and harden,,thanks !!!!
  7. Lisa Schipsi's avatar

    Lisa Schipsi

    My grandmother used to make honey balls and your
    recipe helped me bring this Easter treat back to the table!
    Thank you. Happy Easter!
  8. Karen's avatar


    My husbands family makes the little dough balls but they use them in soup
  9. Karen's avatar


    LOL my husbands family uses the dough balls
    Minus all the honey etc just the fried dough balls
  10. Rosemarie Bruno's avatar

    Rosemarie Bruno

    My whole life I've eaten Struffoli. I could eat them all myself. My Zia Laura would make them anytime I asked. She would also make rolled out dough, cut into long strips and then fold it in half length ways (to hold honey), spiraled it into a circle, then fried & honey put on them. I don't know what these are called but they tasted like the same dough as Struffoli. Is it.
  11. Giovanni's avatar


    Struffoli, Zepoli, Sfinci,
    A different name in all parts of Italy and Sicily. So simple to make.
    I loved the process, the aroma and the taste.
    Eat them Plain, With Honey or sugar and cinnamon, What memories I have and will always hold close.
  12. Tony's avatar


    In Abbruzzo my family called it something like 'ciceriquate'. My mum has made it for years - she adds shaved almonds which is awesome. You can store it indefinitely in the freezer.
  13. David's avatar


    This recipe is exactly how my Mom made honey balls. She never used orange or lemon zest. This is the real deal recipe! Thanks for sharing!
  14. Nikki's avatar


    I will forever remember eating these honey balls at my Great Grandmothers EVERY Christmas Eve!!! Thank u for the "real" recipe...God Bless💕💕💕
  15. Suzanne Savatteri's avatar

    Suzanne Savatteri

    This comment is for Rosemarie Bruno - my grandmother made "rosettes" which were stripes folded in half and then turned in a circular motion to creT a rose shape. She would pinch certain areas and when the orange flavored honey was poured on them the honey would sit in the folds too. Really delicious. Light and crunchy. I don't know his she got them that light and crunchy. My dough always comes out hard. I have tried yeast recipes and no yeast recipes.
  16. Suzanne Savatteri's avatar

    Suzanne Savatteri

    Continuation to Rosemarie Bruno

    My grandmother was from Northern Italy
  17. Karen's avatar


    This is in reply to Suzanne and Rosemarie.... my great grandmother used to make the same rosette flowers. They were drizzled with boiled honey and chopped almonds. She was the best baker because she baked to perfection each and every time. But she baked by feel, not recipe, so any attempt to write down her methods were only approximations. We never could get her 'honey cups'just right and you can't even find them in the Italian bakery. These honey balls soon became a good- enough substitute but nothing like the real thing.
  18. sue m's avatar

    sue m

    about storage; WE kept ours in a large Charles Chips can with wax paper, in between
  19. Beverly's avatar


    We had an Italian family that lived across the street when in southern California. They blessed us with a plate of these one Christmas. Oh, what a joy to eat, I don't remember the sprinkles on them, but they were dipped in honey.
  20. Susan's avatar


    We would have a small assembly line making Struffoli around Christmas time with my Mother, Grandmother and Aunts, table cloth covered card tables and flour all over and great memories for ever more.
    I have been looking for this recipe for years.
    Thank you for the post
  21. Mary Ann's avatar

    Mary Ann

    Can you make struffoli in an air fryer?
  22. Amy's avatar


    My mother use to make huge batches of these at Christmas. All our friends and family use to get a big tray. There are several different variations in this recipe. My mother added orange zest in the honey. Also she noted the more you played with the dough the harder or tougher the ball became when cooked. So if the balls are hard you handled the dough to much. She also added very little sprinkles and added walnut halves to decorate. I have seen dried fruits added as decorations also. This is by far my favorite holiday dessert. Not that they lasted long, she put them in a lined tin for storage. Never lasted long enough with me around. Lol
  23. Robin Florio kosic's avatar

    Robin Florio kosic

    My grandmother taught me to make these when I was little. She used annisette but not sure in dough or in the honey and funny her name was Rose Bruno and my mom was Rosemarie Bruno like above. She was from Calabria
  24. Maria's avatar


    I have to make multiple batches and want to know if I can do the dough in advance. I appreciate your reply to my email address. Thank you and happy holidays.
  25. stacey's avatar


    Help! i make stufoli every year. But this year they came out chewy. What did I do wrong??
  26. Jamielee N's avatar

    Jamielee N

    Thank you for the recipe, this is the second time I tried to make these, the first they came out too doughy (more like donuts) and this time they were too dry. How can I make them more light and airy like the bakeries do? I appreciate any help! Thank you!
  27. Dolly's avatar


    I used an air fryer instead of deep frying in oil. I set the temperature at 360 degrees and timer for 6 minutes. I followed the rest of the recipe as written. It worked!
    Our family called these pignalatas and we always had them for St. Joseph’s Day on March 19.
  28. Lorraine's avatar


    Hi Dolly,
    Did you coat the balls with oil before placing in the air fryer, and how many did you place in the basket ? Received an air fryer just to make these but they came out dry. Thanks!
  29. Emily's avatar


    My mother also made this desert at Christmas time. She called it cicerchiata. As I understand the name comes from cicerchia, a small bean similar to chickpeas. She used a sweet dough and mixed the fried dough balls with honey and toasted slivered almonds.
  30. ADELINE's avatar


  31. Bridget's avatar


    My grandmothers family makes these and always called them “gg’s”. Her mother was from Sicily and she said as a kid they couldn’t pronounce it correctly in Italian so that’s what they called them. Any thoughts on what the actual name would be that would be shortened to “gg”
  32. Anne's avatar


    Has anyone froze the dough balls ahead of time? then fried them at a later date
  33. Marie marino's avatar

    Marie marino

    Can I make my struffoli 2 weeks before Christmas? They came a little hard last time. What did I do wrong?
  34. Marylou's avatar


    I make these every year ....i use Crisco in place of the butter
  35. Rainie's avatar


    Marie Marino....I have found that if they have too much flour they get too hard. I put a little bit less than the recipe calls for allowing for the extra flour that you wind up using on your surface, hands, etc.
  36. Jacqueline OConnell's avatar

    Jacqueline OConnell

    I have been looking for a good recipe for Struffoli for years. My mom used to make this when I was a little girl and when she passed away my step-father threw away her recipe book. I almost had a heart attack!! Well, I finally came across your recipe and made it today! It tastes just like my mom’s! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I will make this every Christmas and Easter from now on!
  37. Pdnyc's avatar


    I air fryed @370 for 8 minutes, delicious and healthy!

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