Struffoli o Cicerchiata (Italian Honey Dough Balls)


This traditional Italian sweet has different names in different regions: Struffoli in Naples area, which are among the most popular Christmas sweets; Cicerchiata in Abruzzi region, where you cannot miss them during Carnival time. The concept is simple: fried sweet dough balls, coated in caramelized honey. Tasty and long lasting, as you can make them at the beginning of the holiday season and offer them to friends and relatives coming over for holiday wishes. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Garnish with candied orange or lemon peel if desired.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
2 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
57 mins
10 servings


  • 4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 eggs

  • 5 ½ tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 egg yolk

  • ½ lemon, zested

  • ½ teaspoon rum extract

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 ½ (12 ounce) jars honey

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • ¼ cup sugar sprinkles, or to taste


  1. Mix flour, eggs, butter, sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest, rum extract, and salt together in a large bowl to create a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 30 minutes.

  2. Roll dough into a thin log the width of your pinky finger, about 1/4 inch. Cut log into small pieces; roll into balls. Dust with flour to prevent from sticking.

  3. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan. Place a few balls of dough in a sieve to shake off excess flour. Cook in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.

  4. Pour honey into a saucepan over low heat. Cook until a small amount of honey dropped into cold water forms a soft ball. Add fried balls of dough to the hot honey; stir gently with a wooden spoon until coated.

  5. Rinse a serving plate and shake off the water. Pile dough balls onto the serving plate in the shape of a dome or ring using damp hands or a damp wooden spoon. Garnish with sugar sprinkles. Let cool completely.

Cook's Note:

You can also shape the struffoli on a wet work surface and then transfer to a serving plate. Or you can make a ring shape using a ring cake mold lined with parchment paper. Some water will help with the shaping and prevent too much sticking.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

636 Calories
19g Fat
111g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 636
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 94mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 111g 40%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 65g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 29mg 2%
Iron 4mg 19%
Potassium 147mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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