Struffoli Recipe or Neapolitan Christmas Honney balls recipe

Struffoli or Honney Balls are ancient Christmas treats from the Campania region. Struffoli is a typical Neapolitan Christmas dessert; they are small dough balls, crunchy on the outside and light inside, caramelized with honey. “Struffolo” derives from the verb “strofinare,” which means rub, and this is the movement made when you roll the dough before slicing it into small pieces. They are perfect for giving for Christmas to friends and family and a must-have at the Christmas table. Like any traditional recipe, there are many variations.

Here is Giovanna’s recipe for Neapolitan Christmas Struffoli and knuckles:

Ingredients for the struffoli:

300 g flour

Two eggs

Two eggshells of seed oil * (this is the measure Giovanna uses to measure the oil)

One tablespoon lard

One tablespoon of aniseed liqueur

One pinch of salt

One tablespoon sugar

Zest one lemon

Frying Oil

For the syrup:

Zest of a mandarin

Zest of a lemon

250ml honey

Two tablespoons sugar

Mandarin peel, cut into small pieces

A splash of aniseed liquor

For the dressing :

Colored sprinkles

Candied cherries


  • Create a well with flour, forming a fountain-like shape. Then, at the center, incorporate the remaining ingredients.

  • Gradually blend the flour into the well while whisking the eggs and other liquid ingredients with a fork.

  • Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth dough, shaping it into a ball and wrapping it in plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for approximately 30 minutes.

  • Following the resting period, separate small portions and shape them into wires approximately 7-8 mm in diameter.

  • Slice the dough into small dumplings and long strips to create ribbons.

  • Deep-fry them in hot oil until they turn a golden brown hue.

  • Allow it to drain on a paper towel.

To prepare the syrup:

  • Heat honey, sugar, mandarin zest, a lemon, and a splash of aniseed liquor in a saucepan.

  • Once the mixture is liquefied, reduce the heat to a minimum and thoroughly coat the Struffoli by soaking and turning them.

  • Next, using a slotted spoon, lift the Struffoli from the honey and arrange them neatly on a plate.


  • Sprinkle colored sugar and garnish with candied cherries to decorate the Struffoli as a final touch.

Buon Appetito







Svetlana Hristova

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