Vegan Struffoli

Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based.

Struffoli aka HONEY BALLS! are a traditional Italian delicacy that you most often find around Christmas-time. There’s nothing better than waking up on Christmas morning, opening presents around the Christmas tree with your family, and then digging into a mountain of honey balls.

Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based. A small ball of dough covered in sticky vegan bee free honee.

At 28 years old, I’ve probably eaten THOUSANDS of honey balls throughout my life hehehe. Sticky, sweet, lightly fried dough, garnished with cherries, Jordan almonds, candies, and sprinkles. Ugh. Just amazing. It’s a miracle that I don’t have any cavities… gimme all dat sweetness!

Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based. Divide the dough into four equal parts before rolling into small balls.

To make vegan struffoli, we used BeeFree Honee instead of traditional honey. The ‘honee’ is made from apples and tastes SO GOOD, just as sweet and sticky as bee honey! In Colorado, I find it at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. You can use the store locator on their site to find it near you or you can always order online. Also, this is NOT a sponsored post–we just really love their honee.

Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based. Bee Free Honee saves 7,500 bees per jar.

Usually, struffoli dough is deep-fried until golden brown but I came up with a recipe that you can bake instead. Now, you can still deep-fry the dough balls if you so please and I will leave notes in the recipe on how to do that too. I just find that baking the dough is much easier to do, much less work, and less dangerous because hot oil can be tricky to work with.

Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based. Sticky vegan Bee Free honee covering dough balls.

The dough comes together in minutes. Just measure all your ingredients into a food processor and mix until a sticky dough forms. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and use a rolling pin to flatten them out. You can either cut or rip pieces of the dough and roll between your hands to form a ball. Bake (or fry) the balls and then cover with sticky, sugary, vegan honey! I like to roast hazelnuts and mix those in but you can garnish with sprinkles, candies, cherries… your choice!

Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based. Pouring Bee Free Honee (vegan honey) on top of a plate of dough balls.

I hope you like this recipe for Vegan Struffoli. If you make it, take a photo and tag us on Instagram @pastabased or leave a comment/rating below.

4.7 from 10 votes
Vegan Struffoli / Italian Honey Balls by Pasta-based.
Baked Italian Struffoli (vegan)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Sticky, sweet, vegan struffoli aka Italian honey balls made with Bee Free Honee and baked instead of deep-fried.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Servings: 8 servings
Calories per Serving: 336 kcal
Author: Pasta-based
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest from a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest from half a large orange
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter at room temperature*
  • 3 large flax eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Bee Free Honee
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup hazelnuts roasted**
  1. First, make your three flax eggs by mixing 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 9 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes until thick and gloopy.**

  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt and baking powder until combined.

  3. Cut vegan butter into 1/2-inch thick pieces and add to food processor with dry ingredients. Pulse until coarse.

  4. Add flax egg mixture, white wine (or water), and vanilla extract. Pulse until a sticky dough forms. Remove the blade and use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to smush the dough together until it sticks and is smooth.

  5. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

  6. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.*

  7. Once dough is ready, remove from the refrigerator and separate into four equal pieces. Roll each quarter until 1/4-inch thick. Then, cut the flattened dough into 1-inch squares. Roll each squash into a ball, about marble-sized.

  8. Then, cut the flattened dough into 1-inch squares. Roll each squash into a ball, about marble-sized and place them on your baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

  9. Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, roast raw hazelnuts for about 10 minutes.

  10. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, pour vegan honee and lemon juice. Let the honee heat up until it's more watery than sticky. Transfer dough balls and roasted hazelnuts into the saucepan and use a spoon to mix and coat.

  11. Place honey balls onto a large plate, pouring excess honey on top. Let cool and serve.

Recipe Notes


    To fry instead of bake


  • Pour vegetable oil into a tall pot until it reaches 1/3 the height of the pot. Heat the oil until 375°F/190°C (deep-frying temperature). Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
  • In small batches, place dough balls into the hot oil under golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the batch of fried balls using a slotted spoon. Place them balls on a paper-towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.
  • Be very careful! If the oil is overflowing, then it's probably too hot. Re-test the temperature after each batch.
  • **One flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water

    Nutrition Facts
    Baked Italian Struffoli (vegan)
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 336 Calories from Fat 126
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 14g22%
    Saturated Fat 1g6%
    Sodium 192mg8%
    Potassium 159mg5%
    Carbohydrates 48g16%
    Fiber 2g8%
    Sugar 22g24%
    Protein 5g10%
    Vitamin A 265IU5%
    Vitamin C 3.1mg4%
    Calcium 28mg3%
    Iron 2.3mg13%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    December 30, 2017



    1. Reply

      Donna M

      November 26, 2018

      I’m so thrilled to find this recipe! My mother made these every year around the holidays but I haven’t made them in years because her recipe used (many) eggs and I’m vegan. Can’t wait to try this!! And I love that honee, too 🙂

      • Reply


        December 14, 2018

        Yes!! I missed these so much too – I’m definitely making them for Christmas this year and the Bee Free Honee is the best, it’s sooo good.

    2. Reply


      December 12, 2020

      5 stars
      I was so sad to think I was going to miss out on struffoli again this season and I’m so happy I found this recipe. These are the best I’ve ever had!!! Thank you so much for sharing ☺️

      • Reply


        December 12, 2020

        Hi Claudine,
        Thank you for the amazing comment! We are so happy you found our recipe and loved it.

    3. Reply


      December 26, 2020

      I made these and they fell apart while frying. They did not stay in a ball but just disintegrated into crumbs. Any thoughts about why that happened? Thanks.

      • Reply


        December 30, 2020

        Oh gosh! So sorry to hear that. It could be that the flax egg wasn’t binding enough and that’s why they fell apart. Next time, I would make sure the dough is sticky enough to stay together.


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