Butter-free Struffoli: a tasty, light and colorful recipe

struffoli senza burro

Butter-free Struffoli: a tasty, light and colorful recipe

Olio Farchioni
5 from 1 vote
Tempting, light and colorful: butter-free struffoli!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 350 kcal


  • Pastry board
  • Pan with high sides
  • Slotted spoon


  • 150 g Pastry flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 30 g Sugar
  • 1 Lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons White wine
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva Speciale per Dolci Farchioni
  • to taste Olive Oil (for frying)
  • 150 g Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered sugar
  • as needed Colored sugar beads


  • Place the flour on a pastry board and form a well in the middle.
  • Put the egg and oil in the well and start beating with a fork. 
  • Add wine, sugar and zest while mixing. 
  • When the dough has firmed up, start kneading it until smooth. 
  • Roll out the dough into small logs with the palm of your hands. 
  • Cut them into pieces (as you would do for gnocchi). 
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan with high sides and drop a few struffoli at a time, letting them brown for 3 - 4 minutes and turning them over from time to time. 
  • Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on a sheet of kitchen paper.
  • In a separate pan melt honey and icing sugar over very low heat, while stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Turn the heat off and place struffoli into the pan. Mix well.
  • Arrange struffoli in a serving dish and decorate straightaway with colored sugar beads.   
struffoli senza burro

Today we will cook struffoli, a great classic of Central Italy’s cuisine, ideal to give a touch of taste and color to Carnevale, the period before Lent. This recipe does not contain any butter, but rather extra virgin olive oil, which makes struffoli lighter and appreciated by the lactose intolerant

Butter-free Struffoli: extra virgin olive oil as the main player 

We did not decide to use extra virgin olive oil rather than butter only for health-related reasons. Everybody knows that extra virgin olive oil is healthier and more digestible than butter or seed oil, but many are not aware of other important aspects:

  • Desserts turn out softer and crumblier, because olive oil takes in more air during mixing and this helps the dough rise. 

  • Desserts stay fresh longer, thanks to the antioxidants contained in EVO oil.

  • Olive oil is liquid and therefore makes kneading easier and more efficient. 

We recommend that you use a light Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva Speciale per Dolci Farchioni, cold-extracted and specially designed to replace butter and seed oil in desserts. Olive oil enhances the flavor and texture of desserts, while keeping them light. 

If you wish to add a touch of genuine taste to your struffoli, this oil is also available in versions flavored with Vanilla and Cinnamon

Butter-free Struffoli: the frying procedure 

The way you fry your struffoli is essential for the success of this recipe, and frying should be approached carefully. Here are a few tips: 

  • Use olive oil for frying. Its high smoke point makes it withstand high temperatures without burning. We used Olio Di Oliva Farchioni; its fruity and smooth scent makes it perfect for frying and your struffoli will be light and dry on the outside.

  • In order to get struffoli that are crunchy outside and tender inside, make sure that the oil in the pan is hot (dip a wooden toothpick in the oil: if it sizzles, the oil is ready). 

  • For struffoli to be crisp rather than soggy, use a large pan with high sides, and just cook a few struffoli at a time.

  • When it is time to melt sugar with honey, use a non-stick pan, and keep the heat very low, to prevent the mixture from burning or sticking to the bottom. 

The recipe for no-butter struffoli is no longer a secret for you… you can get to work! 

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