Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

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If you have visited the Campania region, then you must have encountered this curious-looking puff pastries called sfogliatelle. And yep, that’s not a typo, no matter how the spellcheck may tell you otherwise. That is really how it’s spelled. As for how you pronounce it, you read it as sfol-ya-tel-le. And what is it exactly? It’s a puff pastry that has about the same texture as a croissant. But its shape is that of a shell or a lobster tail. And it can hold all kinds of yummy filling, such as a simple whipped cream or a special custard mixture with candied peels. Others even have almond paste as filling instead of a creamy custard.

Looking for the Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe ? Scroll down to the bottom. Or if you are looking for a different Italian dessert, this cannoli recipe might work for you.

Italian Sfogliatelle: The Origin Story

According to, the sfogliatella is a symbol of the city of Naples. The story goes that a nun in a convent somewhere in the Amalfi coast combined some leftover semolina with lemon liqueur, sugar and dried fruit. Then she took some dough and kneaded them into two sheets, and put the semolina mixture in the center, serving as filling. And this sweet pastry is called Santarosa, which is a sweet treat still very much popular in Italy today. It was named after the convent of Santa Rosa, where the first nuns who created it lived. Later in the 19th century, the pastry made its way to the city of Naples.  There, a pastry shop owner named Pasquale Pintauro changed its shape into the triangular lobster tail that it is today.


The Many Different Sfogliatelle Today


Consistent to most of Italian cuisine, sfogliatella has at least two variations in the Campania region, and another one outside Italy. The two kinds of sfogliatelle in Campania are sfogliatella riccia and sfogliatella frolla while the one outside Italy is called aragosta or lobster tail. The lobster tail is most popular in the United States. Fillings may vary from cheese to an almond paste to a creamy custard with candied peels.

First off is the Sfogliatelle Riccia. According to most Italian websites, this should be eaten hot, as in right out of the oven. It’s because like croissants, sfogliatella riccia loses its deliciousness when it becomes cold. This variation is filled with a custard-like mixture of semolina, sugar, ricotta, eggs, candied citrus peels, with a hint of cinnamon. And of course, the pastry sports its popular clam shape. The crust is very crunchy and the filling has just the right amount of sweetness, perfect for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea.

Now, the other kind you find in Campania is sfogliatella frolla, which is a much simpler version of the pastry. How? Well, it basically has the same yummy filling. However, it uses a simpler dough called shortcrust, instead of the one with several layers. This type of dough is the one most often used for tarts and pies.

Last is the Americans’ version of this well-loved Italian pastry popularly called Lobster Tail. It is filled with a whipped cream mixture, which is usually added after baking. Its dough is kind of similar to that of Sfogliatelle Riccia. The filling is a kind of choux pastry that is injected into the center of the pastry shell, which puffs up the core and lends the pastry its delectable shape.

Sfogliatelle: The Energy Booster

sfogliatelle alla crema

Much more than just a uniquely scrumptious sweet treat, the sfogliatella is also a very good source of instant energy. Yep, you read that right. This Italian pastry is rich in nutrients such as phosphorous and calcium. Phosphorous is good for your metabolism, balances your body’s PH levels, and helps maintain your energy levels. Calcium, on the other hand, helps maintain the health of your heart, muscles, and nerves. And both these nutrients are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Pretty good for a pastry, don’t you think?

However, you have to watch out for the sugar and cheese because they do increase the calorie count. This is where creating your own variation becomes interesting because you can craft one that will suit your dietary needs. And without further ado, here’s the sfogliatelle recipe!

Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle recipe

Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

Now that you have some idea what a sfogliatella is, the next step, of course, is to know how to make them. Here’s an easy recipe to help you with that.
4.54 from 97 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: lobster tail pastry, napoli, sfogliatella
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 439kcal
Author: Nonna Box



  • 500 gr flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 175 ml water more if needed
  • 25 gr honey


  • 450 ml whole milk
  • 100 gr white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 150 gr semolina flour
  • 500 gr ricotta
  • 1 egg large
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 50 gr candied orange peel finely chopped


  • 150 gr unsalted butter or lard
  • Confectioner’s sugar


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add water and honey, and then mix to create a stiff dough. Then gradually add water.
  • Place the dough on the counter and knead until it’s smooth and supple. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, split the dough into 4 pieces. Get one piece, then roll through a pasta machine. Roll using the widest setting, then fold in half and roll again. Do the same on each dough. Repeat this process until you create smooth sheets by gradually decreasing the width on each roll.
  • When the sheet is at 1mm thick, lay it on the surface and apply a thin layer of lard or butter. Create thin sheets of the other doughs as well and roll them into similar thin layers.
  • Roll up the first thin sheet to create a tight sausage shape.
  • Next, wrap the next thin dough sheet around the original sausage shape pastry dough, layering up to create one large cylinder. Cover with a saran wrap and chill for 1 to 2 hours for the pastry to firm up.
  • Now, to make the filling. Place the milk, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the semolina flour until it thickens and becomes smooth. After it has cooled down, transfer to a bowl. Then, add the remaining ingredients, stirring all the while to create a smooth, thick filling. Set aside, preferably inside the fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Bring out the pastry roll and cut them into 1 cm-thick pieces. Use your fingers, greased with lard or butter, to make an impression on the center to create a cone shape.
  • Get the filling and scoop a spoonful into the hollow and press the edges of the pastry together to lock. Repeat these for the rest, and line up all pastries on the tray.
  • When you’re done putting filling on all the dough pieces, bake the pastries for about 30 minutes.
  • When done, allow to cool for only a couple of minutes before sprinkling them with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately.



Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 736mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Liked this recipe?Follow us @NonnaBox for more!

Ecco, your sfogliatelle is good to go! If you followed this authentic Italian sfogliatelle recipe correctly then you should be enjoying a very delicious batch right now.

Buon appetito!

Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

38 thoughts on “Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

  1. Doris says:

    This recipe is dead on! My first time making it and nailed it, even with my sub par dough-handling skills. Thank You for sharing this!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Should I make my own candied orange or do you suggest I buy it? I’ll guess they’re sold in the raisin section?

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Jennifer! I made my own candied orange but you can totally purchase it and I think that’s the right section yes. Thank you!

  3. Elaine says:

    Do you wrap the original cigar with the remaining 3 sheets of pastry? I’m confused if it’s the cigar shape with the next thin sheet or keep wrapping all sheets of pastry. I love these and want to attempt them.

  4. Guiliana says:

    Since I left NYC, I miss Italian pastry SOOO MUCH! This is one of my favorites. [OK, they’re ALL my favorites, LOL.] Can’t wait to make these over the “winter” – it’s too hot to bake in Florida right now.

    Thanks for the recipe!!!

  5. Ann Proscia says:

    I am 100 percent italian. Sfogliatells are my favorite pastry. LIVE IN SOUTH THEY DONT HAVE ANY HERE , DESPERATE FOR ONE. Thank yo so much would love that recipe.

  6. Laya says:

    Sorry but I don’t quite understand where the dough needs to be rolled with a pasta machine. Can you explain more or send me a video please.

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Laya, thank you for your message and sorry for the late reply. We have just added a video of the recipe. Please let me know if it’s still unclear!

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Denise, I converted it for you, you just have to click on the conversion link right below the ingredients.Hope it turns out great!

      Using grams is so much easier and more precise, you can get a cheap cooking scale from Amazon ($10) and you won’t have to stress about converting anymore.

    • Sal says:

      This is a recipe which needs a lot of precision because the dough is all about specific ratios and formulas. For this reason I suggest you buy and use a kitchen scale for all future baking. Like Nonna said, it’s cleaner, easier, and honestly quicker to use. Once I started weighing my ingredients, I never used a measuring cup again (this last sentence is overly exaggerated for dramatic effect lol)

      • CLM says:

        Great advice…when it comes to Italian baking, I always use the digital scale all the time…So far I have replaced the batteries twice.

  7. Brian Pansari says:

    Sorry, after watching the video I still don’t understand the dough. You make 4 very thin sheets of dough. You roll one up into a sausage shape. Do you then lay that sausage/cylinder on the end of the next piece of dough and roll it up to create a larger cylinder and do that again with the 3rd and 4th piece?

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Brian – Yes, that is correct. You will end up rolling all the sheets of dough into one cylinder. I’ll update the recipe instructions as soon as possible to make it clearer. Let me know how it turns out!

  8. Sal says:

    Word of advice, watch the video first. This dough is very labor intensive and the last thing you want to do is let all that hard work go to waste because of a silly mistake. The recipe is good, but some of the directions are not very clear, but it is made clear in the video. I spent most of last night making the dough and when I made the filling, I added all the semolina at once and it clumped up so badly. There was no way to fix that mess so I tossed it out and watched the video. In the video, she adds it gradually to prevent lumps, and that honestly was common sense for a baker like me, so It’s more my fault than that of the recipe’s instructions. Anyway I made a new batch of filling today and it looks great, and will fill up the pastry this afternoon. Wish me much luck!

  9. mary says:

    Hi, have never made these, but would like to try. Recipe calls for, unsalted butter or lard. Which is best to use, butter or lard or a combination of both? Some recipes use a combination. The shop bought ones are so crisp and light. If I use butter only will I get that crisp?
    The fat puzzles me the most about this type of pastry, also puff pastry too I can never get it just right, again because of the fat. Can you please suggest how to go about this?
    Thank you!

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Mary – thank you for stopping by. Lard is probably the best ingredient for this recipe. In Italy we use “strutto”, which is basically rendered lard. In the US is difficult to find rendered lard, you can use lard instead.

  10. Charles McBee says:

    Question about the preparation of the dough. I have a pasta roller press on my KitchenAid and even at the smallest setting it doesn’t get as paper thin as what I am seeing on other videos. Any suggestions?
    Second: 500 gm will be divided into 4 sections…after you roll out the dough to the thinnest setting, do you continue to roll all of the sections into one big ROLL?

    Very easy to make. I made my own candied orange peel. I was in no rush and with all prep and waiting took about 3 days. Two days to let the orange peel dry.

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Charles – The smallest setting of the KitchenAid pasta roller should work. If you want to make it thinner, you can try using a rolling pin, make sure to spread some lard on it first.

      As per your second question: yes, you want to roll all the 4 sections of dough into one big roll.

      Please send us some pictures of your sfogliatelle!

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