Traditional Taralli Recipe from Puglia

When traveling through Puglia, the “heel of the boot” of Italy, food is everywhere.  Beneath majestic olive trees, there are fields of red earth planted with vegetables, and the night air smells like celery.  Long expanses of wheat fields produce the local flour used in excellent crusty bread, and then there are the raucous fish markets, teeming with wriggling sea creatures.  And we haven’t begun to get to the exquisitely creamy burrata cheese, the oh-so-sweet tomatoes, or the heady Primitivo wine, thus named because it describes your ability to make a sentence after a few glasses. 

On one occasion, while traveling through Puglia with friends, we stopped in a bar inaperitivo of wine & taralli  Martina Franca to have an aperitivo, and the waiter asked if we wanted stuzzichini – appetizer snacks – with our drinks.  When we said yes, out came bowls of soft bocconcini of mozzarella, plump green olives, oven-baked black olives flecked with hot pepper, bits of salami, tiny one-bite pizzette, pickled lampascioni, sun-dried tomatoes, and crunchy taralli, spiced with fennel seeds and black pepper. 

In other words, a meal for most people. When we commented to the waiter about how this could suffice as dinner, he laughed and said, “Only if you aren’t pugliese.”  And so, wanting to fit in with the locals, we headed off to dinner.  We found more taralli in the breadbasket at dinner, and they became our addiction during the trip. 

Learning to make taralli will just be one of the many things we’ll be doing on our Pleasures of Puglia culinary tour, but since that is months away, I decided to make a batch at home.  You’ll find my complete taralli recipe at the end of this post, but here are the basics:

Taralli are quite simple to make, with an unleavened dough of flour, salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and white wine.  You can leave the dough plain or spice it with fennel seeds or cracked black pepper.

dough for Taralli from Puglia

Take walnut-sized pieces of dough and shape into thin ropes about 5 inches (10 cm) long, then bring the ends together to form a ring.  It’s okay if they look like a teardrop.

Taralli dough recipe

Next, the rings are briefly cooked in a pot of boiling water until they float to the dough for taralli in ring shapesurface, then removed with a slotted spoon and left to cool and dry on a clean cloth. 

Place the taralli on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until the taralli are golden brown.  Cool on a rack and serve with an aperitivo – drink the rest of that white wine you used to make the dough – or fill a breadbasket and serve at dinner.

Read more about what we’ll be doing on our Pleasures of Puglia tour.

taralli from puglia

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Wild Asparagus Walk in Sicily

Traditional Taralli Recipe from Puglia

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: About 100 taralli

Serving Size: Unlimited!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (1 lb, 500 grams) flour
  • 1 tsp (10 grams) salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (200 ml) dry white wine
  • optional spices:
  • 1-2 tsp fennel seeds or cracked black pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt.
  2. Add the oil and wine, and mix with a fork until the dough forms into a rough mass.
  3. Dump the dough onto a wooden board and knead it for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth.
  4. If you want to add any optional spices, knead them into the dough (or divide the dough and add spice to ½ of the dough) - knead well to distribute the spice.
  5. Cover the dough and let it rest, along with your arms, for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Pinch walnut-sized pieces of dough, roll first between your hands, and then against the wooden cutting board, so that the dough forms a thin rope, about ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter and 4” long (10 cm).
  7. Shape each rope into a ring, and seal the edges together by pressing lightly, then set aside the taralli rings on a wooden board and cover with a towel.
  8. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil.
  9. Put 6-10 of the taralli into the boiling water, and when they float to the surface - this will only take 30-60 seconds - remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a cloth to dry and cool.
  10. Tip: Try not to plop one tarallo on top of another when dropping them into the pot, and if they stick to the bottom, give them a gentle nudge with the slotted spoon
  11. Put the cooled taralli on baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (200°C) for about 25 minutes, until golden.
  12. Remove and cool on racks.
  13. Store in a closed container to keep them crisp, and serve with an aperitivo – they are the a nice accompaniment for the rest of that dry white wine – or pile them into a breadbasket at dinner.



74 Responses to “ Traditional Taralli Recipe from Puglia ”

Anitas I love your tarralli. I make the same way you recommended and I have made with dry garlic and dry basil, another dry onion it they are delicious. I only have one problem is they stay golden when they come out but some of them get tuff. What do you recommend I do. Also I have seen a italian video making tarralli and they add white vinager to the hot water before putting in the tarralli do you know what does the vinager to to the Tarralli?

I tried the taralli recipe today and they turned out lovely! I made four kinds: fennel, nigella, pepper and plain and liked the nigella best.
Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, I’ll definitely make them again!

My grandmother used to make something similar to these with the fennel seeds and called them “taralli” but they were more like a bagel. Do you know of a recipe that would be like a bagel with the fennel seeds. I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this with me. Thank you in advance

Just made them and I love them. Though had to bake longer than 25 minutes.

i made the recipe but used 3 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of olive oil. the dough was soft and easy to work with baked them with 360 F oven took about 30 minutes to become golden but the taralli came out a bit too hard any ideas why?

As I read your recipe my head kept remindng me that is exactly what my mother did. Almost brought tears to my eyes. She was from Trani, Italy a province of Bari. Thank you for a wonderful memory. My son is just getting through making a batch.

Just made it and very good indeed. Thank you for sharing recipe.
I would like to add two remarks:

* flour is exactly 1 pound or 445 gr
* I baked for 30 mins on 375 F than 10 on 350 F than 30 mins on 250 F. That helped to make them very crispy inside as well.

I have never used vinegar and mine come out fine, so don’t know the vinegar’s purpose.

You are very welcome!

Sorry, can’t help you out on this one. Maybe try a bagel recipe?

Glad they turned out well. Everyone’s oven is different, so it make take longer to get the results you need.

Perhaps try using a bit less flour- Or just dip in wine until soft:)

Trani is a lovely town – I am glad this recipe brought back good memories.

That’s a long time to bake them, but I am glad they turned out well.

I have never tried freezing them becuase I eat them so quickly, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Happy baking!

My mother was from a town near Bari, Palo del Colle. I grew up eating Taralli. Mom called them,” biscotti”. Have made them in the past but forgot them as I grew older.

I stayed for 2 weeks in Puglia earlier this year and loved the taralli so thank you Anita for the recipe. I have been making it with water to mix (as I don’t often have wine) and the taralli have been just as good. Today I am experimenting using some beer to replace the wine as I had a small bottle in the fridge. The dough looks good so far. I will report on the flavour later.

OMG so excited to find this on your site! I googled Taralli because we just ate the last packet that Alitalia served us. Anita, you are the gift that keeps on giving. 🙂

Thanks Toni – If you make these, let me know how they turn out!

For years I have being making these taralli\\\’s with no success. I was given a recipe using Crisco. I made them with my kids & grandchildren to keep my tradition alive. Every year it was a disaster. They always came out very hard. I finally found your recipe & they came out just the way I remember when my mother made them. Flaky in the mouth. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Domenica

I am 2nd generation Italian and lived in an Italian neighborhood growing up in New England. Our neighbor, directly from southern Italy (don’t know the exact location), made Taralli (we, who were born in the US, always pronounced them as “thralls”, lost something in the generation and Italian language). They were bagel like as well as others were thinner like what you describe on this site with spices. The bagel-like ones were very puffy egg-like color center and almost hollow like a croissant, but firm and crunchy on the outside. I only recall one thing about the recipe that they were boiled in water first (nothing was written down and always made my our neighbor’s “Noni”). They were an Easter treat and coated with anise flavored powder sugar glaze with colorful sprinkles on the glaze. Baked fresh they were great for eating as is, but older/stale, they were hard as a rock and could only be eaten by dunking in hot coffee. You’ve brought fond memories to me with this site and your recipe. Thank you and may God bless you!

I made them they came so good and yes i agree water is needed
i will do more and add water and see how they come
thank you

I just made them they came soo good
they will be all gone by tonight with my brothers we will have them with wine
thank you

Dear Anita
I made these but I put egg to glaze just before I put them in the oven. I am convinced my mother use to do this



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