Great with coffee or tea, these Italian crackers (Taralli) from Puglia are perfect for a snack or even for a light breakfast — and you can store them for months!
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Taralli crackers are somewhere between Italian cookies and bread.
They’re not sweet, and they taste a bit like breadsticks from North Italy, so I always associate them with the rest of traditional Italian bread.
These taralli crackers are originally from the region of Puglia, but nowadays, you find them in all parts of Southern Italy — albeit with some noticeable differences.
Neapolitans, for one, have more flavor variations than these Pugliese ones. (I could’ve sworn I even saw some with chocolate bits the last time we were there. 🙂 )
White wine and olive oil are the two base flavors of taralli. Add flour, a bit of salt, and some fennel seeds – and you’re good to go.
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- Olive oil – I strongly suggest using mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil for this taralli recipe.
- Salt – just use your favorite brand.
- White wine – any dry white wine will work excellently.
- Fennel seeds – these will be the prominent flavor of the crackers.
- Flour – all-purpose flour is all you need for making taralli.
To start making your taralli crackers, use a medium-sized bowl to mix olive oil and white wine with a whisk (photo 1).
Add flour and salt. Combine until a dough starts to form (using a spatula, a wooden spoon, or even your hands to mix).
Add fennel seeds and mix — at this point, it’s better to use your hands to combine the dough (photo 2).
Knead dough until smooth.
Form the taralli dough into a ball and place it on a greased bowl.
Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside for thirty minutes.
Take a small piece of taralli dough and roll it into a log of about 4-cm long (photo 3).
Connect both ends of the log to form a small circle — this recipe makes about forty pieces of crackers (photo 4).
While finishing the dough, pour water into a medium-sized pot and bring it to a boil.
Slowly drop the taralli into the pot of boiling water. (Do not drop everything at the same time, do it in batches.)
Once they start to float, use a slotted spoon to take them out of the pan (photo 5).
Place them on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
Once they’re completely dry, preheat the oven to 200°C (375°F).
When the oven is ready, place the taralli on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet (photo 6).
Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes. For the last seven minutes, move the tray on the top part of the oven to give the taralli a golden color.
- You can change the size of the log if you prefer the crackers to be thinner.
- Make sure the crackers are completely dry when you place them in the oven. If not, the taralli will end up slightly chewy, not crunchy.
- There is no need to use a mixer for this. Since the dough is small and easy to handle, I have always done this manually.
If you’re not a fan of fennel, you can try these other variations for making homemade taralli:
- Black pepper
- Black olives
- Turmeric (Trust me, it exists. I actually did a double-take when I saw this in Bari, back in 2017 🙂 )
For proper storing, keep taralli with fennel seeds on airtight containers, and it would last you months.
No, please don’t do that.
It will completely change the flavor of the taralli. Olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil) has a distinct taste that goes so well with white wine and fennel – the combination just clicks.
Coffee, tea, wine, hot chocolate, pretty much any beverage you want will go well with them.
Oh! If you are pairing taralli crackers with wine, you need to DUNK them in the wine to enjoy them fully. 😉
One of my favorites, though (and I apologize in advance if you are Sicilian) – is to pair them with Sicilian Almond Granita. I love how it complements the sweetness and the texture of the granita.
So what are you waiting for? Give these taralli Pugliese a try! 🙂
Taralli Recipe (Italian Crackers)
- Mixing Bowls
- Pyrex Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Rubber Spatula
- Spider Strainer
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 & 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Preparing the taralli dough:
- Start preparing your taralli by using a medium-sized bowl and whisking olive oil and white wine in it.
- Add flour and salt. Combine until a dough starts to form. (You can use a spatula, a wooden spoon, or even your hands to mix).
- Add fennel seeds and mix. At this point, it's better to use your hands to combine the taralli dough properly.
- Knead dough until smooth.
- Form taralli Pugliese dough into a ball, place it into a greased bowl, and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
- Set aside for 30 minutes.
Forming and baking taralli:
- Take a small piece of taralli dough and roll it into a log (about 4 cm long). Connect both ends of the log to form a small circle. Note: This recipe makes about 40 pieces of crackers.
- While finishing the dough, bring water to a boil using a medium-sized pot.
- Slowly drop the taralli into the pot of boiling water. (Do not drop everything at the same time, do it in batches.)
- Once the crackers float, use a slotted spoon to take them out of the pan and place them on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
- Once the taralli are completely dry, preheat the oven to 200°C (375°F).
- When the oven is ready, place the crackers on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet.
- Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 mins. For the last 7 minutes, move the tray on the top part of the oven to give the taralli a golden color.
- Serve your taralli Pugliese — enjoy!
- Cook’s Tip #1: You can vary the log size if you prefer your taralli crackers to be thinner.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Ensure they’re completely dry when you place them in the oven. If not, your taralli Pugliese will end up slightly chewy, not crunchy.
- Cook’s Tip #3: There is no need to use a mixer for this. Since the taralli dough is easy to handle, I have always done this manually.