Prepare this Cannoli Recipe to recreate the sweet Italian treat. These homemade cannolis have the perfect crisp shell with a sweet and soft center.
What’s in Cannolis?
These cannolis offer both a crisp and soft texture between the shell and sweet cream added to them.
- Ricotta Cheese: The main ingredient in the rich, creamy filling.
- Sugar: Powdered sugar sweetens the filling without making it gritty, while granulated sugar adds just a touch of sweetness to the shells.
- Orange Zest: Adds a hint of freshness to the filling.
- Cinnamon: Adds a hint of warmth to the filling and the shells.
- Chocolate Chips: Add a burst of chocolatey flavor to the filling.
- All-Purpose Flour: Gives the shells structure.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the flavor of the shells.
- Unsalted Butter: Adds moisture and richness to the shells.
- Marsala Wine: The alcohol in wine ensures low gluten development, leading to ultra-flaky shells. Wine also adds moisture and flavor.
- Egg: A whole egg adds moisture and richness to the dough, while an egg white is brushed on the surface to help the shells hold their shape while they’re fried.
- Vegetable Oil: The perfect high smoke point neutral oil to fry these shells in.
Pro Tip: Garnish your cannolis with mini chocolate chips or crushed pistachios.
Variations on Homemade Cannoli
You can customize the filling by adding extra ingredients to it, such as mini chocolate chip morsels, crushed pistachios, or sprinkles. A few drops of vanilla, almond, or citrus extract can also enhance the flavor.
A cannoli is a delicious Italian pastry. It consists of a fried dough shell and a sweet cream filling that is then topped with powdered sugar.
The creamy filling consists of ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest. The orange zest is optional. I also folded chocolate chips into my filling, but that is optional too!
Ricotta is the traditional filling ingredient in cannolis. Mascarpone can be added for additional tang and richness, but it is not traditional.
Considering that cannolis are fried in oil, they are not considered a health food. Plus, the filling is very rich and full of calories. Enjoy cannolis in moderation.
If you see little bits of green in your cannolis, don’t panic! They’re just crushed pistachios, which add a wonderful nutty flavor.
Cannolis are usually eaten at room temperature or chilled. I do not recommend eating a cannoli warm, as it will make the shells soggy.
The best way to keep cannolis from getting soggy is to serve them right away. However, they are rich and filling, so any leftovers should be individually wrapped in wax paper and aluminum foil and enjoyed within 2 days for maximum freshness.
How to Store
You can store your fried shells in an airtight container at room temperature for a few weeks. However, if they are filled, you will need to keep them in the refrigerator.
Finished cannolis can be stored tightly wrapped in 1 layer of wax paper and 1 layer of aluminum foil in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, although I recommend consuming within 2 days for maximum freshness.
How to Freeze
You can freeze fully-assembled cannolis in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and keep in mind that the shells may turn out soggy from thawing.
If you love this recipe, try my cannoli cupcakes!
For the Filling
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese 454 grams
- 1 cup powdered sugar 113 grams
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest 2 grams, optional
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips 89 grams, plus more for garnish
- Chopped pistachios for garnish (optional)
For the Shells
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour 180 grams, plus more for dusting
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar 19 grams
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 28 grams, cut into small pieces (¼ stick)
- ¼ cup white or marsala wine 57 grams, chilled
- 1 large egg 50 grams, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg white 35 grams
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set it over a bowl. Pour the ricotta into the strainer, refrigerate, and let drain for at least 1 hour or overnight.2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Add the wine and egg and pulse until you achieve a shaggy dough, adding more wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary.½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ¼ cup white or marsala wine, 1 large egg
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth, then form into a ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover, allowing it to rest for 1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the cannoli filling. Place the drained ricotta, powdered sugar, orange zest (if using), and cinnamon in a large bowl and gently mix with a rubber spatula until well combined. Add the mini chocolate chips and mix to evenly distribute. Refrigerate until ready to use.2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Place the vegetable oil in a large, heavy pot and heat over medium-high heat until 350°F. Meanwhile, place the egg white in a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and fit a cooling rack over it. Roll out the cannoli dough.Vegetable oil, 1 large egg white
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll and cut 1 piece at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered so that it doesn't dry out. Dust a work surface with flour, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until ⅛-inch thick. (Alternatively, you can use a pasta roller to roll the dough into a thin, even sheet, working from 1 to 5 on the machine’s dial.)
- Cut and dock the dough rounds. Use a 4 to 5-inch round cutter to cut rounds from the sheet of dough. Use a fork to “dock” and poke holes in each round on both sides (this prevents large bubbles that will slip the dough off the cannoli molds).
- Wrap the dough around the molds. Wrap one round of dough loosely around a cannoli mold. Brush one end of the dough with egg white, pull the other end around the mold until it overlaps slightly, and press down to seal. Repeat rolling, cutting, and wrapping the remaining dough, gathering the scraps of dough and re-rolling as needed, until you have 16 shells.
- Fry the cannoli shells. Fry in batches of 4-5, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain an oil temperature of about 350°F. Using tongs, carefully lower the cannoli shells on their molds into the oil. Fry, turning as needed, until evenly golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Remove the shells to the cooling rack.
- Cool the shells completely before filling. When the shells are cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes), remove the molds: Gently squeeze a mold together to release the shell, then slip the shell off. Cooled shells can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few weeks.
- Fill the cannoli shells just before serving. When ready to fill and serve the cannolis, transfer the filling into a pastry bag or Ziplcok bag and cut a ½-inch diameter piece off the end/corner. Insert the tip into one end of a shell and pipe the filling in, filling it halfway, then pipe the rest in from the other end. Dip the ends with the filling into more mini chocolate chips, if desired, and dust the filled cannolis with powdered sugar before serving.Chopped pistachios
- Straining the ricotta will yield the smoothest texture.
- The cut rounds of dough will stretch slightly as you wrap them around the metal tubes; that is okay.
- Be sure to keep the temperature consistent while frying. Too hot and the shells will puff up too much; too cool and they will be greasy.
- Don’t add additional sugar to the filling. It will make it too loose.
- Tightly wrap leftover cannolis in 1 layer of wax paper and 1 layer of aluminum foil to keep them crisp.
- Nutritional information does not include optional garnishes.