An easy and delicious recipe for 5-Ingredient Cannolis! This classic Italian dessert is always a crowd-pleaser. So if you’ve been searching for a foolproof recipe for cannoli filling, this one’s for you!
I woke up the other day and realized something terrible… I’ve never shared with you my mega simple recipe for 5-Ingredient Cannolis with you! So many recipes… so little time! But I really wanted to squeeze this one in before the holidays. So I dropped everything, walked to the store (I don’t drive… did you know that?), grabbed my ingredients, and got busy. Lucky for us, this impressive recipe is sneaky simple. I’m talking 15 minutes of active work simple.
So, shall we cannoli? I promise making homemade cannoli is so much easier than you think 🙂
What is a Cannoli?
A Cannoli is a form of pastry that originated on the Island of Sicily. Most cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of deep fried pastry dough that are then filled with a slightly sweet and creamy filling, that’s usually made from ricotta cheese.
Every time I make this recipe I get a little nostalgic. My grandmother taught me how to make cannoli many moons ago and the memory is one of my favorites. I must confess my gran made her cannoli shells from scratch (and man were they good), but most days I just don’t have time for that so I buy them from our local pastry shop or the grocery store. One day I’ll get it together and post her cannoli shell recipe too, but for now, feel free to use store bought shells or make your own using your favorite recipe.
- cannoli shells, homemade or store bought will work
- ricotta cheese
- confectioners’ sugar
- mini chocolate chips
- vanilla extract
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success:
- The most important part of this cannoli recipe is draining your ricotta cheese. It MUST drain. At least 12 hours, preferably overnight. If you use it as is, your cannoli cream filling will be wet and grainy and make your shells soggy. To drain, you’ll want to place the cheese in a fine mesh strainer and cover it with a piece of saran wrap. Place some pie weights (or just dry beans) on top of the saran wrap and place the strainer over a bowl. Pop the bowl in the fridge until needed. You’ll be surprised to see how much liquid comes out!
- As mentioned earlier, I used store bought cannoli shells. Bellino cannoli shells are very good and what I use if my local pastry shop is out of fresh ones. You can also make and use your favorite homemade cannoli shell recipe.
- Although I prefer a simple cannoli with just a dash of vanilla extract, feel free to make these your own! Add in orange zest, chopped pistachios, or even sprinkles! Just be sure not to make the filling too chunky if you plan on piping it into the shells.
- If you can’t find mini chocolate chips at your local grocery store, you can click here to buy them online. Or use the filling as a cannoli dip and serve with broken up waffle cones or graham crackers.
- Don’t forget the powdered sugar! I also set aside a 1/2 cup for dusting the cannoli shells. It adds a subtle sweetness and gives the dessert a stunning presentation.
If you try this Easy Cannoli Recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #bakerbynature on instagram! Seeing your kitchen creations makes my day. ♥
More Italian Ricotta Dessert Recipes:
- 8 cannoli shells, homemade or store bought will work
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- Place the ricotta cheese into a fine mesh strainer and place it in the fridge to drain for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
When you're ready to make the filling:
- In a large bowl combine the drained ricotta cheese, confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and orange zest (if using); mix well. Using a spatula, carefully scrape the mixture into pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch open tip. Use at once, or refrigerate until needed; filling can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
- When ready to serve, pipe the filling into one end of cannoli shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. If you don't have a piping bag, you may spoon the filling into the shells. Repeat with remaining shells.
- Place remaining mini chocolate chips on a small plate. Dip each end of the cannoli into the chocolate chips, then lightly dust with confectioner's sugar. Serve at once.
Hi, first of al; l I love your blog and instagram, and these look stunningly delicious!!! I live in Norway and have never seen cannoli shells in the store here…. So I was wondering if you had a good recipe for it? 🙂
Thank you, Sunniva! I don’t have a recipe for it (yet!) but I’m sure if you google around you could find one 🙂 Also I’ve included a link to cannoli shells in my post – they might ship internationally! xoxo
Anne Mathews says
Hey there- I am making pizzelles, which when you take off the iron, you can roll into a cannolli shell for filling. They are fantastic. Just google pizzelles- or authentic pizzelles
I do the pizzelle cannoli all the time
Haha! When our mom makes them like this instead of her awesome homemade shells my brother calls them faux- nnoli’s
Kris Marie says
I made pizelle cookies for this past Easter and made 8 pizelle cannoli shells planning on making these, so glad to hear they are a good use for cannoli shells! My ricotta is draining!
PATRICIA Dyer says
Is the provider of this e-mail Anne M. from NJ ? Well, if it is … your best friend will be making Pizzelles in 2022. Your BFF,
Try Alex Guarnaschelli’s recipe on the FoodNetwork
I buy frozen phyllo dough and use foil for shaping ,I bake them and fill them after they have cooled.
My dinner guest love them.
Excellent recipe in book Flavors of Sicily by Paola Maria Del Torro on Amazon
Debra Taylor says
I someone use mini waffle ice cream cones
Thank you so much for your answer, I will check 🙂
oh my gosh my husband would LOVE these ! O!
OMG, this looks so delicious! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
My pleasure! Enjoy 🙂
A family recently opened an authentic Italian restaurant in our dinky little town and I went in to buy desserts, cannoli for my son and tiramisu for me. OMG!! Did I mention our town was very small and the only place that has fabric table cloths and a hostess is the Italian place? Son loved the cannoli, I’m strictly a tiramisu person. I ordered cannoli molds off Amazon and making shells will be easy with my waffle iron. I prefer the cannoli filling as a dip with broken waffle cones as scoops.
Hi Judy! I live in a very small town too, so it’s always exciting when a new restaurant opens – especially if it’s a good one! I can’t wait to hear how you enjoy the cannoli 🙂
Homemade cannolis are the best! I need to make these!
Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says
*gasp* I have never made cannoli and that is a travesty. This recipe is going to change all that!
How long can any extra filling be stored for in the refrigerator?
For up to 2 days 🙂
Can you freeze this?
I don’t recommend freezing the filling, but it can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the fridge 🙂
Debra is says
Please don’t freeze it will become very water and sloppy
Nichole @TheSaltyMarshmallow says
WOW! These look heavenly! I love a dessert that’s uncomplicated and looks this gorgeous! 🙂
Just found this and can’t wait to make these. My ex MIL made these and your picture looks exactly like hers. Made me miss some old times.
Kathy, I hope this recipe brings you joy and allows you to relive happy memories 🙂
My daughter and I plan on making your cannoli filling soon, can we use Whole milk Ricotta?
Wondered if there was a way to make them more WW friendly- lowfat ricotta?
These look wonderful! Any suggestions how I could make them WW friendly? Thanks!
You can also use the cannoli as a dip. At a local bakery, they sell the chips and also cannoli shells. But you can also use graham crackers, pretzels or at another grocery store, they have cinnamon and sugar chips that also goes good with them. Quick and easy and a great dessert.
Mary Miller says
NEVER MADE RICOTTA CREAM, MY FAMILY DON’T LIKE IT. MADE CREAM ONLY, RECIPE CAME FROM THE BACK OF CREAM CORNSTARCH BOX, IT NO LONGER IS PRINTED ON THE BOX.
Hi, I am Italian and with the holidays just passing I just got done making Anginetti cookies, Ricotta cookies and Cannoli Cheesecake. With all the baking I have done over the years I have never made Cannoli’s. I have eaten many, many, many Cannoli’s. You’re recipe for the Cannoli cream looks delicous and I am going to try it and I will let you know how they came out. Today I just ordered the Cannoli forms and will received them on January 15th so on the 16th I will make them. I will let you know. Thank you for the recipe.
Traci B says
HI Rosemarie, I too am Italian and make Ricotta cookies, cannoli cookies, stuffoli and biscotti cookies during Christmas. I have eaten many cannolis but have never made them either. What did you think of this recipe as I’m looking to make some this year for Christmas.
I have a nut allergy so I can rarely eat goods from bakeries like cannolis. I’m so happy you published this – I made these with my mom and she said they tasted like authentic Italian cannolis!! Thank you!
$42.99 for Bellino Cannoli Shells, 3 oz (Pack of 6)?
Right? Any other recommended brands?
Judy Wood says
Golden Cannoli shells are really good. Lots of information on their website.
Bethany Souza says
Ama zons got a one pack for 7 bucks of the brand she recommended
Vickie J Geraci says
Go on “AMAZON”……. Huge box of shells for less than above cost. Getting ready to order for this year Holidays!
Yes…Amazon…OOPS, did not see above post….very good anyway and u know have 2 references.
48 shells-$33.00 USD
Can I use your cannoli cream for the filling when I make my Cassata cake. We are Italian American and love both of these desserts. I have made Cannoli in the past, but never Cassata cake. Do you think your cream would be a good substitute ?
joe kuhn says
your cream sounds delicious did you ever post it, I need to make a conilli cake and canollies for Christmas , we are Italian also.
Do you have the Nutritional Facts for this recipe? I want to make it for a class, but have to have that information to be able to bring it in for this project. Thanks!
Maggie Unzueta says
Oh man! I could really sink my teeth into that!
Can i use this recipe as a cupcake frosting?
Hi, can I use cream cheese instead of ricotta?
David Giles says
I like to use shaved chocolate instead of chips. I will also add finely chopped candied fruit, and finely chopped pistachio nuts.
your recipe calls for confectioners sugar…most all recipes call for regular white sugar…what is the difference in the recipe?…also, you do not state full size cannoli shells or miniature shells…we usually use the miniature shells…how many miniatures to your recipe?…Regards
Hi! I was a pastry chef for years, at a local italian restaurant. If you can get your hands on Impastata Ricotta cheese , you will not need to drain. Plus, its rich , creamy & dreamy! Also, can substitute a half of a teaspoon of lemon extract, for the vanilla! These sold out daily! Thanks!
Thanks for the tips!!
I have had lots of success with this recipe. in doing so, I also found that I can use ice cream cones instead of cannoli shells which gives it a unique look. it is also important to add the chocolate chips last or when you’re mixing it, they will go flying all over the place.
Love the recipe SOOO much!!
Yay! So happy to hear that, Addison!
Best Cannoli Pie says
This looks absolutely delicious!!! Yum! I’ll have a slice now please!
For my cannoli I add chopped up Hershey with almonds to the ricotta, than you don’t need sugar unless you want it. Put in
the shell dip the end in chopped nuts. I have used small taco shell wrapped around a piece of foil held with a tooth pick and fry them. My mother of course made homemade shell 2 kinds of fillings a wonderful cream filling and also ricotta. The Best Ever!!! She is 99 not making cannoli anymore.
My Sicily born grandmother’s recipe included candied cherries and a small amount of cinnamon. No orange zest.
Bethany Souza says
should i cream my recotia in my mixer tgen fold in the chocolate chips?!
I had an ages old recipe that I used to make every Christmas. The recipe was the same except for regular sugar, chopped Citron as well as chips and also and it didn’t call for any straining but did call for standing 24 hours to thicken which it did beautifully. Everyone loved them! Well, after decades of not making them I tried again…twice…and both times it came out looking like soup just as always but never thickened. The only thing i could think of was that the ingredients in the Ricotta Cheese had changed. That’s when I found your recipe calling for straining. i didn’t have a strainer so i used cheese cloth. The mixture came out way too thick and very gritty (I used powered sugar). What did I do wrong???? IS THERE ANY WAY TO LOOSEN IT A BIT? Otherwise it’s going into the garbage pail like the other two times and that’s it for me with home made Cannoli’s.
If you possibly somehow over-drained & it’s too thick to use this time, try adding a bit of freshly whipped cream to it & mixing that in. I have seen another recipe that has the same ingredients but also calls for a bit of whipping cream (which is 1st whipped into fresh whipped cream separately & then blended at the end with the ricotta, sugar & vanilla mixture to complete the cannoli cream. It was also very well liked & I suspect it would be the perfect t way to “save” cannoli cream that came out too thick & dry to use…
What size cannoli shells are used the mini or regular?
I’d like to know too! 🙂
I’ve used your recipe for Italian classes and the students love it
this recipe is so yummy and i was able to substitute ice cream cones for the shells. I hope you poste more soon!! 😉
Molina Steffey says
Hi, I searched and searched for the right recipe since my favorite dessert isn’t readily available as I would like since Corona Hit. So I find myself desiring these scrumptious little logs of pure joy more often than normal.
Pinterest being my Social Media go-to for everything I decided to browse my way into heaven and came across your recipe. Of course, I just took the ingredients with me on my quick trip to Wally World not reading anything but what I needed and was a little disappointed that I need to drain the ricotta but if only 12 hours is the deciding factor of heavenly bliss or just pure crap well I’ll wait and write this to you and say thank you. Photos are to come tomorrow, oh and I decided to go all out and make the shells.
Ghulam Mohyudin says
It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.
Lauren Thum says
These are wonderful!! Would you please post your recipe for shells? I am dying to learn more during this quarantine and would love to try them together!! Thank you!
Hey! I haven’t been able to find a good dairy free cannoli recipe yet but this one looks it it would work if I could use vegan ricotta. Do you think The kite hill ricotta cheese would work? Thanks so much!
I have been looking for an easy cannoli recipe, so thank you so much for sharing this one! Cannolis are one of my favorite desserts, and I’ve been wanting to try making them at home. I cannot get enough of the sweet ricotta, which is why I’m also excited to try your lemon ricotta cupcakes. I’ll bet they’re to die for! 🙂
Hi, question can the filling be made the night before and left in fridge?
T o be used again the next day for more shells, thank you
These are amazing, but after eating 6 of them in three days, I may never eat a Cannoli again.
I drained my ricotta for more than 24 hrs then made this following the directions and my filling is runny- How can I thicken it up?
I’m so sorry to hear that! It could be the brand of ricotta. You can try putting it in a cheese cloth and squeezing any excess moisture out.
Kris Marie says
I used a good brand of ricotta whole milk and it is draining now. I did put my ricotta in a cheesecloth than put it in the strainer, covered with 2 sheets of Saran Wrap than poured the pie weights on it…my pie ceramic weights had a weird smell hopefully it won’t get into the ricotta.
Be sure to use whole milk ricotta
There are lots of cannoli recipes on you tube videos Sicily. There is a recipe book Flavors of Italy/Sicily on A mazon by Del Toro.
We use regular su then force the ricotta and sugar mix thru a sieve for the texture-no confection sugar. Sometimes Grand Marnier or candied orange or lemon strips or citon as in cassata. No chic syrup but mini chocolate chips or shaved chocolate works
Did you ever post the cannoli shell recipe??? The filling is great, but now I need the recipe for the shells! Thanks!
I have a question. I am doing cannoli for my son’s wedding and will be using store bought mini cannoli shells — about 200 of them. How many mini shells will this recipe fill? (Thanks for your help!)
Ashley Manila says
Hi rene. I think you should be able to fill about 10 mini shells. But for such a special occasion, I highly suggest doing a trial run beforehand to make sure! Congratulations!
Rene Knaphus says
Dump the cannoli shells & semi-sweet bits. Buy ice cream sugar cones (they don’t dismantle when bitten into like the shells) and buy a 70% chocolate bar Lindt or Ghirardelli & shave the chocolate into the recipe.
I absolutely adore cannolis. I used to buy them all the time from an Italian bakery when I lived back in NY. I got the shells in the freezer section at my grocery store. I also dipped them in mini m and m’s and sprinkles for some fun variety. So cute!
Joanne Krasna says
The ingredients are exactly like I remember my grandma making them. Way back in the day, someone decided that glazed fruit would be tasty to add. They were wrong. Do not mess with a good thing.
Try cutting the sugar in half. This will render the filling with the cheese taste instead of a sweet taste.
The shells look fried but you make no mention of cooking the shells. Please explain.
Ashley Manila says
They’re store-bought shells.
Yummy, this looks so delicious! Thank you for this.
Ellie Spicer says
I followed the cannoli recipe exactly I let them drain for almost 24 hours they are still runny I don’t know what to do
This is the first time I used pizzelli for cannoli and it definitely cut down on prep time. Usually I make the original recipe cannoli shell but I’ve learned to be flexible. Draining the ricotta is a must even if not much liquid drains. Our family likes the filling on the stiff side so when the ricotta is not dry enough, I add some marscapone to the filling. When I purchase cannoli from our local Italian bakery, the cannoli are completely filled – no skimping on the filling allowed. My family thinks it’s the best part of the cannoli!!!
Love your website! Happy New Year!
Do you have the cannoli shell recipe that you are willing to share now?
I love how simple you have made this recipe. I am going to try this tonight.
Sooo easy and sooooo yummy! I used Swerve confectionery sugar to save on calories which justified eating the whole recipe out of the bowl with a spoon, right?
Made these and they were amazing!! My Italian in-laws LOVED them!
Pati Manich says
What if I looked at your recipe only 5 hours before I’m taking them to a party? Any tips for speeding up the draining of the ricotta?
julies kitchen says
I was pleasantly surprised how easy this recipe was to follow! My first time making cannoli and they came out delicious — shells and filling taste great
Can I freeze it? If so then how many days it can go with? Your recipe is awesome I really like it. Thanks for a great recipe.
Ashley Manila says
I don’t suggest freezing the filling, but you can make it several days in advance and keep it stored in the refrigerator.
Claire Onidi says
“I love cannolis! They’re one of my favorite desserts because of the savory and sweet mixture. I’ve never tried to make it at home before because I thought it was too difficult. But I’ve tried your recipe and was surprised by how simple it was to make. I’ve customized it though by …… It was delicious and my whole family enjoyed it!”
Joan BBQ and Grill says
Wow! Quite easy to make. Can’t wait to try it out.
Natalie Reed says
It’ s one cannolo, two or more cannoli.
Barbara Iverson says
Thank you! Planning to make on Sunday.
I’m going to make these next week and I’m nervous to make the filling but I’ll follow the recipe
Lindsay G. Cabral says
Last few day’s, I was looking for a cannoli recipe, and your recipe content so awesome. If I want to make it for 3 person then how many cup mini chocolate chips I will be need? Thank you.
EC Brown says
I make mine exactly like this and I think I got the hint from you about draining the ricotta overnight. It works wonders! Thank you!
Anne Zaya says
I plan to use your recipe, but I will make my Pizzelle. When the Pizzele is hot off the press, I curl it around a homemade Cannoli tube, and press together. They when they are cool, I will fill them. My son thought of this when he worked in an Italian Restaurant, and he delivered the shells, ends dipped in chocolate, and the Restaurant filled them when they needed an order. Nice, fresh Cannoli. I will let you know how mine turn out. Thank you for your recipe for the easy filling.
Emma Wilson says
In last few days, I tried this dish to make in my home but I didn’t know how to make it. When I read this content and try this recipe in my home I was totally surprised. I got the actual test. Thank you for this recipe. I hope you will continue your journey and gave us such beautiful idea.