Want to make a cannoli at home? Start by making this crispy, flaky cannoli shell recipe, and then fill it with a sweet simple ricotta cheese filling. These Italian pastries will impress all of your dessert-loving guests.
This Italian dessert is just like ordering from your favorite restaurant. Give this homemade pastry a try today.
What is a Cannoli
A Cannoli is a crispy fried shell that is filled with a creamy, sweet ricotta filling. You will find that some cannoli recipes use mini chocolate chips or even pistachios to add as a topping to this Italian pastry.
If this sounds like something you're interested in, I have some more cannoli recipes that need to happen at your house.
What are Cannoli Shells made of?
Great question! Here's a list of the cannoli shell ingredients to get you started.
- Brown Sugar
- Butter - This should be chilled and cubed.
- Marsala Cooking Wine - You can also use sherry cooking wine or white wine in this recipe.
- Oil - This doesn't actually get mixed into the shells, but is needed to fry the shells into crispy, flaky perfection.
How to make Cannoli Shells
1. To make your cannoli shell you will start by adding flour, sugar, and salt to a bowl. Mix until it is whisked and combined.
2. Now add the butter into the flour, and work it in with your hands or a fork until it becomes crumbly.
3. Now you will mix in the cooking wine and mix until combined.
4. Add in the eggs one at a time. Work in each egg until a dough forms. You may need to pinch in between your fingers to help it come together.
6. Once the dough is mixed and you've pressed it together to form a nice dough ball, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. This
7. Cut the dough into thirds. You will then roll out the first third of the dough on a floured surface, making it very thin. You want to look for ¼ inch thickness. Use a 4-inch cookie cutter to make circles.
8. Wrap your dough around cannoli tubes, and seal the edges with a beaten egg. Then heat your oil to 370 degrees.
Use tongs and place wrapped molds in oil to crisp up to a golden brown color.
Move the shells while in their molds, and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Once shells are cooled you can then fill and enjoy.
Simple Ricotta Filling Ingredients
- Ricotta - This should be drained overnight first.
- Heavy Whipping Cream - This will thicken the filling up.
- Powdered Sugar - For the perfect sweetness.
- Vanilla - A little vanilla extract for flavor.
How to make a Ricotta Filling
Start by adding the heavy cream, ricotta, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Whip until nice and creamy with a hand mixer.
If you want an amazing cannoli cream filling, this cannoli filling recipe is the best! It's made with mascarpone cheese, cinnamon, and no heavy whipping cream.
More fillings to use:
- the best cannoli filling
- whipped cream
- chocolate frosting
- chocolate mousse
- pastry cream
- pipeable no-bake cheesecake filling
- pie fillings (store-bought or homemade like this strawberry pie filling recipe)
Tools you'll need to make Cannoli Shells
- 4 inch cookie cutter
- fry/candy thermometer
- cannoli tubes
- tongs or spider
- rolling pin
- heavy bottomed pan/dutch oven
Frequently Asked Questions
Cannoli shells are the freshest within the first 2 days of making them.
Store your homemade shells in an airtight container at room temperature for up 2 to 3 days.
If you find your shells are soggy it could be a few things. The first thing is to make sure you cook your shells long enough. Then place them on a paper towel lined tray, and allow the shells to fully cool.
Then make sure to store your shells separate from the filling. If you leave your cannoli's filled then it will cause the shells to become soggy.
You can pulse the dough in a food processor if you would like. Once the dough is combined, shape and then cut into pieces to refrigerate as directed.
Red or white wine can be used for this recipe. I find that red offers a better color to the dough. I like to use sauvignon blanc, sherry, or even a pinot grigio.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar packed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cold and cubed, divided
- 2 large eggs divided and slightly beaten
- ½ cup marsala cooking wine dry white wine will work
- ¼ cup powdered sugar for dusting
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips for garnish
- vegetable oil for frying
- 24 ounces whole milk ricotta drained
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the butter to flour mixture, work the butter in with your hands or a fork until it becomes crumbly.
- Add the sherry and mix until well combined.
- Add 1 beaten egg and work in using your hands or the fork until a dough forms.
- Flatten the dough into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- After the dough has rested, cut it into thirds and place on a floured work surface. Dust the rolling pin with flour and roll out each pience until very thin (under ¼ inch). As thin as you can make it.
- Flour a 4-inch biscuit or cookie cutter and cut out about 2 dozen circles.
- One at a time, wrap the dough circles around cannoli tubes.
- Seal the edges with the remaining beaten egg.
- In a heavy pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 365 degrees F (no more than 370 and no less than 360).
- Using tongs, place wrapped molds in oil and fry for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Only add a 3 to the pan at a time so the temperature of the oil doesn't drop.
- Move the shells while still in their molds to a paper towel-lined surface and allow them to cool. Repeat with remaining shells.
- While the shells are cooling, prepare the filling. (Directions to follow)
- When the shells are cool, remove molds by gently squeezing the molds and very gently twisting the shells until they slip off.
- Put the filling in a piping bag and fill shells.
- Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top of the cannoli filling, then dust generously with powdered sugar.
- Add the ricotta, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on medium/high until thick and creamy.
- Add in the piping bag and pipe into the cooled shells.
(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)