Cannoli is an authentic Italian pastry widely known for its rich and creamy taste. Flakey pastry and creamy feeling go perfectly with each other. This dessert is a testament to the artistry of Italian cuisine.

Whether it’s a holiday time, festival, party, or wedding, you can serve cannoli any time of the year. Making of perfect cannoli is easy when you know the best tips.

In this article, we will cover all important aspects of cannoli, recipe, taste, serving, and storing. So scroll down and read to learn how to make the perfect cannoli and cannoli cream.

What does cannoli taste like?


Cannoli is a rich and creamy dessert. It is made with a crispy tube-shaped shell filled with rich, creamy ricotta filling. It has a crispy taste on the outside due to its outer fried crispy shell, and rich and creamy on the inside due to its creamy filling.

The combination of rich, creamy, and crispy is pure indulgent. When you take a bite of cannoli firstly you experience a crispy pastry and then a sweet, rich, and creamy surprise.

What is the cream in cannoli made of?

Cannoli cream is made with ricotta cheese mixed with powdered sugar and often flavored with vanilla or other flavorings like lemon zest or chocalate and topped with nuts or chocalate chips.

It is luscious rich, and creamy, with a hint of tanginess from ricotta cheese.

You can also customize cannoli cream with your taste preference. You can infuse chocalate, Citrus flavor, or simply vanilla.

Are cannoli cream and ricotta the same thing?

No, Cannoli cream and ricotta is not same. Cannoli cream is a sweet filling made with ricotta cheese and other flavorings like sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and chocalate chips. While ricotta is a type of cheese known for its rich flavor and grainy texure.

Ricotta is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Ricotta cheese is widely used in Italian cuisine however it is also used outside of Italy. It is often used in pastry as filling, salad topping, Lasagna, cheesecake, and tart.

Can you make a cannoli filling with cream cheese?

Yes, you can make cannoli filling with cream cheese. If you do not like the taste of ricotta you can make cannoli filling with cream cheese. Combine softened cream cheese with powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.

Beat the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy. Add in a dash of vanilla extract for flavor and continue to mix. Fold in mini chocolate chips for a delightful crunch and a touch of sweetness.

For a more traditional Italian twist, you can add chopped pistachios to the filling. Once all the ingredients are well combined, refrigerate the filling for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, pipe or spoon the cream cheese filling into cannoli shells.

How to Make Cannoli


Cannoli is very easy to make but you should follow proper tips for making a perfect cannoli.


For the Cannoli Shells:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

For Frying

  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Cannoli Filling:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped

For Dusting:

  • Powdered sugar for dusting


Making the Cannoli Shells:

Prepare the Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Add the softened butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Gradually add the wine, mixing continuously until a dough forms.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth, then cover and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Rolling and Cutting:

  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface until very thin, about 1/16 inch.
  • Using a round cutter or a glass, cut out circles about 4 inches in diameter.

Wrapping the Cannoli Shells:

  • Wrap each dough circle around a cannoli tube, sealing the edge with a small amount of beaten egg white.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 350°F (180°C).
  • Fry the shells until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.
  • Remove the shells and let them cool on a paper towel.

Making the Cannoli Filling:

Prepare the Ricotta:

  • Drain the ricotta cheese in a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove excess moisture.
  • Place the drained ricotta in a mixing bowl.

Mixing the Filling:

  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the ricotta.
  • Mix until well combined and smooth.
  • Fold in mini chocolate chips and candied orange peel if using.

Filling the Cannoli:

  • Using a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, pipe the filling into each end of the cannoli shell.


  • Dust the filled cannoli with powdered sugar just before serving.

Serve and Enjoy:

Cannoli are best enjoyed fresh. Serve and enjoy the delightful combination of crispy shells and creamy filling!


  • Make sure the oil is at the right temperature before frying to achieve crispy shells.
  • The cannoli filling can be customized with variations like adding chopped nuts or a hint of citrus zest.
  • Now, you’re ready to impress your friends and family with homemade cannoli!

How to keep cannolis crisp


Want to keep cannoli crisp? Here are some tips to help you maintain the crispness of your cannolis.

Fill Just Before Serving: To prevent the cannoli shells from getting soggy, fill them with the creamy ricotta filling just before serving.

Keep Filling Dry: Ensure that the filling is not overly wet. Drain excess liquid from the ricotta and, if needed, pat it dry with a paper towel. Excess moisture can soften the cannoli shells.

Serve Chilled: Keep the filled cannolis in the refrigerator until just before serving. The cold temperature can help maintain the crispness of the shell.

Avoid Toppings Until Serving: If you’re planning to add toppings like powdered sugar or chopped nuts, wait until just before serving to sprinkle them on.

Store Separately: If you must store filled cannolis, consider storing the shells separately from the filling. It prevents the shells from becoming too soggy.

Avoid Humidity: Moisture in the air can soften cannoli shells. Store them in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing them to high humidity.

Refrain from Freezing: Cannoli shells may lose their crispness when frozen and thawed. It’s best to enjoy them fresh or refrigerated for short periods.

How should you serve cannoli?

You can serve cannoli stand alone but if you want to try something to serve with cannoli, various things go well.

Fresh Berries: Serve cannoli with a side of fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. The sweet and tart flavors of the berries complement the richness of the cannoli filling.

Chocolate Sauce: Drizzle some chocolate sauce over the cannoli or serve it on the side for dipping. The combination of chocolate and ricotta or mascarpone filling is delightful.

Powdered Sugar: Dust the cannoli with powdered sugar just before serving. It adds a touch of sweetness and a decorative finish.

Chopped Nuts: Sprinkle chopped nuts such as pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts on top of the cannoli or around the serving plate for added texture and flavor.

Whipped Cream: A dollop of freshly whipped cream can be a light and airy accompaniment to the rich cannoli. Consider flavoring the whipped cream with a hint of vanilla or a touch of citrus zest.

Fruit Compote: Prepare a simple fruit compote, such as a berry compote or citrus compote, to serve alongside the cannoli. The fruity flavors can balance the sweetness of the dessert.

Caramel Sauce: Drizzling caramel sauce over the cannoli adds a rich buttery flavor that complements the pastry.

Coffee or Espresso: Pair cannoli with a cup of coffee or espresso for a classic Italian dessert experience. The bitterness of the coffee can contrast well with the sweetness of the cannoli.

Lemon Zest or Citrus Garnish: Grate some fresh lemon or orange zest over the cannoli for a citrusy kick. Alternatively, serve the cannoli with citrus slices for a refreshing element.

How do you store cannoli?

You can store cannoli in the refrigerator. Store them in an air-tight container to prevent moisture.

You can also store them separately, keep the shell in air tight container, and fill in another container. It is best to store them for 1-2 days in the fridge.

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cannoli recipe
cannoli recipe

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