Easy Cannoli Recipe

4.71 from 17 votes

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With this Easy Cannoli Recipe, you too can make amazing and creamy, unforgettable Italian restaurant quality Cannolis at home! Enjoy!

Holy Cannoli, where do I even begin? I’ve been testing Cannoli recipes for the past two weeks and I think I’ve cracked the code! I never really loved Cannoli until I moved to New York City and had a proper Cannoli. Man are they good! I was dying to make a homemade version that was just as good if not better than those available to me here in the city and by golly, we’ve done it! Read on, friends.


The Cannoli

Moving to New York City certainly has its perks, but the sheer volume of cannoli you can find just brings joy to my heart. There are plenty of amazing ones in the city, and plenty of gross ones too that just need to stop being made. The two best ones I’ve had (both in Brooklyn; Dellarocco’s & Juliana’s Pizza) include a slightly lemony, super creamy, super smooth, cold cold cold filling with a crispy, buttery shell.

The worst ones I’ve had are grainy, runny, not sweet enough, too sweet, or just stale tasting. The worst possible way to waste calories, in my humble opinion.

So after explaining that, let me say that this recipe couldn’t be easier! (But seriously…)

Main Ingredients Needed

Here’s everything you’ll need to make the best cannolis ever!

  • Store-Bought Cannoli Shells – this makes the recipe 10000000x easier. These are the ones I used and they were great!
  • Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese – a creamy, soft, and slightly sweetened cheese traditionally used in cannolis.
  • Powdered Sugar – to sweeten.
  • Lemon Zest – or lemon extract. This adds to the fresh taste.
  • Vanilla – for flavor.
  • Heavy Cream – for the creamy cannoli filling!
  • Garnishes – these could include mini chocolate chips, pistachios, and/or powdered sugar.

How to Make Cannolis

  1. Make the cannoli filling. Wring out excess liquid in ricotta cheese, add to blender with powdered sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and heavy cream, blend, scrape down sides, blend, scrape down sides, etc.. until smooth filling is achieved.
  2. Fill the cannoli shells. Scoop into a pastry bag, snip the end off and fill each cannoli as your little heart desires.
  3. Top with mini chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Optional step but this makes the cannolis extra special!

Pro Tips for making this Easy Cannoli Recipe

Use Cheesecloth

Different brands of ricotta cheese mean different amounts of moisture so every.single.time I made these, I would get different outcomes. That is no way to create a recipe. Instead of just sticking with one brand and recommending that across the board, I decided to just use cheesecloth with every brand and wring out as much moisture as humanly possible. I wanted a thick and creamy filling that would hold its shape after being piped and hours beyond that. Taking out as much moisture using the cheesecloth is the main thing I did to ensure a stable filling. Got mine here.

Use a Blender

I also used a blender to get that unmistakably smooth filling. Not that traditional or authentic, but I don’t care. I create recipes based on my likes and dislikes. I dislike grainy fillings, therefore, I use the blender to get rid of that texture. Another difference between those different brands of ricotta cheese I saw across the board was the graininess. Some had more, some had less. Enter my Vitamix. If you don’t have a blender, try a food processor.

Whip in Heavy Cream

Another controversial, inauthentic ingredient I use is heavy cream. Not a ton of it, but enough to give it a lighter, creamier, airy texture. Again, I like things the way I like them and this was the best ingredient to add to get a cannoli filling I LOVED, just like I found in the restaurants.

Buy Cannoli Shells

I ended up ordering pre-made cannoli shells from Amazon and they were surprisingly good. Obviously not as good as homemade, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to buy a bunch of forms just for this one recipe, struggle to find room in my tiny kitchen to store them, and end up giving them away. I know myself. That totally would have happened. Also, I hate frying things, unless it’s my pumpkin donuts in October. You are welcome to make the shells from scratch or just get them from Amazon. To each her own.

Use Disposable Pastry Bags

I love these disposable pastry bags and use them in lots of applications. They make filling the cannoli shells 1000 times easier.


How to Store

Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to two days. They are edible after two days, but not as good as fresh.

Want more Cannoli in your life?

If you have any questions or comments concerning this recipe, feel free to leave it in the comments section below and I can answer it there.

Happy eating! Printable recipe below, cannoli lovers.

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4.71 from 17 votes

Easy Cannoli Recipe

With this Easy Cannoli Recipe, you too can make amazing and creamy, unforgettable Italian restaurant quality Cannolis at home! Enjoy!
servings 12 large cannolis
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 12 store bought cannoli shells
  • 30 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese 2 containers
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest or 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • mini chocolate chips chopped pistachios, etc.. as garnish
  • powdered sugar


  • Place ricotta cheese into the center of a large piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess liquid. You want the ricotta cheese as dry as possible. Place into the bottom of a high powered blender. 
  • Add in powdered sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and heavy cream and blend, stopping to stir frequently, until completely smooth OR until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Spoon filling into a disposable piping bag, cut the corner off and fill each cannoli.
  • Sprinkle mini chocolate chips onto filling at each end of cannoli and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days.


  • Please please please keep in mind that not draining or getting rid of that extra liquid in the cheese will not give you the results you're looking for. I didn't drain my first few versions of my cannoli filling and after 20-30 seconds in the blender, it was pretty thick and decent, but blending it beyond 60 seconds turned it into liquid. Just FYI 🙂
    • I piped the filling with a disposable pastry bag because they're easier/sturdier to use than a regular Ziploc bag, though those will work in a pinch too.


Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 80mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 4.3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cannoli, Cannoli Recipe, Cannolis, Italian Dessert

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Recipe Rating

27 Responses
  1. Jen

    Oh girl! Looks delicious, but you haven’t had a proper cannoli until you’ve had one in Sicily where they originated. I thought cannolis in New York were great, but my life changed when I went to Catania and had one (ok, like 20) with local pistachios *cue heavenly music* 🙂

  2. Kathryn J Hutchinson

    Hi Lauren! I too hated grainy ricotta. I found a fast easy and cheaper recipe to make my own! A gallon of whole milk and a quart of buttermilk in a large stainless steel pot over medium high heat, Stir frequently with a spatula to prevent scorching until warm.. The curds fall out and at 180° the whey separates. Then you ladle the curds gently into your prepared cheesecloth arranged in a colander. It’s rewarding and easy. If you use organic milk the ricotta is sweeter.

  3. Rita

    5 stars
    My first attempt at Cannolis! Hands down yummy recipe! Better than any Italian bakery! The only thing I added 1./2 teaspoon cinnamon! Used Chabani ricotta! Loved your recipe!

  4. Hunter Matherne

    5 stars
    Omg I made these literally took 15 min and where so good. I recommend 💯 you need to try the receptor out.

  5. Cari

    5 stars
    I have always loved cannoli but have never made it myself. Your recipe has encouraged me to give it a try! I find myself making most of your dessert recipes. How the heck do you stay so fit???

  6. Charles Bedard

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren, I made these the other day and they were out of this world. Very easy directions to follow. I’ve shared the recipe with a few co-workers who couldn’t believe how tasty they were and easy to make at home.


  7. laura gordon

    5 stars
    I am so going to try this recipe! It looks amazing, and I cannot wait to dip my toe into making cannoli!! Thanks for the variety of recipes!

  8. Cyndi Hernandez

    Hi Lauren – my family LOVES a good cannoli, and this recipe looks easy enough to try myself. Thanks for doing all the research to make it perfect! Love your posts!

  9. Kate corbin

    5 stars
    I love cannoli, I’ve tried your recipe and it’s yummy! There are virtually no places here that make cannoli, enjoy ALL THE FOODS in NY!

  10. Nancy

    I love, love, love cannoli and have been waiting for you to post this. Thank you! What you said about ricotta cheese is spot on. I never realize how different all brands are until I made stuffed manicotti recently with the driest ricotta ever. Definitely won’t be buying that brand again.

    1. Jenny

      I may be wrong and could have missed something, but it does not appear that the quantity of powdered sugar is included and the recipe.

      1. Lauren

        The powdered sugar is listed twice. Once at the top to be included in the cannoli filling (1 cup) and once at the bottom, listed as an optional garnish.