Italian Cannoli

Suzy Rhodes Sat, 06/13/2015 - 10:39
Cannoli Tube

Cannoli consists of tube-shaped shells that have been deep fried and filled with a sweet, creamy filling.  It’s a Sicilian dessert, meaning “little tube” and has become a very popular Italian-American cuisine.  In Italy, they are commonly known as “Cannoli Siciliani”.

Cannoli shells can be bought or made from scratch. If you don’t like the idea of deep frying, you can try these three options instead:

1. Grocery stores - usually the stores with an International section.

2. Bakeries - some will sell them to you. Be polite and ask nicely. The worse thing they can say is, "no!"

3. Restaurants. Restaurants that make their one cannoli filling usually buy the shells in bulk.

If you don't like to roll out the dough some like to use a pasta machine to thin out the dough before cutting out the round shape.

Making the shells from scratch require cannoli tubes to wrap the dough around to keep its shape for deep frying.

You can buy cannoli tubes online – one website to go to: 

Manicotti shells have been known to work too if you don’t want to buy tubes.

I won't lie, this was a lot of work and I'm not sure I will ever make them again since I can get them at a local restaurant. But at least I can say I did it...once!




Prep time
1 hour
Cooking time
20 minutes
Total time
1 hour, 20 minutes


Cannoli Shells:
1 c
1 1⁄2 T
granulated sugar
1⁄2 t
cocoa powder
1⁄4 t
1⁄4 t
coarse salt
3⁄8 c
sweet Marsala wine
1 1⁄2 T
Vegetable Oil
egg white (beaten)
2 oz
semi-sweet chocolate
Cannoli Filling:
3⁄4 c
whole milk ricotta cheese (drained overnight)
3⁄4 c
mascarpone cheese
1⁄4 c
powdered sugar
1⁄2 t
vanilla extract
1⁄2 t
ground cinnamon


Cannoli Shells:
1. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add Marsala and oil, and beat on medium speed until dough comes together. Using your hands, knead dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Wrap in plastic, and let rest 30 minutes
2. Divide dough into 2 pieces. On a floured surface, roll out one section into a thin sheet of dough. Cut out rounds with a 3 1/4-inch cutter. Gather scraps and reroll
3. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy saucepan to come about 4 inches up sides. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 380 degrees
4. Wrap each round of dough around a 3 3/4-inch-long cannoli form, sealing with a dab of egg white. Working in batches of 3 or 4, fry until golden, about 2 - 3 minutes. Using a wire skimmer or tongs, transfer to paper towels, and let cool 5 minutes. Carefully slide out forms, and let shells cool. Continue rolling, cutting, and frying the remaining dough
5. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Dip ends of cannoli shells in melted chocolate. Let set 15 minutes on parchment paper
Cannoli Filling:
1. Mix filling ingredients together
2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least a couple of hours)
3. Use a ziploc ( cut the corner ) and pipe into the shells OR use a cake decorating kit if you have one
4. Let the filling smoosh out of each end of the shells, just a tad
5. Dip the ends with crushed chocolate or nuts
6. Keep the cannoli refrigerated until dessert time or whenever you are ready to serve