cannoli recipe


Making Cannoli from scratch is an art form. It takes time and patience. And the results are some of the most rewarding I've ever experienced in the kitchen.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings 45 cannoli
Calories 96 kcal


Cannoli Shells

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg yolks slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine or Marsala wine

Cannoli filling

  • 5 cups ricotta cheese store-bought or homemade, recipe for homemade below
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped (Read Note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To make the dough

  1. Mix flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or any bowl if you plan on kneading by hand. Add butter and yolks to the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated and crumbly, then start adding the wine slowly. Mix with the paddle attachment or with a spoon to form a ball. Switch to dough hook and start kneading until soft and smooth, about 2 minutes, or knead by hand for a few minutes. Add more flour as necessary but try to add as little as possible.
  2. Once the dough is smooth, flatten it out a bit into a disk. Wrap it well with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for a few hours, at least 4, or preferably overnight.
  3. On the next day, remove the dough from the fridge. You can roll dough out by hand or with the use of a pasta roller. No matter what method you use, divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll them out individually to make it easier. With my pasta machine, I roll the dough through the machine once on every number and stop on number 5. Flour your counter and sprinkle flour over the dough. Don’t use too much flour, just enough to handle the dough easily so it doesn’t stick to the counter when you are trying to cut the circles.
  4. Cut circles with your biscuit cutter. I use a 3” cutter and that makes small cannoli, but you can make them bigger, just choose a larger cutter, such as the 3.5” or 4”.
  5. I usually roll all of my 6 pieces of dough out, cut circles out of them. Roll out the dough scrapes and do the same. And you can roll out these second scrapes once again to obtain a few more circles.
  6. Once you have all your circles cut you can start wrapping them around your cannoli tubes and frying them. (or if you are crazy like me, you can fry the shells and roll the dough out at the same time, but get ready to move fast)
  7. To wrap tubes, place each in the middle of a dough circle, roll out the bottom half and lightly dip your finger in water and brush where will be the seam so the other side will seal. Don’t wrap your tubes too tight or you will have a hard time removing the shell after frying. Just make it a tad looser.
  8. Heat 4 cups of shortening in a large pan with a heavy bottom until it registers 350F. Start frying the cannoli in batches. Fry for a couple minutes on one side and then flip it over with tongs. Once the cannoli is golden brown, remove to a tray lined with wire so the cannoli will drain. If you are lucky like me, you have several tubes and that makes life easier. If not, wait a couple of minutes before removing the shell from the tube after fried. And go on wrapping more until you are done. Wrapping, frying, wrapping, frying. Once shells are cool, place them in an air-tight container, they will keep for 3 days, but start to loose quality the longer they sit.

To make the filling

  1. Add ricotta and vanilla seeds to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment for 2 minutes on medium speed until ricotta is fluffy and the seeds have incorporated and spread. Add already sifted sugar slowly. Once sugar is incorporated, add vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

To assemble

  1. Don’t assemble until you are ready to serve or serve within the next couple hours because if you let the filled cannoli sit, the shell gets soggy. I like to keep the filling in a piping bag inside my fridge and the shells stored in a airtight container on my counter. When ready to serve to my lucky guests, I simply pipe the filling in. Fresh, crispy and delicious! Perfection!
  2. I like to use a large round piping tip (around 1/2” inch) fitted in a large piping bag. Scoop the filling in and pipe from the middle to the outside from both sides.
  3. You can coat the tips in crushed pistachios, or any other nuts or in mini chocolate chips.
  4. Another option is to dip the ends of the shells into melted chocolate and let them dry for a while and once the chocolate is dry, fill with the ricotta.
  5. Sprinkle powdered sugar over shells for the final touch.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields about 45 small cannoli, cut with the 3” round cutter. Note 1- So, this vanilla pod you are left with now is good for many things. Stick it in your vanilla extract jar if you make your own. You can add to jams or apple sauce to flavor it while cooking. Or you could add the dry pod to your sugar jar. And just kinda tuck it in the middle there and let it sit. Stir it once or twice and you will have vanilla sugar. Every time you open your sugar container, you will be graced with the sweet smell of vanilla sugar.