Few things in life are as pleasurable as eating a cannoli. A deep-fried dough serves as a crispy vessel for the sweet cream cheese filling contained within. Often, it features a variety of adornments from chocolate chips to cinnamon to orange zest and beyond.
We can thank Sicily for this treat that has now made its way around the globe as one of the best Italian desserts ever. It was originally made as a special treat to enjoy during Carnivale, but because it’s so delicious, it became a year-round delight.
At the turn of the last century, the cannoli came to the US via Sicilian immigrants. And from there, it’s the dessert that adults and kids alike save room for at their favorite Italian restaurants.
Oh, but you don’t have to wait until you go out for Italian or hunt one down at a bakery near you. You can make cannoli at home in 15 minutes which is less time than it takes to go buy them already made.
Our simple and delicious recipe ensures you’re going to have perfect cannoli, the kind your guests will ask which bakery you went to. And then you can proudly declare you made them yourself.
By using pre-made cannoli shells, this is the perfect recipe for beginners. And for anyone that wants cannoli that are fresh-made right now!
What Goes Into a Cannoli?
You can’t make cannoli without ricotta cheese. That’s how you get that rich, creamy texture. Well, along with heavy cream that is.
While you might be used to ricotta cheese playing a role in savory pasta dishes (lasagna comes to mind), in cannoli, it is sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla. To bring out the best of all the flavors, a little lemon zest is added.
Then, there are those cannoli shells. We’ve kept things simple so all you need to do is buy those premade. The cannoli filling is so simple to make from there, you will want to make these all the time, whether you’re having guests over or not.
- Squeeze the liquid out of the ricotta. This will ensure you get the perfect filling texture.
- It’s best if you have a piping bag to get the filling you create inside your shells. If not, use a plastic zippered bag. Fill it up and then carefully cut off a corner for a DIY piping bag.
- Don’t forget to save some of that powdered sugar to top off your cannoli! It always looks perfect with a light dusting.
- Add any extras you want. We say if you love chocolate chips or want other toppings (like chopped pistachios) then go for it! Yum!
Get ready for dessert!
Easy Homemade Italian Cannoli
- 8 pre-made cannoli shells
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese, excess liquid squeezed out
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place ricotta into blender. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and heavy cream, blend until completely smooth.
- Spoon filling into a disposable piping bag, cut the corner off and fill each cannoli.
- Serve topped with powdered sugar.