These homemade cannolis are the perfect Italian sweet treat. The shell is delicate, crunchy, and buttery, and the filling is creamy and decadent, but they’re healthier than the cannolis that you’ll find at a bakery.
Easy Homemade Cannolis Recipe
Cannolis are a pretty perfect dessert that have everything that I want in a sweet dish. They’re made out of a crunchy shell that’s filled with a rich and creamy ricotta feeling. They’re decadent, crispy, sweet, smooth, and just a little bit bitter, and they have chocolate, too! What’s not to love?
Why Make Cannolis From Scratch?
- Easy, yet impressive! When you buy cannolis at a bakery they seem fancy and luxurious. But they’re actually quite easy to make! You can easily make perfect cannolis at home in under half an hour.
- Healthier. Not only do they taste every bit as good as the ones you’d buy at a bakery, but they’re a lot healthier, too. Does this mean you can have more than one? I’ll let you make the call on that front. 😉
So the next time you have a sweet tooth, try this cannoli recipe. I know you’ll love it just as much as I do.
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything you need to make this Italian dessert. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact amounts for each of the ingredients.
For the Shells:
- Egg whites
- Canola oil
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Vanilla extract: Use 100% pure vanilla extract.
- All-purpose flour
For the Filling:
- Whipping cream
- Ricotta cheese
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Orange zest
- Mini chocolate chips: Be sure to use semisweet chocolate chips.
How to Make Cannolis
Here’s how to make this mouth-watering dessert in less than 30 minutes.
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 375˚F, and grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
- Mix the wet ingredients. Add the egg whites, oil, melted butter, vanilla, and sugar to a bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Add the flour. Add the flour to the bowl, and mix until there are no lumps.
- Shape the dough. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3 teaspoon portions. Use the back of a spoon to spread each cookie to a 4-inch circle.
- Bake. Put the cookies in the oven until they begin to turn brown. This should take 7-8 minutes.
- Shape the cookies. Use an offset spatula to shape the cookies into a tube shape.
- Cool. Let the cookies cool seam-side down.
- Whip the cream. Add the whipping cream to a bowl, and beat until it forms stiff peaks. This should take about 4 minutes. Then put the whipped cream in the fridge.
- Make the filling. Add the cream cheese, ricotta, vanilla, orange zest, and powdered sugar to a bowl, and mix until well combined.
- Fold in the cream. Add the whipped cream and chocolate chips and fold them in.
- Assemble. Place the filling in a piping bag, and pipe it into the cannoli shells. Garnish with additional chocolate chips at the tips, and optionally drizzle melted chocolate over the top. Serve immediately.
Tips for Success
Here are a few of my favorite tricks and tips when making these decadent cannolis.
- Use room temperature ingredients. I recommend using room-temperature egg whites and cream cheese for this dessert recipe. Eggs and cream cheese mix together with the other ingredients so much better when they’re at room temperature, and that makes the cannolis much smoother.
- Space the cookies apart. When you put the cookies on the baking sheet, make sure you leave a few inches between each cookie. That way the cookies have space to expand in the oven without running into each other.
- Use a makeshift mold. Cannolis are traditionally shaped with a specific mold. I’m assuming you don’t have a cannoli shell mold, but the handle of a kitchen tool, such as a whisk, works great.
- Fold carefully. It’s very important to fold the whipped cream into the filling, instead of whisking or beating. This keeps the whipped cream from deflating, which keeps the filling from becoming dense. Very carefully fold the whipped cream into the rest of the cannoli filling, and stop as soon as the ingredients are mixed together.
Here are some commonly asked questions about homemade cannolis.
Cannolis don’t last for long in the fridge, because the shell will get soggy quickly. It’s best to eat them within a few hours of making them.
The shells of cannolis are traditionally deep-fried. In this recipe, the shells are baked in the oven. They’re just as delicious as deep-fried shells but healthier and easier to make.
Cannoli filling is traditionally made out of ricotta, and sometimes mascarpone. This recipe uses some ricotta but also includes cream cheese and whipped cream.
How to Serve
My absolute favorite way to eat cannolis is with a shot of espresso or another coffee drink. Here are a few of my favorites.
How to Store Leftovers
- Leftover cannolis don’t store very well because the shells will very quickly get soggy. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days if you want, but the texture will quickly become poor. Instead, it’s best to store the shells and filling separately and assemble the cannolis whenever you’re ready to eat them.
- You can store the filling in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, and the shells in an airtight bag at room temperature for 1 week. I do not recommend freezing cannolis.
More Easy Desserts to Make
If you enjoyed making a fancy and delicious dessert in less than half an hour, then you’ve got to try some of my other favorite easy desserts.
- Easy Tiramisu
- Healthy Apple Cobbler
- No Bake Mini Cheesecake Bites
- Two-Ingredient Homemade Ice Cream
- Frozen Yogurt Bark with Berries
- 2 large egg whites
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 3 tablespoons semisweet mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Lightly grease two baking sheets with baking spray, then set aside.
- In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, canola oil, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Add in flour and continue to whisk until smooth, and no lumps appear.
- Spoon 4 to 5 mounds of batter onto each baking sheet, using 3 teaspoons of batter for each.
- With the back of the spoon, spread each cookie to about 4-inch diameter.
- Space the cookies at least 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.
- Using an offset spatula, loosen cookies from baking sheet and shape into tube form. You can use a round metal utensil and wrap the cookies around that.
- Set cookies seam-side down and let cool.
- Place the heavy whipping cream in your mixer's bowl and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes.
- Put the whipped cream in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and orange zest until smooth and creamy.
- Fold in the cream and chocolate chips. Do not mix or stir – fold it.
- Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a wide round tip and pipe the filling into cannoli shells. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and an optional chocolate drizzle.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Eggs and cream cheese mix with the other ingredients so much better when they’re at room temperature, making the cannolis much smoother.
- Space the cookies apart. When you put the cookies on the baking sheet, leave a few inches between each cookie. That way, the cookies have space to expand in the oven.
- Use a makeshift mold. Cannolis are traditionally shaped with a specific mold. If you don’t have a cannoli shell mold, use a kitchen tool’s handle, such as a wooden spoon or a whisk.
- It’s important to fold the whipped cream into the filling instead of whisking or beating. This keeps the whipped cream from deflating, preventing the filling from becoming dense. Very carefully fold the whipped cream into the rest of the cannoli filling, and stop as soon as the ingredients are mixed together.
- Do not store assembled pastries. Store the empty shells at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Store the filling in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Do not freeze.
- Recipe was adapted from “Sweetie Pie: The Richard Simmons Private Collection of Dazzling Desserts.”
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.