Homemade Cannoli

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Chef Alex G of the food network shows how to make Homemade Cannoli. Think of it this way: homemade cannoli really comes together in two parts: make the shell, thin and crispy and then make a filling with serious flavor. Try out these cool cannoli tubes!

Homemade Cannoli: How to Make the Shell Thin and Crispy

A cannoli shell has to be fried in just the right way or it will be thick and doughy, not at all like the Italian pastry that you’re hoping to achieve, which is light and crispy. You can either fry the shells yourself or buy them ready-made from your local Italian bakery, but if you want to make homemade cannoli, then you have to make your own shell first! Here’s how to do it.

Who doesn’t love an authentic, made with love, homemade cannoli? They may require a little more effort than some other desserts but they are well worth it! That flaky, crisp shell enclosing this decadently creamy, sweet ricotta filling is pure bliss! They are serious dessert done right.

Cannoli are an Italian pastry that dates back to the 10th century. They were originally made with fried dough and filled with sheep’s milk ricotta. Today, they are made with a crispy shell and a sweet, creamy filling. Traditionally, cannoli are dipped in sugar before being served. There is no consensus on how much sugar should be used for this process; some people like them sprinkled with a light dusting of granulated sugar while others prefer a heavy layer of powdered sugar. The best thing about homemade cannoli is that it’s difficult to mess up!

Try these other sweet recipes: Luscious Lemon Squares, Easy Chocolate Ice Cream or Salted-Caramel Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.


Homemade Cannoli


Homemade Cannoli really comes together in two parts: make the shell, thin and crispy and then make a filling with serious flavor.

  • Author: Alex Guarnascheli
  • Prep Time: :45
  • Cook Time: :15
  • Total Time: 1:30
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Stove / fryer
  • Cuisine: Italian




  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine


  • 2 cups ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup small semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart canola oil, for frying
  • Flour, for rolling
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. For the shell dough: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Work the butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy. Add the egg yolk and the white wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gap. Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later. Let it rest in the fridge for a few minutes while you make the filling.
  2. For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Mix to blend. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the heavy cream until fairly stiff. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Lightly zest the exterior of the lemon and stir it into the ricotta. Refrigerate for a half hour to an hour.
  3. To roll and fry the shells: In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the canola oil to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, sift an even layer of flour on a flat surface. Flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches. Use any glass or small bowl that has a 3-to-4-inch diameter. Cut rounds, tracing around each one to assure the dough has been fully cut. You should have about 24 circles. Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to seal it shut and to assure it won’t slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed over the mold. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold. Flaring will allow the oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry. Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the mold as you submerge and fry the shell in the oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil, and holding the mold in one had with your tongs, gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel and carefully slide it off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.
  4. To fill the cannolis: Just before serving, use a pastry bag without a tip to pipe the ricotta into the cannoli molds. Fill the cannoli shells from both ends so the cream runs through the whole shell. Dust with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar gives that little extra sweetness and added texture to the exterior. It also makes me feel like I have a professional bakery touch in my own home. Serve immediately.
  5. Cook’s Note: Make the filling and fry the shells. Don’t fill the shells with the cream until you are ready to eat them. Everyone loves a crispy cannoli.


  • Cook’s Note: If the ricotta has an excess of liquid, drain it over a strainer for at least a half an hour before making the filling.
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