Holy Cannoli, these are awesome!! As a good Italian girl, I’ve been enjoying cannoli for a long time, but I had yet to learn how they were actually made, until this holiday season. Sure you could buy the shells and fill them with a homemade filling, but I’m talking honest-to-goodness homemade, from start to finish. Enter my Chief Culinary Consultant’s Nana. I had been hearing about her cannoli since I met my Chief Culinary Consultant, but never had the opportunity to try one until now. Not only did I get to eat them, but I got to watch them be made and enjoyed every minute of it! On New Year’s Eve day, several members of the family got together to help and watch the cannoli being made. I tried to document the process as much as possible so that I could share it with you. My only misstep was not getting a photo of the cannoli sitting on the dessert platter the next day, so I had re-plate with the extras that I took home with me.

For those that are not familiar, cannoli are a traditional Sicilian pastry that is made by rolling out a circle of dough and wrapping it around a metal cylinder or “form” and then deep frying. Once cool, the shells are filled with a sweetened ricotta filling. Sometimes nuts or dried fruit are added to the filling and sometimes the ends are dipped into crushed nuts or chocolate chips, but we went simple and classic – just the shell and filling. Pure and utterly delicious!

I expanded on the recipe when I wrote it out below to provide some additional details, but wanted to share a photo of the original recipe. I always love seeing older recipes as they were typed or written out, with handwritten notes scrawled on them.

The cannoli forms that we used and that you’ll see in the pictures were made by Nana’s husband around 50 years ago in the shop of the aluminum manufacturer that he worked for. These cannoli are TRULY from scratch! Cannoli forms are available for purchase from a variety of outlets, and these Norpro Cannoli Forms received the highest rating on Amazon (and they are inexpensive at $6.95 for a set of 4).

You will see that the recipe for the dough includes wine, and I am told that either red or white will work, but that red will affect the final color of the shells, and my Chief Culinary Consultant said that he liked the shells made with white wine better than those with red. These were made with a mix of Riesling and Pinot Grigio; you could also use Marsala wine.

Recipe Note: You should only fill the cannoli right before you are planning on serving them. You can store the empty shells in an airtight container and the filling in the refrigerator until ready to use. Only fill as many cannoli as you plan on eating!


Yield: Makes about 6 dozen shells

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the Shells:
2 lb. cake flour
3½ ounces granulated sugar (about ½ cup)
4 ounces vegetable shortening
4 egg yolks
1¾ - 2 cups wine (enough to make the dough easy to roll and handle)

For the Filling:
2 lb. ricotta cheese
2 cups whole milk
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup cornstarch


1. Mix all ingredients together and allow to rest at least 4 hours before frying.

2. Tear off a chunk of dough about the size of a walnut and roll into a circle about 1/8-inch thick.

3. Wrap the dough around a cannoli form, overlapping dough and press to seal together.

4. Heat vegetable oil to around 375°F (the best temperature for deep frying) and, a few at a time (or however many fit in your frying vessel without crowding), place the prepared forms into the oil. Fry until light golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Remove the forms from the fryer and set on paper towels to drain.

6. Allow to cool until able to handle and slide the shell off of the form. Cool completely before filling.

7. To make the Filling:Mix the sugar, milk and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat until smooth and dissolved. Stir the sugar mixture into the ricotta until combined. Return to saucepan and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (a few large bubbles should pop at the surface when it has thickened), about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Filling should be cold when used to fill the cannoli shells.

Note: The recipe for filling should be doubled in order to fill all of the shells that the original recipe makes.


86 Responses to “Cannoli”

  1. Claire on January 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    they turned out great! I’ve never seen the making of cannolis and have always wondered how to make them hollow. Mmmm delicious!


  2. rebecca on January 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    oh wow what a fab post and I want one!!!


  3. Katie @ goodLife {eats} on January 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I love cannoli, but I’m too scared to fry them myself! Instead I make Cannoli Sandiwch Cookies. Great job!


  4. The Cookbook Apprentice on January 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I adore cannoli and can’t get them readily here in CA like I could in NY and NJ. I am definitely going to try these and am off to order the forms from Amazon.


  5. Emily Ziegler on January 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Oh my goodness! This has to be my favorite posting from you yet! :o)

    Love cannolis and family recipes! You combined the two!!! Perfecto.


  6. Neel | Learn Food Photography on January 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    This reminds me a lot about my childhood. A similar version of this was too awesome to forget. I think though, it was not fried but rather baked.


  7. Eliana on January 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Great post Michelle. These are some good lookin’ cannolis.


  8. Julie on January 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Those are just beautiful! I’ll take 2 please 🙂


  9. Married to an Aussie in OK on January 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I had no idea cannoli dough had wine in it! I learned something new today – thank you!


  10. Michelle on January 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I am not sure if every cannoli shell recipe has wine it, but this family recipe sure does!


  11. Megan on January 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    WOW! These look amazing i can’t wait to try it.


  12. Delezzia on January 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    If you don’t want to fry – try rolling warm pizelles from the iron and then filling them once cooled.


  13. Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home on January 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I forgot cannoli shells were made with wine! That just makes me want to make some immediately!


  14. Mary Poppins in Heels on January 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Things of beauty! My mother makes cannoli, but with the premade shells. This was a fun post to see!


  15. shelly (cookies and cups) on January 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    yum! I could eat the filling with a spoon…forget about making your own killer, but soo worth it!


  16. Deanna on January 8, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Yumm! I married into an Italian/Brazilian family. I love the photo’s with the hands…is that Nana? They remind me of my Mom’s hands that I miss. I have some of her old recipe’s with her writing on too and love them. Thanks for sharing.


  17. Stephanie Velez on January 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Yumm!!! Believe it or not, I’ve never tried a cannoli before, so I’ll definitely be making these to see if they taste as delicious as they look. I love recipes that have a history to them, and this definitely falls under that category.


  18. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on January 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Beautiful… Love the blistery shells. Cannoli is my *favorite* dessert. I have made them twice in the past few months, and reading this makes me want to make them again!


  19. Liliana on January 8, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I love cannoli. The best one I ever had was in Palermo (where my Mom was born).

    Your cannoli look soooo delicious! I definitely will have them using your recipe. Thanks for sharing your family recipe.


  20. Alissa on January 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Mmm. I’ve yet to attempt the cannoli, even though I’m a little Italian girl too…hrm!


  21. katie on January 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Holy Cannoli! These look delicious!


  22. elly on January 10, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Mmm, these look delicious. I need a nana! Cannoli are one of my absolute favorite treats and I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for the best one in whatever town I’m in. 🙂


  23. stephchows on January 11, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    what an amazing time!! they look so good!


  24. Farrah on January 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    These look good, I haven’t made them fried yet, I use my pizzella maker for the cookie. The filling I add mini choc chips instead of pistachios because my kids prefer them. I’ll have to try them out.


  25. Aimee on January 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    What could be better? Maybe if they were chocolate coated, but I honestly prefer mine simple and classic! 🙂


  26. janice on January 12, 2010 at 1:29 am

    they look incredibly delicious, one of my favorite desserts


  27. Drick on January 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

    holy cannoli is right – these must taste awesome … wonderful instructions and so glad you posted this


  28. BNDQ8 on January 12, 2010 at 9:18 am

    i love this recipe…my sister and i usually make it during weekends…easy yet super delish!!! 🙂


  29. wasabi prime on January 12, 2010 at 11:19 am

    What a thing of beauty! I think of the line from The Godfather: Leave the gun, take the cannoli!


  30. Patricia Messer on January 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Oh my, I had the best cannoli in Washington DC at big train station. This makes it look like I could actually make them.
    I’ll have to share with my daughter.


    • Wendy on September 19th, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      The place in Union Station DC is Vaccarro’s. YUM!!! One year my husband had them send cannoli’s from Little Italy in Baltimore to California for our anniversary. (we didn’t have a wedding cake, only cannoli). Those are my favorite. I just made the filling now and am waiting for it to cool. I hope it tastes as good as I remember my East Coast favorites!


  31. amy on January 13, 2010 at 12:11 am

    really need to master these before my friend studying in US comes back again. He absolutely loves cannoli and i want to try making it for him when he is back:)


  32. Dawn on January 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I’m so excited to try this recipe. I have made your pastry cream and my husband and I love it! My sister-in-law’s friend and I are in a bit of a competition with cannoli – I think I’ll be the winner now for sure!!! Love this web-site and will be visiting often!!


  33. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on January 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    After all these cannoli’s I’d seen with the DBers, i thought I couldn’t learn anything new. But these look soo good, and so clean.. not at all warty!


  34. Martha on April 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    You must have read my mind! I’ve been looking for an authentic cannoli recipe ever since I found a whole box of cannoli forms at an estate sale! I especially love your version with the pictures of Nana making them! Thanks a million!


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  37. Dannie Woodard on February 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    These are new to me and sounds like something I would like to try! Also I’m interested what aluminum shop Nana’s husband worked for. A silly question it may seem, but back in the pre-WWII days there were a lot of little companies (large one, too) that were making aluminum giftware and often the workers did a bit of things on their own.

    Dannie Woodard.


    • Michelle on February 15th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Dannie, Unfortunately I’m not sure! If I find out I will let you know.


  38. Bernie Meck on February 15, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Is it possible to add a flavoring like limoncello to the filling without destroying the consistency?


    • Michelle on February 15th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Bernie, Since I have never done so, I can’t say for certain that it wouldn’t destroy the consistency but I imagine a teaspoon or two (maybe a tablespoon?) should be okay.


  39. trang on June 23, 2011 at 11:54 pm


    Do you think I could bake the cannoli shells opposed to frying them? What temp and how long would you suggest? Also, I’m attemping to frost cupcakes tomorrow with the 1M tip and hoping they turn out like yours does!!


    • Michelle on June 24th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Trang, I have never baked the cannoli shells so I can’t give you a for-sure answer on how they would turn out. I would think you’d need a high temperature (425 or 450) in order to get them to crisp, but am unsure on time – I’d just watch them. Let me know how it goes!


  40. barb on December 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I am trying to find the tubes to cook them with. I live in western Mass. and cant find them anywhere. please help. I would really like to make them with my granddaughter.. thanks barb


  41. Basil Boboli on December 24, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Where can I find the cylinder to form and fry the dough? Or what else can be used?


  42. Kitty on January 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Your filling recipe is nice; however it is not the one that leaves the palate completely undone – a cannoli is to be savored and craved where nothing else can do or will satisfy – I had such a little delectable cannolo once at age 7 way back in 1975 – Newburgh, NY was the source – I’ll let you know when I find that recipe again.


    • Pat Foster on May 22nd, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      To Kitty, Did you find the other recipie yet and post? I may have missed it.


    • iris dunn on March 23rd, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      That is so rude. If you dont have anything nice to say…


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  45. Julia on May 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I’ve never had a cannoli but my husband is from PA and talks about them all the time. We live in the midwest and can’t find them around here so I’m glad I found this recipe. I ordered the forms and can’t wait to make these for my husband! He will be stoked!


  46. Emil on July 23, 2012 at 7:26 am

    looks amazing and really delicious. i am glad I found this picture on pinterest, need to make them at home!


  47. snapdabble on September 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I made these today and I had issues with my dough. It was super sticky.I let it rest for about 5 hours…and followed the ingredient directions to the tee. I had to flour my board and pin waaaay too much and they were still a sticky mess. From the looks of your picture, there was no flour used when rolling yours out. What did I do wrong? Any suggestions? I want to try it again!


    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Hi, I’m sorry you had some trouble with the dough. Did you use cake flour, not all-purpose, and did you use solid vegetable shortening (like Crisco), vs oil? If you did those things, I’m wondering if there was too much wine added and it cause the dough to get too wet. The wine step is really by feel – just enough to make it pliable and easy to roll out.


  48. Jessibelle Spankbottom on November 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Did you guys know….That Brown Eye means…Deliciousness


  49. JudyH on December 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Cake flour – is that the same as bread flour?
    I plan to try these with homemade ricotta. It is really simple to make, and my family loves it in everything that calls for ricotta. Here is a link to the recipe I use:
    I’m guessing that the homemade ricotta won’t need as much milk as the homemade version, since the homemade version is already very creamy. I plan to add a little milk at a time and see how it goes.


    • JudyH on December 3rd, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Oops – I meant that the homemade version probably won’t require as much milk as the store bought version.


    • Michelle on December 3rd, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Judy, Bread flour isn’t the same as cake flour; while cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, bread flour actually has more, so they are not interchangeable. Enjoy!


      • JudyH on December 5th, 2012 at 10:31 am

        Thank you! I’ll have to look for cake flour. I’ve never noticed it in the store, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there!


  50. Lisa on January 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    What kind of wine do you use? Thanks


    • Michelle on January 6th, 2013 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Lisa, As I mentioned in the write-up above, you can use red or white, but the red will affect the color of the dough. This specific batch was made with Riesling and Pinot Grigio. Marsala would also be a good option.


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  52. CookinCanuck on August 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve always loved cannoli…who doesn’t! A friend recently got me a get well gift of…a cannoli CAKE. It was heaven on my plate. Have you ever tried that?


    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      I have not, but it is on my list!


  53. Katy on December 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Michelle what kind of wine did you use?


    • Michelle on December 2nd, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Katy, We used a white wine; the type does not matter.


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  55. Norma on December 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    These look delish! We make cannoli every year at Christmas. I haven’t found a filling recipe I love yet. I usually just combine a few. I’m going to try this one for sure though. We traveled at Christmas, so I’ll be making these for New Years. Just wanted to add that you can make your own forms. I bought a wooden dowel at Home Depot and had them cut it into 3 inch pieces for me. I then soaked it over night in water, let it dry and then covered in foil. I reuse them every year (just change out the foil). I use the foil because the wood absorbs the oil.

    Thanks for this recipe!


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  62. ann on June 10, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    could you use a pizzelle maker to cook the batter, then wrap it on the form before it cools? Like how you make waffle cones. Deep frying is not something I do.


    • Michelle on June 11th, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Hi Ann, If you don’t want to deep-fry the shells, then this could be an option (though I’ve never tried it). Let me know how it goes!


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  65. swetha on July 13, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Should the wine be red wine or white wine?


    • Michelle on July 14th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Swetha, I actually wrote about that above in the blog post. You can use either one, but red will change the color of the shells a bit. We used white wine for these.


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  67. Skye MacAllister on January 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Greetings and happy new year!

    To CookinCanuck – a cannoli cake is actually called a “cassata.” Typically, it is a rich yellow cake filled with the cannoli cream and iced with a vanilla chantilly cream or a lovely buttercream. I’m making one later this month to top off a chicken piccata dinner. Yummy!

    Skye. 🙂


  68. Dianne on December 23, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Just came across this recipe! I can’t wait to try making the shells. We do our filling a bit differently, no cooking and no milk. Also we will add chocolate chips for the kids. Thanks so much for sharing all your recipes 🙂


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