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Two rows of homemade cannoli stacked on each other on top of a cooling rack.

Homemade Cannoli

Light and crispy shells filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta filling make this homemade cannoli recipe an old family favorite.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
resting time 6 hours
Total 7 hours
Servings 36 cannoli
Calories 173 kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

For the Ricotta Filling

  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch

For the Shells

  • 16 ounces cake flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces vegetable shortening 5 tablespoons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ - 1 cup white wine
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Special Equipment

Directions

  1. Make the Dough for the Shells: In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour and the sugar. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add the egg yolks and stir with a wooden spoon until mostly combined (the dough will look shaggy). Add 2/3 cup of the wine and stir and fold using a rubber spatula. You want the dough to come together like pie dough, so if it is still dry and shaggy, add more wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when pinched between your fingers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 4 hours.

  2. Make the Filling: Place the ricotta in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until completely smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, milk and cornstarch. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is totally dissolved. Gently stir the heated sugar mixture into the ricotta until combined. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the 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 for at least 2 hours before using. The filling should be completely chilled when used to fill the cannoli shells.

  3. Make the Cannoli Shells: Using a small cookie scoop, tear off about 1 tablespoon of dough at at time. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness, about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough around a cannoli form, overlapping the dough and press to seal together. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

  4. Line baking sheets with a double layer of paper towels.
  5. Fry the Cannoli Shells: Add vegetable oil to whatever you are going to use for frying (a Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet work great), ensuring you have at least 1 to 2 inches of oil. Heat the oil to 375°F 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 to 4 minutes, using tongs to move them around as necessary, especially if using a skillet, so they don't settle in one spot. Remove the forms from the oil (being careful to drain out any oil inside the form) and set the shells on paper towels to drain. Once they are cooled enough to handle, slide the shell off of the form.

  6. Assemble the Cannoli: When you are ready to serve the cannoli, fit a large piping bag with a large round or star tip, and fill it with the ricotta filling. (If you don't have piping bags and tips, you can put the filling in a large ziploc bag and simply snip off one corner.) Squeeze the bag to pipe filling into each end of the cannoli shell, making sure it is completely filled inside. Dip the ends into mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Wine: You can use white or red, any variety, but the red will tint the dough (it won't alter the taste). If you cannot consume wine, substitute buttermilk. 
  • Baked Shells Option: If you want to bake the shells instead of frying, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • You should only fill the cannoli right before you are planning on serving them so the shells do not get soggy. Only fill as many cannoli as you plan on eating!
  • Make-Ahead Shells: The shells can be fried, cooled, and stored in an airtight container for up to 7 days before filling. They can also be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
  • Make-Ahead Filling: The filling can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing is not recommended, as it can become watery when thawed.
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Cannoli
Amount Per Serving
Calories 173 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 25mg8%
Sodium 28mg1%
Potassium 61mg2%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.