Cannoli Filling (2024)


Cannoli fillingis a rich and creamy sweet cheese mixture made with a blend of ricotta and mascarpone cheese. It's traditionally used to make the Italian dessert known as cannoli, but it can also be used as a filling for cakes and sandwich cookies.

Cannoli Filling (1)

Looking for more cannoli-inspired desserts? My Cannoli Pie and Cannoli Dip are amazing! My friend's cannoli bread is fantastic as well.

My darling husband loves a delicious cannoli every once and a while and occasionally I like to make him some of his favorite treats, so cannoli it is.

Homemade Cannoli Filling

I did not make these cannoli shells but do have a great recipe for cannoli shells. I found them online and I've also used these ones and these mini cannoli shells too. I recommend them all. I just need to say that the shells are just as delicious as the cannoli filling. I did dip the edges of some of the shells in melted chocolate and left some of the others plain.

Cannoli Filling (2)

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This cannoli filling recipe fills 8 regular-sized shells. If you plan on doubling the recipe, I recommend draining the ricotta in two separate strainers. This will allow the ricotta to drain fully overnight. I've got to tell you, feel free to snack on any broken shells or leftover shells. They're delicious on their own too.

How to make Cannoli Filling

To make this cannoli filling, you'll first need to drain your whole milk ricotta overnight. You can do this by placing it in a fine-mesh strainer that's placed on top of the bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap.

Cannoli Filling (3)

Next, add the drained ricotta in a medium mixing bowl with 8 ounces mascarpone. I recommend using the mascarpone brand BelGioioso since it seems to be thicker than others. If you're using a different brand that may have more liquid in it, you can drain it overnight the same way you drain the ricotta.

Stir the ricotta cheese and mascarpone together with a spatula until combined.

Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir until incorporated. If you're adding mini chocolate chips, fold those in now.

Cannoli Filling (5)

How to Assemble Cannoli

Add the filling to a piping bag fitted with a round tip or storage bag with a large hole cut in one of the corners. Place the end of the piping bag in the cannoli and begin filling the cannoli while slowly pull the bag out until you come to the end of the cannoli. Stop applying pressure to the bag and gently pull the tip in a downward motion to pull away.

You can dust the cannoli with powdered sugar and sprinkle with ends with mini chocolate chips.

How do you thicken up the filling?

The key to having a thick filling is to have your ricotta cheese drained well and a mascarpone cheese with a pretty thick consistency. If you've already mixed these two ingredients up and realize that it's going to be runny, I do have a solution for you. It won't be a traditional cannoli filling recipe anymore, but just as delicious.

Okay, so you've made this recipe and something has gone terribly wrong. Your cannoli cream is a runny mess. My recommendation at this point is to add about ¼ to ½ cup of heavy whipping cream and an additional 1 - 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Beat with a hand mixer on medium until it thickens up. It will fill more cannoli shells but will save you tossing the soupy filling out.

Cannoli Filling (6)

How long does Cannoli Filling last

Cannoli filling won't last long in the fridge. I recommend eating it within 1 to 2 days. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You may notice the filling becoming slightly runny by the second day even.

When you're ready to serve your cannoli, fill each cannoli shell and serve immediately or within the same day.

I also don't recommend freezing the cannoli cream since ricotta cheese does not defrost well.

Cannoli Filling (7)

Tips for making Cannoli Cream Filling

  • Drain the whole-milk ricotta overnight. You can add a piece of cheesecloth in the fine sieve, but it's not necessary. Spread the ricotta out in the sieve/strainer and gently press it against the mesh.
  • Use BelGioioso mascarpone cheese. I know from experience that it's thicker than other mascarpone brands.
  • To use a star tip, leave the mini chocolate chips out of the filling and sprinkle them on top afterwards.
  • Fill the cannoli shells just before serving to keep the shells firm and crunchy.
  • For fun toppings, add chopped pistachios, sprinkles, and mini chocolate chips.
Cannoli Filling (8)
Cannoli Filling (9)

If you're interested in reading up on more great Italian desserts, here's a list of the 15 Best Italian Desserts where the tiramisu, cannoli, panna cotta, etc. are discussed.

More great fillings and frostings to try:

Cannoli Filling (10)

Cannoli Filling

Cannoli filling is a rich and creamy sweet cheese mixture made with a blend of ricotta and mascarpone cheese. It's traditionally used to make the Italian dessert known as cannoli, but it can also be used as a filling for cakes and sandwich cookies

4.70 from 53 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 0 minutes mins

Total Time 10 minutes mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 8 cannolis

Calories 349 kcal


  • ¾ cup full-fat ricotta cheese drained
  • 1 cup BelGioioso mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powder sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 8 cannoli shells
  • ¼ cup chocolate candy melts
  • 1 teaspoon shortening or refined coconut oil


  • To drain the ricotta, line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Place the strainer over a bowl and add the ricotta to the strainer. Let the ricotta drain in the fridge overnight.

  • In a mixing bowl, add in the drained ricotta and mascarpone cheese. Stir with a spatula until well combined.

  • Add the vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and cinnamon into the cheese mixture. Stir with the spatula again until combined.

  • Fold in the mini chocolate chips just until combined.

  • Place the cannoli filling in a piping bag with just a coupler or large round tip. You can also use a storage bag and cut a larger hole in one of the corners. Set aside.

  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, add in the melting chocolate and shortening. Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir after each interval. It should take about 3 intervals to completely melted the chocolate.

  • Dip both ends of the cannoli into the chocolate and place on a piece of wax paper to set up. It should only take a few minutes to set up. If you want to jazz up the shells a bit more, add sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.

  • After the chocolate is set up, fill both sides of the cannoli with the filling.

  • Place in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve.


Calories: 349kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 6gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 45mgPotassium: 24mgSugar: 14gVitamin A: 520IUCalcium: 102mgIron: 4.2mg

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

This post was originally published on September 2, 2014, but updated on April 20, 2021, with additional information.

Cannoli Filling (2024)


How to fix cannoli filling that's too runny? ›

To thicken, add cornstarch 1 tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add cannoli cream to a bowl to dip your Golden Cannoli Chips, or a pastry bag to fill your Golden Cannoli Shells, and serve with your favorite toppings!

What is the cannoli filling made of? ›

The creamy filling (often spiked with lemon or orange zest for subtle brightness) is made with sugar and ricotta cheese, but mascarpone is sometimes used. Finished cannolis are often dusted with powdered sugar.

Can I fix grainy cannoli filling? ›

Over time recipes have begun using powdered sugar as both the sweetener and to stabilize the watery ricotta, but this, in turn, makes the filling a grainy and overwhelmingly sweet pastry cream. To fix this dilemma, I use a mixture of ricotta, mascarpone, goat cheese with granulated sugar.

How to thicken cannoli filling without cornstarch? ›

Suggestions for Thickening Cannoli Filling
  1. The best way to get thick cannoli cream is to drain the ricotta but if your cream is still too thin, you can try a bit of cornstarch to the mixture and mix it well. ...
  2. Another alternative is to add about 1/4 cup of heavy cream to the filling and beat it until it starts to thicken.
Apr 19, 2023

Can you use cornstarch to thicken cannoli filling? ›

Ricotta cheese: I used strained whole milk ricotta cheese. Confectioners' sugar: Confectioners' sugar (also called powdered sugar) typically contains a little cornstarch to prevent it from clumping. Cornstarch will act as a thickener in the cannoli filling, helping to keep it from being watery or runny.

What to do if ricotta is runny? ›

If there's visible liquid sitting on top of the ricotta in the container, carefully drain it off. You can do this by tilting the container slightly and using a spoon to scoop away the liquid. Place a few layers of paper towels on a plate or a clean kitchen towel. The towels will absorb any moisture from the ricotta.

How do you thicken pastry filling? ›

Cornstarch thickens the pastry cream without imparting a floury flavor. Bringing pastry cream to a bubble deactivates the yolk's starch-dissolving amylase. Finishing with butter adds shine and flavor.

How to keep filled cannolis from getting soggy? ›

Don't assemble until you are ready to serve or serve within the next couple hours because if you let the filled cannoli sit, the shell gets soggy. I like to keep the filling in a piping bag inside my fridge and the shells stored in a airtight container on my counter.

Can I use mascarpone instead of ricotta in cannoli? ›

Yes, you can absolutely swap out ricotta for mascarpone when you're making cannoli.

How to drain ricotta quickly? ›

Compress the ricotta to help it drain by placing a heavy object on top of the cloth or plate resting on the ricotta. This could be a large can of food, a bag of stones, or any other reasonably clean object. If you cannot find anything suitable, press the ricotta down with a spoon for a minute or two instead.

What can I do if my cannoli filling is too runny? ›

You can mix a tablespoon or two of cornstarch into your cheesecake filling mixture before baking. Another option is to use a little bit of flour or arrowroot powder. These ingredients will also help to thicken your filling and give it a more consistent texture.

Why is my ricotta not creamy? ›

Whole Milk (not ultra pasteurized!): I recommend whole cow's milk for creamy flavor and texture. Alternatively, 2% or 1% milk can be used; but the final result will not be as creamy. Ultra pasteurized milk does not work for homemade ricotta. It won't curdle properly.

Why are my cannoli shells puffing up? ›

Oil that is too hot can burn your shells, but it can also create too much steam too quickly and puff up the shells in a bad way.

What is traditional cannoli filling made of? ›

Traditionally, cannoli filling is a sweet, simple filling made with ricotta cheese and powdered sugar. We also use vanilla and a hint of cinnamon in our cannoli filling recipe.

What brand of ricotta is best for cannoli filling? ›

Classic Cannoli Ricotta | Galbani Cheese.

How do you make cannoli filling not grainy? ›

Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Heat in microwave 45 seconds, stir until smooth texture and add to the filling. Whisk with mixer for 3–4 minutes until the filling begins to thicken and become fluffy.

Can you make popcorn in Dreamlight Valley? ›

Popcorn is a two-star Dessert exclusive to the Disney Dreamlight Valley: A Rift in Time expansion. This DDLV guide provides the ingredients needed to cook the Popcorn recipe and how to find all the required ingredients.

Can you fill cannolis ahead of time? ›

If you're not serving them within a few days, freeze the shells for maximum freshness. You can make the filling a day or two in advance and refrigerate it, but remember: Don't fill the cannoli until just before serving time.

Can you refreeze cannoli filling? ›

HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS. For a correct use, we recommend that you thaw the product for about 2-3 hours at a temperature of +2 ° / +4 ° C. Caution ! – Once thawed, the product must not be refrozen and can be stored in the refrigerator at +2°C/+4°C for one week (7 days) after opening.

What can I use as a thickening agent instead of cornstarch? ›

Here are five of the best cornstarch substitutes for all your thickening needs.
  • All-Purpose Flour. Yep, that's right — all-purpose flour is a very stable thickener. ...
  • Arrowroot Powder. ...
  • Potato Starch. ...
  • Rice Flour. ...
  • Tapioca Starch.
Jun 23, 2023

How to thicken up ricotta cheese? ›

There are several ways to thicken ricotta filling. One is to place the filling in a fine strainer over a bowl and allow excess liquid to drain off. Another way is to line the strainer with cheesecloth. Yet another way is to add a thickener such as cornstarch or arrowroot starch.

How do you keep filled cannolis from getting soggy? ›

Don't assemble until you are ready to serve or serve within the next couple hours because if you let the filled cannoli sit, the shell gets soggy. I like to keep the filling in a piping bag inside my fridge and the shells stored in a airtight container on my counter.

Why are my cannoli shells puffy? ›

Oil that is too hot can burn your shells, but it can also create too much steam too quickly and puff up the shells in a bad way.

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