This cannoli recipe was invented on July 31st, 2005. I spent a lot of time looking for a good recipe for cannoli shells and filling. Since no two were alike, and since instructions were a bit sketchy, I worked with a friend, Ana, to come up with a good recipe, including some tips that we came up with along the way. Special equipment is needed such as cannoli tubes, a pasta machine, and a pastry bag to help make these cannoli come out just like the ones at Italian restaurants and bakeries. Start with 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar, and then add more to taste.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins
30 cannoli



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 tablespoons shortening

  • ½ cup sweet Marsala wine

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 quart oil for frying, or as needed


  • 1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese

  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste


  1. Make shells: Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Make a well in the center and add Marsala wine, water, vinegar, egg, and egg yolk. Mix with a fork until the dough becomes stiff, then finish kneading it by hand on a clean surface, adding a bit more water if needed for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

  2. Divide cannoli dough into three balls; flatten each one just enough to get through the pasta machine. Roll a ball of dough through successively thinner settings until you have reached the thinnest setting. Dust lightly with flour if necessary. Place the sheet of dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a cutter or large glass, cut out 4 to 5-inch circles. Dust the circles with a light coating of flour. This will help you later in removing the shells from the tubes. Roll dough around cannoli tubes, sealing the edge with a bit of egg white. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

  3. Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  4. Fry shells on the tubes in hot oil, a few at a time, until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to turn as needed. Remove shells carefully using tongs, and place them on a cooling rack set over paper towels. Cool just long enough that you can handle the tubes, then carefully twist the tube to remove the shell. Using a tea towel may help you get a better grip. Wash or wipe off the tubes, and use them for more shells. Cooled shells can be placed in an airtight container and kept for up to 2 months. You should only fill them immediately or up to 1 hour before serving.

  5. Make filling: Mix ricotta cheese and confectioners' sugar together in a large bowl until well combined. Fold in chocolate and lemon zest. Transfer mixture into a pastry bag and pipe into shells, filling from the center to one end, then doing the same from the other side. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar to serve, if you like.


Cannoli tubes are crucial for this recipe; ask your local Italian grocer where you can get them. Many kitchen stores carry them. They are hollow, stainless steel, and measure 6 to 8 inches long.

Having a few people on cannoli duty helps keep the process moving along, with one person rolling and cutting, one person dusting and placing onto metal tubes, and one person frying the shells and removing the tubes. If you have 8 tubes on hand, the process will go well.

Orange zest, lime zest, or chopped candied citron can be used in place of the lemon zest in the filling. Other variations include using small chocolate chips, maraschino cherries, or dipping the ends of cannoli in chopped pistachios.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

402 Calories
35g Fat
18g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 30
Calories 402
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g 44%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 43mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 86mg 7%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 59mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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