Fresh, homemade cannoli cream is easier than you think to make. You’ll be filling cannoli shells in no time with my How to Make Cannoli Cream tutorial! This popular Italian recipe has been shared over 124,000 times on social media! 

Finished recipe with text overlay for Pinterest.

Buckle up, folks, because today I’m showing you how to make cannoli cream! Italian pastries are my favorite, and this is my all-time favorite dessert. They are very popular during the Christmas and Easter seasons (especially if you live back east). 

I can remember the first time that I had a cannoli. It was at a mom and pop Italian restaurant in my hometown of Southington, Connecticut. It was sweet (but not overly sweet), crunchy, and had the most fantastic texture.

I was hooked instantly.

Since I cannot resist these Italian pastries anytime, I see them on a restaurant menu. 

I love a good cannoli, but sadly they’re hard to find outside of the Northeast. Over the years, this Connecticut girl has learned how to make them out of necessity.

My recipe for the cannoli filling is every bit as good as what you can get back east. 

Close up picture of 3 cannolis.

This recipe is by far one of my most popular, and it’s the best cannoli filling I’ve ever had. Don’t believe me? Well, you don’t need to take my word for it, here’s what some of my readers have said about this recipe:

Jenn: These were on my “must make” list, and I’m so glad I found this easy peasy recipe for cannoli cream – thank you!

Ruth V.Jillian, I had success making this cannoli filling several times, and it was delicious.

PaulaI am a Cannoli-aholic! I learned to make the cream spot on to your recipe and was taught that the whipping cream addition makes all the difference in the world! Thanks

Cook’s Note:

  • This cannoli recipe calls for strained ricotta. See my post from earlier this week on how to strain ricotta cheese.
  • To fill the pastry shells with the filling, I use a pastry bag and a coupler. That’s it. I don’t use an icing tip, because the mini chocolate chips tend to clog it.
  • This recipe will make enough filling to fill 20 small and 12 large cannoli. 

Let’s take a minute to discuss Cannoli shells:

You can either make them from scratch or buy them.

To make homemade shells, you’ll need to buy cannoli forms, make the dough, chill it, roll the dough out, wrap the dough around the forms, and then fry them.

Making a homemade pastry shell takes time, but it is SO worth it! Check out my tutorial for How to Make Cannoli Shells for all of the details. 

A bowl of cannoli cream with empty shells ready to be filled.

If you decide to buy the shells,  there’s no shame in it, a lot of bakeries and even restaurants do the same thing.

My all-time favorite shells are from World Market. You get a set of 20 mini shells for $2.99! Well worth it, in my opinion!

Additionally, if you don’t have a World Market nearby, then Amazon to the rescue! These are my favorite cannoli shells from Amazon. 

What is cannoli cream made of?

The cream recipe calls for just six essential ingredients: 

  1. Whipping cream – this makes the cream light and not too dense. 
  2. Ricotta cheese – this gives the classic cannoli flavor and texture. 
  3. Powdered sugar – just a little bit goes a long way. You cant to taste the ricotta cheese and not sugar! 
  4. Pure vanilla extract – pure and nothing less. When making uncooked recipes, it’s best to use pure vanilla extract. 
  5. Ground cinnamon – just a touch adds a tasty flavor dimension. 
  6. Mini dark chocolate chips – the mini chips are easier to pass through your pastry bag or Ziploc bag. Plus, the mini chocolate chips complement the size of the cannoli well. 

How do you thicken up the filling?

This question is a hard one, and that’s why it’s imperative to make sure you drain the ricotta before you use it in the filling. BUT, if the filling starts to become runny, you can thicken it up with a few ground almonds that you process in a blender or food processor until they are almost like almond powder. 

Cannoli Cream Ingredients

How long does this filling last?

Unfortunately, with fresh ingredients like whipped cream and ricotta cheese, this filling will not last long in the refrigerator. I recommend keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than two days.

I do not recommend freezing the filling, because ricotta cheese and freshly whipped cream do not freeze and defrost well. 

Where does Cannoli Come From?

These Italian pastries come from the island of Sicily in the city of Palermo. They’re a staple of Sicilian cuisine as well as Italian-American cuisine.

Is it cannoli or cannolis?

In Italian, the singular is cannolo, and the plural is cannoli. English speakers generally use cannoli/s for the singular and the plural. 

If you love these Italian pastries as I do, then check out these other recipes:

Pin this recipe.

Flavor and Recipe Variations:

  • Instead of chocolate chips, you can use chocolate shavings or chopped pistachios. 
  • Also, I’ve had some pastries that had a little bit of grated orange peel added to the filling. 
  • You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar and even add a maraschino cherry to either end, too. 

More delicious recipes you have to try:

More from Food Folks and Fun

Cannolis stacked on top of each other.
4.22 from 137 votes

Cannoli Cream recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
20 people
Fresh, homemade cannoli cream is easier than you think to make. These are perfect for Easter, Christmas, and beyond! 

Equipment

  • fine mesh strainer
  • cheesecloth
  • mixing bowls
  • stand mixer or handheld mixer
  • rubber scraper

Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 15- ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese, strained
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • cup mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Place the cream into a small bowl and set aside.
    Beat the whipping cream to stiff peaks .
  • In the same mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the whipped cream and chocolate chips.
    Fold the whipped cream and chocolate chips into the ricotta cheese mixture,
  • Chill the cream for at least 2 hours before filling the cannoli shells.
    Stir until combined.

Video

Notes

This recipe makes about About 2 1/2 cups of cannoli filling. You will need about 2 tablespoons of cannoli filling to fill each small cannoli. 
This will make enough filling to fill 20 small and 12 large cannoli. 
This recipe calls for strained ricotta cheese. Check out my How to Strain Ricotta Cheese tutorial. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 50mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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This How to Make Cannoli Cream recipe first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on March 12, 2015. I have since updated the photos and added a recipe video. You can see one of the original photos below. 

Freshly made cannoli cream
How to Make Cannoli Cream 2
3 mini cannolis on a white pedestal.
Cannoli filling recipe in a bowl and inside of mini cannoli shells.
Four cannolis on a blue platter.

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Recipe Rating




127 Comments

  1. Thomas Aloisi says:

    I’m also from Southington- Plantsville actually- Strong Elementary! I’ve been using this recipe all fall, and It’s great! I always double it. Because I make my own ricotta it’s hard to know how much is in a 15 oz container.

  2. PASQUALE GALLO says:

    Ok not rain on anyones parade cannoli filling is made with impastata ricotta not regular ricotta. The water content is to high my father a veteran pastry chef from italy for almost 60 years always used impastata this will improve you mixture in a big way and by the way heavy cream is brilliant so bravo on that

    1. Definitely need impastata ricotta. Regular even drained is way too wet.

      1. I made these with good ol American grocery store ricotta cheese , I drained it in a strainer over a bowl overnight and it came out wonderful, not watery at all it was very creamy and yummy! I think I put a tad too much cinnamon thats the only thing Ill be more careful of next time. I dont want anyone to shy away from making it bc of the ricotta bc its do able for sure and a Very Good recipe .

      2. Renee Mossotti says:

        Impastata ricotta is just drained and strained ricotta through a seive. I learned this from my husbands Nona from Carpignano Sesia, Italy and make it all the time.

  3. Thank you for the recipe..
    My question is:
    How long can you store the cream?

    1. I recommend keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than two days.

  4. The Cheaper the Ricktta the more water volume the Ricotta will have. Maggio or Polly-O was perfect.
    Thank you for a Great recipe..
    “Assolutamente fantastico”

  5. Maria Theresa says:

    Love the addition of the whipping cream

  6. I have been using whipped. Cream with the ricotta for years and it’s always turned out wonderful! I double the recipe and put mini chocolate chips in half and pistachios ( chopped up ) in the other half. So yummy.!

  7. Elias Patellis says:

    Made the cannoli shells and cannoli cream. Recipe was very easy to follow. Made approximately 12 cannoli. Better than store bought.
    When I made the cream I used marscaponi cheese instead of whipping cream and added orange zest.
    I took a picture of my final creation. People were in awe.