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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Picture collage for Pinterest.
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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. Terri Gilson says:

    I love how simple and authentic this recipe is! Using the store-bought shells makes it even easier!

    1. I also make my own cannoli cream and draining it is essential. I also omit the whipping cream and add an envelope of Whip It. It is in the baking isle at the grocery. It is a stabilizer and will keep the ricotta fresh.
      Also, try finely chopping a Hershey bar with almonds. Grea!

  2. I made this recipe for dessert last night. My family said this is THE BEST filling. Thank you!

    1. Harmony, I am THRILLED that your family loved it! This was a recipe I developed for over a year to get it just right!

  3. Nellie Tracy says:

    This cream literally melts in your mouth. So delicious!!

    1. I tried to make the cannoli and it came out great. My question is that I want to sell these at the swapmeet under the Arizona Cottage law. Can I?

      1. Hi Doris. I’m not sure. That’s something you’ll have to research on the internet.

  4. This cannoli cream is divine! I’ve never made my own shells, but I’m going to have to try your recipe for those next.

  5. Karen norman says:

    Are you from southington ct that’s my home town I live in ha now never see anything from my hometown.

      1. I was just about to make a recipe with moscarpone. What are your thoughts in that?

        1. You can use mascarpone. I prefer the flavor and texture to ricotta though.

  6. Jasmine Williams says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m obsessed with cannoli.

  7. Lori Lamattina says:

    Hi!Would this recipe be good as a filling for a cake ?

  8. Great recipe. Im so excited you’re FROM SOUTHINGTON. I grew up there also.

    1. Oh, awesome! It’s not too often you come across someone from Southington!

  9. I made cannolis using your cannoli cream recipe. It came out fabulous!! My friends all loved it. They said it was better than they ever tasted. I was so proud that my cannolis came out so good. I also made my own shells!! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I am from CT also.

  10. Ilona Edens says:

    This was amazing although I did make a few changes to the recipe after the first time around making it. Second time around, omitted the chocolate, just wasn’t doing it for me and added a heaping spoonful of mascarpone, the zest of one orange, some cointreau, and salt. ermahgawd…

  11. Gréât recipe love cannoli but not easy to get the metal tube but once I get it I have the your cannoli cream thank you

    1. Lynda Shehorn says:

      If you haven’t found metal tubes yet, get some dried cannoli pasta shells, then wrap them in foil…voila, tubes to bake cannoli shells.

  12. Caroline Clark says:

    I’m from South Africa, and I tried making Cannoli’s using this recipe for the first time last week. Pastry shells worked out perfectly and reasonably easy. BUT the Ricotta I bought was more like a “block” of cheese – sort of with a bit of a “Feta” consistency – so I could “break” it up into chunks and lumps, but it definitely didn’t look like the ricotta in the pictures and/or go smooth and creamy (and I beat it with the sugar a lot!) – just stayed kinda “lumpy”. Does anyone know if this is because this is just what South African Ricotta is like? OR it’s just the particular brand I bought (Meze), and I can get smooth/smoother looking Ricotta (like in the recipe’s pictures) in another brand? Help!

    1. Hi Caroline, I’ve never heard of this kind of ricotta cheese before. The only thing that I would suggest is running the mixture through a food processor to smooth it out. I hope this helps!

    2. John Kaprielian says:

      I think you had ricotta salata, a totally different cheese.

    3. If you can’t find ricotta, try making homemade ricotta, it’s easy and delicious 🙂

  13. Can you use it for cream puff filling

  14. Could you use this a cake filling too?

  15. Can you make the cream the night before and fill them the next morning.
    We have to to go to dinner after Church and I won’t have time to do it all in the morning?

  16. This was good. Tasted a bit too light and fluffy for my taste. The Italian bakery by me has a thick, dense filling that I would love to recreate. I’m guessing no whipped cream. This seemed better as a dip with broken cannoli shells.

    1. Veronica ❤ says:

      Try adding Marscapone cheese to the recipe, and cut back some on the whip cream. That’s how I learned yo make them, from the owner of an Italian bakery in Boston’s North End (Little Italy). I believe you’ll get the consistency you want. Also, use real Vanilla, not imitation. (I make my own -very simple and 100% better flavor.)

  17. Can’t wait to make this filling. So many great reviews on it. I am making cannoli tarts with the filling and cupcakes cut in middle and filled with cannoli cream and dollop
    On top with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I’m not to far from your hometown. I live in beacon falls ct
    Thanks for the easy recipe !

  18. I love this filling. I did omit the cinnamon though and I added a tiny bit of lemon zest instead and also added 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp of brandy and because I add brandy to almost all of my baked good,

    There are only two of us so when I made the whipped cream I stabilized it with gelatin before adding it to the ricotta. I did that so it would last a couple of extra days. I froze the shells on the forms and just popped them in the deep fryer frozen cooled them completely and filled them with this wonderful ricotta filling. We were able to have them three times and I still have some shells in the freezer for another day.

    Thanks for the recipe I’ve been looking for the perfect cannoli filling and this will be my go-to recipe from now on… yummy! I used mascarpone before and it wasn’t right. I used the ricotta and it just wasn’t right. This is perfect.

    TIP; Make sure you roll the shells as thin as possible. I used a pasta roller and went to the 3 settings and I should have went down to #4. After the first batch, I found my shells were a bit too thick and I had them rolled a little too tight on the forms so they were hard to get off after I fried them and a couple broke. I remedied that by thawing them and carefully took the dough off the forms so they were still round-shaped and intact and then I rolled them thin-thin put them back on the forms really loose; they were perfect.

  19. Lori Anna says:

    Easy recipe and my family rated it tops. When I make Pizzells I make Cannock shells out of those. Oh so good.

    1. Hi Lori, I’m so glad you liked the recipe! Such a good idea to make cannoli shells out of pizzells. I’ll have to try it!

  20. Hi!

    Thanks for the recipe. I have two questions: Do i need to drain the ricotta and can I use this recipe as cupcake filling?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Teresa, Yes, drain the ricotta. And you can definitely use it to fill cupcakes, YUM!