Simple Sicilian Cannoli Recipes

Within these delicious cannoli recipes, I will provide instructions for making both the shells and a traditional Sicilian filling.

Cannoli forms are used to make the shells.  They are relatively inexpensive to buy, or you can use foil to improvise.

But, to follow Italian tradition, make wooden ones from dowels.

To season them, coat with oil and bake for 20 minutes.

But if this is not a practical recipe for you to follow, you may choose to purchase the shells pre-made and only use the filling recipe. 

Just be aware that the results may not be as good as your own freshly made shells would be.

Then sit back and take all the credit for these delicious cannoli!

Cannoli Recipes: Both Shells and Filling

Cannoli Shells Recipe

sicilian cannoli

Makes 12 pastries

Serves 4

Ingredients for Shells

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine or dry Marsala
  • 1 egg white
  • Oil for deep-frying (Sunflower,
    vegetable, cannola)

Variation: add a teaspoon of dark cocoa with the flour


Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the vegetable shortening with a pastry blender or food processor. Then pour the wine in gradually, using your hands to knead and make a soft dough.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut out discs using a 5-inch round cutter. Anything this size will do, my mom uses an old plastic cookie jar lid!  A small bowl might work, too.

Oil the metal forms, and wrap the dough discs around each one. Seal the edges with the egg white.

At this point you can either use a deep fryer, or just pour oil into a saucepan to a depth of about 4 inches. When the oil is very hot, place the shells in, one at a time until they are golden and crisp. This should not take longer than a few seconds, 30 at most!

Remove each shell with a slotted spoon, being very careful of any hot oil left inside the metal form. Rest the shells on a few paper towels to collect any excess oil. Gently remove the forms when they are cool to the touch.

Homemade Cannoli Forms

Tear off a sheet of foil about 12 inches long. Fold in half, then half again. Roll the foil so the tube is about 1 1/2 inches wide. Use a paper towel tube or rolling pin handle to start the roll.

Tear off 3 more pieces of foil about 1 inch wide and make 3 balls to put into the tube for support. If you make your foil roll slightly off center, you can fold down the ends to hold the tube together, or use kitchen twine to tie it, if necessary.

These are little more delicate than the stainless steel forms you can buy. If you want them to be firmer, just use thicker foil or a longer sheet. stainless steel forms you can buy There you go!

Cannoli Filling Recipe

Ingredients for Ricotta Filling

  • 1/2 lb part-skim ricotta
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips OR grated semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios (undyed)
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
ricotta fresh


Make sure to drain any water from the ricotta, then mix together with the sugar. Blend in the other ingredients.

To assemble, fill a pastry bag with the filling and squeeze into the empty shells. So that the shells don't become soggy by the mixture, make sure to fill them right before you intend to serve them.

To add a little luster to these cannoli recipes place a candied cherry or mini chocolate chip to each end of the pastry for a final sweet touch. You may also want to powder the tops of the cannoli with confectioner's sugar. Serve with espresso. Yum!

Enjoy your delicious authentic cannoli - make them for a special event, holiday or just because they are so mmm, mmm, mmmagnificent!

Check out these other Italian dessert recipes:

Italian macedonia fruit salad dessert recipe

Fruit Salad

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