Sweet and Easy Cannoli Dip with Homemade Shells

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cannoli dip recipe

What’s up, Hungry People!

Today, I’m bringing you the scoop on turning a classic Sicilian treat into a fuss-free indulgence for all you sweet-toothed rebels out there. So grab your spoons (or unfilled cannoli shells if you’re a bit fancy) and let’s whip up some deviously simple cannoli dip!

The Dip That Defies Tradition

All the yummy vibes of cannolis are packed into this dip, and it’s ridiculously easy. Whether you’re the type to snatch up those unfilled cannoli shells or grab waffle cone pieces in a snack-craving frenzy, you’re in for a treat. Trust me, this dip is versatile enough to accompany any sweet morsel you dare to dunk in it.

cannoli dip diy

Now, while I’m all for the easy route, I couldn’t help but make my cannoli shells from scratch this time. Blame it on the shiny cannoli tubes from Christmas. There’s just something about homemade crunch that gets me every time.

cannoli dip for holidays

But hey, no judgment if you’re sidestepping the hassle— DIY from foil, store-bought shells, or cinnamon pita chips have got your back. It’s all about that creamy goodness waiting to meet your dessert of choice.

ingredients for cannoli dip

Here’s What You Need

  • Flour: Provides structure to cannoli shells.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the shell and balances flavors.
  • Butter: Adds richness and flakiness to shells.
  • Egg yolks: Bind the dough, contribute to richness.
  • Sweet Marsala wine: Imparts a unique, sweet flavor to the dough.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the shells.
  • Vegetable oil: Medium for frying, gives golden color and crispness.
  • Ricotta cheese: Main creamy filling for its signature texture and taste.
  • Cream cheese: Adds creaminess and tang to the dip.
  • Powdered sugar: Sweetens and thickens the dip.
  • Lemon juice: Adds brightness and a touch of acidity to the dip.
  • Vanilla: Infuses the dip with a sweet, aromatic flavor.
  • Mini chocolate chips: Adds chocolatey bites to the dip, enhances texture.

Did Someone Say Ricotta?

Oops! How did I miss snapping a pic of the ricotta cheese? Maybe I was too excited about the dip. Anyway, ricotta is the star of the show here, transforming this concoction into legit cannoli territory. Without it, well, we might as well call it cream cheese dip, and who wants that? (Actually, that sounds pretty good too, but let’s stay on track.)

mixing cannoli dough

Let’s Cook!

If you’re game for DIY cannoli shells, here’s the lowdown: You’re aiming for a dough that’s more standoffish than clingy—think “I prefer my personal space,” but in dough form. Flour, cold butter, and a disciplined pour of marsala wine will get you there.

kneading cannoli dough

If you’ve got a stand mixer, now’s its time to shine. Once the dough plays nice and rolls out thin, use whatever you’ve got to cut circles—no fancy tools required.

cutting cannoli circles

I used a mason jar ring to cut the dough into perfect circles, but if you don’t have mason jar ring or a circular cookie cutter that’s about 3×3 round, you can also use a glass or eyeball it with a knife.

frying cannoli shells

Now, let’s talk oil. If you’re like me, navigating the right temperature for frying can feel like a “will it, won’t it” relationship. Too cold? Your shells are oil-sponges. Too hot? Hope you like charcoal. But once you nail it, you’re golden—literally. Word to the wise: those cannoli tubes are hotter than summer love post-fry. Give ’em time to cool down unless you fancy a game of hot potato with metal.

Tips for Frying Cannoli Shells

  • Preheat the Oil Correctly: For the best cannoli shells, heat your oil to around 350°F to 375°F. Use a thermometer to check the temperature, as oil that’s too hot or too cool can ruin the texture of the shells.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pot: Frying too many shells at once can cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in soggy shells. Fry in small batches for even cooking.
  • Seal the Edges Well: To prevent the shells from opening while frying, seal the edges with a dab of egg white or water before frying. Make sure it’s pressed tightly.
  • Monitor the Fry Time: Keep an eye on the cannoli as they fry; they should take about 2 minutes to become golden brown. Leaving them in too long can lead to burnt shells.
  • Use the Right Tools: A pair of tongs or a slotted spoon is perfect for carefully placing the cannoli in the oil and removing them without splashes or burns.
  • Drain Excess Oil: After frying, let the shells drain on paper towels to remove excess oil, which prevents them from being too greasy and helps them crisp up as they cool.
  • Fry Shell Side Down First: Start with the seam of the cannoli shell facing down in the oil, as this helps seal it quickly and prevents it from unraveling.
  • Cool Before Filling: Let cannoli shells cool completely before filling to prevent the cream from melting, ensuring a crisp exterior with a creamy contrast inside.
cut cannoli shells

Prepare Ahead: The Secret to Cannoli Bliss

Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s a necessity for cannoli-making. Prepare to let those shells dry like it’s laundry day. Cut ’em at an angle the next day for that “I’m so ready to be dunked” edge. As for the dip, think of chilling it as a pre-party for your taste buds—the longer, the better. Fast-track with a freezer stint if you must, but an all-nighter in the fridge makes it perfect.

ricotta cheese dip

Sure, you can go straight from the mixing bowl to the table, but where’s the flair in that? Cozy it into a bowl lined with plastic wrap, chill until it’s got the right swag, then flip it into a fancy dish for serving!

chilled ricotta dip

The Grand Finale of Dipping Delights

And there you have it: cannoli shells ready for action, angled like they’re diving into the sweet embrace of ricotta. Feel free to get wild with what you dip—fruit, graham crackers, maybe a sneaky finger when no one’s looking. (I won’t tell.)

ricotta cannoli dip

Tips for Cannoli Dip Success

  • Getting the Dough Right: Cannoli dough should be crumbly before adding Marsala wine. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour until you achieve the right consistency.
  • Frying the Shells: Heat the oil to 350°F for optimal frying. Use a thermometer to check the temperature. Too hot, and the shells will burn; too cool, and they’ll absorb oil and become greasy.
  • Rolling out Shells: If the dough springs back when rolling, let it rest longer. This relaxes the gluten and makes rolling easier.
  • Sealing the Shells: Wet the edge of the dough wrapped around the tube to ensure it seals and doesn’t unravel during frying.
  • Dip Consistency: If the cannoli dip is too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it. Make sure your ricotta is well-drained before using it to prevent a watery dip.
  • Serving: Serve the dip with various items such as graham crackers, fruit, or broken waffle cones to cater to different tastes and preferences.
  • Storing Shells: Store the cooled, unfilled shells in an airtight container at room temperature to keep them crisp.
  • Chill Time for Dip: For best flavor, let the cannoli dip chill overnight. This enhances the flavors and gives the dip the best texture for scooping.
  • Adding Chocolate Chips: Stir in the chocolate chips just before chilling to prevent them from dissolving into the dip and maintain their texture.
cannoli chip dip

Paws for Applause

A quick bark-out to my new furry taste-tester, Luna—the latest fluff to join our culinary squad. Theo Burrito is still the top dog around here, but Luna? She’s got a knack for gobbling up any ‘test samples’ that hit the floor. Here’s to more paws, licks, and one happy kitchen family. Welcome aboard, Luna—aka Looney Tuna!

luna the dog

Alright, Hungry People, you’ve just been schooled on the art of cannoli dip and shells. Whether you’re in it to impress the crowd or just to satisfy your sweet tooth, this recipe guarantees you can have your dip and eat it too. Remember, homemade is the way to go when you want to keep things budget-friendly and brag-worthy. Tackle those cannoli shells with a dash of patience and roll out that dip with all the love you can muster.

And hey, let’s not forget about Luna and Theo – taste-testing never looked so cute. Until the next culinary caper, keep those whisks twirling and, as always, Enjoy!

pinterest cannolidip

Cannoli Dip

The Starving Chef
Dive into this easy cannoli dip with homemade shells for a quick, crowd-pleasing sweet treat.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dips, Italian
Servings 24 cannoli chips



  • 3 cups flour + more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sweet marsala wine
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying


  • 2 ½ cups ricotta cheese room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips


  • Preheat 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in a pot to a shimmering state (or use a deep fryer, if available).
  • In a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and chopped butter to form a crumbly dough. Integrate the egg yolks one by one. Gradually add the Marsala wine in a steady stream until the dough becomes sticky. Mix until the dough stops sticking to the bowl, which should take about ten to fifteen minutes.
  • On a floured surface, knead the sticky dough until it is smooth, then let it rest for about ten minutes. After resting, roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/8 inch thick.
  • Use a three-inch ring to cut out dough circles. Wrap the dough around cannoli tubes, thinning it to 1/16 inch thick. Moisten the edges with water to seal them. Gently lower the tubes into the heated oil and fry for one to two minutes or until the cannoli shells are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil, allow to cool, then carefully slide the shells off the tubes. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels to cool. Allow the cannoli shells to dry out overnight.
  • For the dip, mix the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice with half of the mini chocolate chips until the mixture is smooth and thickens. Transfer the filling to a bowl and refrigerate until it firms up a bit, which should take at least three hours or ideally overnight.
  • Before serving, slice the cannoli shells in half at a 45-degree angle to make them easier to dip. Top the chilled dip with the remaining chocolate chips. Serve the dip with the prepared cannoli shells and enjoy!
Keyword cream cheese, dessert, dough, ricotta
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