Cannoli Cream, homemade Italian cannoli filling with ricotta cheese, whipped cream, orange, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. Delicious not only for filling cannoli but for a wide range of other desserts like topping crepes, ice cream, or strawberry shortcake or using as a filling for cakes or doughnuts.
This simple homemade Cannoli Cream is full of all your favorite cannoli flavors including orange, cinnamon, vanilla, ricotta cheese, and chocolate! Don’t worry though, you can easily tailor it to your personal preference.
I love how versatile this from scratch Cannoli Cream is! We recently made some and it kept in the fridge for about a week.
What is Cannoli Cream
Cannoli Cream is typically used to fill cannoli shells (fried pastry tubes), but can be used for a wide range of other things.
Cannoli Cream not only makes a great cannoli filling but also great on a wide range of desserts such as strawberry shortcake, French Toast, or ice cream sundaes. It can also be used to fill doughnuts or used as frosting!
This version combines whipped cream with ricotta cheese along with sugar to sweeten and all my favorite cannoli flavors. Cannoli filling can also be made without the whipped cream and primarily sweetened ricotta.
Equipment You May Need
- Pastry Bag – If you’re going to use this Cannoli Cream to fill cannoli shells or as frosting, a piping bag set would be great.
- Cheesecloth –If your ricotta cheese is really runny or soupy you may need to strain it overnight. You can use paper towels, but cheesecloth will also work great.
- Electric Mixer – An electric hand mixer with removable beaters or a stand mixer is a lot easier to use than a whisk when beating the heavy cream into whipped cream.
- Zester – An inexpensive zester is perfect for getting a little orange zest.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Cannoli Cream Ingredients
- Heavy Cream – You need heavy whipping cream so it can be whipped into whipped cream. Lower fat milk will not whip and become thick. You could in theory use a defrosted whipped topping but may need to adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe.
- Ricotta Cheese – I’d suggest regular fat ricotta cheese but you might be able to get away with lower fat if you strain it really well for a few days. You don’t want it too runny. You can also use ricotta impastata (not salata). It’s a thicker pastry ricotta but can be difficult to find. If your ricotta is runny, please strain overnight or even two nights (see how to strain ricotta cheese).
- Powdered Sugar – Regular confectioners’ sugar.
- Vanilla Extract – You could also use almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia in addition to the vanilla or instead of.
- Orange Zest – A little fresh orange zest, gives so much flavor! If you don’t like orange you can omit it, but don’t worry it’s just a little zest so not a strong orange flavor.
- Cinnamon – You can add more or less ground cinnamon to your personal preference.
- Chocolate Chips – I used mini chocolate chips but you could also use chopped chocolate such as dark chocolate, bittersweet, or semi-sweet.
How to Make Cannoli Cream
Step One: Place a large mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer at least for a few minutes or longer. This will help the heavy cream whip up.
Step Two: Beat the cold heavy cream in the cold mixing bowl with the cold beaters until stiff peaks. Set aside.
Step Three: In another bowl beat together the ricotta cheese (make sure it’s thick and/or strained before proceeding), powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and cinnamon until just combined. Fold in the whipped cream and chocolate.
(Full printable recipe card with full details is at bottom of post.)
Uses for Cannoli Cream
- Use as a delicious cannoli filling for cannoli shells or other pastry shells such as mini pie shells.
- Great for topping sundaes (like this classic hot fudge sundae), French Toast, waffles, pancakes, and other sweet dishes like this Cannoli Cream Strawberry Shortcake.
- Makes a quick dip for fruit or graham crackers.
- Use as a frosting or filling for cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies (would be great as a filling in these Cream Wafer Cookies).
Quick Tips for Best Results
- The thickness of the Cannoli Cream will depend on how thick your ricotta cheese is. If you are planning to use this as like a whipped cream topping (for sundaes, shortcake, etc.) and want the cream on the softer side you do not need to strain your ricotta as well (but it should still not be really runny). If you are planning to use this as a frosting or to fill cannoli shells and need it to have more of a stiff consistency, I’d suggest you strain your ricotta until very thick for a night or two before.
- You can adjust the flavorings such as the cinnamon, orange zest, and chocolate to your personal preference. Chopped pistachios would also be great. Please note though that the chocolate and nuts may start to become soft the longer they sit in the cannoli cream. So if making the cream ahead, add the nuts and chocolate shortly before serving.
- Using a cold bowl, beaters, and heavy cream can help the cream whip up faster and better but if you don’t have the time, it will still work ok.
Cannoli Cream FAQ
How should I store Cannoli Cream?
Store the cream covered in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze Cannoli Cream?
Hmmm, I haven’t tried it but guessing it might change the consistency of the cannoli cream so I would suggest not freezing or trying a small amount.
How long will the Cannoli Cream last?
It will last at least a few days in the refrigerator if well covered or even up to about a week depending on the freshness of your ingredients.
Instead of ricotta cheese, you can use ricotta impastata or mascarpone. Cream cheese would also work in a pinch but not have the same great flavor as ricotta.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You can not use lower fat milks for the heavy cream but you could use a defrosted whipped topping instead if you’d like (I wouldn’t necessarily recommend but it would work). If you do want to use a lower fat ricotta cheese be sure to strain it really well until thick because it does tend to be more runny.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add a little of your favorite extracts, liqueurs, and flavorings. Chopped pistachios would also be delicious.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – This would be a tough one to make vegan with the dairy in it.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian. Be sure to check individual brands/products just to be sure though.
Low-Carb – You can try a sugar substitute and a low-carb chocolate.
Gluten-Free – It’s gluten-free but check specific brands to be sure.
Other Italian Recipes You May Enjoy
- Italian Sprinkle Cookies – Easy homemade cookies dipped in a simple glaze and loaded with colorful sprinkles.
- Italian Green Beans – A quick veggie side dish.
- Italian Chicken Chili – A light chunky Italian inspired chicken chili.
- Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta – A delicious baked pasta with chicken, cheese, sauce and a bread crumb topping.
Hope you enjoy this simple homemade Cannoli Cream. Tell me in the comments what you used it for!
- Place a large mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes while you prep ingredients.
- Remove mixing bowl and beaters from freezer. Place cold heavy cream in bowl and beat with electric mixer with cold beaters until stiff peaks just begin to form. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese (make sure it's thick and/or strained), powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and cinnamon until just combined. Fold in whipped cream and then mini chocolate chips. Use as desired.
(Nutrition data is provided when available for informational purposes only and calculated using an online nutritional calculator. For the most accurate information please calculate based on specific ingredients and brands you use as well as any changes you made to the recipe. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician and any nutritional information provided should only be used as a general guideline and estimate.)