Cannoli Frosting, a delicious homemade frosting with ricotta and mascarpone cheese based on the popular Italian pastry. This frosting is the BEST on cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cupcakes, and more for a tasty addition!
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This Cannoli Frosting recipe will have you putting it on all sorts of desserts and treats! I’ve used it for my popular Cannoli Cake and Cannoli Cupcakes recipes, but have also used it on brownies, cookies, and even just crackers for a simple addition! The frosting takes a little time to make, but so delicious you’ll want to make this frosting all the time!
If you’ve never had a cannoli, they’re a must-try at any Italian bakery. Technically, cannoli is plural (cannolo being singular) but the word has become a bit Americanized for both singular and plural. Either way, they’re delicious!
What is a Cannoli?
Cannoli are delicious Italian pastries made up of a deep-fried pastry shell and sweetened ricotta cheese filling. For more information see my What is a Cannoli for all the details!
Not a lot of ingredients in this from-scratch frosting. However, PLEASE please PLEASE strain the cheeses overnight to make sure they are THICK before making the frosting. Let me say that again, PLEASE STRAIN THE CHEESE OVERNIGHT if at all unsure about the thickness.
See how to strain ricotta cheese for tips on how to drain and strain the ricotta (and mascarpone if needed) overnight. I know it’s a pain but would hate for people to end up with runny frosting that you can’t use.
Some brands of ricotta and mascarpone cheese are fairly thick but since there are so many brands out there it’s hard to say for sure which ones in your area would be the best. To be on the safe side strain both kinds of cheese if you’re at all unsure.
Cannoli Frosting Ingredients
- Ricotta cheese, drained overnight if needed (needs to be THICK)
- Mascarpone cheese, drained overnight if needed (needs to be THICK)
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh orange juice
- Mini chocolate chips
How to Make Cannoli Frosting
PREP CHEESE. Make sure your ricotta and mascarpone cheeses are well-drained (overnight if needed) and thick before starting frosting.
MIX INGREDIENTS. To make the frosting, beat together ricotta and mascarpone in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar, vanilla, orange juice, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
ADD CHOCOLATE. Mix in chocolate chips if desired.
STORE. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Uses for Cannoli Frosting
- Decorating cakes and cupcakes
- Sandwiching between cookies or on top
- Frosting top of brownies
- Sprucing up waffles, pancakes, or French Toast with a dollop on top
- Dipping for fruit, cookies, graham crackers, etc.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- PLEASE strain your cheese overnight to remove as much liquid as possible to help prevent a runny frosting.
- Be sure your cheeses are not only drained overnight but THICK before making the frosting. The cheese should be thick almost like cream cheese.
- Store any leftovers of the frosting in the refrigerator.
- You can change up the flavors in the homemade frosting like the orange, cinnamon, etc. but be careful adding more liquid. Also, some things such as nuts (and even the chocolate chips), can get soft if kept in the frosting too long.
Cannoli Frosting FAQ
How should I store the Cannoli Frosting?
Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use the frosting or if you have any leftovers.
Can I freeze the frosting?
No, I would not recommend freezing the frosting with all the cheese in it. You can try it, but the consistency may be off after you defrost.
How long will the frosting last?
Check the expiration dates on your cheeses first. As long as your cheese and other ingredients are fresh, the frosting could easily last a week or two if not longer. However, the chocolate chips may become a little soft.
You can use your favorite flavors instead of the cinnamon, orange juice, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Be careful to not add much liquid or you’re frosting may become runny. Fiori di Sicilia and almond extract are great alternatives for vanilla and/or orange juice. You could also use orange zest instead of juice. You can use any kind of chocolate chip or chopped chocolate such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even bittersweet. Personal preference.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
I would not recommend using light, part-skim, or low-fat cheeses in this recipe. You can try it, but be sure they are THICK and drained well.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add your favorite cannoli flavors such as chopped maraschino cherries, pistachios, dried/candied fruit, etc. Again, just be careful adding too much liquid.
What should I use this frosting for?
It’s great on cakes, cupcakes, brownies, etc. See above for serving suggestions.
Didn’t turn out, what went wrong?
Generally, if it didn’t turn out well, it’s liquidy and runny caused by the cheeses not being thick enough. Be sure to drain and strain the cheese overnight so that it’s THICK. Some brands do not need to be strained overnight but it varies a lot brand to brand.
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 but you can try using vegan ingredients including a cream cheese substitute for the cheeses and vegan chocolate.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian. Be sure to check individual brands/products just to be sure though.
Low-Carb – This would be tough. You can try a sugar substitute and low carb chocolate but can’t say for sure how it will turn out.
Gluten-Free – The frosting is gluten-free but check brands just to be sure.
Other Frosting Recipes You May Enjoy
- Peanut Butter Frosting (Snappy Gourmet) – Easy creamy and fluffy homemade peanut butter frosting, delicious!
- Homemade Peppermint Whipped Cream (Snappy Gourmet) – Delicious whipped cream that can also double as a simple frosting.
- Vanilla Buttercream (Food Network) – Quick homemade vanilla flavored buttercream.
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting (Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt) – A thick, creamy, sweet, and buttery frosting.
Hope you enjoy this delicious simple Cannoli Frosting recipe. Tell me in the comments what you used it for!
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Cannoli Frosting Video
Quick video tutorial to show how this recipe comes together along with my homemade Cannoli Cake…
Frosting: (see notes below)
- 1 tub (10 ounces) ricotta cheese drained overnight if needed (see notes below)
- 1 tub (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese drained overnight if needed (see notes below)
- 3 cups powdered sugar (possibly more if needed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 bag (10 ounces) mini chocolate chips
- Make sure your ricotta and mascarpone cheeses are well-drained and thick before starting frosting. See notes below for best results.
- To make frosting, beat together ricotta and mascarpone in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar, vanilla, orange juice, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
- Mix in chocolate chips if desired.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.