Cannoli Muffins, easy homemade Italian inspired recipe with ricotta cheese, orange, cinnamon, pistachios, vanilla, and mini chocolate chips. The best for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert! Quick and simple to make, these muffins are moist and delicious!
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These Cannoli Muffins, are the perfect go-to treat for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert. I just can’t get enough cannoli recipes, so add this one to the list! These muffins are full of flavor including ricotta cheese, orange zest, cinnamon, pistachios, vanilla, and mini chocolate chips. A great combo for this Italian inspired breakfast treat.
So these muffins don’t taste exactly like a cannoli. Nothing tastes exactly like a cannoli, except a cannoli. BUT all the same flavors and a tasty from-scratch muffin.
Have no idea what a cannoli is? Check out this “What is a Cannoli” for all info about this popular Italian dessert.
These muffins have a lot of great flavors going on, but if it’s not quite your thing you might like these Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins, Cranberry Orange Muffins, or this copycat Panera Pumpkin Muffins recipe.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Cannoli Muffins Ingredients
- Fresh orange zest
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Vegetable oil (or canola oil, could also try melted butter)
- Granulated sugar
- Ricotta cheese (no need to drain)
- Vanilla extract
- Mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate and save some for tops of muffins)
- Pistachios (save some for tops of muffins)
- Powdered sugar (for dusting the top of muffins if you want)
How to Make Cannoli Muffins
- PREHEAT. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- MIX DRY INGREDIENTS. Whisk together flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium mixing bowl; set aside.
- MIX WET INGREDIENTS. Whisk together oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in ricotta, egg, vanilla, then milk until well combined.
- COMBINE. Mix dry ingredients into the oil and sugar mixture until just combined. Reserve about 2 tablespoons each of chocolate chips and pistachios for tops of muffins, then mix the rest into the muffin batter.
- FILL LINERS. Scoop batter evenly into paper-lined pan filling cups about 2/3 full. Sprinkle reserved chocolate chips and pistachios on top of batter.
- BAKE. Bake muffins at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool slightly, then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar.
- Like most muffins, these bakery-style muffins are best the same day they are made but can be made ahead if you’d like.
- Great treat for a sweet breakfast, brunch, or even dessert with some coffee or Italian drink like espresso, cappuccino, or caffè latte.
- Dust with powdered sugar right before serving. Some kind of sugar shaker works great for this!
- I used large tulip paper liners, but you can use any type of paper liner you’d like. Depending on the size of your liner or muffin tin, you may get more or less muffins and need to adjust the baking time if the muffins are larger or smaller. Mini liners and a mini muffin tin would be a great option too.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Be careful to not overmix your muffin batter. Mix until JUST combined.
- Fresh orange zest gives a great freshness to these muffins. Even if you’re not a huge orange fan, I still recommend it. It’s not a very STRONG amount of orange. You could use lemon, but I’m personally not a fan.
- Try not to over bake the muffins, or they may come out dry. They should be just golden brown around edges and a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
- I made this batter in individual muffin cups but if you’re looking for something more in one pan, you might like this Cannoli Bread.
Cannoli Muffins FAQ
How should I store these Cannoli Muffins?
Although these muffins are at their best the same day they are baked, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Can I freeze the Cannoli Muffins?
Yes! Again, I think they are best the same day they are baked, but you can freeze them.
How long will the muffins last?
The muffins will last a few days at room temperature or longer if frozen.
Instead of vanilla or in addition to it, you can use Almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia. Instead of all or some of the chocolate chips and pistachios, you can substitute chopped nuts, toffee chips, or other baking chips.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You could try a low-fat butter substitute and low-fat ricotta cheese but I haven’t tried either so can’t say for sure how muffins will turn out. A low-fat milk should work ok.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You could add other flavor extracts or additional types of baking chips.
Didn’t turn out, what went wrong?
I would guess the muffin batter was overmixed or the muffins were over baked.
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 cheese, egg, and milk substitute. Be sure your chocolate is vegan as well.
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 lower sugar chocolate. The flour would be hard to substitute in this one.
Gluten-Free -Try a gluten-free flour substitute that you use substitute 1:1.
Other Italian Brunch Recipes You May Enjoy
- Cannoli Pancakes (Snappy Gourmet) – Delicious homemade pancakes with Cannoli flavors.
- Cannoli Overnight French Toast Casserole (Snappy Gourmet) – A great make-ahead breakfast or brunch recipe idea.
- Ultimate Frittata (Epicurious) – A perfect egg brunch recipe.
- Ciambella Romagnola (Savoring Italy) – An Italian breakfast cake, yum!
Hope you enjoy this simple from scratch Cannoli Muffins recipe. Tell me in the comments if you made any flavoring changes.
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (not drained)
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips divided
- 1 cup pistachios shells removed and chopped, divided
- powdered sugar (optional for dusting tops)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- Whisk together flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium mixing bowl; set aside.
- Whisk together oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in ricotta, egg, vanilla, then milk until well combined.
- Mix dry ingredients into the oil and sugar mixture until just combined. Reserve about 2 tablespoons each of chocolate chips and pistachios for tops of muffins, then mix the rest into the muffin batter.
- Scoop batter evenly into paper-lined pan filling cups about 2/3 full. Sprinkle reserved chocolate chips and pistachios on top of batter.
- Bake muffins at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool slightly, then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar.