Cannoli Ricotta Fritters, a sweet batter inspired by the popular Italian pastry with ricotta, orange, chocolate chips, and cinnamon that is deep-fried then dusted with powdered sugar. Ready in less than 30 minutes, this simple recipe makes a delicious homemade treat for breakfast, snack, or dessert.
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Seems to be the perfect time of year to share these homemade tasty Cannoli Ricotta Fritters! Everyone seems to be all about the donuts (or doughnuts?) around here this fall, so I couldn’t help but coming up with a fun cannoli version. They are quite delicious if I do say so myself!
You know I’m a little crazy with my cannoli recipes, so it seemed only natural to come up with a fried dough version for fall. haha! The best! They are crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside.
But before we dive in, let’s talk about fritters…
What is a fritter?
So you could probably call these Cannoli Ricotta Fritters doughnuts/donuts, or even doughnut/donut holes. I don’t think anyone would really question it.
But what is a fritter?
So a fritter generally speaking is a food (such as apple, shrimp, corn, zucchini, etc.) coated in a batter and deep-fried. Whereas a donut is generally just a piece of dough or batter deep-fried.
Therefore it’s a little questionable if these would be fritters or donuts. I’m going to argue the ricotta and chocolate chips are coated in the batter and deep-fried like fritters BUT if you want to call these sweet balls of batter something else, by all means, go ahead. :)
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Cannoli Ricotta Fritters Ingredients
- Vegetable oil – Or canola oil. You will need quite a bit for deep frying these but the amount will vary depending on the size of the pan you use. I’d suggest using some kind of candy thermometer with a pan clip to monitor the oil temperature.
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Cinnamon – Depending on how much you like cinnamon, you may want to increase or decrease the amount a little.
- Ricotta cheese – I did not drain my ricotta cheese for this recipe, however, if the brand you typically buy is kind of soupy, you can strain the ricotta overnight (see how to strain ricotta cheese for more help on that).
- Granulated sugar
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract – Or you could use a little Fiori di Sicilia, almond extract, or your other favorite flavoring for a different flavor.
- Fresh orange zest – This is optional but does give the fritters a nice fresh flavor. You can also add more or less of it if you’d like. Be sure to use a good zester and do not get the white pith from orange.
- Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips – You could also use finely chopped chocolate (white chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, or bittersweet would work depending on personal preference).
- Powdered sugar – For dusting the tops of the fritters. A sugar shaker is great for this!
How to Make Cannoli Ricotta Fritters
- HEAT OIL. Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 370-375 degrees F.
- MIX DRY INGREDIENTS. Meanwhile, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- MIX WET INGREDIENTS. In a medium mixing bowl mix together ricotta, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until well combined with a whisk or spoon. Mix in dry ingredients until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- FRY. Using a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons), drop dough into preheated oil. Bake about 4-6 minutes or until brown, turning occasionally. Do not overcrowd pan; bake in batches as needed.
- DUST WITH SUGAR. Remove fritters from oil and place on wire cooling rack over baking sheet or place on paper towels. Cool slightly then sprinkle with powdered sugar. These fritters are best enjoyed right after frying.
- The Cannoli Ricotta Fritters are great as-is dusted with powdered sugar.
- The fritters are also great with quick sweet dipping sauces such as a strawberry sauce or raspberry sauce, or even something like a dessert peanut butter sauce or apple cider caramel sauce would be fun and delicious.
- Sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping would also be great for dipping on the side.
- Serve for breakfast, snack, or even dessert with some coffee or fruit juice. This Cannoli French Toast also makes a great breakfast option.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Try to keep the oil at a constant temperature as best you can. If the temperature is too high, the fritters may get too brown on the outside and undercooked on the inside. If the oil temperature is too low, they could get soggy and take a long time to cook.
- Be careful to not overcrowd the fritters in the pan. Cook in batches as needed.
- Cool the fritters slightly before dusting, otherwise, the sugar may all melt into the fritters.
- The fritters are the best right after they’re made (or shortly after). You could probably make the batter an hour or two ahead of time, but I would not make it the day before.
- You might want to adjust the amount of cinnamon and/or orange depending on your personal preference.
Cannoli Ricotta Fritters FAQ
How should I store the fritters?
The fritters are best served right away, however, if you need to store leftovers, store in an airtight container. You can reheat in a warm oven or microwave.
Can I freeze the fritters?
I would not recommend freezing the fritters. Technically you could, but they will probably get quite soggy.
How long will the fritters last?
They are best served within a few hours of making, however, would last at least a few days in an airtight container.
Instead of vanilla, you could use another flavoring like almond extract or Fiori di Sicilia. Instead of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, you could use finely chopped chocolate of any variety.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
I would recommend using full-fat ricotta cheese, but you could try a low-fat ricotta and drain well so that it’s not soupy.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You could add other flavorings or extracts.
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 could try vegan substitutes for the ricotta and eggs.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian. Be sure to check individual brands/products just to be sure though.
Low-Carb – These would be tough to make low-carb with the sugar and flour.
Gluten-Free -Try a gluten-free baking flour that has a 1:1 replacement.
Other Cannoli Inspired Recipes You May Enjoy
- Cannoli Poke Cake – A delicious from-scratch cake with cannoli topping.
- Cannoli Brownies – Decadent chocolate brownies with a thick cannoli frosting.
- Cannoli Cupcakes – Homemade cupcakes with a delicious from-scratch cannoli frosting.
- Cannoli Cheesecake – My son’s favorite! Great for holidays and special occasions.
- Cannoli Pie – A homemade crunchy crust and no-bake cannoli cream filling.
Hope you enjoy this from scratch Cannoli Ricotta Fritters recipe. Tell me in the comments what you served them with.
You might also like these Cinnamon Breadstick Bites!
Cannoli Ricotta Fritters
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (8 ounces)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate)
- Powdered sugar (for dusting)
- Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 370-375 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl mix together ricotta, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until well combined with a whisk or spoon. Mix in dry ingredients until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Using a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons), drop dough into preheated oil. Bake about 4-6 minutes or until brown, turning occasionally. Do not overcrowd pan; bake in batches as needed.
- Remove fritters from oil and place on wire cooling rack over baking sheet or place on paper towels. Cool slightly then sprinkle with powdered sugar. These fritters are best enjoyed right after frying.