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How to Make Mini Cannoli

These “bambini-size” cannoli made with sheep’s milk ricotta and colorful garnishes are a great treat to make for kids or when entertaining a crowd.

mini cannoli

Mini Cannoli with colorful garnishes are a great treat for kids and party guests when entertaining.

I Love Sicily. It’s one of the most delicious regions of Italy: Arancini, Panelle, Pasta alla Norma, Pasta alla Trapanese, Cassata, and Granita are just a few of the specialties of this island that I’ve been fortunate to taste in its region of origin.

My favorite Sicilian treat, however, is the iconic cannolo. Enjoy it in Sicily, and you might never want to eat it anywhere else! I’ve developed a recipe for “Cannoli – Bambini Size,” or mini cannoli, that pays homage to the real deal with some slight modifications to make it my own. Sheep’s milk ricotta, a protagonist in many Sicilian pastries, is a must for the filling, and so are the usual garnishes of candied cherries and orange peel, as well as pistachios.

For the dough, I choose butter over lard and replace marsala with sparkling water, which helps create air pockets in the dough, yielding a shell that’s crispy and light. As for the size, I opt for a smaller version, which is great for kids, for entertaining, and as an after-dinner treat. 

This is a fairly involved recipe, so message the author on Instagram @paola_marocchi_ with questions and she’ll gladly answer.

Mini Cannoli

Mini Cannoli

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Paola Marocchi


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Cannoli dough
  • 1 cup 1 + 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour

  • 2 tsp. 2 sugar

  • ¼ tsp. of cinnamon (optional)

  • 1 tbsp. 1 butter

  • ½ tsp. of vanilla extract

  • 2 2 ½ oz sparkling water

  • For the ricotta filling
  • 12 12 ½ oz Sheep’s Milk Ricotta

  • 2 tbsp 2 Confectionery Sugar

  • Pinch Salt

  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

  • Grated zest of half an orange

  • Grated zest of one lemon

  • **For the garnish
  • Candied orange peel

  • Candied cherries

  • Chopped toasted pistachios

  • Confectionery sugar for dusting


  • For the cannoli dough
  • Mix all purpose flour, sugar, and cinnamon in food process or until combined.
  • Add diced cold butter and mix until butter is pea size and well dispersed.
  • Add vanilla extract and sparkling water, which will help create air pockets and make the dough crispy but light, and mix until dough is crumbly.
  • Transfer dough to a bowl and mix by hand until dough comes together, approximately 1 minute. Do not overmix and don’t add any more water – the dough should be on the drier side.
  • Wrap dough in plastic and allow to rest in fridge for at least ½ hour.
  • Flour work surface and rolling pin and roll to 1/8” of an inch and cut with a 3 ½” round cutter. Stretch each disk of dough slightly so it takes on a more oval shape. Note: Dough can be rolled a second time if desired, but it’s not recommended to roll more than twice.
  • Oil cannoli molds lightly so the dough will not stick to them. Wet one side of dough, place oval of dough around cannoli mold with the wet side overlapping on the dry side in the center of the mold.
  • Fry at 375°F – 400°F, until golden brown in color, allow to cool, and then unmold by first pushing mold in one direction and then the opposite direction, while carefully holding on to the fried dough shell.
  • Fried cannoli can be kept in an airtight container for up to four days prior to filling.
  • For the ricotta filling and garnish
  • The night before making the filling, place the ricotta in a cheesecloth (or colander) with a weight on top such as a can of sauce, etc, to drain any excess liquid.
  • Place ricotta, confectionery sugar, salt, vanilla extract and grated citrus zests in kitchenaid with paddle attachment and mix until creamy and smooth, approximately one minute.
  • Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • When ready to serve, fill cannoli shells with ricotta filling, and garnish each end with candied orange peel and glazed cherries, sprinkle chopped toasted pistachios on top of the filling as well and finish with a dusting of confectionery sugar.


  • Equipment needs: 12 5” long cannoli molds and a 3½” round cutter

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