Cannoli Dip Recipe

Cannoli Dip Recipe: A Delicious Twist on a Classic Dessert

Cannoli originated in Sicily, Italy. Traditionally, cannoli are crispy pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese. These delightful desserts date back to the Arab rule of Sicily around the 10th century. Cannoli have since become iconic Italian treats, especially enjoyed during Carnival season. Adapting the dessert into a dip allows you to enjoy the same flavors with less effort.

  1. Ricotta Cheese: Provides the creamy base. Fresh ricotta ensures a smooth texture.
  2. Mascarpone Cheese: Adds richness and a slight tang. This Italian cheese complements ricotta.
  3. Powdered Sugar: Sweetens the dip. It blends easily without graininess.
  4. Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor. Pure vanilla extract offers the best taste.
  5. Chocolate Chips: Adds texture and a chocolatey note. Mini chips blend better.
  6. Optional Add-Ins: Include zest (lemon/orange), nuts (pistachios/almonds), or cinnamon for variety.

Cannoli dip replicates the essence of traditional cannoli using a mix of these ingredients. It’s a favorite at gatherings due to its simplicity and satisfying flavor.

How to Make Cannoli Dip

Choosing the Right Ricotta

Select full-fat ricotta cheese, as it provides a creamy texture ideal for cannoli dip. Opt for a fresh, high-quality brand to ensure the best taste. If the ricotta is too watery, drain it using cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve for at least 30 minutes. When ricotta has less moisture, the dip becomes thicker and more consistent.

Incorporating Sweeteners and Flavorings

Use powdered sugar for sweetness since it dissolves easily and combines smoothly with the cheese mixture. Typically, 1 cup of powdered sugar works well for balancing the flavors with one cup each of ricotta and mascarpone. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to enhance the overall flavor. For added variety, consider including the zest of one orange or lemon, finely chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds, and a dash of ground cinnamon. These add-ins provide extra layers of taste without overpowering the classic cannoli profile.

Serving Suggestions for Cannoli Dip

Creative Dipping Ideas

Use a variety of items for dipping to enhance your cannoli dip experience. Popular choices include:

  • Waffle Cones: Break into bite-sized pieces for a crunchy texture.
  • Graham Crackers: Offer a slightly sweet, sturdy option.
  • Vanilla Wafers: Provide a light, crispy backdrop.
  • Fruit Slices: Use apples, strawberries, or pears for a fresh, healthy choice.
  • Biscotti: Pair well with the rich, creamy dip for added flavor.

Experiment to find your favorites, mixing flavors and textures to keep it exciting.

Occasions Best Suited for Cannoli Dip

Integrate cannoli dip into various events to delight your guests. Ideal occasions include:

Versatility ensures it fits seamlessly into various social settings.

Health Considerations

Caloric Content

Cannoli dip contains several calorie-dense ingredients. Ricotta and mascarpone cheese provide a rich, creamy base, contributing significantly to the dip’s caloric content. In a typical serving, you’ll find around 150-200 calories per 1/4 cup. Chocolate chips add additional calories, with approximately 70-80 calories per tablespoon. If the dip’s intended for a health-conscious crowd, consider monitoring portion sizes to manage overall calorie intake.

Dietary Modifications and Substitutions

You can make several dietary modifications to a traditional cannoli dip. For a lighter version, use part-skim ricotta and reduced-fat mascarpone cheese, which lowers fat content without compromising taste. If you need a vegan option, substitute dairy ingredients with plant-based alternatives like almond ricotta and coconut cream. Opt for dark chocolate or cacao nibs instead of regular chocolate chips to reduce sugar content. For those avoiding gluten, serve the dip with gluten-free dippers like fruit slices, gluten-free crackers, or almond flour biscotti. These adjustments ensure the cannoli dip aligns with various dietary needs.


Cannoli dip offers a delightful twist on a classic Italian dessert that’s both easy to make and versatile in serving options. Whether you’re looking to indulge or seeking healthier alternatives, this dessert can be tailored to meet your dietary needs without compromising on flavor. With its rich history and adaptable recipe, cannoli dip is sure to become a favorite at your gatherings. Enjoy experimenting with different dippers and flavors to make this delicious treat your own.

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