Best Cannoli Dip with Mascarpone
Whip together a delicious dessert dip in just 15 minutes. This five-ingredient homemade cannoli dip recipe is easy to make and can be stored in the fridge up to two days before serving. It’s perfect for game day or holiday parties!
Cannoli filling is pure deliciousness. Two different types of Italian cheese—ricotta and mascarpone—are melded together and sweetened with a bit of vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. A sprinkle of mini chocolate chips and this cannoli dip is good to serve with wafer cookies.
This popular recipe to a must-try for the Super Bowl, but it also works well in summer because it’s a no-bake recipe. Whether you serve it during the holidays or on game day, this dessert dip will surely be a crowd pleaser!
Why this recipe works
This recipe uses the same ingredients as cannoli filling. It is guaranteed to not only taste delicious, but also authentic because it’s made without cream cheese. The mascarpone makes the dip rich and creamy (it gives a similar effect to tiramisu).
The dip is ready in 15 minutes, but can be made up to 48 hours in advance for easy prep if you’re entertaining. And the best part: there are only 5 ingredients!
- Mascarpone cheese: This is essentially an Italian cream cheese. Its tangy taste makes it different from American cream cheese. Luckily it is easy to find in most grocery stores. Bring it to room temperature for easy mixing.
- Ricotta cheese: Make sure to drain the ricotta and discard the excess water so the dessert dip isn’t too wet. Full-fat will give you the best results.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this brings sweetness to the mixture!
- Mini chocolate chips: The same kind used on the ends of a cannoli. The mini size is best for the dip because it disperses well.
If you can’t find cannoli shells, ask your local grocery store’s pastry chef. Alternative dippers for cannoli dip include broken waffle cones, pizzelle cookies or graham crackers! Serve them separately (rather than in the dip) so they don’t get soggy. Fresh fruit is also a good option (I always serve fruit with my brownie batter dip.)
This recipe can be doubled easily to serve a crowd! You can also cut the recipe in half for a smaller portion.
How to make cannoli dip
- Drain the ricotta cheese through cheesecloth. This step is important so the dip isn’t too watery.
- Beat ricotta with mascarpone using an electric mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Stir in the mini chocolate chips by hand.
- Chill for at least 10 minutes and up to 48 hours. Serve with pizzelle cookies or broken waffle cones.
How to strain ricotta cheese
This step is vital to obtaining a thick, creamy texture. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Line the strainer with cheesecloth and transfer the ricotta cheese onto the cheesecloth. Use a rubber spatula to press the liquid out of the ricotta and allow it to drain into the bowl beneath the strainer.
Some people cover the ricotta and allow it to drain overnight in the fridge. I have made this dip without doing this time-consuming step. Just drain as much of the water from the ricotta as you can using the strainer and cheesecloth. Discard the excess water.
To prevent runny cannoli dip, be sure to adequately strain your ricotta cheese and discard the excess water. Full-fat ricotta made with whole milk is best since it has less liquid.
To make this dip ahead of time, prepare it according to the instructions, but don’t mix in the chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. When ready to serve, let the dip sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Stir in the mini chocolate chips when the mixture is softer and share with guests.
For super creamy cannoli dip, use a hand mixer or stand mixer. Make sure your ingredients are fresh and at room temperature so they combine well.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s made of the same ingredients as cannoli filling. The ingredients include ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.
Yes! It contains dairy so it must be refrigerated. The dip can stay in the fridge until you are ready to serve. It’s okay to stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
Either the ricotta cheese is not full fat or it wasn’t strained. If it’s still thin after being refrigerated, try adding more mascarpone to the mix and refrigerating the dip again. Avoid adding more sugar as it will draw out the liquid from the mixture.
Absolutely! The two are interchangeable. However, if you want the tangy taste that mascarpone has, then I recommend adding 1/4 cup sour cream to the mixture as well.
No, the ricotta cheese makes this dessert dip difficult to freeze and thaw. The texture will be grainy and no longer creamy.
Here are some more Italian treats and dessert dips to try!
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Get the Recipe: Best Cannoli Dip
- 2 cups (425 g) whole milk ricotta cheese, drained, (one 15 ounce container)
- 1 cup (226 g) mascarpone cheese, (one 8 ounce package)
- 1 ½ cups (185 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (165 g) mini chocolate chips,, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- Cannoli chips or broken waffle cones for serving
- Place mesh strainer on top of a medium bowl. Line strainer with cheesecloth. Transfer ricotta cheese to the cheesecloth and use a spatula to press the cheese against the cloth and drain the liquid. Discard the excess liquid that dripped into the bowl below.
- In a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat ricotta cheese and mascarpone together until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Continue to mix until the sugar is completely incorporated. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, fold the mini chocolate chips into the cheese mixture.
- Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes or up to two days. Before serving, sprinkle any remaining chocolate chips on top if desired. Serve with pizzelle cookies or broken waffle cones to scoop cannoli dip and enjoy!
Inspired by allrecipes.
33 Comments on “Best Cannoli Dip with Mascarpone”
I love using cinnamon-sugar pita chips (Stacy’s makes a good one), to get the cinnamon taste a good cannoli has!
OMG!! I made this for my crew at work and I have to admit I took a bite first before I brought it in (cuz, you know… that’s what good cooks do!) and this dip was TOTES AMAZE!!
Thank you for sharing this simple yet delish recipe with the world!!
Thank you so much, Jessica! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂
Do you think I could use this recipe to frost a cake? And refrigerate over night?
I’m making this for thanksgiving for the family and was wondering if this makes a good amount.
Hi Selena – This recipe makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups, which is plenty for 8 or more people (depending on their appetite!)
OK…Thank you so much
Is this thick enough to use between cake layers? I just made some cannoli cream (with whipped cream instead of mascarpone) and it came out too thin to use in my cake. Any tips?
Hi Ali – This is thicker than whipped cream, but only holds its consistency after being chilled. I think it would make a great filling if you can chill the dip for at least 4 hours before spreading between cake layers.
I see you can substitute ingredients for cream cheese. Which one taste more like a real cannoli?
Using mascarpone will definitely taste more like cannoli!
I made this and it was so freakin’ good. I broke up regular , not anise, flavored pizzelles. Just an FYI! Thanks for sharing this recipe, that will sure to be added to my recipe box. Happy Holidays!
Yum! I love that I could eat this with gluten free animal crackers! Thanks!
AMAZING! So easy to make and transport. Everyone loves this dessert and asks me to make it all the time! It is great as a filling for chocolate cake, or on top of brownies! (Just chill for 3 hours).
Every time I make it it comes out totally runny. Any ideas and/or suggestions?
Hi Jennifer! Are you draining the ricotta cheese? Also, make sure you chill the dip after making it so it has time to set.
I did strain it in cheesecloth but maybe I didn’t do it long enough? How long do you let yours sit for? Is there a specific type of ricotta that works best, i.e. part skim vs. whole milk, do you but it from the grocery store or an Italian deli, etc?
Hello can i make this in my kitchen aid mixer idont have a handmixer ? Thankyou
Hi Joan! Yes, you can make this in your stand mixer no problem (just avoid over beating!)
Very easy but add the powdered sugar and vanilla to taste. I would have cut back on both for a more authentic cannoli flavor.
I just made this for the holiday and this tastes great and followed your instructions and measurements, I did add a little lemon zest. I am half italian and have been eating cannollis all my life and never made this dip. I am sure everybody will love it tomorrow. thanks so much!
I made this last night to bring to a New Years party. WOWWWW. WHAT A HIT!! Served with broken up waffle (come) bowls and graham crackers and berries. They literally licked the bowls and plates clean!! Definitely will make again 👍👍
I just made this recipe and it’s a little grainy and doesn’t have much flavor. I did strain the ricotta with cheesecloth. Can I add cream cheese to the mixture?
Hi Lorri – Yes, you can add cream cheese to the mixture. Make sure all ingredients are room temperature so the sugar is absorbed completely. I find that it tastes even better the next day!
This was easy to make and adapt it to using GF cones. Everyone loved it!!
Hello! We just tried this recipe and it was a bit! How long can it store in the fridge? Thanks!
Fantastic! And so easy! We enjoyed this on Christmas night after an Italian dinner- there were 7 of us and we had enough leftover to bring to a neighbor. I used a tube wafer (found at the Polish deli!) and added 1/8 t almond extract because I had it and did not have pistacchios. All the ingredients were available in the required sizes at my regular grocery store in the specialty cheese section. This will certainly be a regular at our house! Thanks!
This is an easy recipe and only five ingredients. However even though the dip was easy, it was the best dip I ever had. My whole family agreed.
Just made it to take to work tomorrow. It tastes amazing! I made sure to buy whole ricotta cheese and used a cheesecloth to drain the extra liquid. Came out nice, thick, and delicious!
Recipe made more dip than needed. Can it be frozen and defrosted to be used later?
Great recipe. Definitely strain ricotta in cheese cloth or fine mesh sleeve for at least 2 days for best results. This is not super sweet so adjust your powdered sugar to taste.
This is honestly the best cannoli dip I’ve ever made. My friends absolutely love it as well and its just so easy to make and you really cant mess it up!
I have made this dip several times, always a success! I like to offer chopped pistachios along with the dip and the waffle cone pieces.