Five-ingredient easy homemade cannoli dip recipe takes 15 minutes to make and can be stored in the fridge up to two days before serving.
This post was originally published February 2016. It was last updated January 2021.
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 dip is good to serve with wafer cookies.
I prefer to make this dip when I have company because it tends to be a crowd favorite. Plus, I can make it ahead of time so the dip has time to chill in the fridge. Cannoli dip works well in summer because it is quick, easy and requires no baking, but it also works well during the holidays for entertaining.
What is cannoli dip made of?
Cannoli dip is made of pretty much the same ingredients as cannoli filling. The ingredients include ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Mix them all together until smooth and creamy, then stir in the mini chocolate chips to top it off!
Does cannoli dip need to be refrigerated?
Yes! Cannoli dip contains dairy (ricotta and mascarpone cheese) so it must be refrigerated. The dip can stay in the fridge until you are ready to serve. If you have leftovers or are making the dip ahead of time, store the dip in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
Why is my cannoli dip runny?
There are a few reasons as to why cannoli dip is runny. The main culprit is usually skipping the step to strain the ricotta cheese. This step will most likely eliminate the “runniness.” Another reason could be the type of ricotta cheese. Use a full fat/whole milk ricotta—not skim or low-fat as the fat separates from the liquid more easily creating a thinner consistency.
If your cannoli dip is 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.
How to strain ricotta cheese
This step is vital to making thick, creamy cannoli dip. Place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Line the strainer with cheesecloth and transfer the ricotta cheese on to 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.
What is mascarpone cheese?
Mascarpone cheese is essentially an Italian cream cheese. What makes it taste different is the tangy flavor, which is often cause by the addition of acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or citric acid. Substitutions include 8 ounces cream cheese blended with 1/4 cup whipping cream or 1/4 cup sour cream. However, substitutions may cause a thinner consistency so I highly suggest buying mascarpone cheese at the grocery store.
Cannoli shells for dipping
Cannoli shells can be hard to find. Try your local grocery store and ask the store’s pastry chef. If you can’t find them, try broken waffle cones, pizzelle cookies or graham crackers! Serve the dippers separately (rather than in the dip) so they don’t get soggy.
More recipes with mascarpone…
If you enjoy the taste of mascaropone or have some leftover, here are a few recipes for you to try…
Cannoli dip will surely be a crowd pleaser. If you try one of my recipes, be sure to tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen on social media!
- 2 cups (425 g) ricotta cheese, drained (one 15 ounce container)
- 1 cup (226 g) mascarpone cheese (one 8 ounce package)
- 1 1/2 cups (185 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (165 g) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- Cannoli chips or broken waffle cones for serving
- 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. Serve with pizzelle cookies or waffle cones broken into chip-size pieces to scoop cannoli dip and enjoy!
- Draining ricotta cheese: Place mesh strainer on top of a medium bowl. Line strainer with cheese cloth. Transfer ricotta cheese to the cheese cloth and use a spatula to press the cheese against the cheese cloth and drain the liquid.
- Storing cannoli dip: Store cannoli dip covered or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
- Mascarpone substitute: Cream cheese may be substituted, but the dip will taste more authentic with mascarpone.
Inspired by allrecipes.