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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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.