Before I desperately sought tiramisu, cannoli’s were my Italian dessert of choice. After trying many different cannoli’s, I came to the conclusion that no cannoli filling could beat my dad’s homemade cannoli filling. 

Cannoli filling, although may require you to plan ahead, is the perfect dessert to make for college students. It requires no oven, only a refrigerator, which most college kids have in their dorms. 

The History of the Cannoli

The Cannoli was originally a Sicilian dessert, originating in the Palermo and Messina regions of Sicily. Cannoli actually means “little tube” in Sicilian as the first cannolis in Palermo were originally the size of a finger. The ingredients of cannoli filling have varied since the creation. One variation of cannoli filling that has been deemed “traditional” contains ricotta, candied fruit, and chocolate filling.

The ingredients continued to vary when Italians immigrated to the United States in the 1900s. With limited resources, Italian Immigrants started to create cannoli filling with mascarpone. Other variations include fruit flavors instead of candied fruit and chocolate chips instead of chocolate filling. 

The Jiroudek Cannoli Filling Recipe

My first memories of cannoli filling are of my dad’s. Specifically, I remember begging for the tub of cannoli filling and eating it with Nilla Wafers while watching Disney Channel. It had probably been a decade since my dad last made it.

Fortunately, my dad decided the entire Christmas meal was going to be Italian, which meant he was going to recreate homemade cannoli filling. Luckily, he allowed me to document and share his delicious cannoli filling recipe. 

Cannoli Filling (The Jiroudek Way)

  • Prep Time:1 day
  • Cook Time:15 mins
  • Total Time:1 day 15 mins
  • Servings:10
  • Easy


  • 1 15oz container ricotta
  • 4oz mascarpone
  • Zest 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Lilly Jiroudek

Step One

Drain ricotta for 24 hours using a cheesecloth. Grab a large bowl and place a strainer in it. In the strainer, set up your cheese cloth and then place the ricotta in there. Cheesecloths can be found on Amazon for 36 square feet for $10 or Walmart. Cheesecloth can also be used to make your own oat milk as well. 

Lilly Jiroudek

Step Two 

Let mascarpone and ricotta come to room temperature before starting to mix ingredients. 

Step Three

Move ricotta to a bowl along with zest of the orange, cinnamon, vanilla, mascarpone, and powdered sugar. If you do not own a zester, you can buy a zester on Amazon for less than $10

Lilly Jiroudek

Step Four

Use a hand mixer to mix all the ingredients. Mix until everything is mixed in and the texture is almost smooth and fluffy. If you do not have a hand mixer, you can mix it yourself (the Italian grandmother way) using a whisk. Or if you are willing to spend the money, Amazon has some hand mixers for less than $20.  

Step Five

Fold the chocolate chips into the mixture. 

Lilly Jiroudek

Step Six

It is recommended to let the filling refrigerate for a few hours before enjoying. If you are in a rush, please enjoy as soon as all the ingredients are mixed

Personally, I think the filling is so delicious that you can eat it with a spoon. However, I also recommend Nilla Wafers or graham crackers as they pair perfectly.