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Cannoli Dip

This easy, creamy cannoli dip gives you all the joy of the classic Italian dessert without any of the fuss!

overhead view of cannoli dip in a white bowl surrounded by cookies, chips, and strawberries

Imagine all the creamy, sweet, and crunchy goodness of a cannoli, but in a form that’s perfect for dipping and sharing. Whether you’re looking for a quick dessert for a get-together, a sweet snack for family movie night, or just a delightful treat to brighten your day, this homemade cannoli dip recipe has got you covered. And the best part? Just like my cheesecake dip, it’s incredibly easy to make, with just a few simple ingredients and no baking required!

Why You’ll Love This Cannoli Dip Recipe

  • Effortlessly easy. With minimal ingredients and no cooking required, this dip comes together in a snap. It’s perfect for when you need a quick, impressive dessert without a lot of fuss.
  • Perfectly creamy. Thanks to the combination of rich mascarpone and smooth ricotta, this dip achieves a luxuriously creamy texture that’s just irresistible.
  • Make-ahead magic. Prepare this dip in advance and let it chill until you’re ready to serve. It’s a stress-free, make-ahead dessert that’s perfect for gatherings.
  • Customizable. You can easily tweak this recipe to suit your taste. Whether you add a dash of cinnamon, some lemon zest, or a sprinkle of your favorite nuts, you’ll find tasty ways to make it your own.
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overhead view of ingredients for cannoli dip

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients:

  • Ricotta cheese – I recommend whole milk ricotta for the best flavor and texture. Be sure to strain it well. (See my notes below for some tips for doing that.)
  • Mascarpone cheese – Like the ricotta, full-fat mascarpone will give you the best results.
  • Confectioners’ sugar – Also labeled as powdered sugar. I’ve listed a quantity range in the recipe so you can adjust the sweetness level to your preferences.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract – You can omit this if you like, but I encourage you to use it for the great depth of flavor it adds.
  • Chocolate chips – Mini chocolate chips work best here. I like semisweet chocolate in this dip.
  • Salt – Just a pinch to balance the sweetness.
overhead view of ricotta cheese being strained through a cheesecloth

How to Strain Ricotta Cheese

It’s important to strain the ricotta so your dip isn’t runny. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Scoop the ricotta into the cloth, and gently gather the edges of the cloth and twist to secure. Let it sit in the refrigerator while it strains.
  • Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and add the ricotta. Since the sieve has smaller holes than a colander, it can effectively strain out the liquid. Leave it in the refrigerator to drain; for best results, you may want to stir the ricotta occasionally to ensure more uniform straining.
  • Place a coffee filter inside a strainer or colander, then set it over a bowl. Spoon the ricotta into the coffee filter and let it drain in the refrigerator for a few hours. Coffee filters are fine enough to catch the whey while allowing you to easily dispose of it afterward.
  • Lay a few layers of paper towels on a plate or inside a shallow bowl. Spread the ricotta over the paper towels in an even layer. Cover with another layer of paper towels and press gently to absorb the excess liquid. This method is quicker but might not remove as much liquid as the others.

No matter the method you use, keep the ricotta refrigerated while straining. And remember that the longer you strain it, the firmer and less moist it will become. For this recipe, I usually strain the ricotta with a cheesecloth for about 20 minutes but you can let it sit in the refrigerator up to overnight.

Can I Substitute Cream Cheese for Mascarpone?

Mascarpone is known for its smooth texture and slightly sweet, buttery flavor, which contributes to the richness of dishes. Cream cheese, while denser and tangier, can be a good alternative with a few adjustments to get the texture and flavor right.

To mimic the lighter, creamier texture of mascarpone, you can mix the cream cheese with a bit of heavy cream or sour cream. A good starting ratio is about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or sour cream per 4 ounces of cream cheese. And because cream cheese is tangier than mascarpone, you might want to add a touch more powdered sugar or vanilla extract to your dip to balance the flavors.

How to Make Cannoli Dip

You’ll have this easy dessert dip mixed and chilling in short order. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to do:

  • Strain the ricotta. Use one of the methods described above to remove excess liquid.
  • Mix the cheeses. With a hand mixer or a whisk, combine the ricotta and mascarpone cheeses until well mixed.
  • Finish mixing. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Add the chocolate chips. Fold them in gently, reserving some to use as a garnish when serving.
  • Chill. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Serve with your favorite dippers. See below for some of my favorite serving suggestions.
overhead view of cannoli dip in a white bowl along with various dippers on a pewter tray

Tips for Success

I think you’ll find this cannoli dip a breeze to make. Here are a few tips to help ensure sweet success:

  • Use good quality ingredients. High quality ricotta and mascarpone for the best flavor and texture. Full-fat versions will give the best results.
  • Strain the ricotta. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it’s important to remove the excess water so your cannoli dip is thick and creamy. (See above for a few methods for doing this.)
  • Chill before serving. Refrigerate the dip for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld and the dip to thicken slightly, enhancing the overall taste and texture.
cannoli dip in a white bowl on a pewter tray


There are plenty of ways to customize this cannoli dip to suit your tastes. Here are a few ideas to inspire your own creativity:

  • Citrus twist. Add about a teaspoonful of orange zest or lemon zest for a fresh flavor addition.
  • Nutty addition. Fold in up to a cup of chopped pistachios or toasted almonds. This can be in addition to or in place of the chocolate chips.
  • Spice it up. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon (or cinnamon sugar) on top before serving, or mix about a teaspoonful of cinnamon into the dip.
cannoli dip and various dippers served on a white plate with more of both in the background

Serving Suggestions

Half the fun of this cannoli dip is serving it with a variety of dippers. These are some of my favorites for serving alongside it:

  • Cannoli shells or cannoli chips – Break cannoli shells into chip-size pieces or look for cannoli chips at your grocery store.
  • Cinnamon-sugar pita chips – These add a bit of spice and a wonderful crunch.
  • Waffle cones – Break waffle cones into pieces for dipping.
  • Cookies – Crisp cookies like graham crackers, waffle cookies, pizzelle cookies, vanilla wafers, and even chocolate chip cookies!
  • Fresh fruit – Strawberries, apple slices, or some of your other favorites.
cannoli dip served on a square white plate with waffle cookies, strawberry, and pita chips; more plates surrounding

How to Store

Keep your cannoli dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 5 days, but it will be at its best within the first couple of days. You may need to stir it to reincorporate everything before serving.

Can This Cannoli Dip Be Frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing this cannoli dip because it can alter the texture of the cheeses, making them grainy or watery once thawed.

a waffle cookie being dipped into a bowl of cannoli dip

Cannoli Dip

Yield 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

This cannoli dip is as simple to make as it is impossible to resist. Perfect for any occasion, it's sure to be the star of your dessert spread!

cannoli dip in a white bowl on a pewter tray


  • 15 ounces (425g, or about 1 & 3/4 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese, strained to remove excess water
  • 1 cup (226g) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 & 1/4 to 1 & 1/2 cups (137 to 165g) confectioners' sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (170g) mini chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
  • pinch of salt


  1. Strain the ricotta to remove excess liquid. You can use cheesecloth, a fine mesh sieve, or another method.*
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and mascarpone cheese until smooth. You can use a hand mixer or a whisk to ensure the mixture is thoroughly blended.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the cheese mixture. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Gently fold in the mini chocolate chips, reserving some for garnish if you like.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the dip for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the dip to firm up a bit.
  6. Transfer the cannoli dip to a serving bowl and sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips on top for garnish. Serve with various cookies, chips, and fruit.


*Longer is better for straining the ricotta. I recommend at least 15 to 20 minutes, but you can also leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

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