Go Back
+ servings

Cannoli Dip

This Cannoli Dip recipe couldn’t be any easier or more delicious AKA it tastes like decadent cannoli without all the work!  It’s also make ahead friendly so it’s ideal for entertaining, the holidays, barbecues or any potluck all year round.  This Cannoli Dip is a sweet, rich and creamy indulgence made with just a few ingredients in less than 10 minutes once the ricotta has strained. To make, two types of Italian cheeses – ricotta and mascarpone- are whipped together with powdered sugar and vanilla until ridiculously smooth and creamy then studded with chocolate chips. Serve it up with cannoli chips, waffle cookies, broken waffle cones, chocolate chip cookies, strawberries etc. and watch it disappear in a flash.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
2 hours
Servings 12 -16 servings



  • 1 15 oz. container (2 cups) WHOLE milk ricotta (do NOT use skim/lowfat)
  • 1 8 oz. pkg. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, recommended)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips


  • Cannoli chips or broken shells
  • Pizzelle
  • Waffle cookie crips (pictured)
  • Butter crisps
  • Broken waffle cones
  • Graham crackers
  • Cookies: wafers, Nilla wafers, chocolate chip, Milano cookies, Oreos
  • Biscotti
  • Fruit: strawberries, peaches, apples, etc.

PS – try it on pancakes, waffles, crepes, too!


    Drain ricotta

    • Don’t skip this step or your dip will be runny! Drain the ricotta by placing a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, top with a cheesecloth or coffee filter (otherwise use some paper towels). Add ricotta and top with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place something quite heavy on top to press the liquid out (jar of oil, Costco jar of pickles, cans with Dutch oven lid on top, etc.). Let drain 1-2 hours at room temperature, until the ricotta holds its shape.

    Make dip

    • Add the ricotta and mascarpone to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (may use hand mixer). Beat on medium-high until smooth and the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
    • Reduce speed and beat in the extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar in batches until smooth.
    • Fold in the mini chocolate chips using a spatula.


    • Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. If the dip has been refrigerated, let it rest for 20 minutes or so at room temperature before serving for the dip to soften a bit. Dust with powdered sugar if desired and serve with your choice of dippers.



    Tips and tricks

    • Ricotta cheese:  You must use whole milk ricotta or your dip will be runny.  The fat will separate in skim or low-fat ricotta.  Ricotta brands can vary in texture depending on how they’re prepared from creamy-like consistency to cottage cheese-sized grains.  Splurge on a highly quality fine grain brand like Shamrock so it will beat up super silky smooth.  
    • Mascarpone cheese: The secret ingredient that combines with the ricotta cheese to make the dip lusciously smooth, thick and creamy without tasting grainy!  Mascarpone is a delicate, soft Italian cheese usually located with the specialty cheeses in a round 8-ounce tub. 
    • Can I use cream cheese?  Please do not use cream cheese instead of mascarpone because it is too overpowering and will make your dip taste like sweetened cream cheese.   
    • Don’t use granulated sugar:  The simple mistake of using granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar will result in a grainy dip.
    • Soften the dip if needed:  If you find you’ve drained your ricotta too long and the dip is a bit too stiff and not really creamy, you can add a splash of cold heavy cream or half and half and continue to beat until incorporated.
    • Storage:   Cannoli Dip should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If the ricotta is well drained, it will last without any issues or change in texture for up to a week.  The dip should be brought to room temperature to soften before serving. If your dip starts to get a little runny after a few days, it’s a sign to drain the ricotta more thoroughly next time if you plan on prolonged storage.