Gluten Free Cannoli

Gluten Free Cannoli

Gluten Free Cannoli [pinit] Regular cannoli are special. You need cannoli forms (readily found online or at any large kitchen supply store), and there’s no shortcut to rolling out the dough. But they’re a labor of love. Gluten free cannoli are even more special. They’re the very sort of pastry you probably thought you’d never have again, now that you’re gluten free (kind of like the “Rye” Bread on page 101 of GFOAS Bakes Bread and Taco Bell Chalupas). In my ongoing quest to prove, once and for all, that if they can make it with gluten, we can make it without, may I present … gluten free cannoli that are just like you remember.

Gluten Free Cannoli

They’re light and flaky, and they shatter when you bite into them. Just like they’re s’posed to.

How To Make Gluten Free Cannoli Step by Step

Traditionally made with Marsala wine, I provide a couple alternatives (including one that is alcohol-free) that work quite well. You will need cannoli forms, though, even if you only buy one set of 4. I have a few sets of 4, and they’re all made by Ateco. Unless one of you has a suggestion for something more ordinary to use in their place during frying. Let us know in the comments if you do!

Gluten Free Cannoli

My favorite cannoli were always the ones with mini chips in the filling. Since I won’t be there when you make these, I won’t heckle you if you leave out the chips. If I were there, I’d sneak a couple chips into mine, though. They just make the whole cannoli so … delicious and perfect. I bet you have your own ideas about what makes the perfect filling, so feel free to modify that however you like. Cheers to making alllllll your old favorites safely gluten free!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 20 shells


For the cannoli shells
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used my mock Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (29 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) Marsala wine, at room temperature*

Lukewarm water, by the half-teaspoonful as necessary

For the filling
1 1/2 cups (336 g) ricotta cheese

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream

3 ounces miniature chocolate chips (optional)

For finishing
Cannoli forms (I purchased mine at a kitchen supply store, but they are readily available online)

Cooking oil spray for greasing the cannoli forms

1 egg white

Oil, for frying

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

*Possible Substitutions for Marsala: In a pinch, the 3/4 cup Marsala can be replaced with one of the following:

  1. 10 tablespoons dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio) plus 2 tablespoons brandy
  2. 10 tablespoons white grape juice plus 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar


  • First, make the cannoli shell dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and salt, and whisk to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter and wine, and mix to combine. The dough should come together. Knead with your hands, adding lukewarm water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together. It should be a relatively stiff dough, so add the water very judiciously. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

  • Make the filling. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and salt, and beat on medium speed to combine well. Add the heavy whipping cream, and continue to beat at medium-high speed until the mixture becomes fluffy and thickens (about 2 minutes). Carefully fold in the optional chocolate chips, cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

  • Shape the shells and place on the cannoli forms. Unwrap the dough and divide it in half. Cover one half lightly with a moist towel to prevent it from drying out. Place the other piece of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out a bit more than 1/8-inch thick, dusting lightly with flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Cut out circles from the dough about 4-inches in diameter. Dust the circles lightly with flour to prevent sticking and stack them together. Gather and reroll scraps of dough. Repeat with the second half of dough. Spray the cannoli forms with cooking oil spray (to help prevent the dough from sticking to the forms). As you wrap each round of dough around a greased cannoli form, brush the overlapping edges lightly with the egg white to seal. Repeat with as many forms as you have.

  • Fry the shells. Place about 3-inches of frying oil in a medium-size, heavy-bottom pot or fryer. Clip a deep-fry/candy thermometer to the side of the pot or fryer, and place the oil over medium-high heat. Bring the oil temperature to 360°F. Place the cannoli shells on the forms, a few at a time, on a spider or in a frying basket in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the oil. Shake the spider or frying basket back and forth gently to ensure that the shells are not sticking to anything as they fry. The shells should bubble up immediately in the hot oil. Fry until the shells are very lightly golden brown all over (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). As soon as each batch is removed from the fryer, place the shells, still on the form, on a wire rack placed over paper towels to drain (turning each shell, still on the form, to allow any oil inside the form to drip out). Once the form is cool enough to handle, carefully slide the shell off the form and place the shell back on the wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining rounds of dough, reusing the cooled cannoli forms as necessary.

  • Finish the cannoli. Once the cannoli shells are cool, remove the filling from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip and pipe the filling into each cooled shell, piping from both ends toward the center of the shell. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread. Since we can bake bread in the crockpot, we’ll keep baking gluten free bread all through the summer!

Comments are closed.

  • June 17, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    […] Cannoli. […]

  • Leila Willard
    June 11, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    Oh my word! I am definitely passing this recipe along on Facebook! I purchased two of your books and constantly recommend you to all my gluten-free families. Thank you for all your hard work and what you do! (Some of us REALLY miss delectable delights such as this).

  • nadia
    June 8, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Salam Nicole, I like to thank you for all efforts you do. I bought your books, I found them useful and helpful. I like this recipe a lot I’ll try to make it. Thanks again keep on:)

  • Grommie
    June 8, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    ‘If they can make it with gluten, we can make it without’. Technically you are making it with gluten, as all grains contain ‘gluten’, so you aren’t making without. What you should be saying is ‘if they can make it with GLIADIN, we can make it without’. Your recipes aren’t that big of a feat when you think about it from a scientific point of view, but I am sure they are a god send to the majority of ‘gluten free’ people. If only relevant research data would catch on to the rest of the badly informed world.

    • June 8, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with this comment, Grommie, but if you keep it up you won’t be welcome back here.

      • Grommie
        June 9, 2014 at 2:39 AM

        Wow. Why did you delete both the comments where I explained myself and apologized but kept the one both you and Kristy misunderstood and both the comments where you were rude. You are proving to be more of a dictator than an understanding person. You dictate which comments make you a hero. I own every one of your books, but now I am very sad to say you have just lost a fan.

    • Kristy B.
      June 8, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      You need glutenin and gliadin to create gluten, therefore if the grain doesn’t contain gliadin it’s scientifically impossible for it to contain gluten. For the record.

      • June 8, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        True that, Kristy! But seriously, this is the very definition of a troll. The main reason I didn’t just delete the comment was that I thought it would be a good opportunity to remind any other would-be trolls that stirring the pot will not be tolerated here. :)

        • Grommie
          June 8, 2014 at 7:10 PM

          Woah, please I was not trying to offend anyone. I am honestly just trying to inform and I thought I didn’t do it in a harsh context either. I am truly sorry you have both taken it that way. The reason I said Gliadin was because cannoli typically use wheat and that is a term most people who are gluten free understand. Kristy and You are both right, but as I said all grains contain gluten. period. Every grain has their own percentage of gliadin and glutenin. Rather than attacking me and my comment, please look into what I am saying first off by actually going out and reading medical journals rather than thinking I am here to troll. Which I am not! I think what you do is fantastic and I am sure you have helped so many families worldwide!

        • Grommie
          June 9, 2014 at 3:05 AM

          I didn’t mean to ‘stir the pot’ almighty leader. I didn’t realise that anybody who shares an opinion different to yours was a troll.

      • Grommie
        June 8, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        You are not wrong, but as I said earlier all grains contain gluten; they each have their own percentage of gliadin and glutenin. There is a lot of medical research and a few companies are finally accepting that there is gluten in other grains and now label with things such as his contains corn gluten’. There is an abundance of wrong information readily available, it happens. People still think spinach is high in iron due to a typo when it was first studied.

      • Grommie
        June 9, 2014 at 2:58 AM

        My last 2 comments got deleted, but I shall repeat myself again. You are not wrong Kristy. Each grain however does contain its own percentage of glutenin and gliadin. Therefore each grain does contain its own form of gluten. This is primarily the reason Nicole’s recipes work so well because she is just substituting the glutens her family cannot have for friendlier glutens and gums to help. A few companies are now realising this and even state on their products, ‘this contains corn gluten’ etc. I wasn’t trying to be rude. I just want to help inform, but my comments are being deleted just so I can be made out to look like a troll.

  • lectric lady
    June 6, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    I am going to make 5 dozen of these next weekend at a very large backyard fish fry. I don’t have pre-made forms, and found this method for making them out of aluminum foil: http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Cannoli-Shells/

  • […] can do with the leftover syrup, too: drizzle it on vanilla (or strawberry!) ice cream, whip it into cannoli filling, ooooh or maybe use it to make strawberry […]

  • Maria Romano Trampe'
    June 4, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Hi Nicole I can’t wait to try these but I do have a question I have the Cup 4 cup flour and I am still confused about which flour you are talking about when substituting does the cup4cup have xantham gum and which flour in your terms substitutes for the cup 4 cup. I have my flours twisted in my head

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      Maria, I’m afraid I’m not really following your question. You can tell if a flour blend has xanthan gum in it by looking at the ingredient list on the package. Cup4Cup does have xanthan gum in it already.

  • Lucy
    June 4, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Nicole, I have decided today to get the starter and dough ready for the “Lean crusty White Bread”! I will bake on the weekend :)
    Soo excited!

  • Juli
    June 4, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Head to your local hardware store and buy a 10-foot length of galvanized steel pipe (about $18) and a hacksaw. I made my own sets of cannoli forms for the entire family this way a hundred years ago, and they’re still in use!

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:26 AM

      A hacksaw, Juli?! Oh boy you’re way more Rosie the Riveter than I am! I so wish I wasn’t terrified of a hacksaw. I wish I were handy. :)

  • Marissa
    June 4, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    There was a commercial on yesterday for a pancake resturaunt that has a cannoli pancake. I got teary eyed, turned to my husband and said “I’ll never get to havea cannoli again”. I’m from NJ, this is a staple dessert.
    You rock! Ive bought 3 of your books because I refuse to go without the food I love (luckily I can make anything given a recipe). Thank you a million times over!

    • Mare Masterson
      June 4, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      I am a Jersey girl too (although I am in AZ now), Marissa. So I know the joy you feel about this recipe! It made me cry tears of joy!

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      Aw, Marissa, that’s so sad—but so happy at the same time! I’m so thrilled to hear you say that you refuse to go without what you love. You deserve to eat well! :)

  • Jennifer S.
    June 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    I’m not a big fan of cannoli’s but for some reason, seeing yours makes me want to have one. Still that issue with the fryer though… I swear I’ll really going to break it out and use it for doughnuts this weekend. The kids will be thrilled!

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      The cleanup is no big deal I promise, Jennifer! Especially when you use that little mini fryer. Just set the fryer, with the oil in it, aside and forget about it. It can sit in there until the next day, even, if you don’t want to think about it for a while. Then, just use a small funnel and a small strainer, and put it right back in the bottle the oil came in. Mark it as “frying oil” and move on! As far as cleaning the fryer, I usually rub a bunch of dish soap inside to break up the oil (no water), and then wash it right in the sink. As long as you don’t submerge it in water, and are as careful as you can be about not getting the electrical opening very wet, it’ll dry and be fine. I promise!

      • Jennifer S.
        June 6, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        Ok. Tomorrow. biscuit donuts for this house! I’ll get everything out tonight – no turning back! And I’ve been dying for a donut!!

        • June 8, 2014 at 7:33 AM

          I expect a report, Jennifer! (not really – I don’t want to pressure you but I do want to hear how you make out if you decide to go for it!)

        • Jennifer S.
          June 9, 2014 at 12:36 PM

          OK – so I got the fryer out and lo and behold I have a removable oil tray/thing – everything comes out for super easy cleaning. I don’t know why I was such a freak about it. SO, I didn’t make the donuts (but plan on it tonight with my quiche squares) but I did make homemade spiral potato chips and curly fries (yes, I have a spiralizer that I had never used either). My family was so happy to have them and then the requests came out – can you make those onion rings again and the 1000 island dressing, and the donuts, and this and that, please??? we’ve created a monster!

  • Bethany
    June 4, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Ditto, Mare, on the alcohol-free substitution! Is that sub pretty universally used when white wine or Masala is called for? Looking for a good filler-inner for wine since we are an alcohol-free household…never sure what to use in place.

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Hi, Bethany, when you are substituting for wine, you need a liquid, a certain amount of sugar (dry wines are so-called because they have a lower sugar content), and acid. So, it depends upon what you are replacing.

  • Mare Masterson
    June 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    You made me cry tears of joy! You are AMAZING! And thanks for the alcohol free substitutions!

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      So glad, Mare! :)

  • Michelle
    June 4, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Oh, I love cannoli! I agree about the necessity of mini chocolate chips. I have had them with a little orange peel mixed in with the chips, and they are wonderful that way, too.

    • Mare Masterson
      June 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Oh…I must try that!

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      Sounds delicious, Michelle!

  • Lucy
    June 4, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Looks so dainty and light! I have never seen or heard of Cannoli’s… I know I sound like I live in a cave, without modern day amenities ;/
    Bakery’s are not found in our neck of the woods, not unless you travel to Vancouver, which is not in the agenda.
    Cannoli tools hummm, that’s another toughie too, the only chef/kitchen store of any value probably Vancouver… :(
    This does look so yummy though, online ordering… hubby will kill me! Running out of room in the small outdated kitchen… I’ll order a new kitchen as well! :) hehehe!

    • Martha Barr Horne
      June 4, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      I have eaten these in my pre-Celiac lifetime, made by wrapping the dough around a round clothespin (not the square spring-loaded kind, but the standard round clothespin.) They are probably going to be smaller than these, so may have to adjust the baking time.

      • Lucy
        June 4, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        okay! I could also get a wooden dowel and then cut to size. The gears a turning in my head, light bulb is shinning brightly above my head. Thanks Martha :)

      • June 5, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        That sounds interesting, Martha. Using anything made of wood, especially a clothespin that is not coated in anything to seal the wood, means that it will absorb quite a bit of oil, though. So you might have to use each clothespin only once!

        • Martha Barr Horne
          June 5, 2014 at 9:08 AM

          I was never there when they were made, so I don’t know. Would wrapping the clothes pin in aluminum foil make a difference?

  • Julia27
    June 4, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    This has made my morning. I’m so excited to try these out! I come from an Italian household, so this will definitely be made in the very near future. :-)

    • June 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      You’ll love ’em, Julia!

  • Linda
    June 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Have you tried freezing the cannoli shells? Can’t wait to try them. Sounds like a perfect summer activity with my 12 year old! We also just got all the ingredients for your Twizzler’s copycat, so we have all kinds of mother daughter projects to work on.

    • June 4, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Hi, Linda! I’m afraid that I don’t recommend freezing anything that has been fried. But I think you could make the dough ahead of time, even shape it into rounds, then wrap it tightly and refrigerate or freeze it, then defrost, blot dry (water will make the oil splatter) and fry. I hope you and your daughter have allll kinds of fun. :)

  • Melissa
    June 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    OMG! I never thought I’d see cannoli ever again!! I have looked up recipes, but they all seemed so impossible until now. Thank you so much!!! I cannot wait to make these!!

    • June 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      These really aren’t hard at all, Melissa. You’ll do great!

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