Our version of the Sicilian sweet has all the classic’s crunch and creaminess―crispy, lightly sweetened shells filled with homemade ricotta and chopped chocolate―without the calories and saturated fat.
Credit: Randy Mayor

No self-respecting cannoli can really be “light,” and it takes some work to make cannoli lighter. For starters, the crisp shell is made with plenty of fat (i.e., lard) and flour and then deep-fried in (you guessed it) more fat. The shell is filled with a creamy ricotta mixture, sugar, and sometimes ground spices or candied citrus. Chopped chocolate or nuts―or both―are stirred into the filling or sprinkled on top.

Our lighter version takes the “no” out of the cannoli with easy phyllo-based shells (follow our method to make your own cannoli molds), a simple lower-fat homemade ricotta, and a hint of semisweet chocolate. The best part: You can make the filling and shells ahead, and assemble while the espresso brews. Family and friends will be impressed, and they won’t even guess these treats are lighter than the classic version.



726 calories per serving  |  340 calories per serving
64.3 grams total fat  |  12 grams total fat
25.2 grams saturated fat  |  7.4 grams saturated fat
Deep-fried pastry  |  Baked phyllo shells
Full-fat ricotta mixture  |  Lower-fat ricotta mixture

Three Essential Steps to Homemade Cannoli

1. Immerse the tip of a thermometer 2 inches into ricotta liquid to ensure an accurate reading. (Be patient―it may take up to 20 minutes to reach 170 degrees.)

2. Hang the cheese-cloth bag over the sink to allow the whey to drain. The ricotta is ready when whey drips infrequently, yielding a barely moist cheese perfect for blending. 

3. Make phyllo molds by rolling heavy-duty foil into cylinders. Lightly coat cylinders with cooking spray before rolling and wrapping dough around molds.