Holy Cannoli! A Not-Too-Sweet Treat By Dip Queen Alyse Whitney 

by Alyse Whitney

My first experience with cannoli filling out of its shell was in college with a custom cake I bought at Wegmans to celebrate with my best friend Izzy. The marble cake had a thick layer of cannoli filling, and they decorated the top with penguins drinking margaritas. This dip has evolved in the 15 years of my friendship with Izzy. Cannoli dip made its first appearance at Dipmas 2017, my all-dips Christmas potluck, but it’s great for any kind of shindig during any season. It was the first sweet dip to go, because everyone said, “It’s not too sweet!”, which is the kind of dessert I’m always chasing. 

Cannoli Dip

Serves 8 to 10

This is not the cloyingly sweet cannoli you may have had before. This dip uses a 4:1 ratio of dairy to sugar and has a nice hit of both orange zest and juice for brightness. It’s the type of dessert you can eat a lot of without feeling ill. Serve it with cannoli shells, or don’t, and remember, using store-bought dippers is Fran Fine. 


1 15-oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese

1 8-oz. container mascarpone cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Zest and juice of ½ orange (about 2 Tbsp. juice)

¾ cup mini chocolate chips

Hefty pinch of flaky sea salt, for garnish


1. In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), whip the ricotta, mascarpone, and powdered sugar together until fluffy and slightly thickened. Add the vanilla and orange zest and juice and whip again if it looks thin. Stir in ½ cup of the chocolate chips.

2. Transfer to a medium serving bowl, then top with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips and a hefty pinch of flaky sea salt.

Serve with: 

Cannoli shells

Waffle cones, broken into pieces

Pretzels or pretzel thins

Graham crackers

Pirouette cookies, any flavor you like

Gluten-free crispy coconut rolls, such as Thai brands or Ava Organic

Fresh fruit, such as apples, strawberries, or bananas

Modipfications: You can add in pistachios, extra chocolate chips, or chocolate chips and peanut butter chips for a peanut butter cup version.

Dip Tips: 

-The most fun way to serve this is with a waffle cone in a resealable plastic bag so people can smash their own cannoli “chips.”

-Cannoli dip can be made in advance! Just let it sit at room temperature for

at least 30 minutes before serving, and add a splash of milk to thin

it out if it thickens too much in the fridge.

-Keeps up to 10 days in the fridge in an airtight container.

Recipes excerpted from Big Dip Energy: 88 Parties in a Bowl for Snacking, Dinner, Dessert, and Beyond! by Alyse Whitney. Copyright © 2024 by Alyse Whitney. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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