Mini Cannoli Cups

Mini Cannoli Cups are a delightful twist on the classic Italian dessert. These bite-sized treats combine a crispy pastry shell with a creamy ricotta filling, creating a perfect balance of textures and flavors. The best part? They’re easy to make and ideal for parties, gatherings, or a special treat for yourself. In this article, we’ll explore the world of Mini Cannoli Cups, covering everything from the essential ingredients to step-by-step recipe instructions. Let’s dive in!

Mini Cannoli Cups: A Bite-Sized Delight

If you love cannoli but find traditional versions a bit too much to handle, Mini Cannoli Cups are the perfect solution. These bite-sized desserts pack all the flavor of classic cannoli into a convenient and adorable form. With a crispy pastry cup as the base and a creamy ricotta filling, these cups are sure to be a hit at any gathering.

What makes Mini Cannoli Cups so appealing is their simplicity. The pastry cups are made from pie crusts, rolled out and cut into rounds, then baked to golden perfection. The filling is a mixture of ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, with a hint of citrus zest for extra brightness. Together, they create a dessert that’s both indulgent and light.

One of the best things about these mini cups is their versatility. You can serve them at parties, bring them to potlucks, or make them for a cozy night in. They’re easy to eat and don’t require utensils, making them a convenient dessert option for any occasion.

In the following sections, we’ll explore why Mini Cannoli Cups are so popular and how you can make them at home. Get ready to discover the secrets behind these delightful treats and learn how to create them yourself. With their delightful filling and crispy cups, Mini Cannoli Cups are sure to become a favorite in your dessert repertoire. Let’s get started!

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Mini Cannoli Cups

Mini Cannoli Cups

  • Author: Avani


Be the star of any party or get-together with these amazingly easy and delicious Mini Cannoli Cups! A real crowd-pleaser!


For the Filling:
1 container (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange or lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cannoli Cups:
1 box (2 count) refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Garnish:
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped pistachios
Additional powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat the Oven:
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Prepare the Pie Crusts:
Lightly flour a work surface and unroll the pie crusts.
Sprinkle both of the pie crusts with turbinado sugar and cinnamon.
Gently roll a rolling pin over the top to press the sugar and cinnamon into the dough.
Using a 2½-inch round cookie/biscuit cutter, cut out pastry rounds.
Gently press each pastry round into ungreased mini muffin cups. You may need to re-roll the scraps and cut out more circles until you have 48 circles.
Bake the crusts for 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Allow the cannoli cups to cool completely in the pans (about 15 minutes) before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the ricotta, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, zest, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.
Transfer the filling to a 1-gallon zip-top resealable bag and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Assemble the Cannoli Cups:
Just before serving, remove the filling from the refrigerator.
Snip one corner off of the bag and pipe approximately 1 tablespoon of filling into each cooled pastry cup.
Sprinkle the filled cups with mini chocolate chips or chopped pistachios and dust with powdered sugar.
Serve the cannoli cups immediately for best taste and texture

What Are Mini Cannoli Cups?

Mini Cannoli Cups are a modern take on the classic Italian dessert, transforming the traditional rolled pastry into convenient, bite-sized cups. Let’s delve into what makes these delightful desserts unique and why they’ve become so popular among dessert lovers.

A New Take on a Classic Italian Dessert

Cannoli are traditional Italian pastries that consist of a tube-shaped, crispy shell filled with a sweet ricotta-based cream. They are a staple in Italian-American cuisine, often enjoyed during celebrations and special occasions. Mini Cannoli Cups reimagine this classic dessert by replacing the traditional tube with a cup, offering a simplified and more manageable version.

Instead of making a pastry shell from scratch, Mini Cannoli Cups use refrigerated pie crusts, making them easy to prepare without sacrificing flavor. This approach allows you to enjoy the essence of cannoli in a convenient, bite-sized form. The cups are filled with a creamy ricotta filling, typically flavored with vanilla and citrus zest, and topped with chocolate chips or chopped pistachios for added texture and flavor.

The Appeal of Bite-Sized Desserts

Bite-sized desserts have gained popularity for their convenience and portion control. Mini Cannoli Cups are no exception. These tiny treats are perfect for parties, where guests can grab and enjoy them without the need for plates or utensils. They also make a great addition to dessert tables, offering a touch of elegance and variety.

The versatility of Mini Cannoli Cups adds to their appeal. You can customize the filling and toppings to suit different tastes and occasions. Whether you prefer a classic ricotta filling or want to experiment with different flavors, these cups provide a canvas for creativity. Their bite-sized nature also makes them ideal for sharing, allowing guests to sample a variety of desserts without feeling overwhelmed.

With their unique take on a classic dessert and their convenient size, Mini Cannoli Cups are a delightful addition to any dessert spread. In the next section, we’ll explore the essential ingredients you’ll need to make these delectable treats at home. Let’s dive into the core components and discuss their roles in creating the perfect Mini Cannoli Cups.

Essential Ingredients for Mini Cannoli Cups

To create delicious Mini Cannoli Cups, you need a combination of basic and special ingredients. Each component plays a crucial role in crafting a dessert that’s both rich in flavor and satisfying in texture. Here’s a breakdown of the essential ingredients you’ll need to make these delightful bite-sized desserts.

For the Filling

The filling is the heart of the cannoli cup, offering a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ricotta Cheese: Use whole-milk ricotta for a smooth and creamy texture. Low-fat or skim versions might be too watery, affecting the consistency of the filling.
  • Powdered Sugar: This adds sweetness and helps thicken the filling. Powdered sugar dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth mixture without graininess.
  • Granulated Sugar: A small amount of granulated sugar enhances the sweetness and provides a slight crunch to the filling, creating a delightful contrast in texture.
  • Vanilla Extract: A classic flavoring that complements the ricotta’s creaminess. It also adds a warm aroma to the filling.
  • Lemon or Orange Zest: A touch of citrus zest brightens the filling and adds a hint of freshness. It also balances the sweetness, providing a subtle tangy note.

For the Cannoli Cups

The cups form the base of the dessert, providing a crispy and buttery shell for the filling. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Refrigerated Pie Crusts: These are convenient and easy to work with, saving you the time and effort of making pastry from scratch. The crusts should be softened as directed on the box.
  • Turbinado Sugar: This coarse, raw sugar is sprinkled over the pie crusts to add a sweet and crunchy topping. It also helps the pastry develop a golden brown color during baking.
  • Ground Cinnamon: A light dusting of cinnamon adds a warm and aromatic flavor to the pastry cups, complementing the filling’s sweetness.

For the Garnish

The garnish is where you can get creative and add your personal touch to the Mini Cannoli Cups. Here are some popular options:

  • Miniature Semisweet Chocolate Chips: These tiny chocolate chips add a rich and indulgent element to the dessert, contrasting with the creamy filling.
  • Finely Chopped Pistachios: Chopped pistachios offer a nutty flavor and a vibrant green color, providing a beautiful garnish for the cups.
  • Additional Powdered Sugar: A light dusting of powdered sugar over the finished cups adds an elegant touch and enhances their visual appeal.

With these essential ingredients, you’re ready to create Mini Cannoli Cups that are sure to impress. In the next section, we’ll go through the step-by-step recipe instructions, guiding you through the entire process of making and assembling these delightful treats. Let’s get started!

Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions

Now that we’ve discussed the essential ingredients, let’s go through the step-by-step process of making Mini Cannoli Cups. This detailed guide will help you create these bite-sized delights with ease, ensuring a perfect outcome every time. Follow these steps to craft a dessert that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Preheat the Oven

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). This step ensures that the oven is at the correct temperature by the time you’re ready to bake the cannoli cups.

Prepare the Pie Crusts

Unroll the refrigerated pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface. To add a touch of sweetness and warmth, sprinkle turbinado sugar and ground cinnamon evenly over both crusts. Using a rolling pin, gently press the sugar and cinnamon into the dough to help it adhere.

With a 2½-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out pastry rounds from the crusts. You should be able to get about 24 rounds from each crust, giving you a total of 48 circles. If needed, re-roll the scraps to cut out additional rounds.

Shape the Cannoli Cups

Take the pastry rounds and gently press them into ungreased mini muffin cups. The dough should fit snugly, creating a small cup shape. Be careful not to press too hard, as this can cause the dough to tear or become too thin.

Bake the Pastry Cups

Place the muffin tins in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry cups turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overbake, as they can quickly go from golden to burnt. Once baked, allow the cups to cool completely in the pans for about 15 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool entirely before filling.

Prepare the Cannoli Filling

While the pastry cups are cooling, prepare the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and citrus zest. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

Once the filling is ready, transfer it to a 1-gallon resealable bag. This will make it easier to pipe the filling into the pastry cups. Place the bag in the refrigerator to chill until you’re ready to assemble the cannoli cups.

Assemble the Cannoli Cups

When the pastry cups have cooled completely, it’s time to fill them. Remove the resealable bag with the filling from the refrigerator and snip off one corner to create a small opening. Carefully pipe approximately 1 tablespoon of filling into each pastry cup. Be sure to fill them evenly without overfilling, as this can cause the filling to spill over.

Garnish and Serve

Once the cups are filled, it’s time to garnish. Sprinkle miniature semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped pistachios over the tops of the filled cups. For an extra touch of elegance, dust them lightly with additional powdered sugar.

Serve the Mini Cannoli Cups immediately for the best taste and texture. These bite-sized treats are perfect for parties, gatherings, or any time you want a sweet indulgence.

In the next section, we’ll explore some tips for success to help you avoid common mistakes and create perfect Mini Cannoli Cups every time. Let’s continue!

Tips for Success

Creating perfect Mini Cannoli Cups requires a few key considerations to ensure the right balance of flavor, texture, and presentation. These tips will guide you through the process and help you avoid common pitfalls. Let’s dive into the details.

Ensuring the Right Texture

To achieve the ideal texture for your Mini Cannoli Cups, focus on the following:

  • Drain the Ricotta: Ricotta cheese contains a lot of moisture. Before making the filling, drain the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. This step ensures a creamy filling without a runny consistency.
  • Use Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar dissolves more easily in the ricotta, resulting in a smooth and lump-free filling. Granulated sugar can leave a gritty texture, so it’s best to use powdered sugar as the primary sweetener.
  • Cool the Pastry Cups Completely: Allow the pastry cups to cool completely on a wire rack before filling them. This step prevents the cups from becoming soggy and ensures they retain their crisp texture.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when making Mini Cannoli Cups:

  • Overbaking the Pastry Cups: Keep a close eye on the baking time to prevent the cups from burning. They should be golden brown but not too dark. If you’re unsure, check for doneness by gently pressing on the cups—they should be firm but not hard.
  • Filling the Cups Too Early: To maintain the texture and prevent sogginess, fill the cups just before serving. If you’re preparing them in advance, keep the filling refrigerated and the pastry cups at room temperature until you’re ready to assemble.
  • Overfilling the Cups: While it’s tempting to add extra filling, overfilling can cause the filling to spill over and make a mess. Stick to about 1 tablespoon of filling per cup for the best results.

Presentation and Serving Suggestions

A beautiful presentation can elevate your Mini Cannoli Cups. Here are some suggestions to make your desserts look as good as they taste:

  • Use Decorative Garnishes: Add a pop of color and texture by sprinkling miniature chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, or other toppings on the filled cups. A light dusting of powdered sugar can also add an elegant touch.
  • Arrange on a Serving Tray: For a polished presentation, place the filled cups on a decorative serving tray. This not only makes them more visually appealing but also makes it easy for guests to grab and enjoy.
  • Serve Immediately: For the best texture and flavor, serve the Mini Cannoli Cups shortly after filling. If you need to store them, keep the filling and pastry cups separate until just before serving.

By following these tips, you’ll create Mini Cannoli Cups that are both delicious and visually stunning. In the next section, we’ll explore various variations and customizations to help you put your own twist on this classic dessert. Let’s continue!

Variations and Customizations

While Mini Cannoli Cups are delicious in their classic form, there’s plenty of room to get creative and add your unique touch. Let’s explore different variations and customizations that can transform these bite-sized desserts into something truly special.

Different Fillings and Flavors

The ricotta filling is the heart of Mini Cannoli Cups, but you can experiment with different flavors to create a unique experience:

  • Mascarpone Cheese: Swap ricotta with mascarpone for a creamier texture and a slightly sweeter taste. This Italian cream cheese provides a smoother filling, making it a delightful variation.
  • Additional Flavorings: Add a splash of almond extract or orange liqueur to the filling for a different flavor profile. These additions can give the cups a distinct twist, adding depth and complexity.
  • Chocolate Filling: For a decadent variation, mix cocoa powder into the ricotta filling. This creates a rich chocolate filling that complements the crispy pastry cups.

Alternative Garnishes

Garnishes can elevate the presentation and add unique flavors to the Mini Cannoli Cups. Here are some ideas:

  • Sprinkles: For a festive touch, add colorful sprinkles to the cups. This is perfect for birthday parties or other celebrations.
  • Coconut Flakes: Shredded coconut adds a tropical flair and a hint of sweetness. Lightly toast the coconut for an extra crunch.
  • Fruit Pieces: Top the filled cups with small pieces of fresh fruit, like strawberries or raspberries. This adds color and a burst of freshness to the dessert.

Customizing the Pastry Cups

The pastry cups are versatile and can be customized in various ways. Consider these options:

  • Dipping in Chocolate: After baking, dip the edges of the pastry cups in melted chocolate for a decadent touch. This creates a beautiful contrast with the light ricotta filling.
  • Different Spices: Instead of cinnamon, try nutmeg or cloves for a unique flavor profile. These warm spices can add depth and a touch of warmth to the cups.
  • Shape Variations: Experiment with different shapes for the pastry cups. You can use various cookie cutters to create fun designs that add visual interest to the dessert.

With these variations and customizations, you can create Mini Cannoli Cups that reflect your personal style and taste. Whether you prefer classic flavors or want to experiment with new ideas, these cups offer endless possibilities.

In the next section, we’ll address frequently asked questions about Mini Cannoli Cups. These FAQs will cover common concerns and provide additional insights to help you create the perfect dessert every time. Let’s continue!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When making Mini Cannoli Cups, you might have questions about preparation, storage, or serving suggestions. Here are some frequently asked questions, along with detailed answers, to guide you through the process and ensure the best results for your mini cannoli creations.

How Long Do Mini Cannoli Cups Last?

Mini Cannoli Cups are best enjoyed fresh, but you can store them for a day or two if needed. It’s best to keep the filling and pastry cups separate until you’re ready to serve. Store the ricotta filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and keep the pastry cups at room temperature. This approach prevents the cups from becoming soggy. Once assembled, they should be consumed within a few hours for optimal texture and flavor.

Can I Make Mini Cannoli Cups Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare components of the Mini Cannoli Cups ahead of time. The pastry cups can be made and stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days. The filling can be made and refrigerated for the same period. However, it’s best to assemble the cups just before serving to ensure the filling doesn’t soften the pastry.

What Other Toppings Work Well with Mini Cannoli Cups?

Toppings are a fun way to customize Mini Cannoli Cups. Here are some suggestions:

  • Chopped Nuts: Chopped pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts add a satisfying crunch and unique flavor.
  • Chocolate Shavings: Shave a bar of dark or milk chocolate over the filled cups for a decorative touch.
  • Fruit Preserves: A small dollop of fruit preserves on top of the filling can add a burst of sweetness and color.

What Are Some Dairy-Free Options for Mini Cannoli Cups?

For those who are lactose intolerant or prefer dairy-free desserts, you can create a dairy-free version of Mini Cannoli Cups:

  • Dairy-Free Ricotta Alternatives: Use dairy-free ricotta made from almonds or cashews. These alternatives provide a similar texture to traditional ricotta.
  • Non-Dairy Milk: Use non-dairy milk like almond or coconut milk in the filling for added creaminess.
  • Plant-Based Garnishes: Ensure your garnishes are dairy-free, using chocolate chips that do not contain dairy and avoiding other dairy-based toppings.

How Do I Make Mini Cannoli Cups Gluten-Free?

If you’re following a gluten-free diet, you can still enjoy Mini Cannoli Cups by using gluten-free pie crusts. These crusts are readily available at most grocery stores. Additionally, ensure that any other ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts, are gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.

These FAQs should cover some of the common questions about Mini Cannoli Cups, offering tips and insights to help you create the perfect dessert. In the next section, let’s wrap up with a conclusion that summarizes the key points and provides additional serving suggestions. Let’s continue!


Mini Cannoli Cups are a delightful take on the classic Italian dessert, offering a convenient and versatile option for any dessert table. With their crispy pastry shells and creamy ricotta filling, these bite-sized treats are perfect for parties, gatherings, or just a sweet indulgence for yourself. The beauty of Mini Cannoli Cups lies in their simplicity and the endless possibilities for customization.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the key aspects of Mini Cannoli Cups, from the essential ingredients to step-by-step recipe instructions. We learned how to create the pastry cups, prepare the ricotta filling, and assemble the cups for a perfect presentation. The inclusion of different flavors, like citrus zest and vanilla extract, brings a unique twist to this dessert.

We also delved into tips for success, highlighting common mistakes to avoid and offering suggestions for achieving the best texture and flavor. Presentation and serving ideas were covered, providing inspiration for creating a visually appealing dessert that’s sure to impress your guests.

In the variations and customizations section, we discussed creative ways to make Mini Cannoli Cups your own. Whether it’s through alternative fillings, unique garnishes, or different pastry crusts, there’s no shortage of ways to experiment and create a personalized version of this classic dessert.

The FAQ section addressed common questions about storage, preparation, and serving, providing additional insights to ensure your Mini Cannoli Cups turn out perfectly every time. These answers can guide you through any uncertainties and help you create a dessert that’s both delicious and convenient.

As you prepare to make your own Mini Cannoli Cups, remember to have fun with the process. Experiment with different flavors and garnishes, and don’t be afraid to get creative. These bite-sized treats are designed for sharing, so invite your friends and family to enjoy them with you.

With their versatility and delightful flavors, Mini Cannoli Cups are sure to become a favorite in your dessert repertoire. Enjoy creating and sharing these delicious treats, and let the sweet moments begin!

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