6 Best Cannoli Shell Substitutes

Cannoli shells are crispy, tube-shaped pastries that are typically filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta filling.

If you can’t find cannoli shells at your local grocery store, there are a few cannoli shell substitutes you can use, which we will be discussing in this article.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any of these alternatives that mimics cannoli shell flavor, filling, and texture. Although, pizzelle taste even better than cannoli shell.

The good news is making cannoli shells, and their filling isn’t as complicated as it looks. 

What Is A Cannoli Shell?

Cannolis are Italian desserts consisting of fried pastry dough stuffed with a sweet, creamy cheese filling.

This treat has tube-shaped and flakes beautifully with each bite. The best cannoli shells are light and crispy, with a sweet, buttery flavor, not enough to compete with the filling.

The mold is frequently a metal or ceramic cylinder tube. And there typically come in a diameter of 3 to 4 inches.

In addition, the cannoli shell is simply made of ordinary flour, whole eggs, sugar, and butter.

But the best thing about cannoli shells is that you can eat them with any filling—and it’s usually not too hard to find a filling that goes well with them.

Most cannoli fillings are creamy and light, but there are plenty of savory ones too.

Some people enjoy eating plain cannoli shells, but others like to add some flavors to their shells before eating them.

Some people like sprinkling on cinnamon, while others like adding pepperoni or ham. The ideas are just too many to mention.

Best Cannoli Shell Substitutes

1. Wonton Wrappers

Wonton wrappers are thin sheets of dough that are commonly used in Chinese cuisine. They can be fried or baked and shaped into cylinders to create a crispy, crunchy shell for your cannoli.

2. Phyllo Dough

Phyllo dough is a thin, flaky pastry that can be layered and shaped into tubes to create a crispy shell for your cannoli. It has a delicate, buttery flavor and pairs well with sweet fillings like ricotta or mascarpone.

3. Crepes

Crepes are thin, pancake-like pastries that can be rolled into cylinders to create a soft, delicate shell for your cannoli. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and pair well with a variety of fillings.

4. Ice Cream Cones

Ice cream cones can be filled with a sweet, creamy filling and used as a substitute for cannoli shells. They have a similar shape and texture to cannoli shells and are a fun, playful twist on the classic Italian dessert.

5. Homemade Cannoli Shell

Equipment You’ll Need:

  • Food processor 
  • Adjustable rolling pin
  • 4-inch round cookie cutter
  • Large heavy-bottomed pot
  • Tongs


  • One and ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • Two Tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • One cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • Three Tablespoons of Marsala cooking wine chilled
  • One large egg white
  • Three Tablespoons butter cold and cut into six pieces
  • One large egg
  • vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying

Step 1

Combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Cut butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse until the mixture resembles pebbles.

Step 2

Add the egg and cold wine, and pulse for a few seconds until it holds together.

After the dough has risen, transfer it to a floured work surface and knead until smooth —probably for 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 3

Refrigerate the dough in plastic wrap for at least 1 hour.

Step 4

Lightly flour the dough, then roll it out using a rolling pin. Roll until you’ve created a sheet that’s about 1/8-inch thick.

Step 5

Use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to make circles out of the dough.

Take one circle at a time, then pull it until it forms an oval shape 5 inches long.

Repeat with the remaining dough, kneading it together into a single mass and then cutting it into 12 equal-size ovals pieces.

Step 6

Separate the egg white from the yolk and place it in a small bowl.

Heat vegetable oil to 350 and 380 degrees F in a pot with a heavy bottom. Line a plate with paper towels.

Step 7

Wrap the dough loosely in a one-inch-diameter wooden dowel or, better still, around a cannoli form.

Brush one end of each dough oval with egg white and roll the dry ends over to seal. Repeat this with other ovals.

Step 8

Use the tongs to gently press the dough into the oil and fry until golden brown. Remember to every 2 to 3 minutes as they fry.

Use a pair of tongs to remove the shells and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to cool off. 

Step 9

After the shells have cooled enough to handle, remove them from their molds. 

Dip the ends of cooled shells in melted chocolate, and let harden.

6. Pizzelle

Pizzelle Cannoli with Ricotta Filling will satisfy your craving for a traditional cannoli. Still, you’ll be able to enjoy them in less than half the time without the fuss of frying.

Pizzelle are thin, waffle-like cookies that can be shaped into cones or cylinders and used as a substitute for cannoli shells. They have a similar texture and flavor to cannoli shells and are easy to make at home.

Overall, there are a few substitutes for cannoli shells that can be used to create a delicious, homemade cannoli. Whether you prefer a crispy, crunchy shell or a soft, delicate one, there is a substitute out there that will work for you.

Substitutes For Cannoli Mold

Cannoli molds can be a bit of a hassle if you need the right one. Luckily, plenty of options will let you enjoy your cannoli, even if they’re different from the exact kind of mold!

1. Wooden Tubes

Wooden dowels or dowel rods work incredibly well as cannoli shapes.

The length and thinness of these pieces of wood make it simple to cut them to the required size.

Additionally, most hardware stores have these, which are often highly inexpensive.

Simply cut dowels to the correct length and width, line a baking sheet with them, and use them in place of cannoli shells.

Roll out the dough, and wrap it around the dowel, sealing the edges with your fingers.

2. Aluminum Foil

Many people use aluminum foil frequently in their kitchens, but it also has a variety of other purposes.

For instance, did you know you can create your cannoli shell with aluminum foil? To begin, cut an 18-inch-long strip of foil that is about three inches broad.

Next, fold the strip lengthwise in half, paying attention to how the edges line up.

Once the foil strip has four layers, use a sharp knife to cut out four little circles.

Finally, to create the cannoli shell, gently push each circle into a mini muffin pan.

3. Curtain Rods

Who would have thought that something as commonplace as a curtain rod would be so helpful?

This everyday item may be utilized for various tasks, from arranging jewelry to whipping up a quick dessert with a bit of imagination.

Here are just a handful of the numerous applications for your curtain rod.

A curtain rod might serve as a makeshift jewelry organizer.

You can use a curtain rod for cannoli shells if you’re in a bind and need a quick dessert.

Simply wrap the rod in strips of dough and deep fry it till golden brown.

Fill them with your preferred cannoli filling once they have cooled, then savor.

4. Ditch The Tubes

You can use another kind of pastry in its place as a fantastic approach to making cannoli without the bother.

Phyllo dough is a fantastic alternative because it is simple to use and accessible at most supermarkets.

Simply fill your phyllo dough with ricotta cheese and your preferred toppings once you have it.

After that, bake it in the oven until the dough is crisp and golden.

Get creative with your cannoli today and ditch the tubes.

5. Cans

It takes a few minutes to lay out your preferred pastry dough and cut it into strips big enough to wrap around a can.

To prevent the ricotta filling from leaking, wrap the dough strips around the cans and seal the seams.

After that, deep-fry the dough-wrapped cans in hot oil until they are crisp and golden brown.

Remove the cannoli from the cans after they are cool enough to handle, then carefully fill them with your preferred ricotta filling.

Serve immediately or keep chilled until ready to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cannoli Shells Are Fried At What Temperature?

The ideal temperature for cannoli shells is 360 degrees F in a medium pot with a heavy bottom. And that is usually before rolling and frying the shells.

Should Cannoli Be Kept In The Fridge?

If your cannoli are filled, you must put them in the refrigerator if you plan to keep them out for more than an hour or two. The filling is often made of dairy; if left out at room temperature for too long, it will spoil.

Bacteria can begin to grow at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, making the cannoli dangerous to consume.

Can Cannoli Shells Be Made Ahead Of Time?

If you store the cooked cannoli shells in an airtight container, you can make them up to a few days in advance and use them immediately (or freeze them for up to a month).

 To begin, prepare a basic cannoli shell dough by combining the ingredients akin to making pie crust.

How Do You Keep Cannoli Shells Crisp?

Put your cannoli shells carefully inside an airtight container lined with paper towels to keep them warm.

 The airtight container will keep the crispy shells from stale, and the paper towel will absorb any present moisture. They can be kept for up to a week at room temperature.


Depending on what you have on hand, many different materials can be used to make cannoli shells.

In a pinch, aluminum foil, curtain rods, and cans work will do the trick as you’ve seen. 

And if you’re planning to make cannoli this weekend, try the pizzelle alternative to the traditional cannoli shell to see if you can replicate the recipe successfully.