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These vegan cannoli are just like the authentic Sicilian cannoli from your favorite Italian bakery but without the eggs and dairy! They’re made with a light and airy pastry shell that’s piped full of a sweet and creamy vegan ricotta filling. Dust with a generous layer of powdered sugar and enjoy while fresh and crispy.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Flour: We have only tested these vegan cannoli using all-purpose flour and unfortunately cannot confirm that a gluten-free flour will work.
- Sugar: You’ll need two types of sugar – granulated sugar for the cannoli shells and powdered sugar for the filling. To ensure your sugar is vegan, always buy organic. If you cannot find organic powdered sugar you can make your own out of granulated sugar and cornstarch. According to Bon Appetit, blend 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch into a powder to make 1 cup of powdered sugar.
- Vegan butter: In order to make light, fluffy cannoli shells it is very important to use very cold butter. For this reason, we don’t recommend substituting the butter with oil. It will not be as crisp and airy.
- JUST egg: Authentic Sicilian cannoli are made with egg to add moisture and structure to the dough. We found JUST egg to be the perfect egg replacer in this recipe. We have not tested another egg substitute and cannot recommend one.
- Marsala wine: Adds sweetness and flavor to the cannoli shells! In order to determine if a certain brand of marsala wine is vegan friendly, check Barnivore: Your vegan beer, wine, and liquor guide!
- Oil: You’ll need both oil for frying as well as 2 tablespoons of a quality olive oil for the filling. When choosing a frying oil, make sure it is neutral in flavor and has a high-smoke point. We’d recommend vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Tofu: Traditional Sicilian cannoli filling is typically made with ricotta. We used a variation of our own tofu ricotta recipe to replicate this flavor. For best results use firm tofu or extra-firm tofu.
- Miso paste: Adds a bit of savoriness to the vegan ricotta. For color purposes, we recommend using white miso paste.
- Vegan cream cheese: Our go-to vegan cream cheese is by the Kite Hill brand. It has the best, tangy flavor without being oily.
- Lemon zest: Adds a pop of brightness to the creamy filling. Don’t skimp here!
- Vanilla + Cinnamon: Create a warm depth of flavor in the cannoli filling.
- Mini chocolate chips: Mini chocolate chips are folded into the vegan cannoli filling to add the perfect sweet crunch! We recommend the brand Enjoy Life for certified vegan chocolate chips.
- Mixing bowls
- Rolling pin
- Food processor
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
- Large pot (for frying)
- 4” inch round cookie cutter
- Cannoli molds or cannoli tubes
How to Make Vegan Cannoli
- Make the vegan cannoli shells. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt.
- Add the butter. Work the vegan butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips or a pastry cutter until it resembles pea-sized breadcrumbs.
- Add wet ingredients. Add the Just Egg, water, and marsala wine and mix together until a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour, but it shouldn’t need much.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl and place in the fridge to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Make the filling. While the dough rests, process the tofu, miso paste, olive oil, and salt together in a food processor until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a large bowl along with the vegan cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until well combined.
- Fold in mini chocolate chips. Once well incorporated, transfer the cannoli filling to a pastry bag and set in the fridge to chill.
- Heat the frying oil. Fill a medium saucepan about halfway with oil. Begin to heat the oil to 350°F.
- Roll out the dough. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until 1/16” thick. Use a 4” diameter cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough.
- Wrap the dough around cannoli molds. One at a time, wrap each circle of dough around a cannoli mold. Press the two overlapping edges together with a bit of water to prevent them from unfolding while frying.
- Fry the cannoli. Once the oil is hot, carefully place 1 or 2 cannoli into the oil. Fry for about 1 minute, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove the cannoli from the oil using tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Continue until all cannoli is fried. Allow to cool.
- Transfer the filling to a piping bag. If you are new to using a piping bag, you may find this visual tutorial helpful: how to fill a piping bag.
- Fill the cannoli. Once the vegan cannoli have cooled completely, fill both ends of the cannoli.
- Dip in chocolate chips. This step is optional, but we recommend dipping each end of the vegan cannoli in additional mini chocolate chips to coat. Dust with a final layer of powdered sugar, and enjoy!
Tips for Success
- Use the weighted flour measurement. Measuring flour by weight is always the most accurate and using the right amount of flour is essential, especially when making delicate doughs.
- Make sure to press your tofu beforehand! This will prevent the vegan cannoli filling from being too soft and watery. If you do not own a tofu press, watch our super simple life hack on how to press tofu without a tofu press.
Add-ins and Variations
If desired, swap out the mini vegan chocolate chips for one of these popular alternative toppings:
- Crushed pistachios
- Candied orange peels
- Maraschino cherries (note that not all maraschino cherries are vegan because of the red food coloring ingredient, carmine).
You can also dip the ends of the cannoli shells in melted chocolate before filling them. Make these your own to suit your family’s taste.
Make Ahead Options
Although vegan cannoli is not the best make-ahead vegan dessert recipe, there are a few ways to prep ahead.
- Make the dough ahead of time. Follow recipe instructions through step 5. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for up to 2 days. Then once ready, resume the recipe with step 6, or make the filling ahead of time, too.
- Make the filling ahead of time. Follow recipe instructions 6 through 8. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Once ready to make your cannoli, prepare the shells (steps 1 through 5), then pick up with step 9.
- Fry the shells ahead of time. As with most fried foods, these vegan cannoli shells are best fresh, but can be fried up to 12 hours in advance. Fill just before serving so they don’t get soggy!
More Vegan Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Pumpkin Cream Horns
- Vegan Pizzelles
- Vegan Cream Puffs
- Vegan Strawberry Shortcake
- Date Sweetened Baklava