This Cannoli Ice Cream recipe features an ultra rich and creamy mascarpone cheese-based ice cream with nutty pistachios and chocolate chips dotted throughout. It’s all the flavours of classic Italian Cannoli in one fabulous frozen treat. Every bite is an Italophile’s dream!
Today I am thrilled to bring you this updated cannoli ice cream recipe post (from 2014!) and to share the new photos with you. A few other recently updated recipes include Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream and Armadillo Eggs. Both are delicious summer treats!
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Cannoli Ice Cream
Years ago, I stumbled across a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cannoli Ice Cream and couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was then that I began developing one of my all-time favourite ice cream recipes. If you love homemade cannoli as much as I do, you’re going to love it even more in ice cream form!
The ice cream mixture contains both super smooth mascarpone cheese and cream cheese, along with some heavy cream and whole milk. Together they form a silky-smooth ice cream base that freezes with the perfect creamy texture.
Simply put, you won’t find a homemade ice cream with a better texture. As the high fat ice cream base churns in the ice cream maker, air molecules are introduced and become trapped. This creates a lighter and creamier texture than freezing ice cream without churning it first.
This is a very decadent ice cream for special occasions. The recipe makes 6 servings which is just enough to share with family and friends.
What are Cannoli?
Believe it or not ‘cannoli’ is the plural form of ‘cannolo’, so if you have just one in your hand… it’s a cannolo (like ravioli and raviolo). However, you’ll mostly hear it referred to as a cannoli outside of Italy. The word ‘cannolo’ means ‘little tube’, referring to the flaky outer pastry shell or tube of this distinct Sicilian pastry.
Authentic cannoli siciliani (from Sicily) consists of tube-shaped pastry shells formed around cannoli molds before they are deep fried. Once the cannoli shells cool, they are filled with creamy sheep’s milk ricotta cheese. Finally, the ends are decorated with chopped pistachios, chocolate flakes, or candied fruit.
Outside of Sicily, there is a wider range of fillings and add-ins for cannoli. This ice cream recipe uses creamy mascarpone cheese and cream cheese instead of ricotta and contains chocolate chips and pistachios as add-ins. Finally, there are broken pieces of sugar cones to replicate the crunchy texture of the classic fried pastry shells.
Ingredients for Cannoli Ice Cream
- Mascarpone Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Corn Syrup
- Chocolate Chips
- Vanilla Bean
- Sugar Cones
This recipe features full fat dairy, please do not substitute lower fat versions of the cream cheese, heavy cream or whole milk. If you can find smooth whole milk ricotta, feel free to use it in place of the mascarpone cheese.
Granulated sugar and light corn syrup sweeten the dairy just a touch and bring out the flavours of the vanilla bean. If you use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean seeds, the result will be a more subtle vanilla flavour.
Use either regular chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips and only unsalted natural pistachios for this recipe. Pistachios are naturally a lovely light green colour while pink pistachios are dyed to make them look more ‘attractive’. Do not use pink pistachios unless you want pink ice cream.
Finally, if you have access to fresh cannoli shell pieces feel free to use them in place of the sugar cone pieces.
How to Make Cannoli Ice Cream
Making the Mascarpone Mixture
To make the mascarpone mixture you’ll need a blender or food processor. Measure 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup whole milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup into the jug of the blender/food processor. Process on low speed until the sugar dissolves into the cream mixture.
Add the tub of mascarpone cheese, 4 oz cream cheese, and vanilla bean seeds to the cream mixture and blend or process until it is smooth with no remaining lumps.
Transfer the mascarpone mixture to an airtight container and place in the freezer for one hour. Remove and stir the mixture after 30 minutes of freezing. Return to the freezer.
Churning the Cannoli Ice Cream
After one hour in the freezer, transfer the mascarpone mixture to an ice cream machine. Churn the ice cream following manufacturers instructions. Pro tip: The volume will increase as air becomes incorporated into the ice cream so don’t overfill the ice cream maker.
When the ice cream mixture begins to thicken, add the chocolate chips, pistachios, and sugar cone bits, saving a portion for the final garnish. Once the add-ins are incorporated throughout the ice cream, transfer the ice cream back into the airtight container.
Freeze ice cream until it is semi-firm and easy to scoop, at least six hours. If it freezes solid, allow the ice cream to sit out on the counter for 5-10 minutes before scooping. Pro tip: Dip the ice cream scoop in hot water in between scoops for easier scooping.
Serve Cannoli Ice Cream in bowls or scoop it into sugar cones or waffle cones. Add reserved garnishes as desired.
Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I’ve been the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen for the past eleven years. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.
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- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 (15 oz) container mascarpone
- 4 oz cream cheese; diced into small cubes
- Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 3 sugar cones; all smashed up
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted roasted pistachios; chopped
- In a blender or food processor combine heavy cream, milk, sugar and corn syrup and blend mixture on low speed until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Add in mascarpone, cream cheese and vanilla bean seeds and blend mixture until well pureed.
- Transfer to an airtight container and freeze 1 hour, stirring once halfway through freezing.
- Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to manufactures directions. I found this mixture to be a bit much volume for my machine so I wouldn't fill it up next time.
- Add the pistachios, chocolate chips, and sugar cone bits just when the mixture starts to thicken.
- Transfer to airtight container and freeze until semi-firm (I found this was best slightly soft so if you do freeze until firm allow it to rest at room temperature for a bit before enjoying).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 462Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 196mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 7g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.