A gluten free cannoli recipe – crisp and golden-brown baked gluten free cannoli shells filled with a delicious dairy free custard cream, finished with chopped chocolate and a dusting of powdered freeze dried fruit. An allergy friendly gluten free cannoli recipe perfect for holidays!
Gluten Free Cannoli Recipe
My gluten free cannoli look similar to the authentic ones, but they are made entirely with different ingredients: all gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and I also baked them instead of frying.
To my surprise when I was experimenting with this healthier gluten free cannoli recipe I realized that making homemade cannoli is so much easier than I anticipated.
The cannoli shells and the cannoli filling are all made from scratch. But I didn’t make everything in one day.
First I made the dairy free custard cream, and the next day I made the gluten free cannoli shells and filled them with the cream. Dispersing the work for two days seemed less overwhelming for me. So I advise you do the same.
Ingredients For Gluten Free Cannoli
Gluten free Cannoli Shells
I used a gluten free flour mix of my own which worked perfectly:
- 1/2 cup white rice flour;
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour (a healthier whole grain flour);
- 1/3 cup cassava flour (a starchy flour is needed for a finer texture);
- 2 tbsp golden flax seeds – ground (to help keep the dough together);
- 2 tbsp coconut milk powder – helps with browning and flakiness.
Another option is to use this gluten free pastry flour mix or a store-bough version. See the full ingredients list and instructions in the recipe card below.
For The Cannoli Filling (Custard)
- Plant milk – I used a combination of almond milk and coconut milk, because using just almond milk is too watery and the other has a very strong coconut flavor.
- Maple sugar (a refined sugar free alternative, or use regular sugar);
- Vanilla extract;
- Shaved / chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips to garnish;
- Powdered freeze dried fruit (for dusting) to replace the regular powdered sugar.
How To Make Gluten Free Cannoli Shells
These gluten free cannoli shells are made with a dough that is similar to the pie crust I used for my Gluten Free Apple Pie Recipe, though with a few alteration.
To form the gluten free cannoli dough I added all ingredients in a food processor (gluten free flour mix, egg, butter (I used a dairy free version), sugar, spices and a touch of milk (almond milk) and pulsed until a thick dough formed. Pretty easy, without kneading.
Authentic cannoli shells also include wine, which is added for flavor, acidity and to soften the dough. As a replacement I used apple cider vinegar.
Then I rolled out the dough pretty thin; this ensures the cannoli are flaky and light. Once the dough is rolled out, I cut 3.5 inch circles and wrapped them around individual cannoli forms.
Then I brushed the cannoli with egg wash and prepared them for baking on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
The frying process requires too much oil for my liking. So I chose to bake the cannoli shells instead. It takes only 15 minutes.
How To Make Dairy Free Cannoli Filling
Traditional cannoli fillings are made with sweetened ricotta cheese. But since it’s a dairy free version I had to improvise.
So, as filling I decided to use a pastry cream recipe which is basically a creamy custard thickened with starch (I used arrowroot starch) and eggs (you will need only the egg yolks).
To make it dairy free all you need is substitute the milk with a plant-based milk.
This cannoli filling is also gluten free, because I used arrowroot instead of flour to thicken it. Some pastry cream recipes use flour, or both flour and cornstarch, but that’s not necessary here.
The cannoli filling recipe calls for 1/2 cup (99g) of sugar, which makes a filling that’s just barely sweet. To make it refined sugar free I replaced the regular sugar with maple sugar, and is absolutely delicious too!
Video: Watch How To Make Gluten Free Cannoli
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To make the cannoli shells, you will need a cannoli form – a hollow tube about 1 inch in diameter and 5 1/2 inches long.
Where can I get cannoli tubes/forms? I used these stainless steel mini cannoli forms from Amazon or some stores like Walmart or Target. But you can also improvise and use whatever you have in your home that is the right size and it doesn’t melt while baking.
Tips For Making Gluten Free Cannoli
- To roll out the dough, you need a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Be sure to roll the dough very thin — to about 1/16-inch thickness.
- You don’t need to roll the dough between two parchment papers, just grease the table once with a little oil and it will be enough to prevent sticking.
- You don’t have to add egg wash when sealing the two ends of cannoli. They do not open while baking.
- To remove the cannoli from the form smoothly, let them cool for 1 minute. Then use tongs and your fingers to very gently slide them off. Also make sure to lightly grease the form before rolling the dough over.
- To leave out the wine in the dough, use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice instead.
GF Cannoli Storing
- Can cannoli shells be frozen? Yes, they will freeze well. Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
- The cannoli filling, though, cannot be frozen because gelled starch breaks down during the freezing and thawing process.
- Assembled cannoli should be eaten the same day, or no longer than 24 hours, as the filling will cause the shell to get soggy.
- The shells can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5-6 days. The filling should be kept separate in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
More GF / DF Dessert Recipes You Might Like:
Enjoy this gluten free cannoli recipe and leave me a comment if you make it, I would love to hear your thoughts! Your feedback is super helpful for me and readers. Thank you!
Baked Gluten Free Cannoli Recipe + Dairy Free Cannoli Filling
Gluten Free Cannoli Shells
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 1/3 cup brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup cassava flour
- 2 tbsp golden flax seeds - ground
- 2 tbsp coconut milk powder
- 2 tbsp maple sugar - or regular sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/6 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp Miyoko's butter - plant based, cold
- 1 medium egg
- 2 tbsp almond milk - cold
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 small egg - for brushing
- 3 tbsp avocado oil - or other oil for greasing the cannoli forms and the table
Dairy Free Cannoli Filling
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup coconut milk - from the can
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup maple sugar - or regular sugar, or a pinch of stevia
- 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp Miyoko's butter - plant based, cold
Make The Dough For The Shells:
- Combine all dry ingredients first in the food processor. Then add the cold butter, the egg, the milk and apple cider vinegar. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together. If necessary, add 1 more tablespoons of liquid. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead until it is mostly smooth.
Keep in mind that flax seeds absorb a lot of liquid, so it may seem a little too wet first. Once you let it rest for 10 minutes you'll have a firm yet tender dough. Always keep the dough wrapped, exposure to air will dry it an make it too crumbly.
- Preheat the oven to 410 F.
- Divide the dough in half. Re-wrap one half and flatten the other with your palm. Grease the surface with a tsp of oil and roll out the dough as thin as you can, about 1/6 inch (4 mm) thick.
- Use a cookie cutter or any round shape you have – 3.5 inch in diameter. Cut as many rounds as you can. Gather up the scraps and wrap them to re-roll later.
- If the dough rounds stick to the table use a knife to help detach it. Roll the circles around lightly greased cannoli forms. Roll around until the opposite point overlaps it. Press to make sure is sealed. If it cracks it's ok, use your fingers to fix it. Then roll the wrapped cannoli form on the table like a rolling pin for a few times – it will help smoothen out the unevenness and make the shells even thinner.
- To create some patterns on the shell I pressed a metal whisk while rotating the shell. But this is totally optional.
- Brush the surface with lightly beaten egg to give them a nice golden color while baking. Repeat with the remaining cannoli tubes.Place all cannoli tubes on a cookie sheet and bake them at 400 F for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, let them cool for 1 minute, they will release some steam and will be easier to slide them off the tube. Use the metal tongs to hold the tube and with the other hand carefully slide the cannoli shell off the tube.. Let the tubes cool completely before using again.
- Continue until you have baked all the cannoli shells. Let cool completely before filling.
- See steps below
Make The Dairy Free Cannoli Filling
- Add the plant milk into a saucepan. Heat the milk over medium high heat and bring it to a simmer, but don't boil.
- While the milk is being heated, place the maple sugar, egg yolks, arrowroot starch and salt in a bowl. Whisk (or use a mixer) until you have a smooth mix. Add vanilla bean paste or extract.
- As soon as the milk starts to simmer, remove it from the heat. Take about a half of the hot milk and slowly pour in a thin stream, into the egg mix – whisking constantly to temper the egg mix. Then add the egg mix back into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan.
- Continue whisking vigorously over medium heat, until it starts to thicken – this should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Continue until it starts to release bubbles. Lower the heat to minimum and cook for a further 1-2 minutes after you see the first bubbles. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s completely mixed in.Don't overcook it or it can curdle and separate.
- Pour the cream into a clean bowl, let it cool for a few minutes then cover the surface with plastic wrap. Making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface, so it doesn't develop a skin, then refrigerate until cool. In case you decide to make it in advance, keep refrigerated up to 5 days. After that it may start to weep.
Assemble The Gluten Free Cannoli
- When ready to serve, fit a pastry bag with a wide tip and fill with cream. Pipe the cream into both ends of the cannoli shells. Or use a small spoon to do that.
- Garnish the ends with an optional sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, or anything you like. I used these dairy free chocolate chips and I chopped them in smaller pieces.
- To serve, dust the filled cannoli with powdered sugar. For a refined sugar free version – use the powder of freeze dried fruit (I used freeze dried mango).
What You Need
Gluten Free Cannoli Tips
- If you prefer you can use your favorite gluten free flour mix instead, use 1.4 cup. But I made my own: white rice flour + brown rice flour + cassava flour + golden flax seeds – ground and coconut milk powder.
- Where can I get cannoli tubes/forms? They are available on Amazon or some stores like Walmart or Target.
- If you want to make the cannoli ahead of time, keep the filling and shells separate.
Storing Gluten Free Cannoli
- The cannoli shells can be frozen but the cannoli filling cannot be frozen because gelled starch breaks down during the freezing and thawing process. You can make the filling 1 to 3 days ahead, keep in mind that it can stay refrigerated up to 5 days.
- Assembled cannoli should be eaten the same day, or at least no longer than 24 hours, as the filling will cause the shell to get soggy.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.
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Saturday 29th of October 2022
Making dairy free ricotta isn't difficult and would make a more authentic canoli. It isn't technically a canoli if the filling isn't sweetened ricotta. Just a thought updated recipe.
Thursday 3rd of November 2022
Sure you can use a dairy free alternative of riccota, it's just not my preference. I made it clear in the post above what an authentic cannoli filling would be made of. Its up to everyones preferences, I'm not imposing my opinion on anyone!
Wednesday 19th of August 2020
Thanks for such a great looking recipe! I can't wait to try it! I have a question... I don't have cassava or white rice flour, but do have the rice flour. I have several other flours (quinoa, sprouted, coconut, almond, etc.). Are there other flours I could use in place of the cassava and white rice flour?
Thursday 20th of August 2020
Cassava has a very fine texture like regular white flour, so the closest flours you could use are the starchy ones, like tapioca, arrowroot or potato. As for white rice flour, you could probably use brown rice flour but I cannot guarantee the same result. Coconut and nut flours are very gritty, so they are not a good fit.
Wednesday 26th of February 2020
I thought gluten free cannoli are imposible to make...boy I was wrong...these worked so well! One thing only ...when rolling the dough it gets dry quick so like you mentioned is best to keep it covered before and once is rolled too.
Wednesday 26th of February 2020
Thank you for your feedback!