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A basic cannolo lightly sprinkled with confectioner's sugar
A basic cannolo lightly sprinkled with confectioner's sugar
Alternative namesCannolo, singular
Place of originItaly
Region or stateSicily
Main ingredientsfried pastry dough, ricotta filling
VariationsKannoli (Malta)
Cannoli on display

Cannoli (Italian pronunciation: [kanˈnɔːli]; Sicilian: cannula) are Italian pastries that originated on the island of Sicily and are today a staple of Sicilian cuisine[1][2] as well as Italian-American cuisine. Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. They range in size from "cannulicchi", no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found south of Palermo, Sicily, in Piana degli Albanesi.[2]

In Italy, they are commonly known as "cannoli siciliani" (Sicilian cannoli), cannolo ([kanˈnɔːlo]; is the singular in the Sicilian language cannolu), meaning "little tube" but in English, cannoli is usually used as a singular, and cannolo is rare.[3]


Cannolo is a diminutive of canna 'cane or tube'.[4]


Cannoli come from the Palermo and Messina[5] areas and were historically prepared as a treat during Carnevale season, possibly as a fertility symbol. The dessert eventually became a year-round staple in Sicily.

Some similar desserts in Middle Eastern tradition include Zainab's fingers, which are filled with nuts,[6] and qanawāt, deep fried dough tubes filled with various sweets, which were a popular pastry across the ancient Islamic world. The dish and the name may originate from the Muslim Emirate of Sicily.[7]


  1. ^ Gangi, Robert (2006). "Cannoli". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "The Cannoli of Piana degli Albanesi". A Taste of Travel. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2003 s.v.
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2003, s.v.]
  5. ^ "Scatti di gusto - 30 cannoli siciliani perfetti per un tentativo di classifica definitiva". Scatti di Gusto. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  6. ^ Michael Krondl (2011). Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert. Chicago Review Press. p. 102. ISBN 9781556529542.
  7. ^ Paul H. Freedman (2007). Food: The History of Taste (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 159. ISBN 9780520254763.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Cannoli at Wikimedia Commons
  • Cannoli at Wikibook Cookbooks