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A basic cannolo lightly sprinkled with confectioner's sugar
A basic cannolo lightly sprinkled with confectioner's sugar
Alternative names Cannolo, singular
Type Pastry
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Sicily
Main ingredients fried pastry dough, ricotta filling
Variations Kannoli (Malta)
Cookbook: Cannoli  Media: Cannoli
Cannoli on display

Cannoli (Italian pronunciation: [kanˈnɔːli]; Sicilian: cannula) are Italian pastries of the Sicily region. The Italian singular is cannolo ([kanˈnɔːlo]; in the Sicilian language cannolu), meaning "little tube" but in English, cannoli is usually used as a singular, and cannolo is rare.[1] Cannoli originated in Sicily and are a staple of Sicilian cuisine.[2][3] They are also popular in Italian-American cuisine. In Italy, they are commonly known as "cannoli siciliani", Sicilian cannoli.

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.[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 throughout Italy.

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 Islamic world at the time, from Al-Andalus to Iraq. The dish and the name may have survived from the Muslim Emirate of Sicily.[7]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2003 s.v.
  2. ^ Gangi, Robert (2006). "Cannoli". Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "The Cannoli of Piana degli Albanesi". A Taste of Travel. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  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