Cannoli (Italian pronunciation: [kanˈnɔːli]; Sicilian: cannolu) are Italian pastries that originated on the island of Sicily and are today a staple of Sicilian cuisine.[1][2] Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta. They range in size from no bigger than a finger, to the large versions typically found south of Palermo, in Piana degli Albanesi.[2] In mainland Italy, they are commonly known as cannoli siciliani (Sicilian cannoli).

Cannoli siciliani (7472226896).jpg
Cannoli topped with chopped pistachios, candied fruit and chocolate chips sprinkled with confectioner's sugar
Place of originItaly
Region or stateSicily
Main ingredientsfried pastry dough, ricotta filling
VariationsKannoli (Malta), Kanojët (Albania)
Cannoli on display topped with cherries and pistachios


Cannolo is a diminutive of canna, 'cane' or 'tube'.[3]

In Italian, cannoli is grammatically plural; the corresponding singular is cannolo ([kanˈnɔːlo], Sicilian: cannolu), meaning "little tube". In English, cannoli is usually used as a singular, and cannolo is rare.[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]

See alsoEdit


  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.

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