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One of my favorite places in the whole entire world is Mike’s Pastry Shop in Boston. Located on the North End of Harvard Square, this place has a line out the door at 11:00 pm. They have dozens of flavors of cannoli’s, but I’m a classic kinda gal. (I’m also a pistachio and mocha kinda gal too because I need to eat three every time I go…)

Mike's Pastry in Boston

The combo of ricotta cheese, chocolate, and the crunchy shell is just to die for. It’s not an overly sweet dessert, and it’s entirely underrated. In search of more cannoli flavor in my life, I developed a recipe I’m SUPER proud of.

Drum roll please…CANNOLI ROLLS

Cannoli Rolls

These rolls have all the flavors of a cannoli, deconstructed into a soft, doughy breakfast treat. Move over cinnamon rolls, cannoli rolls have arrived.

Made from a traditional roll dough, I developed a filling that will bring you back to that traditional Boston cannoli taste, in a decadent, breakfast style. These are easy enough to whip up for a lazy Sunday morning, but fancy enough to bring to a holiday brunch.

Historically, I’ve been intimidated by any kind of bread dough. This dough is so easy to whip together, the only time-consuming part is waiting for it to rise! It’s super easy to manage, but if you want to feed a crowd be sure to double the recipe.

Floured Dough, sitting on a white quarts counter top next to a rolling pin dusted with flour.
Me, a brunette woman rolling dough for cannoli rolls.
See that stainless steel bowl behind me? It’s a baking MUST! Find out why here.

Three tricks to making the BEST homemade bread dough…

  1. Rapid-rise yeast. You’ll save so much time, just trust me!
  2. Warm temperatures. Let your dough rise in a sunny room, or even in your oven turned to the lowest temperature possible (usually 175 F). This will make it rise much faster.
  3. Do NOT over knead it! 2-3 minutes TOPS. Over kneading breaks it down and ruins the enzymes needed for a nice, fluffy rise.

Another unusual trick my Mom taught me, is to always cut dough with dental floss instead of a knife. This keeps the dough from ripping, or the fillings from spilling out all over the place. It’s also quick. (Don’t worry if your floss is mint flavored, it won’t actually change the flavor of your rolls)

Cutting rolls with dental floss

See? Pretty, evenly cut rolls, without any loss of cannoli filling.

Cannoli Rolls ready to be put in the oven!
After I cut my rolls, I decided there weren’t enough chocolate chips, so I poked a few extra into the top!

These rolls are seriously so freaking good, it’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve blogged so far. I conquered my fear of dough, and I found a new Weekend fav in the process!

Cannoli Rolls

Cannoli Rolls

The classic Italian dessert re-imagined into breakfast rolls. Sweet, salty, and juuust chocolaty enough. Weekend brunch will never be the same.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Breakfast, brunch, Pastry
Cuisine American
Servings 12 people


  • Dough Hook Attachment for KitchenAid
  • Dental Floss
  • Dish Towel



  • 3.5 Cups White Flour
  • 1 Cup Warm Milk (NOT hot!)
  • 1 Egg whisked
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
  • 5 TBS Sugar
  • 2.5 tsp Rapid-Rise Yeast (also called "Instant")
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt


  • 1.5 Cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Crushed Waffle Cones
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • 3.5 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Milk or Heavy Cream


Prepare the Yeast

  • Combine the warm milk, melted butter, 5 TBS sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Set aside and let stand for 15 minutes. You'll know it's done when it's bubbly.

Make the Dough

  • When the yeast is done, whisk in 1 egg, followed by the flour, then salt. If you have one, use a dough hook to mix it together, as it will go much faster. Dough will be sticky to the touch.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for approximately 3 minutes.
  • Coat a bowl with cooking spray or butter, and put the ball of dough into the bowl, covering with a wet dish towel. Let rise for 45-60 minutes at room temperature, or the warmest place in your house. It's done when it is twice it's original size.


  • In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 egg, 1/2 C sugar, and vanilla.
  • Crush 2 waffle cones into small pieces (not dust!) and set aside, with the chocolate chips.

Assemble the Rolls

  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish, and Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
  • Again on your lightly floured surface, roll your dough into a 9×13 rectangle.
  • Spread the ricotta mixture evenly across the rectangle.
  • Sprinkle on chocolate chips, and waffle cone pieces.
  • Starting length-wise, roll your rectangle dough into itself, covering the layer of filling. Roll it as tightly as you can, until it becomes a nice round tube. Press the ends together to keep the filling in, and seal the seam with a tiny bit of water on your fingers.
  • Using your dental floss, pinch the rolls into 12 even pieces. Start with the floss underneath the roll, then pull the two sides together and cross them over. You CAN use a knife, but this is a much cleaner way to cut the rolls without ripping the dough.
  • Assemble the rolls in your baking dish, placed as evenly apart as possible.
  • Place your wet dishtowel over the top of the baking dish, and let your rolls rise again for 30 minutes, or until they're double the size they started.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until just barely golden brown.


  • Combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk or heavy cream in a mixer. Add powdered sugar or milk until you have the consistency you'd like. The measurements I've provided give you a thicker icing consistency that drizzles well, but sets up fast.
  • Pour the icing over the rolls about 10 minutes after they come out of the oven. If desired, top with more crushed waffle cones. Serve hot.
    Cannoli Rolls


I’ve never made bread dough without a dough hook, but I know you can use a regular hand mixer. Just be careful not to overbeat the dough, or it won’t rise properly.
Be CERTAIN to use the rapid-rise yeast, as this recipe won’t work with regular yeast.
Do not try to substitute any non-dairy milk or egg substitutes in this recipe, I can’t guarantee how it will turn out!
Keyword Breakfast, Brunch, pastry, rolls

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