Homemade Gluten Free Cannoli

Gluten Free Cannoli Shells

Someone doing a search for “purchase gluten free cannoli shells” landed on my blog today. This prompted me to research whether or not you can purchase them or not. The only thing I found was a waffle type pizzelle made into the shape of a cannoli shell. Pizzelles are actually a cookie. Well, I got to work in my kitchen right away and came up with a successful gluten free cannoli shells recipe. Try it! I really think you’ll be pleased.

I started with my original non gluten free cannoli shells recipe. I left out the cocoa powder, as I wanted to make a traditional, yet gluten free cannoli shells recipe. Though traditional recipes do not call for cinnamon, I just love a cinnamon cannoli, therefore, left it in this recipe. I also cut the recipe in half, as I did not want to test such a large batch. This half batch makes about 18 cannoli.


Gluten Free Cannoli Shells


Yield: Appx. 18 cannoli

Gluten Free Cannoli Shells

These gluten free cannoli are so good that you can serve them to your gluten eating friends and family and they'll never know!


  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons ice water (from a cup of water and ice)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum, if corn intolerant)
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or 1/4 teaspoon stevia powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon (or a pinch) sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons shortening
  • 1 egg white, beaten (for brushing)
  • Tapioca flour/starch for dusting/rolling
  • Peanut oil (or extra virgin olive oil.)


  1. Beat egg; add vanilla and ice water to eggs. (Set aside the ice water.)
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, and cinnamon with a whisk.
  3. Add the shortening and cut the shortening with a whisk until a little crumbly.
  4. Make well in dry mixture and add egg mixture.
  5. Using your hands mix together to form a ball, if dry add more ice water; if wet add a bit more tapioca flour and knead).
  6. Place the dough on a tapioca floured surface and cut the dough into 4 pieces.
  7. Place three pieces in a ziplock bag and set aside.
  8. With a rolling pin, roll the dough of the fourth piece onto the floured surface, about 1/16" thick.
  9. With a cookie or biscuit cutter, or glass, cut circles in the flour about 3 1/2" round.
  10. Set each circle aside. You can layer them, as this dough does not stick to each other.
  11. Add additional rice flour to the rolling surface and scrape any stuck dough off rolling pin and surface as needed.
  12. Place a steamer rack at the bottom of a stock pot or other large pot; or use a deep fryer with a basket.
  13. Add enough oil so that the oil will go about 1" above the cannoli and begin heating the oil to 380 degrees F.
  14. Oil the 7/8" cannoli forms by either spraying them with olive oil or any other cooking oil; or you may just rub a little vegetable or peanut oil on them; and set aside.
  15. Take as many of the circles as you have cannoli forms and roll each of the circles out into an oval shape making them about 4 – 5" wide.
  16. Wrap the dough around a cannoli form and before overlapping it, wipe a bit of the egg white on the tip of the dough to seal the cannoli dough. Press firmly to seal them together.
  17. When all of your forms are wrapped with the dough and your oil is at 380 degrees, deep fry each form until lightly brown. My deep fryer only goes to 375 degrees, but it does the trick. They just come out a little lighter.
  18. Remove after about 1 minute. (Be sure to allow the oil to drip out of the center of the form, over the pot before setting aside.) You can place them in a heat resistant bowl, standing up to allow any additional oil to drip, but allowing them to lay in a deep frying basket does not help, as they need to be standing upward.
  19. With a towel or a couple of layers of paper towels hold the cannoli very lightly and slide off the cannoli form with several layers of paper towels or a towel. If they get stuck just twist the form a little bit (not the cannoli). Use caution to prevent burning yourself.
  20. Set cannoli on a rack to cool and leave overnight. This is done to allow additional crispness so that the cannoli can be used in the future versus immediately.
  21. Set forms in the freezer to cool between uses. Do not leave them in there too long, though, as they will form too much moisture.
  22. Repeat steps 20 – 26 until all of your cannoli shells are cooked. There is no need to pre-oil the form after the first time.
  23. Place cannoli in zip lock bags with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Then place the bags in an airtight container to avoid being crushed. Store in a cool dry place up to 6 weeks.


Once you cut your circles you will have additional dough left over. Just place these pieces in the zip lock bag. After you use all of your dough just form a ball with the left-overs. Create a well in the ball and add additional ice water and knead. Then you will not waste the extras. If you use all of this dough you will be able to make 18 3 ½” cannoli shells.

If you do not have a deep fryer (the hardest part of cooking cannoli shells is trying to keep the oil at a specific temperature). Just expect to continually test the temperature of the oil with a thermometer, allowing it to warm or cool as needed. Another options is using an electric skillet.

Add chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, chopped pastachio nuts, Amarena Italian Cherries (chopped or halved) or dried fruit in the mixture and/or at the ends of the cannoli for garnish.

If you wish them to come out a bit darker, do add the cocoa powder. To make chocolate cannoli shells add a total of 3 teaspoons of pure cocoa powder to the dry ingredients.

It is a lot of work, but this is something everyone should experience at least one. Just make sure you allow yourself about 2 hours unless you have someone to help.

If you use "superfine rice flour" (brown or white) they turn out closer to the real thing, though as the recipe stands, no one can tell they are gluten-free.)



11 comments on “Gluten Free Cannoli ShellsAdd yours →

  1. Is there a substitute for potato starch? Very allergic to potato, corn, coconut, and peanuts/nuts…i can do the other ingredients but I’m assuming the potato is there for texture?

  2. I was searching for a gf bechamel sauce for a moussaka recipe this site came up. I was pleasantly surprise at all the other options I had for pastries. I couldn’t get the cannoli shell receipe. I’m the only one in my household with celiac. I don’t try many recipes. I love cannoli and would like to plan then for the holidays. You did give me so many desserts to choose from. Thanks

    1. Hi Awilda,

      It’s funny you should ask about this recipe today. I just ran across this page earlier today. When I was updating the recipe I accidentally changed the recipe code number. I had contacted someone earlier today to find out how to figure out the proper code. Meanwhile, you provided me with more incentive to figure out the correct code myself, and voila! Here it is…all back up and ready for you to make!

      Thank you for your patience.


  3. This looks so yummy! I’m definately going to try it. Cooking, baking plus buying already made gluten free has opened my world up when it seemed pretty glum when I first discovered I was gluten intolerant.

    1. Great, Bernie!

      I hope you enjoy them. My entire family does, and most of them are not gluten-free!

      Just make sure you make plenty of dough, as it may take some time to get the hang of how to wrap them, as well as how long to cook them so they don’t burst open.


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