Do you have to strain ricotta for cannoli filling?

This article will explain if you need to strain ricotta for cannoli filling and shed some light on how to strain it. We will also share some helpful tips and recipes for dishes that require cannoli filling.

Do you have to strain ricotta for cannoli filling?

Ricotta cheese requires straining before it can be used to make cannoli filling. It is crucial to get a lot of the moisture out of the ricotta cheese because cannoli is made with a thick, creamy cheese filling. This is to prevent it from losing its shape.

Any excess moisture will also make the cannoli shells too soggy, making the dessert lose its satisfying crunch.

What is cannoli filling used for?

Cannoli filling is traditionally used to make an Italian dessert known as cannoli, but it can also be used as a filling for cakes and sandwich cookies. It is a rich and creamy sweet cheese mixture made with ricotta and mascarpone cheese. 

There are so many more cannoli-inspired desserts that you can make with this cheesy filling. Cannoli Pie and Cannoli Dip are recipes worth trying, as well as this recipe for cannoli cheesecake.

What do you need to strain ricotta cheese?

You will most probably have these utensils in your kitchen, so don’t worry. You will need:

  • A small bowl—This is to catch the liquid when it drips out of the cheese.
  • A fine mesh strainer—To allow the liquid to pass through.
  • A cheesecloth—To make sure no cheese bits get stuck in the strainer.
  • A silicone spatula—Needed to press down and squeeze the moisture out of the cheese.
  • Saran wrap—To provide a layer between the cheese and the spatula, so that it does not stick to the spatula.

If you do not have a cheesecloth, it can be substituted with coffee filters or slightly thick paper towels. A regular spoon can be used to press down on the cheese if you can’t find the silicone spatula, either.

How do you strain ricotta cheese?

The method of straining the cheese is fairly simple, but it requires time to fully dehydrate. To begin, place the mesh strainer over the small bowl, and place the cheesecloth over the strainer. Empty out all of the ricotta cheese into the cheesecloth, and then place a layer of saran wrap on top of the cheese. Now begin pressing down on the cheese gently with a spatula.

All of the excess liquid will begin dripping down into the bowl. By squeezing the cheese with the spatula, you may be able to get the moisture out a little faster, but this would require constant monitoring of the cheese. 

For an alternative, you can place a jar or slightly heavy object on the saran wrap to provide constant pressure on the cheese and put it in the fridge to drain.

It is important to mention that how long you drain the ricotta cheese depends on what type of consistency you are looking for. For cannoli filling, the ricotta must be very firm, so leaving it for 8 hours to drain is recommended. For a more creamy consistency, it can be drained for 5 minutes to an hour.

Where do you get cannoli shells?

Cannoli shells can be bought in your local supermarket, or just follow this link to buy them online. They can also be homemade from scratch. To try making it at home, take a look at the amazing recipe.

Can you make cannoli filling without ricotta?

Ricotta cheese is the main ingredient that gives cannoli its signature flavor, however, if you can’t find ricotta cheese or simply don’t have time to drain it, then there are alternatives. The most common way is to replace it with mascarpone cheese which is thicker and has a more distinct cheesy flavor.

This alteration will affect the overall taste of the dish, but still achieve an interesting new twist on the classic Italian dessert.

Other FAQs about Ricotta Cheese that you may be interested in.

What to do with leftover ricotta?

How to use ricotta cheese?

Does ricotta cheese go bad?


We hope this blog helped shed some light on how to handle ricotta cheese, and explore the different options when using it in your Italian recipes. Good luck!


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!