Homemade Cannelloni is a rich Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to! Cannelloni tubes are stuffed with a rich and flavorful ricotta filling, then covered in marinara and a generous topping of baked mozzarella!
Once I figured out how easy it is to fill cannelloni tubes using a zippered bag, I realized it is just as simple to make as stuffed shells or chicken lasagna. My family loves this dish, and there are so many versatile uses for it!
What Exactly is Cannelloni?
Cannelloni is basically an Americanized version of an Italian stuffed pasta dish (not to be confused with cannoli, which is a sweet dessert.)
If it’s hard to find cannelloni shells, you could use what manicotti shells, which are shorter tubes and have ridges. It won’t make a huge difference, but it is nice to use traditional cannelloni which is smooth and a bit longer.
Cannelloni vs. Manicotti
Cannelloni loosely translates from the Italian as “big tubes, or even “large reeds.” Traditionally cheese and vegetables or meat filling are rolled in pasta sheets before baking. Manicotti would more likely be called “crespelle” and is often made with crepes rather than pasta.
Whatever the name of the pasta you use, you basically fill it with lots of creamy and savory cheese and cover it with sauce and more cheese before baking. Yum!
How to Make Cannelloni
It might seem intimidating to make, but it’s actually quite simple!
- Mix the filling according to the recipe directions.
- Spoon filling into a piping bag or a zip lock bag with the corner cut off.
- Squeeze filling into oven-ready cannelloni tubes.
*Tip: If you can’t find oven-ready pasta, use regular, but make sure to cover with extra sauce so the noodles cook well. Test with a fork to make sure the pasta is cooked through.
Bake according to recipe directions or until cannelloni pasta is soft. Cover with remaining cheese and continue baking until piping hot and bubbly!
Ways to Serve Cannelloni
Serving when having guests over for dinner, with a gorgeous spinach salad with warm bacon dressing is just one of the many ways to enjoy cheese cannelloni!
- Make it for a friend who just had a baby, or for someone who can’t cook for themselves!
- Make it ahead and freeze it for nights when you know you won’t be able to cook!
- Portion it out into individual freezer containers and take it to work for lunches!
- Try it for a meatless option, or alternatively, make it with homemade meat sauce like in Lasagna Roll ups!
Cannelloni is a great make-ahead dish, and it freezes well.
- Freeze in a freezer and oven safe casserole dish, tightly covered. Be careful not to put it in the oven right from frozen, however, as the extreme temperature change can shatter even ovenproof glass.
- Defrost in the refrigerator or on the counter, then bake according to the recipe directions below.
Cannelloni is a special dish that’s perfect for guests or a family Italian night. Try it this week!
Must-Try Cheesy Pasta Dishes
- Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese – boiled in milk
- Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells – taco-inspired casserole
- Spaghetti Pie – baked with cheese!
- Baked Mac and Cheese – fav comfort foods
- Spaghetti Carbonara – famously flavorful!
Rich Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to
- 12 dried cannelloni (oven ready)
- 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce (divided)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Place into a piping bag or large zippered bag and set aside.
- Place 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
Snip off the corner of the zipper bag if using and fill each cannelloni placing in the pan. Top with remaining marinara sauce.
Cover and bake 35 minutes. Add cheese and bake covered an additional 15-20 minutes.