Homemade Cannelloni is a rich baked Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to!

Cannelloni pasta tubes are stuffed with a rich and flavorful ricotta filling, then covered in marinara and a generous topping of mozzarella!

Cheesy cannelloni being scooped up with a metal spatula

What Exactly is Cannelloni? Cannelloni is a stuffed pasta dish (not to be confused with cannoli, which is a sweet dessert). Cannelloni shells can be found in most grocery stores or you can buy it online. You can substitute jumbo shells or manicotti shells (which are shorter tubes and have ridges). Either of those optoins will need to be pre-cooked.

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!

Ingredients for cheese cannelloni mixture in a glass bowl

How to Make Cannelloni

It might seem intimidating to make, but it’s actually quite simple!

Filling Cannelloni: Cannelloni is filled dry (not pre cooked like stuffed shells would be).  Add the filling to a piping bag with a large dip or a  freezer bag and squeeze the filling into the tubes.

  1. Mix the filling according to the recipe below.
  2. Spoon filling into a piping bag or a freezer bag with the corner cut off.
  3. Squeeze filling into oven-ready cannelloni tubes.

Tip:  Cannelloni is filled dry and the sauce softens the pasta as it bakes. Cook time can vary from brand to brand so make note of what the box you purchase suggests for cook time. Depending on the brand, I sometimes soak them in a bowl of very hot water for about 5-7 minutes before I fill them, this helps them begin softening.

Be sure to add lots of sauce . Test with a fork to make sure the pasta is cooked through before serving

Stuffed cannelloni in a casserole dish

Serve with…

Cheese cannelloni is a great meal and we serve it up just like homemade lasagna.

Leftovers?

Cannelloni is a great make-ahead dish, and it freezes well.

  • Freeze in a freezer and oven safe casserole dish, tightly covered.
  • Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to the recipe directions below.

More Filled Pasta

Cheese cannelloni in a white dish with a scoop being taken out

Cheesy cannelloni being scooped up with a metal spatula
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Cheese Cannelloni

Rich Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 cannelloni
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Ingredients  

  • 12 dried cannelloni oven ready
  • 2 ½ cups marinara sauce divided
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded

Filling

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • Add ⅓ cup water to the marinara sauce and place ½ cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 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 40 minutes. Add cheese and bake covered an additional 15-20 minutes.

Notes

Fresh lasagna sheets can be used in place of cannelloni tubes. Cut lasagna and roll the filling in the sheets. Reduce cook time to 40 minutes covered, adding cheese for the last 10 minutes.
5 from 32 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 180 | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 469mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3302IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian

Cheese cannelloni in a white dish garnished with parsley

Cheese Cannelloni with a title
Cheese Cannelloni in a casserole dish with writing
Cheese Cannelloni in a casserole dish with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Please create an easy seafood cannelloni recipe (with no boil tubes). I really need to impress myself (and my friends, of course!) Perhaps a tomato base one and also a creamy one? Both? Your recipes are genius. I know you can do this!5 stars

  2. I made this on 18 Jun 2023, as written with two caveats, first, I used my homemade butter tomato sauce so I did use more sauce than what the recipe states. Second, I simply increased the cheese in the filling. Filled 18 tubes. This is incredibly easy to prepare! I used a piping bag, no tip, just the collar in place, worked perfectly! The Thai family was drooling when they seen me putting this together, and they loved this dish when served. This dish was the first time they have had this, and now it will be often. Thank you Holly for once again, and other excellent recipe and excellent tasting dish.5 stars