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blue and white coffee cup with sweet panelle cookie cut in half on the saucer

Sweet Panelle with Ricotta Filling (Baked, Gluten Free)

Inspired by the popular Sicilian street food, these sweet panelle are made with chickpea flour and stuffed with a sweet ricotta and chocolate filling. They are also baked instead of fried and gluten free!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Sicilian-Italian
Keyword sweet panelle with ricotta filling, panelle, Sicilian panelle
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 18 -20 portions
Calories 225kcal


For the dough

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 3/4 cups chickpea flour sifted

For the ricotta filling

  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

For sealing the panelle and brushing on top

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk

For serving

  • powdered sugar for dusting


Prepare the dough

  • Add cubed unsalted butter and sugar to the bowl of your food processer. Process until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, baking powder and salt and blend well.
  • Add sifted chickpea flour in 2 batches. Pulse until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough wraps itself around the blade into a ball.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean work surface, flatten into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.

Prepare the ricotta filling

  • Meanwhile, prepare the ricotta filling. In a small bowl combine all filling ingredients and stir until smooth.

Assemble the cookies

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove from the refrigerator and divide the dough into 4 pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time keeping the remaining dough wrapped to prevent from drying.
  • Roll the dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface as thin as possible, about 3 mm. Use an 8 cm round cutter to cut circles. I used the handy empanada cutter that I have on hand. Other tools can include round cookie cutters or even a drinking glass.
  • Add a heaping teaspoon of ricotta mixture to the center of half the circle cut outs. Dab the perimeter with the egg yolk beaten with milk. Place a circular cut out over the ricotta filling, pressing down lightly on the edges to ensure both halves stick together. 
  • Place on parchment paper covered baking sheets. Continue with the remaining dough. Brush each sweet panelle with egg wash.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until both the tops and underneath are golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Dust with powdered sugar before serving.


Chickpea flour is more dense than all-purpose flour, be sure to sift it before adding to the recipe.
For best results roll the chickpea flour dough as thin as possible. A dough that is too thick may result in panelle that are too dense and chewy.
The dough can be sticky when rolling. Therefore use chickpea flour (to maintain a gluten free recipe) or all-purpose flour as needed (on your work surface and on rolling pin) when rolling the dough.
If your ricotta is watery, place it in a sieve covered with cheesecloth over a bowl. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours to allow the excess water to drain.
Since they have a ricotta filling, I stored my sweet panelle in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
You can freeze them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then bring to room temperature before serving.
Please note that the nutritional information provided is approximate and may vary according to exact portion size and ingredients used.


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 340IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg