Irresistible Tiramisu with Lots of Tips

This tiramisu recipe is one of our absolute favorite desserts. Espresso soaked ladyfingers are layered with a light and airy filling made from mascarpone cheese, egg yolks and cream. It is simple to make, you just need a little time. Jump to the Tiramisu Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it.

Watch Us Make the Recipe

How to Make Tiramisu at Home

Tiramisu is an Italian dessert made with layers of coffee soaked ladyfingers (Italian biscuits with a dry spongelike texture) and cream. Look for Italian ladyfingers (or Savoiardi). They are quite hard and often have a sugary top. Not to worry, though — they soften as the tiramisu sits.

To make tiramisu, you are looking at 5 simple steps (the detailed recipe is below):

  1. Make a creamy filling of egg yolks, Marsala wine and sugar. A hand-held mixer makes this step extra easy.
  2. Fold mascarpone cheese into the creamy, whipped filling. (Mascarpone is similar to plain cream cheese.)
  3. Finish the creamy layer by folding in whipped heavy cream or whipped egg whites (see our FAQs below).
  4. Assemble the tiramisu by layering the creamy filling between ladyfingers that have been dipped into strong coffee and Marsala.
  5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before enjoying to allow the ladyfingers to soak up all the flavors of the creamy filling, coffee, and wine.
Assembling Tiramisu
Assembling Tiramisu

It is so important that you wait at least 6 hours before serving. In fact, it can be kept refrigerated 1 to 2 days and still be delicious.

How to Make Tiramisu Recipe with Video

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use raw egg whites to make tiramisu?

Look around for tiramisu recipes and you’ll notice there are two common ways to make it: with beaten raw egg whites or with whipped cream. Both are delicious, we promise.

The decision is completely up to you (we’ve included directions for both below). They taste very similar. If anything, tiramisu made with egg whites is a little lighter than one made with cream.

The decision comes down to whether or not you’re comfortable with adding raw egg whites to the dish. We’ve never had a problem with this, but if you’re concerned, make sure you use the freshest (and highest quality) eggs possible. Using pasteurized eggs is also a good option.

If you are not interested in using egg whites, you can make the tiramisu with cream instead. It really is just as delicious.

Why do you whisk the egg yolks over simmering water?

The base of our creamy filling is egg yolks — they are pretty important for authentic tiramisu. The yolks are gently cooked while being whisked with sugar and Marsala wine over gently simmering water. This step also ensures that the egg yolks turn into a creamy thickened mixture, which is what makes tiramisu so incredibly dreamy.

While it is possible to substitute the egg whites called for in our recipe below, we do not recommend that you remove the egg yolks.

Can tiramisu be made non-alcoholic? Can I substitute the Marsala wine?

While Marsala wine is traditional in tiramisu, you can absolutely make a perfectly delicious dessert without it. If you are okay with using alcohol, you can substitute the wine for dark rum, brandy or coffee flavored liqueur. Since Marsala is less potent than something like rum, we suggest using about half the amount.

For a non-alcoholic version, leave the Marsala out of the recipe all together. You can simply eliminate it or use rum extract — we recommend using 1 1/2 tablespoons of rum extract.

Can I make tiramisu ahead of time? Can it be frozen?

For the best results, tiramisu needs at least 6 hours in the fridge before serving. This time allows the ladyfingers a chance to soak up flavor and moisture from the coffee, wine and filling. You can make tiramisu 1 to 2 days in advance, just keep it refrigerated until you are ready to serve.

As for freezing tiramisu, we have never tried it ourselves, but we think you should be just fine! Make sure it is well wrapped in the freezer and then thaw overnight before enjoying. To freshen up the look before serving, add a bit more chocolate on top.

How to Make Tiramisu with Video

We just love this tiramisu recipe — it’s simple to make and boy does it wow at the dinner table.

More Delicious Desserts

Recipe updated, originally posted June 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

Irresistible Tiramisu with Lots of Tips

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

Espresso soaked ladyfingers are layered with a light and airy filling made from mascarpone cheese, egg yolks and cream. One of our favorite desserts, tiramisu is quite simple to make. You just need a little time.

We call for egg yolks, which are cooked over a double-boiler and heavy cream. Instead of using the cream, some recipes call for egg whites which are left uncooked and whipped. In the notes section below, we have shared directions for using egg whites instead of the cream. There is little difference in flavor. If anything, tiramisu made with egg whites will be a little lighter than with whipped cream.

Makes 8 Servings

You Will Need

1/2 cup (120 ml) brewed espresso or very strong coffee, at room temperature

1/4 cup (60 ml) dry Marsala wine, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided

8 ounces (225 grams) mascarpone cheese (about 1 1/4 cups)

3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy cream

18 to 20 Savoiardi Italian ladyfingers (from 7-ounce package)

1 ounce (30 grams) bittersweet chocolate or cocoa powder for dusting

Directions

  • Prepare Coffee
  • Combine espresso (or coffee), 2 tablespoons of the Marsala wine, vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of the sugar in a wide bowl.

    • Prepare Filling
    • Vigorously whisk egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of Marsala, and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. To make this step easier, use a handheld electric mixer at medium speed. (Do not stop beating until removed from the heat).

      Remove the bowl from heat, and then beat in mascarpone cheese until just combined.

      Whip cream in a bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Once the yolk-mascarpone mixture has cooled a little, gently fold in half of the whipped cream into the yolk-mascarpone mixture, then the remaining half just until fully incorporated (the whipped cream will deflate a little).

      • To Finish
      • Dip half of the ladyfingers very quickly into the coffee, and line the bottom of a 9-inch square dish. (You might find that you need to break a few into pieces to fit them in the dish).

        Spoon half of the mascarpone filling over the lady fingers and spread into an even layer. Grate half of the bittersweet chocolate over filling. Then dip the remaining ladyfingers very quickly into the coffee and arrange a second layer over filling.

        Spoon remaining mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers. Grate more chocolate on top or dust with cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours.

        When ready to serve, dust with more grated chocolate or cocoa powder. Leave out at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving. (Tiramisu can be chilled up to 2 days, but no longer or else the ladyfingers will break down and become mushy).

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Using Egg Whites Instead of Cream: Simply replace the heavy cream with 3 egg whites. Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks then gently fold in half of the beaten egg whites into the yolk-mascarpone mixture, then the remaining half just until fully incorporated. Assemble tiramisu as stated above. If you have concerns about raw egg whites, be sure to use the freshest (and highest quality) eggs possible. Look for clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells. Pasteurized eggs are also a great idea.
  • Substitutes for Marsala Wine: We love Marsala in tiramisu — it cuts the creaminess of the filling. For something a little different, try substituting dark rum, brandy or coffee flavored liqueur. Since Marsala is less potent than something like rum, we suggest using about half the amount. For a non-alcoholic version, leave the Marsala out of the recipe all together or use rum extract, we recommend using 1 1/2 tablespoons of rum extract.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 314 / Protein 7 g / Carbohydrate 22 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 14 g / Total Fat 22 g / Saturated Fat 12 g / Cholesterol 177 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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223 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Esther Anders January 17, 2020, 8:41 pm

    This is my go to recipe! I add a light layer of powdered sugar with the layer of cocoa powder to add just a hint of sweetness and so far it’s a hit! Thanks! Oh I also can’t use alcohol where I bring sweets in so I use Gran-grape instead of marsala. It adds a fruity tartness without the alcohol so my under aged co-worker can enjoy and my boss is happy.

    Reply
  • Sarah December 29, 2019, 8:50 pm

    This was a great recipe! I used caramel flavored vodka instead of the marsala wine and it was really yummy! Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. It’s maybe a tiny bit dry but otherwise I’d highly recommend it.

    Reply
  • Steph December 24, 2019, 4:02 pm

    Hi guys, Quick question…I whisked the eggs over the pot of water. It’s didn’t triple in size tho 🙁 I didn’t have an electric hand whisk unfortunately. I combined the thick mixture with the mascarpone and egg whites. I needed to make more as it didn’t go very far. Will it still be okay to eat even though the egg yolks didn’t triple in size and mixture not as voluminous as in your video??

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 2:28 pm

      Hi Steph, Next time, we recommend that you keep whisking until it triples in size. A large whisk or hand mixer helps a lot. If the egg yolks became warm over the simmering water, you should be okay, but without seeing the mixture myself, it’s hard for me to tell.

      Reply
  • Ammen November 15, 2019, 4:22 pm

    Hello again! Sorry, I see a lot of people used heavy cream and egg whites, I just wanted to know how much of egg whites and heavy cream I should use if I wanna go down that route! Thank you

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 2:30 pm

      Hi there, You can use the 3 eggs whites called for in the recipe and the 3/4 cup of heavy cream. By using both egg whites and whipped cream, the tiramisu filling will be very light.

      Reply
  • Ammen November 14, 2019, 10:55 am

    Hello! What is the best cocoa powder to use for the topping? When I’ve had tiramisu in the past, the powder tends to be a bit bitter which balances the sweet flavor of the rest of the cake, which tastes amazing.

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 2:30 pm

      Hi there, we actually prefer using grated chocolate (see our video). For cocoa powder, any unsweetened cocoa powder will do the trick.

      Reply
  • A.B September 19, 2019, 5:44 pm

    When using rum extract, should I use the whole 2 Tbl or cut it in half??

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 2:31 pm

      Hi there, To substitute the 1/4 cup of wine called for in the recipe, we recommend using 1 1/2 tablespoons of rum extract. You can always add to your taste, though.

      Reply
  • Carrie August 27, 2019, 2:25 am

    Is it necessary to beat the egg yolks over the simmering water, if I don’t mind raw eggs?

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 1:48 pm

      Hi Carrie, Yes, you do. It’s the beating process that makes the mixture so thick and creamy.

      Reply
  • traci.... August 6, 2019, 7:40 am

    Hi can i use pasteurized eggs in this recipe? Thanks

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 1:48 pm

      Yes, absolutely.

      Reply
  • Marianne Alexander Odell July 12, 2019, 9:57 pm

    I doubled the recipe. Making it for a Grange supper tomorrow night. The recipe states that the lady fingers need to be dipped QUICKLY in the coffee mixture. I wasn’t quick enough with the first layer-they soaked up the liquid like a SPONGE….they ARE little sponge cakes, after all aren’t they? I can’t really rate it as I haven’t tried it yet, will report back when I do. I’m giving it 4 stars on appearance alone..

    Reply
  • Kyla Navarro June 16, 2019, 9:22 pm

    This was amazing!!! Used gluten free lady fingers, and followed the recipe fully. It was just delicious! Made it for my husband for Father’s Day and everyone really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to make it again.

    Reply

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