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):
- Make a creamy filling of egg yolks, Marsala wine and sugar. A hand-held mixer makes this step extra easy.
- Fold mascarpone cheese into the creamy, whipped filling. (Mascarpone is similar to plain cream cheese.)
- Finish the creamy layer by folding in whipped heavy cream or whipped egg whites (see our FAQs below).
- Assemble the tiramisu by layering the creamy filling between ladyfingers that have been dipped into strong coffee and Marsala.
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours before enjoying to allow the ladyfingers to soak up all the flavors of the creamy filling, coffee, and wine.
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.
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.
We just love this tiramisu recipe — it’s simple to make and boy does it wow at the dinner table.
More Delicious Desserts
- Nutella Croissant Bread Pudding
- Our Favorite Apple Pie
- Simple Apple Tart
- Easy Fudgy Brownies From Scratch
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
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.
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
- Prepare Coffee
- Prepare Filling
- To Finish
Combine espresso (or coffee), 2 tablespoons of the Marsala wine, vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of the sugar in a wide bowl.
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).
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.