Our Best Tiramisu

This tiramisu recipe is one of our absolute favorite desserts. We layer espresso-soaked ladyfingers with a light, airy filling made from mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, and cream. If you have never tried making tiramisu at home, now is the time to try!

Watch the Video

Tiramisu Recipe Video

How to Make The Best 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 hard and dry with a sugary top. Not to worry, though — they soften as the tiramisu sits.

Our go-to recipe pulls from more authentic tiramisu recipes but swaps raw egg whites for whipped cream. If you prefer tiramisu made with egg whites, check the tips section of our recipe below, as we have included directions for using them.

Tiramisu

When we make tiramisu, we follow the following five steps (the detailed recipe is below). We also recommend watching our recipe video, which takes you through each step.

  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 dipped into strong coffee and Marsala wine.
  5. Refrigerate for at least six hours to allow the ladyfingers to soak up all the creamy filling, coffee, and wine flavors.

Tiramisu is quite possibly the best make-ahead dessert. Since those hard ladyfingers need time to absorb all the flavors and moisture of the espresso and creamy layers, it’s crucial to wait at least six hours before serving. In fact, homemade tiramisu can be kept refrigerated for one to two days!

Assembling Tiramisu
Assembling Tiramisu

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Look around for tiramisu recipes, and you’ll notice two typical ways to make it: with beaten raw egg whites or whipped cream. Both are delicious, we promise. The decision is entirely up to you (we’ve included directions for both in the tiramisu recipe 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 you’re comfortable adding raw egg whites to the dish. We’ve never had a problem with this, but if you’re concerned, ensure you use the freshest (and highest quality) eggs possible. Of course, 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, and if you want more authentic tiramisu, egg yolks are essential.

We gently cook the yolks with sugar and Marsala wine over gently simmering water. As you can see from our recipe video, we whisk the mixture the entire time so that the yolks don’t scramble on us. The egg yolks and sugar mixture make tiramisu so incredibly dreamy. Using lower heat (the simmering water) and constantly whisking makes it creamy and prevents the eggs from scrambling.

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 rum, we suggest using about half the amount.

For a non-alcoholic version, leave the Marsala out of the recipe altogether. Instead, you can 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 six hours in the fridge before serving. This time allows the ladyfingers to soak 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! Ensure it is well wrapped in the freezer and thaw overnight before enjoying. Add a bit more chocolate on top to freshen up the look before serving.

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

A Slice of Homemade Tiramisu

Our Best Tiramisu

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This tiramisu recipe is one of our absolute favorite desserts. We layer espresso-soaked ladyfingers with a light, airy filling made from mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, and cream. If you have never tried making tiramisu at home, now is the time to try!

We call for egg yolks cooked over a double-boiler and whipped heavy cream to make the creamy filling. Instead of using the cream, other recipes call for whipped raw egg whites. In the tips section below, we have shared directions for using egg whites instead of cream. There is little difference in flavor. If anything, tiramisu made with egg whites will be a little lighter than whipped cream.

Makes 8 Servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

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
  • 1Combine espresso (or coffee), 2 tablespoons of the Marsala wine, vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of the sugar in a wide bowl.

  • Prepare Filling
  • 1Vigorously 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).

    2Remove the bowl from heat, and then beat in mascarpone cheese until just combined.

    3Whip 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
  • 1Dip 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).

    2Spoon 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.

    3Spoon 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.

    4When 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 ½ 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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242 comments… Leave a Review
  • Rosie October 21, 2023, 6:06 pm

    I made this twice this week, once with the cream and once with egg whites. Both were good, but the one with egg whites was better texture-wise. Can’t wait to make again!

    Reply
    • Adam October 22, 2023, 11:33 am

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Reply
  • Jacky Castellow September 24, 2022, 12:56 pm

    Thank you for writing this recipe out, posting it and making a terrific video to go with it. This is basically the recipe I’ve used for years to make Tiramisù but I like your idea of using a hand mixer on the stove top to make the preparation easier. I made your recipe for tailgating this weekend and the Tiramisù turned out beautifully. Grazie!

    Reply
  • Larry Rayburn September 6, 2021, 2:24 am

    Yes, we freeze tiramasu and can’t really tell the difference. That was done with home made mascarpone.

    Reply
  • Delia Bottoms July 18, 2021, 5:41 pm

    This was a great video that provided good instructions for making tiramisu at home. I used to make full size sheet pans of tiramisu using rectangular frames at the Mark Hopkins hotel in SF many years ago. Making it at home versus a commercial kitchen is very different, considering how big that hotel kitchen was! (I used a 60 quart mixing bowl to make the marscapone base…the recipe used 30 yolks.) In the pastry shop we used a thin layer of vanilla sponge cake at the bottom of each pan which was brushed with the coffee rather than lady fingers.(The soaked lady fingers were the third layer) Other than that, it is very similar. So I really appreciated your instructions. Thank you so much! It came out beautiful and delicious!

    Reply
  • Vania teles April 27, 2021, 11:25 pm

    Hi!i really love your reciepes i have never baked/cooked something so good .

    Reply
  • Catherine April 12, 2021, 1:27 pm

    I searched high and low for a really great recipe before attempting a tiramisu and I’m so glad I chose this one, it turned out exactly as I wanted it – perfectly creamy and delicious. I used Kahlúa in place of marsala and followed the advice to halve the quantity as it is stronger, but found I ran out of liquid for dipping the ladyfingers – possibly due to overenthusiastic dunking of the first few! – so ended up adding an extra tablespoon of the liqueur anyway. If you wanted to avoid this you could make sure to have a little extra coffee prepared – but I didn’t find the extra booze overwhelming so next time I might use the full quantity of liqueur anyway. I made the recipe with cream because I already had some to hand but would be interested to try with egg whites next time – and there definitely will be a next time!

    Reply
  • Francis April 4, 2021, 11:37 pm

    Omggg. The best Tiramisu receipe ever! Easy to make it and soo yummy. I made it on Sat morning and just had it for today Easter desert. Thank you for sharing the receipe and all the tips. This will be a keep!

    Reply
  • Billy January 26, 2021, 11:14 am

    An absolutely wonderful recipe that turned out perfectly on my first try. The tips made a massive difference, especially when my cream curdled and I had to resort to egg whites!

    Reply
  • Anna December 24, 2020, 3:49 am

    I have been making this since 2015! For 5 years it has been an absolute favourite and made me the Tiramisu Lady at any party and occasion. Thank you so much for that! I am making it for tonight too. Merry Holidays! Anna

    Reply
  • Lorelei December 6, 2020, 11:16 am

    I just made this recipe today, substituting coffee liquor for the Marsala wine. Absolutely AMAZING!!

    Reply
  • Sally October 27, 2020, 11:26 pm

    Recipe could use more coffee. It was only 1/2 a cup. I would double it next time. Taste great and would highly recommend it. The videos were very helpful especially for someone whose making it for the first time.

    Reply
  • Trogfoot August 31, 2020, 10:21 am

    This is a great recipe and it came out beautifully. I was my first time making tiramisu and the recipe gave so many helpful tips I was confident it would come out the way I like it. I did not use egg whites, and next time might use just a teensy bit more coffee, but only because I love it. Thank you for sharing this great recipe. I am back here today to make it again!

    Reply

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