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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227 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Ana January 22, 2018, 9:56 pm

    I made the recipe and it was really good! I think I used too big of a pan because I used about 26 lady fingers and the cream layers were a bit thin. Also, I would prepare more coffee/espresso because I ended up using a little over one cup of coffee, and the recipe only called for 1/2. Even though I used more lady fingers, even at 12 I already needed to use more coffee. But overall the recipe was delicious and my whole family really liked it!

    Reply
  • Marti January 21, 2018, 6:53 pm

    Doubled this for 9×13 and it fit perfectly. I couldn’t decide between egg whites and whipped cream, so I did a batch of each and combined them since I had to double the recipe anyway! :o) Super good. Subbed dark rum for Marsala.

    Do not skimp on the refrigeration time, as it really does make a big difference. Due to time constraints, I was only able to refrigerate for 3 +/- hours. It was still good, but it was 10x better the next day.

    Reply
  • Mady Weydert January 13, 2018, 9:25 am

    It’s a very good, not too sweet recipe, although I always make it without heating the egg yolks and substitute the cream for egg whites.Additional tips: -use Amaretto liqueur instead of Marsala -instead of dunking the ladyfingers in coffee, puree raspberries or strawberries (or Any kind of fruit) and generously drip it over the ladyfingers laid into the pan (dunking the ladyfingers into the purree doesn’t give enough moisture). Then the egg-mixture, then lay ladyfingers, drip fruitpurree and so on. Super as a summer desert!

    Reply
  • Eunice January 9, 2018, 12:22 am

    I tweaked the receipe abit by using icing sugar/sugar powder for the egg yolks mixture. As the icing sugar can be easily dissolved in the egg yolks, I didnt use the saucepan of simmering water. The tiramisu turned out fine and this receipe is certainly a keeper!

    Reply
  • Yuki December 31, 2017, 7:50 pm

    I made this yesterday to take to a new year’s eve party. It was delicious! We have an Italian espresso machine so the coffee we used was brewed from freshly ground beans. I think this made a big difference. I will be sticking to this recipe, thanks!

    Reply
  • carly December 20, 2017, 9:36 am

    Can marsala cooking wine be used instead of marsala wine or will it change the flavor too much?

    Reply
    • Joanne January 16, 2020, 1:52 pm

      Hi Carly, Yes, you can use marsala cooking wine. (I’d just taste it first to make sure you like the flavor).

      Reply
  • kirsten December 17, 2017, 11:20 pm

    If I want to make this is a 9×11 cake pan, how would i modify the ingredients? Would doubling be too much?

    Reply
    • Joanne December 19, 2017, 3:04 pm

      Hi Kirsten, Doubling the recipe should just fit. If you have some left over, you could always make single servings in a mug or small glass bowls with the leftovers.

      Reply
  • Shanz October 29, 2017, 6:09 am

    Hi
    Have made a note of your recipe. Would like to make it for Christmas. Since we don’t use alcohol at all and are tea totllers , what can i use in my tiramisu? Is the vanilla extract enough and more suggestions. Thank you Shanz

    Reply
    • Joanne November 16, 2017, 2:56 pm

      Hi Shanz, For a non-alcoholic version, leave the Marsala out of the recipe all together or use rum extract.

      Reply
  • Iris September 30, 2017, 7:19 pm

    This was my first attempt at tiramisu & it was amazing, so light and fresh, not too heavy and sweet. Thank you

    Reply
  • Kym Pratt September 1, 2017, 1:44 am

    I made this with the egg whites. My first tiramasu! And my chef brother felt very threatened. It was amazing.

    Reply
  • Amanda July 29, 2017, 3:51 pm

    I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was absolutely delicious!! I would recommend it to everyone. The steps were easy to follow and the video was extremely helpful! (5 stars)

    Reply
  • Becky July 29, 2017, 3:49 pm

    I used the exact ingredients as the recipe. This is my husband’s favorite dessert and it turned out phenomenal. I needed to double the amount of coffee, marsala and vanilla because the lady fingers soaked up the coffee so fast! This recipe is a keeper and so much lighter using the egg whites! I give it 5 stars.

    Reply
  • Alan July 29, 2017, 3:48 pm

    Thank you so much! It was a hit! My guests really loved it and you made it so easy for me! I’d like to try making it chocolatier! Any suggestions? 5 Stars!

    Reply
    • Ney October 12, 2017, 7:47 pm

      On the final layer, try to top with a thin layer of chocolate ganache! That or add cocoa powder to the mascarpone cream mixture.

      Reply
  • Cindi June 3, 2017, 11:31 am

    5 stars. I made this for the first time yesterday. Actually, the first time I’ve ever tried to make Tiramisu. The recipe directions were easy to follow and not as time consuming as I feared. Everyone at the potluck thought it was delicious; my two Italian friends said I passed….the Tiramisu was the best! Don’t hesitate to try to try it!

    Reply
  • Maxim April 22, 2017, 3:10 pm

    For me, as a European, it seems very strange that here, in North America, people don’t use egg whites in the Tiramisu, not because the risk in not there, but you are still using raw egg yolks anyways, that water bath is just unable to kill salmonella. Only boiling for 10 minutes can do the trick! So, what’s the point?

    Reply
    • lora May 12, 2017, 6:05 pm

      the egg temperature should reach 170 degree Fahrenheit in order to be safe to eat (I guess 170F is enough to kill salmonella 🙂 ) and you can add egg white, and mix it the same way, over a steam bath, until it reaches 160 F. I’m glad I found this recipe, where they cook the eggs, eating raw egg its a risk for food intoxication.

      Reply

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