Classic Italian Tiramisu Recipe (Authentic)

5 from 20 reviews

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Classic Tiramisu recipe like we serve it in Italy! Creamy, light, and decadent this desserts takes only 20 minutes to prepare with only 6 ingredients! This authentic Italian tiramisu recipe is one you will find in homes and restaurants served in Italy.

You will love the irresistibly smooth texture of the mascarpone and egg cream. This dessert is light, and creamy, with just the right amount of coffee flavor (also a hot chocolate version). The crisp savoiardi biscuits absorb the coffee flavor and give you the best ‘pick me up’ any time of the day. It is one of my favorite desserts of all time! You can also try the Strawberry version of this recipe.

Tiramisu is the perfect dessert after enjoying and classic Italian meal of Authentic Lasagna Bolognese, Panzanella Salad, or Homemade Ravioli.

slice of tiramisu on a plate with ladyfinger cookies in the background.
Creamy and Delicious Tiramisu
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Tiramisu history

Tiramisu is one of the most famous Italian desserts in the world, born in Treviso (a lovely town near Venice), it is delicious and easy to make. There are many variations of the tiramisu recipe based on where in Italy you are and what your family prefers.

This is our Italian family recipe! Read my story Sunday Story: Culture Within our Food (Italian Tiramisu Recipe).

Who doesn’t love an easy no-bake dessert? This is a simple and easy dessert recipe to make ahead of time! If you are looking for other no-bake desserts I love Kefir Honey Panna Cotta Italian Recipe (Easy), Italian Pistachio Gelato (Recipe), and Frozen Lemon Dessert (Creamy Lemony Treat).

Simple Ingredients

  • Ladyfingers: I buy these or you can make your own Homemade Italian Ladyfingers*
  • Eggs: farm fresh are best make sure they are pasteurized
  • Mascarpone: it wouldn’t be true tiramisu without mascarpone! Make sure to use the full fat variety.
  • Coffee: instant coffee or freshly brewed will work
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Unsweetened Cocoa powder: for a dusting of cocoa powder at the end

*Note: when making your own Homemade Italian Ladyfinger Recipe (Savoiardi) I recommended using them 1-2 days after they are made, or they will absorb too much moisture.

slice of tiramisu on a plate with ladyfinger cookies in the background.

How To Make Authentic Tiramisu

This easy tiramisu recipe comes together in no time!

  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale in color.
  • Combine mascarpone and egg yolk mixture. Add mascarpone to yolk mixture and cream until smooth.
Instructions on making egg mixture for tiramisu.
Making the egg yolk and mascarpone mixture.
  • Whip egg whites and egg yolks separately. Beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • Make the creamy filling. Gently fold the egg whites and the mascarpone mixture until combined (there might be a few lumps- it is okay they will disappear after it sets)
Instructions for mixing egg whites and mascarpone for tiramisu.
Mixing the whipped egg whites a little at a time with the mascarpone and egg yolk mixture.
  • Dip ladyfingers. Add the warm (not hot) coffee to a shallow bowl and dip the ladyfingers on both sides (don’t let them soak–just a quick dip!)
  • Layer mascarpone. Smooth a layer of the mascarpone cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers.
Instructions for layering tiramisu.
Dipping the lady fingers and layering the final tiramisu.
  • Repeat. Add another layer of lady’s fingers (dipped in coffee) and another layer of the mascarpone mixture. Dust with cocoa powder.
  • Rest. Lastly, let it rest in the fridge for 6-24 hours! The hardest part is waiting for it to set.

FAQ’s

Should ladyfingers be stale for tiramisu?

Stale ladyfingers should be used instead of fresh ones. This is because the fresh ones tend to become soggy when they absorb the liquids in the tiramisu.

Can I substitute cream cheese for mascarpone in tiramisu?

I personally do not recommend it as it changes the texture and flavor, but you can. While there are no 1-to-1 substitutions that give the precise taste and texture to your tiramisu that mascarpone does, you can substitute sweetened whipped heavy cream, cream cheese, or a combination of the cream cheese and whipped cream.

What does “tiramisu” mean in Italian?

Tira-mi-sù means- “pick me up” in Italian. It is traditionally made with espresso and most certainly does give you a little ‘pick me up’ if you need it! I make mine with regular coffee instead of espresso (very strong coffee) to lessen the caffeine since my children love it so much.  Normal consumption of this recipe won’t have you wired as the coffee amount remains minimal.

What are savoiardi lady finger cookies?

Ladyfingers or savoiardi are typical biscuits of Italian pastry. Savoiardi are the traditional biscuits used for classic tiramisu. You make your own savoiardi cookies if you wish! They are called “Ladyfingers” for their elongated shape that resembles the fingers of a lady. Sometimes they are called sponge fingers. They are a little bit like American angel food cake.

Do I Need To Rest My Tiramisu?

You will need to rest the tiramisu in the fridge before enjoying it. Dust the tiramisu with cocoa when you’re finished and cover with plastic wrap without letting the plastic wrap touch the cream layer. You can use toothpicks to help it separate if there is not enough room. Now comes the hardest part. Let the tiramisu set up for at least 6 hours, overnight is best. This tiramisu can be made a day or two ahead of time and should last in your fridge for up to a week.

Is it safe to eat raw eggs in tiramisu?

This is a traditional tiramisu recipe, and it is prepared using raw eggs. If you can find pasteurized eggs at the grocery store, those are safe to consume raw. They’ve already been heated to a safe temperature within the shells. If you have an egg allergy you can try this variation that omits the eggs. You can also find recipes that cook the egg before combining with other ingredients.

Why did my tiramisu come out runny?

There are many reasons tiramisu can turn out runny. You may have soaked the lady fingers in too much coffee, not mixed some of the ingredients enough for the custard, or not let the tiramisu rest long enough in the fridge.

Recipe Variations

Alcohol-free Tiramisu

Classic Italian Tiramisu is made without alcohol. If you crave that alcohol taste you can add marsala wine to taste in the coffee mixture before dipping your ladyfingers.

This is our Italian family recipe for classic tiramisu that we’ve made for years. It is loved by all ages since it is made without alcohol.

You will love the perfect balance of coffee-soaked ladyfinger cookies and sweet mascarpone cream. It is perfect for your next party or family gathering!

There is also a chocolate version of this recipe (details below) if you want to avoid the coffee.

This is the most delicious dessert. You can’t beat this homemade authentic tiramisu recipe!

Gluten-free Tiramisu Recipe

To make this recipe gluten-free- use my Homemade Italian Ladyfinger Recipe (Savoiardi) and substitute with gluten-free flour! The recipe will work great.

Egg-free Tiramisu

Omit the eggs in the recipe and substitute 300 ml (1 1/2 cups) of heavy whip cream.

Make the whipped cream. Place cream in a large bowl using an electric mixer to whip it. Start at minimum speed, then slowly increase to medium speed, and whip the cream for about 5 minutes, or until it reaches a rich, fluffy and airy texture. 

Once your whipped cream is ready, set it aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Beat the mascarpone (without the egg yolks) directly with the sugar until fluffy. About 3 minutes with an electric mixer.

Add and combine the mixtures. Start by adding ⅓ of the whipped cream at a time. Then, gently fold it with the mascarpone cream with a spatula from the downside to the upside, so that your whipped cream doesn’t lose its fluffiness.

Continue with the recipe as directed dipping the ladyfingers and layering the cream mixture.

This is a great variation if you need to omit eggs in our traditional tiramisu recipe.

Hot chocolate tiramisu variation

If you do not like the taste of coffee you can make this recipe with Hot Chocolate! Simply make one recipe of our CHOCOLATE SYRUP and use that as the dipping liquid for the biscuits.

You will use three tablespoons for four cups of hot water. If you want it more or less sweet adjust the amount of chocolate syrup.

Pro Tips

Tiramisu is surprisingly easy to make.

It is a no-bake dessert that requires layering the ladyfingers biscuits to create the sponge, and then layer it with the mascarpone cream mixture. The hardest part is waiting for it to set!

slice of tiramisu on a plate with a fork.
A dessert that leaves you wanting more!

Dip the Ladyfingers

  • You don’t want the ladyfingers completely soggy. Dip each ladyfinger for 1 second on each side. If you soak longer they will be too soggy and not hold their shape well.
  • Roll them in the liquid (either coffee or hot chocolate). Let excess liquid drip out of the ladyfinger. Quickly put them in the dish.
  • Add a few drops of vanilla to the coffee before soaking the ladyfingers for a fun twist on this classic.

Rest the Tiramisu

  • It is so important that you wait at least 6 hours and preferably 6-24 hours before serving. This will allow the coffee and mascarpone cream flavors to soak into the biscuits and create that irresistible taste and texture. It is worth the wait!

Try our Lemon Tiramisu, another version of this recipe!

Storing

Tiramisu will last 4-5 days in the fridge as long as it is covered or stored in an air-tight container.

You can freeze tiramisu although I don’t prefer it. It doesn’t thaw with the same creaminess, but it is still good!

Tiramisu can keep up in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can store leftovers in portions in the freezer.

slice of tiramisu on a plate.
Perfect for dessert or afternoon snack

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slice of classic tiramisu recipe on a plate

Classic Tiramisu Recipe

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5 from 20 reviews

Authentic Tiramisu Recipe. A recipe that takes you to Italy with every bite. This classic Italian dessert means; “pick-me-up” since it contains coffee.  Serve it for your friends and family and make with AMORE! 

  • Total Time: 12-24 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 5 eggs (separate yolks and whites in two bowls)
  • 5 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 lb (500 g) of mascarpone
  • 3 cups of room temperature coffee (or hot chocolate)
  • 30 ladyfingers
  • unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Instructions

  1. Get out a 9X13 pan with height of 2-3 inches and set aside. 
  2. Make the coffee (or hot chocolate) and set aside in a dish that is deep enough to dip the biscuits. 
  3. Separate egg whites from yolks and remember that in order to whip the egg whites there should not be any trace of yolk*.
  4. Egg Whites: Place the egg whites in a mixer. Start at minimum speed, then slowly increase to medium speed, and whip the egg whites for about 5 minutes, or until they reach soft peaks. Set it aside in the fridge until ready to use.
  5. Egg Yolks: Place the egg yolks in the mixer, and mix it together with the sugar on low speed for about 3 minutes, until creamy and fully combined.
  6.  Mascarpone: add mascarpone cheese to the yolk mixture in 2 to 3 additions. Mix on low/medium speed until combined and uniform. 
  7. Add ⅓ of the egg whites at a time into the mascarpone cream mixture. Then, gently mixing it in with a spatula from the downside to the upside, so that your egg whites doesn’t loose its fluffiness. Set the cream in the fridge until ready to use.
  8. Meanwhile, quickly dip the ladyfinger biscuits into the coffee or hot chocolate* for about 1 second on each side.  Do not over soak the lady fingers, otherwise your tiramisu will turn out too soggy. You want your biscuits to absorb enough liquid to make them moist and give them flavor.
  9. Place each ladyfinger at the bottom of the baking dish, and continue the process until the whole base is covered with ladyfingers. If necessary, feel free to break the cookie in half in order to fill the base up.
  10. Spread half of the prepared mascarpone cream gently over the ladyfinger base, making sure they’re evenly covered. You can use a spatula or large spoon to help you with this.
  11. Repeat the process of soaking the ladyfingers in the coffee. Then, layer them over the cream, until is fully covered.
  12. Finally, spread evenly t he remaining mascarpone cream on top of the ladyfingers. Place Tiramisu in the fridge, and allow to set 6 hours, even better if you leave it overnight. Just before serving it, dust the dessert with cocoa powder, and Enjoy! 

Notes

*Chocolate Variation: If using hot chocolate use 3 tablespoons of the our chocolate syrup recipe with 3 cups of hot water

* Eggless Variation: Omit the eggs in the recipe and substitute 300 ml (1 1/2 cups) of heavy whipping cream.

Make the whipped cream. Place cream in a large bowl using an electric mixer to whip it. Start at minimum speed, then slowly increase to medium speed, and whip the cream for about 5 minutes, or until it reaches a rich, fluffy and airy texture. Set it aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Cream the mascarpone (without the egg yolks) and directly with the sugar until fluffy. About 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Add  ⅓ of the whipped cream at a time, gently fold it in with a spatula from the downside to the upside, so that your whipped cream doesn’t lose its fluffiness.

Continue with recipe as directed dipping the lady fingers and layering the cream mixture.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Category: Sweet/ Dessert
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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50 Comments

    1. I am not exactly sure what you mean? You shouldn’t have leftover mascarpone cream. If you made a smaller portion and have leftovers, yes, store it in the fridge. Enjoy!

  1. Best tiramisu recipe I’ve tried! I’ve been making tiramisu for many years now, but this recipe has blown any others out of the water. Even the process of creating it all is fun and so rewarding when you see it all come together. I can’t wait to make this again for our next family get-together!






  2. Great authentic recipe, but what do I do if we can not find pasteurized eggs, only regular unpastureized eggs are sold? I’ve never seen them in any of the supermarkets we shop in. HELP!!!






  3. First attempt to making Tiramisu. Are the eggs raw? I read through instructions and only mentions to mix egg yolks with sugar then fold in egg whites?

  4. Thank you so much Elena for the version of the Tiramisu without eggs! My son-in law is allergic to eggs and it’s so nice to be able to cook with his food restriction in mind.






  5. I like tiramisu and have ordered many times in cafes, but have never tried to do with my own hands. Thank You for this recipe! ❤️
    There is so much difference between tiramisu we bought and tiramisu we made! So creamy and so tender and not so sweet!
    Also we spent a good time together with family while cooking! ❤️