Why choose between coffee and dessert when you can have BOTH? This recipe for the best classic Italian tiramisu is easy to make in advance and holds up well in the refrigerator for several days, making it perfect for dinner parties. This decadent, creamy dessert has been getting rave reviews for years!
I've been making this homemade tiramisu recipe for well over a decade now. It's one that always impresses my dinner party guests, and it's deceivingly simple to make.
Read on to learn how to make what is seriously the best tiramisu!
🧡 Why we love this recipe
- It packs a ton of flavor with just a few ingredients.
- The ladyfingers are soaked in espresso or coffee and melt in your mouth with every bite.
- Make-ahead desserts like this are perfect for alleviating the stress that can come from entertaining.
- Tiramisu is a great way to have dessert and coffee, all at once! You can also opt to use decaf if you don't want to get an extra dose of caffeine.
- This recipe comes together quickly and holds up well as leftovers for days.
- It's easily scaled up - you can make it in a larger container to serve a crowd!
Here's everything you need to make your new favorite tiramisu (see recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full directions):
- Espresso or strongly brewed coffee - you can even use instant espresso to help make things easier here in a pinch.
- Granulated sugar
- 16 ounces mascarpone
- Marsala wine - this is optional but it adds a nice richness to the mascarpone mixture.
- Ladyfingers - also known as savoiardi, a delicate sponge cookie that gets quickly tossed in coffee before being layered in the tiramisu.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish. This is optional but makes for a classic presentation. You could also use chocolate shavings or a few chocolate-covered espresso beans.
🤎 Ingredient spotlight: ladyfingers
This recipe calls for ladyfingers which can sometimes be a little tricky to find. They can be found in many grocery stores and specialty markets in the baking aisle.
Ladyfingers are also sometimes seen labeled savoiardi, boudoirs, or sponge fingers.
If you have an aisle with French or Italian products in your local market, you can sometimes find them there. Here in New York, many Italian-owned delis sell packages of ladyfingers along with other imported dry goods and pantry items.
Ladyfingers are cookies that are piped into long shapes, similar to, well... lady's fingers. They're usually dusted with powdered sugar before baking, giving the top a bit of a crystallized texture.
The batter used to make ladyfingers is light and airy. The texture of a baked ladyfinger is very delicate, meaning the cookie can break fairly easily.
Ladyfingers soak up liquids quickly and are often used in layered desserts like trifles and tiramisu.
We love a classic tiramisu but feel free to experiment with swapping out some ingredients or adding things to suit your preferences.
A few ideas are:
- Swap out the ladyfingers for Italian amaretti cookies. These almond cookies would make a fun twist on the usual texture and flavor here. You could even crush some of them on top right before serving for a little added texture.
- If you love banana pudding, try substituting vanilla wafers for the ladyfingers.
- Change up the flavor profile a bit by using Kahlua or other coffee liqueur instead of Marsala.
✅ How to make this recipe
- Beat the egg whites with some of the sugar until soft peaks form.
- Beat the egg yolks with sugar, then incorporate the mascarpone and Marsala wine.
- Gently fold the egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture.
- Dip ladyfingers into room temperature coffee or espresso, one at a time, and layer into a serving dish. Top with ⅓ of the mascarpone mixture, then repeat two more times until you have 3 layers of each.
- Dust the top of the tiramisu with cocoa powder, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
See recipe card below for full instructions.
If you want to use individual shots of Feel free to pull individual shots of espresso for this recipe. You'll need about 12 shots to make the cup and a half that you'll need to be able to soak all the ladyfingers for this tiramisu.
I prefer to brew some strong coffee instead. It's less work and the taste is spot on. I've even used instant espresso granules in a pinch, and that's worked out just fine.
You only need 2 of the 3 egg whites for this recipe. Feel free to reserve the extra egg white in a sealed container in your refrigerator to use within a few days. You can add it to other eggs when making scrambled eggs or omelets, in an egg wash to glaze bread or pastries, in homemade mayonnaise, or in delicious French macarons. You can even freeze egg whites for later use.
💡 Main course ideas to serve with tiramisu
Tiramisu is a great way to end many meals. Typically we crave it after an Italian dinner, often with a batch of easy homemade garlic bread. Some recipes we often enjoy with tiramisu include:
- Skillet Lasagna with Lamb, Ricotta + Mint
- Sausage and Peppers
- Shrimp + Scallop Linguine with Lemon Caper Butter
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Baked Rigatoni with Spinach: Cheesy Italian Pasta Bake Casserole
- Instant Pot Tomato Beef Pasta
- Burrata Pizza with Prosciutto and Pickled Grapes
- Baked Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Peas
🥡 Storage recommendations
Tiramisu holds up well in the refrigerator for several days. Make sure it's tightly covered. If you've scooped some portions out, you may find a bit of coffee liquid at the bottom of the empty spots in your serving dish. That's totally fine!
I haven't tested out freezing this tiramisu recipe yet, but I'll be sure to update this post with the results and my recommendations when I do.
🍽️ More Italian dessert recipes
Marrying into an Italian family really enhanced my appreciation of Italian cuisine. If you enjoy this tiramisu recipe, here are some more of our favorite Italian dessert recipes to try:
Doing some online shopping? Check out my Amazon shop page for recommendations!Print