Best Tiramisu Recipe - What Is It And How To Make It (2024)

What Is Tiramisu?


The name tiramisù comes from the Italian tiramisù, meaning “pick me up” or “cheer me up.” And that’s the perfect way to describe this rich and decadent Italian dessert. Some records state that Tiramisù originated in Treviso, Italy in 1800, but other records state that it originated from an idea by pastry chef Loly Linguanotto in the late 1960’s. Even though its exact origins have been debated, what we know for sure is that you’re going to love it.




Tiramisu is an elegant and rich layered Italian dessert made with delicate ladyfinger cookies, espresso or instant espresso, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, Marsala wine, rum and cocoa powder. Through the grouping of these diverse ingredients, an intense yet refined dish emerges. The delicate flavor of layers of mascarpone and Italian custard are contrasted with the darkly robust presence of espresso and sharpness of cocoa powder. The name itself, tiramisu, means “pick me up” in Italian most likely referring to the two caffeinated ingredients that are present in the dish, espresso and cocoa.

Why You'll Love Tiramisu

Tiramisù is a layered no-bake dessert consisting of ladyfingers soaked with coffee and rum, then layered with a whipped mixture of sugar, eggs and the creamy, sweet mascarpone cheese sprinkled with cocoa. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to whip up this incredible dessert. With just 7 ingredients and no baking, tiramisù is a simple treat that is sure to impress.

The Ingredients You Will Need To Make Tiramisu

Espresso Powder: Instead of fussing with an espresso machine or brewing espresso beans for just a few tablespoons, we suggest using Instant Espresso Powder for your tiramisù. The powder dissolves instantly in boiling water. So easy!

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Ladyfingers: These crisp Italian biscuits are light and airy with a subtle sweetness. When dipped or soaked, ladyfingers soften and take on the bold, dark espresso flavor that tiramisù is famous for. If you don’t have Ladyfingers, sponge cake will work as a substitute.

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Mascarpone: Originating in the region of Lombardy (Northern Italy), mascarpone is a double or triple cream cheese with a spreadable buttery texture and an out-of-this-world flavor. This rich, sweet and silky-smooth cow’s milk cheese is an essential ingredient in tiramisù. Cream cheese can be used in place of mascarpone, but we prefer the richer creaminess from mascarpone.

Additional ingredients you will need to make tiramisu are:

  • Spiced Rum (brandy, marsala wine or coffee liquor work well too)

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How To Make Tiramisu In 4 Easy Steps

1. Prepare mascarpone mixture.

In a mixing bowl, whisk 3 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow. This takes about 5 minutes with a hand mixer on medium-high speed. Add the mascarpone and whisk until smooth and combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. When you are done mixing, the mascarpone cream should be smooth and creamy, but not airy like whipped cream. Gently and slowly fold egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, careful to maintain their fluffy texture.

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2. Prepare espresso and rum mixture.

Next, add espresso powder and water in a medium shallow bowl and stir to combine. Then add the rum to the coffee mixture.

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3. Layer ladyfingers and mascarpone.

Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the coffee, wetting both sides of cookie, but not soaking. Arrange ladyfingers along the base of a shallow 8”x8” baking dish. How many ladyfingers you need depends on the size of the ladyfingers as well as the dish used. Spread 1/3 of mascarpone mixture evenly on top, sprinkle with 1/3 of cocoa powder. Repeat the process of dipping the ladyfingers, arranging them in the casserole, and spreading mascarpone and cocoa powder on top two more times.

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4. Chill and serve.

Wrap tiramisù with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 6 hours before serving. If you want to get fancy, finish the Tiramisù with a layer of whipped cream piped on top and dust with more cocoa powder.

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Watch How Easy It Is To Make Tiramisu

Tips For Making The Best Tiramisu

  • When mixing the mascarpone, don’t skimp on the bowl. Use a large mixing bowl. Always use chilled mascarpone cheese straight from the refrigerator.
  • Don’t soak! Quickly dip the cookies into your coffee or liquor. Try not to leave them in the liquid too long—a quick dip will do. Overly soggy cookies make for a wet texture and a messy dessert.
  • Mix up your flavors. Keep it classic with fresh brewed (or instant) espresso or switch things up with a liquor like rum, amaretto, sambucca or Irish cream. Don’t be afraid to experiment with fruit for a non-coffee version. Use fruit purees or natural juices to give your tiramisu an extra summery flavor.
  • Switch up the layers. When building your tiramisu, criss-cross cookie layers to create a sturdier dessert. This way allows for easier cutting and better presentation. (So your tiramisu won’t look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa).
  • Line your pan. Line your pan with plastic wrap before building your tiramisu. When you’re ready to remove the trifle (after it has chilled), you can more easily flip the dessert onto a serving dish and get the full effect of your layered dessert without it falling over.
  • Be patient. Once you whip it up, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. This gives the dessert time to develop its rich cocoa flavor.
  • When storing the tiramisù in the refrigerator, be sure to cover with a lid or wrap tightly with plastic wrap so that no odors from the refrigerator seep into the dessert.
Best Tiramisu Recipe - What Is It And How To Make It (2024)


What is tiramisu and what is it made of? ›

Tiramisu is an elegant and rich layered Italian dessert made with delicate ladyfinger cookies, espresso or instant espresso, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, Marsala wine, rum and cocoa powder. Through the grouping of these diverse ingredients, an intense yet refined dish emerges.

What is the best liquor to use in tiramisu? ›

Alcohol: Tiramisu can be made with or without alcohol. This recipe calls for coffee flavored liqueur because I like that it enhances the coffee flavor, but other options are marsala wine or brandy. Make Ahead Instructions: Tiramisu is even better when made in advance, allowing the flavors to blend!

What not to do when making tiramisu? ›

Roberto Lestani, who for the occasion revealed to us the 3 mistakes not to make to prepare a stunning tiramisu!
  1. 1: excessively whipping the mascarpone! ...
  2. 2: once together, don't immediately mix the yolks and sugar! ...
  3. 3: Neglect stratification!
Jun 16, 2020

How long to leave tiramisu in the fridge before eating? ›

Now, as hard as it is, you can't dig in yet. Chill your tiramisu for at least 6 hours. As it sits, the ladyfingers soften and absorb the moisture and flavor from the cream.

What is mascarpone made of? ›

It is a fresh cheese that is most commonly made with pasteurized cow's milk. Unlike some cheeses, which have animal-derived rennet added, mascarpone is vegetarian. It's made by heating heavy cream and adding an acid like tartaric acid (aka cream of tartar), citric acid, or lemon juice to solidify and thicken the cream.

Does Olive Garden use alcohol in their tiramisu? ›

When it comes to the tiramisu however, Olive Garden's version isn't too far off from the real deal, because it's made with the same ingredients, including alcohol, according to the restaurant's website.

What is a substitute for mascarpone in tiramisu? ›

The Best Mascarpone Cheese Substitute

You can mimic the silky, decadent consistency of mascarpone with an easy DIY recipe. To make this mascarpone substitute, mix together 12 ounces of room temperature cream cheese (1 ½ blocks) with ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup of sour cream until combined.

What can I substitute for ladyfingers in tiramisu? ›

Substitute for lady fingers in tiramisu
  • 27 Best Ladyfinger Substitutes. Here is a guide to the best ladyfinger substitutes, such as Pavesini cookies, biscotti, graham crackers, sponge cake, panettone, madeleines. ...
  • 7 Best Ladyfinger Substitutes | Tastylicious!

Why is my tiramisu not creamy? ›

The right biscuits

The choice is yours, even though connoisseurs of this dessert will always tell you to choose savoiardi. In fact, the result is completely different if you use these biscuits, which are tall and spongy and absorb less coffee. As a result, the consistency will be less creamy and slightly more compact.

What is Costco tiramisu made of? ›

While a tiramisu is normally made with soaked lady fingers, this cake mostly uses coffee-soaked sponge cake with creamy mascarpone filling. It is then topped off with a sprinkle of chocolate powder, chocolate shavings or espresso beans.

Why is tiramisu so expensive? ›

Roberto Linguanotto, a Venetian pastry chef who is often credited with the invention of tiramisu back in the 1960s, says that his creation is expensive because of the espresso used in another essential component to the dessert: espresso-soaked ladyfingers (via The Straits Times).

Is tiramisu very unhealthy? ›

Member's Mark Tiramisu Cake

The prevalence of cream, eggs, and mascarpone ensure that this dessert is high in saturated fat. A 113-gram serving contains 13 grams of saturated fat, accounting for 65% of an adult's daily value. This is a considerable amount.

Why does my tiramisu taste bitter? ›

Because tiramisu contains coffee and chocolate, there is reason to worry that it will taste bitter. But a well-made tiramisu is an exercise in equilibrium. The sweetness of the sugar and mascarpone cheese skillfully counteracts the bitterness of the coffee and cocoa.

What pairs well with tiramisu? ›

Any sweet sherry style goes perfectly with Tiramisu, although pedro ximénez is great choice. Its luscious, velvety texture will pair with the soft, delicate notes of this classy dessert.

What does tiramisu taste like? ›

It's easy to tell if you've made a tiramisu just right. Each bite will be will filled with slightly sweet yet light and airy mascarpone cream and dreamily soft yet delicate coffee-flavored ladyfingers. A touch of cocoa powder adds a slight chocolatey flavor to the dessert.

Does tiramisu always have alcohol? ›

Traditional tiramisu contains ladyfingers (savoiardi), egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone and cocoa powder. A common variant involves soaking the savoiardi in alcohol, such as Marsala wine, amaretto or a coffee-based liqueur.

Why do Italians eat tiramisu? ›

Although the core ingredients still remain the same, this dish is often tweaked from chef to chef. Tiramisu is also known to have quite an interesting history in Italian brothels. It is believed that the dessert was created inside the brothels of Treviso, to act as a pleasure-seeking aid to clients.

Why is tiramisu so delicious? ›

Unlike most other sweets, tiramisu captivates the taste buds with a harmonious melody. In essence, tiramisu is a delicate balancing act between rich, creamy mascarpone cheese and robust, aromatic espresso.

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