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This simple tiramisu is made up of spongy, espresso-soaked ladyfingers layered with a cloudy, creamy mascarpone filling. Hints of amaretto float through the dessert, delighting the taste buds. Try this classic Italian recipe at home.
I love tiramisu but I have always had a hard time spending the $9+ dollars they charge you at a restaurant on a dessert that I could make at home. That’s why I decided to do some studying and figure out how to make this classic Italian confection. It turns out it’s pretty easy to do and my oh my is it delicious.
As you sink your fork into this classic tiramisu, you first encounter a layer of creamy, amaretto-infused mascarpone filling dusted in finely chopped dark chocolate. Next, you come to a layer of spongy ladyfinger cookies that have been absolutely soaked in rich espresso followed by another layer of filling and a base of more espresso-soaked ladyfingers. The result is a subtly sweet, cloudlike dessert that will have you coming back for more.
Why You’ll Love this Easy Tiramisu Recipe
This well-loved Italian dessert is so easy to make and is nothing short of delicious. Here are some reasons I love it (and why I think you will too).
- Quick and easy. This tiramisu only takes 20 minutes of active time to make. Just follow a few easy steps and you’re on your way to an elegant, restaurant-quality dessert.
- No-bake. I love that you don’t even have to turn on the oven to end up with this perfect tiramisu. It makes it so accessible. You can really make it anytime, anywhere.
- Flavor and texture. The sweetness of the silky smooth filling next to the subtle bitterness of the spongy, espresso-soaked ladyfingers really provides a combination of flavors and textures.
- Just as good as dining out. This tiramisu is just as good as the version you might get in a restaurant but it comes at a fraction of the price and you get the satisfaction of saying “I made that!”.
What Does Tiramisu Mean?
The word “Tiramisu” translates to “lift me up” in Italian. Not only does the dessert lift the consumer’s mood by delighting their taste buds, but it also features two caffeinated ingredients; espresso and cocoa. It’s not enough caffeine to keep you from a sound sleep, but it is enough to lift your energy levels at the end of a meal.
For a seemingly complex, layered dessert, tiramisu requires very few ingredients. 7 to be precise. Here is what you will need to make this classic Italian dessert. Scroll to the recipe below for detailed measurements.
- Mascarpone cheese. This soft, neutral Italian cheese brings rich volume to the dessert.
- Heavy cream. The heavy cream would be cold. It will hold volume better.
- Granulated sugar
- Brewed espresso. Feel free to use decaffeinated espresso if you are sensitive to caffeine.
- Ladyfingers. These spongy cookies are perfect for soaking up the espresso in the recipe, resulting in a flavorful bite.
- Dark chocolate. You could use semi-sweet or milk chocolate here instead if you’d like.
Is there alcohol in tiramisu?
Technically, yes. Amaretto is a dessert liquor that has an ABV of 21-28%. There is not enough of it in tiramisu, however, to get you even close to tipsy. So don’t worry about it too much. That being said, if you are looking to avoid alcohol altogether, you can replace the amaretto with half a teaspoon of almond extract or just leave it out entirely.
How to Make Classic Tiramisu
This classic Italian dessert might look fancy, but it’s actually quite simple to throw together. Here’s a quick overview of how to make tiramisu. Make sure to scroll to the recipe below for more detailed instructions.
- Whisk together mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and sugar on high speed until soft peaks form. Whisk in the amaretto.
- Soak the ladyfingers. Line the bottom of an 8 X 8-inch baking pan with ladyfingers and pour 1/2 cup of brewed espresso over the top.
- Assemble. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and cover with half of the chocolate. Dip the remaining ladyfingers in espresso and arrange them in a single layer over the filling. Cover with the remaining mascarpone and chopped chocolate.
- Chill for 4-6 in the refrigerator.
Tips for the Best Tiramisu
I love how quick and easy this recipe is. It’s perfect for any skill level.. That being said, there are some simple tips and tricks that will take your finished product from good to great. Here they come.
- Marscapone. Not cream cheese. In America, people often attempt to use cream cheese instead of mascarpone to make tiramisu. Don’t do it. Cream cheese will weigh the dessert down (it’s just denser than mascarpone) and will add a flavor that doesn’t sit quite right here.
- Do not over-mix the filling. When making the mascarpone filling, mix only to the point of soft peaks. Overmixing will actually start to solidify the fats in the mascarpone, taking away from the cloudiness of the filling.
- Don’t over-soak the ladyfingers. While you want the ladyfingers to absorb a fair amount of espresso, it is important not to saturate them beyond what they can handle. You will end up with a soggy-bottomed dessert. So, stop adding espresso once it seems that the spongy cookies have stopped absorbing the liquid.
- Don’t skip the chill. Allowing the tiramisu to chill in the refrigerator for several hours will give the ladyfingers a chance to absorb all of the espresso and some of the yummy flavors from the filling. If you skip this step and dive straight in, the ladyfingers will be somewhat dry and lackluster on the flavor front.
How to Make Ahead
Feel free to make this dessert 1-2 days in advance. Simply follow the recipe from start to finish, cover the baking pan in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. I actually like making tiramisu a couple of days in advance because it gives the flavors a chance to meld and the ladyfingers a chance to soak up the perfect amount of flavor and moisture.
Storing and Freezing Tiramisu
If you find yourself with leftover tiramisu, don’t fret. It stores quite nicely. Tightly wrap the baking pan with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you choose to freeze the dessert, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
More Dessert Ideas to Try
Yum. Dessert. Who doesn’t love it? This tiramisu is a divine way to wrap up a delicious meal (or enjoy as a mid-day pick-me-up), but I want to share a few of my other favorites with you. Here they come.
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
- Better Than Sex Cake
- Apple Almond Cake
- Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
- Old-Fashioned Cherry Cobbler
- 16 ounce mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoon amaretto
- 1 ⅓ cup brewed espresso, you may have some leftover
- 24 lady fingers
- 1 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and sugar. Whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Then add in the amaretto and whisk until just incorporated. Do not over-mix or you’ll get stiff peaks!
- Line the bottom of a 8×8″ baking pan with lady fingers. You might have to break some to get it to fit correctly. Pour 1/2 cup of brewed espresso on top of the lady fingers and let them soak it all in. You can pour more if it looks like they’re too dry. Don’t over-soak them or you’ll end up with a soggy bottom!
- Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the lady fingers and sprinkle 1/2 of the chocolate on top. Take the remaining lady fingers and dip them in the remaining espresso. Layer the dipped lady fingers on top of the mascarpone layer then layer again with the remaining mascarpone layer and sprinkle the remaining chopped chocolate on top.
- Chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours before serving.
- Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and keep in fridge for up to 4 days.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Photography by Eat Love Eat
Emily E Bachman
Friday 21st of October 2016
Hi there! What does 11/3 cups mean? I am thinking it means 1 cup plus 1/3 cup? thank you!
Saturday 22nd of October 2016
It is 1 1/3 cups..meaning 1 and 1/3 cups.
Sunday 23rd of August 2015
Hi Julie! Even if your recipe for a Tiramisu is slightly different from the original one, there is no reason to complain. Your variation looks damn good and I am sure it also has a great taste. :-) Best regards! Bernd
Saturday 20th of June 2015
This recipe is delicious and easy. I also make this with cubed pound cake in a trifle bowl. So good!
Tuesday 11th of February 2014
HEllo!! I'm Bianca, and I'm an Italian girl. I love your blog so much, but Tiramisu recipe it's (like ever american/english tiramis recipe) wrong. We don't put heavy cream in our tiramisu, we don't use liquor and the sugar in italian recipe is less. We use (for example) 500g mascarpone, 5 eggs (medium) and 5 tablespoon of white sugar. The ratio it's very important, every 100 grams of mascarpone we put 1tablespoon of sugar and one egg. Sorry for my very bad enghlish ;) Bye!!
Wednesday 3rd of April 2013
Tiramisu is on my Recipe Bucket List this year! Glad yours turned out so well! =)