This is hands down the best tiramisu recipe I’ve ever eaten. Ladyfingers are dipped in coffee and layered with a creamy mascarpone mixture. A dusting of cocoa powder finishes off this stunning dessert! 

A slice of tiramisu on a white decorative plate. Three lady fingers rest in the background.

What Is Tiramisu? 

If you’ve never made this delectable Italian dessert before, you may be scratching your head wondering what tiramisu even is.

In essence, tiramisu is a coffee-flavored dessert comprised of ladyfinger cookies that have been dipped in coffee and layered with an egg and mascarpone cheese mixture. It’s then topped with cocoa powder and chilled for several hours.

What I’m sharing with you today is hands down the best tiramisu recipe I’ve ever eaten. It’s almost completely homemade (I used store-bought ladyfingers, but I figured you wouldn’t mind) and it’s so easy to make. Win-win!

Overhead view of ingredients needed for the best tiramisu recipe.

Ingredients in This Recipe 

I kept this a classic tiramisu recipe, because I didn’t see the point in messing with something that’s already perfect. Here are the tiramisu ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe: 

  • Egg yolks: Be sure to use large egg yolks. You can save the egg whites for an omelette or egg scramble (they’ll last about 24 hours in an airtight container in the fridge). 
  • Granulated sugar: Just 2/3 cup is all you need to sweeten this dessert. This isn’t an overly sweet tiramisu, but you do need some sugar to balance out the coffee. 
  • Salt: Enhances the rich vanilla flavor of the mascarpone filling. 
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract will deliver the best flavor. 
  • Mascarpone cheese: Not to be confused with cream cheese. You’ll find it near the other spreadable cheeses in the dairy aisle. Make sure that your mascarpone is cold too. Room temperature mascarpone has a tendency to curdled sometimes, so be sure to take it straight out of the refrigerator right before you use it.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Some tiramisu recipes use whipped egg whites and some use heavy cream that’s whipped to medium or stiff peaks. While both are delicious, I prefer to use heavy cream. Your cream should be very cold so that it whips up properly. Be sure to use a heavy cream that’s at least 36% fat.
  • Espresso: To make things easier, I prefer to buy Delallo instant espresso powder and mix it with warm water to get 2 cups of espresso. Just be sure the espresso is chilled before dipping the ladyfingers in it.
  • Kahlua: This is completely optional, so feel free to omit it from the recipe. I used 1/4 cup in this recipe, but you can increase it to 1/2 cup. 
  • Ladyfingers: Make sure to use crunchy ladyfingers so that they hold up in the tiramisu. You will need about 40 to 45, which is equal to about two 7-ounce packages.
  • Cocoa powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder. For best results, use a metal sieve to create a fine dusting of cocoa powder on top of the dessert. 

Egg yolk mixture being whisked in a glass bowl.

How to Make Tiramisu 

Homemade tiramisu looks impressive, but it’s actually quite easy to make. You’ll start by making the mascarpone filling. To do so, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and and salt in a large bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to cook the eggs.

You’re looking for the mixture to thicken and turn pale in color (this will take about 10 to 13 minutes). Note that the eggs and sugar need to be whisked constantly and reach a temperature of 165°F-170°F. 

Once thickened, set the mixture aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

A glass mixing bowl with the finished mascarpone filling after the heavy cream has been folded in. A rubber spatula with a wooden handle rests in the bowl.

Once the egg mixture has cooled just slightly, add the cold mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. Make sure not to mix too much as this could cause the mascarpone to curdle. 

In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer. It should be beat to medium-stiff peaks, in other words, they’re whipped enough to stand up firmly but curl just at the tip. Fold in about half of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. 

Now, it’s time to assemble the tiramisu dessert! Combine the Kahlua (if using) and the coffee in a shallow dish. Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee and arrange along the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. 

Don’t let the ladyfingers sit in the espresso for too long, otherwise they can end up being soggy. Just a quick dip on each side is all they need.

Once the bottom of the pan is covered in an even layer of ladyfingers, spread half of the mascarpone mixture over top. Repeat this process once more, ending with the remaining half of the mascarpone mixture. 

Dust the top of the tiramisu with cocoa powder, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 8 hours before serving. This gives the dessert time to set and for the flavors to come together. 

A baking dish of classic tiramisu. A few slices are missing from the front.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Prep This Dessert in Advance? 

Absolutely! Homemade tiramisu can be made up to 24 hours before you plan on serving it. This is one of the few desserts that gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. 

How Long Does Tiramisu Last? 

This dessert will last up to 4 days in the fridge. Keep it covered tightly the entire time to prevent it from drying out. 

Are the Egg Yolks Safe to Eat? 

Yes, as long as you are not allergic to eggs they are safe to eat. This recipe has you gently cook the egg yolks and sugar over simmering water until the mixture reaches a temperature of 165°F-170°F.

A slice of tiramisu on a white decorative plate. A fork is digging into the end of the slice.

Baking Tips

  • I recommend separating the egg yolks from the whites in a separate bowl before combining them with the sugar. This way, if any shells sneak into the yolks or you accidentally crack in a whole egg you won’t have to start the entire recipe over. 
  • Be sure to use heavy whipping cream in this recipe, half and half or whole milk won’t work.
  • Make sure to let this chill for at least 8 hours, overnight is even better! This will give the ladyfingers time to soften and make it easier to slice and serve the tiramisu.

More No-Bake Desserts to Try! 

Recipe Video

A slice of tiramisu on a white decorative plate. Three lady fingers rest in the background.

Tiramisu

5 from 4 ratings
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Chilling Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 8 hrs 40 mins
This is hands down the best tiramisu recipe I've ever eaten. Ladyfingers are dipped in coffee and layered with a creamy mascarpone mixture. A dusting of cocoa powder finishes off this stunning dessert! 

Ingredients

Servings: 16 slices
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 24 ounces (680 grams) cold mascarpone cheese (straight from the refrigerator)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups (480 ml) cold espresso
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Kahlua (optional)
  • 40 to 45 ladyfingers
  • 1/4 cup (22 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions
 

  • Combine the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a large heat-proof bowl.
  • Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking constantly to ensure that the eggs don’t scramble.
  • Once the mixture has thickened, is pale in color, and reaches a temperature of 165°F-170°F (it should take about 10 to 13 minutes) remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Whisk the cold mascarpone and vanilla extract into the egg mixture until well combined and no lumps remain (make sure not to overmix).
  • In a separate cold mixing bowl with clean beaters, beat the heavy whipping cream to medium-stiff peaks.
  • Fold half of the whipped cream into the mascarpone egg mixture until fully combined, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Set aside.
  • In a shallow dish, combine the cold espresso and Kahlua.
  • Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture, one at a time, and arrange half of them in a single layer in a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  • Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and top with another layer of dipped ladyfingers.
  • Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and dust with cocoa powder.
  • Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Notes

Tiramisu can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Mascarpone Cheese: Make sure that your mascarpone is cold. Room temperature mascarpone has a tendency to curdled, so be sure to take it straight out of the refrigerator right before you use it.
Espresso: I prefer to buy Delallo instant espresso powder and mix it with warm water to get 2 cups of espresso. You may also use 2 cups of strongly brewed coffee. Just be sure that your espresso or coffee is cold before you assemble the tiramisu.
Kahlua: This is completely optional, feel free to omit it from the recipe if you prefer! If you prefer a stronger flavor, you can reduce the espresso by 1/4 cup and increase the Kahlua to 1/2 cup. You may also use dark rum instead.
Ladyfingers: Make sure to use crunchy ladyfingers so that they hold up in the tiramisu. You will need about 40 to 45, which is equal to about two 7-ounce packages.
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle
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