My easy-to-make and amazingly delicious Tiramisu recipe is made with coffee-soaked ladyfingers, creamy mascarpone, homemade whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder for the perfect finish on this classic Italian dessert.
And don’t worry, my Tiramisu Recipe is made without using raw eggs!
I have tried many recipes for tiramisu over the course of my lifetime, and I can promise that you’ll agree that this is The Best Tiramisu Recipe you’ll ever make! It took many attempts to perfect my recipe, and I’m happy to share it with my friends and followers so they can enjoy my all-time favorite dessert!
My tiramisu recipe may be a little different than most that claim to be “authentic tiramisu,” but truth be told, there are as many different recipes as there are Italian grandmothers, each with its own little twist. Some of which aren’t really tiramisu at all.
My tiramisu recipe speaks of a time when I first sampled this Italian classic when food had a magical quality all its own. When Mama Jeanette saw the best in me and taught me how to make Authentic Italian Tiramisu. I am forever grateful for all her lessons in life and cooking.
I’ve had so many questions about the process of making Tiramisu that I’ve added step-by-step pictures to help you along the way.
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Authentic Italian Tiramisu. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Chef Dennis Tip: Have the eggs and mascarpone at room temperature before making this recipe. That will help them mix together more smoothly. You only need egg yolks for this recipe, so save the egg whites for a healthy omelet or meringue.
What is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is basically the Italian version of cream cheese. It is made of whipped cream, stabilized with an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or citric acid. Mascarpone cheese has a smoother consistency; it’s milder in flavor and has twice as much fat as cream cheese. Cream cheese can be substituted for mascarpone, but the flavor and consistency won’t be the same.
*Galbani is my first choice for mascarpone. Bel Giosi and Vermont Creamery are also good choices. Always make sure the mascarpone has a long use-by date. Old mascarpone can cause the tiramisu cream to be too loose to set properly
How to make Tiramisu Cream
It’s a lot easier than you might think to make tiramisu. Just follow my step-by-step instructions, and you’ll be making tiramisu better than your favorite local restaurant!
- The first step is whipping the egg yolks (approx. ½ cup) and the sugar until they are very thick. *One of the mistakes people tend to make is under-whipping the egg mixture.
- Using a double boiler method with a bowl over a pot of simmering water, whip the mixture until it has almost doubled in volume and is thick.
- Add room-temperature Mascarpone to the whipped yolks, and mix until well combined. Don’t overmix; this can cause curdling. *Mascarpone only needs to get to set out for 15-20 minutes. Don’t let it get warm.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the cream to stiff peaks (a hand mixer or stand mixer is fine). This process should be slow, starting on low and increasing the speed gradually over ten minutes. **This method is how you keep the whipped cream from breaking. The cream should be ice-cold and as fresh as possible. Look for heavy cream with the longest expiration date.
- Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone mixture and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the tiramisu.
Chef Dennis Tip: Always use the freshest products available. If the eggs, cream or mascarpone are close to the expiration date, they can break down in the recipe.
How to make Perfect Whipped Cream
Whipping your cream is also where some people make a mistake. The idea with whipped cream is to do it slowly. Using an electric mixer, begin whipping the cream on low, increasing the speed over 10 minutes. This makes a whipped cream that will last for days in your fridge without the aid of gelatin.
*If you make whipped cream as a topping for desserts, don’t forget to add sugar and vanilla; for the tiramisu, we are not adding sugar or vanilla to the mixture.
Why is my Sabayon grainy?
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If you used regular sugar instead of superfine / castor sugar, your finished sabayon might be grainy. That’s okay. It will finish dissolving while your tiramisu is firming up.
*If you can’t find superfine sugar, you can always pulse your sugar in a food processor to make the grains smaller.
Follow this link to find Superfine Castor Sugar on Amazon. It’s the only place I’ve been able to find it in Florida.
Next, add the mascarpone and mix it together until fully incorporated and smooth.
Why did my sabayon curdle?
- Over-whipping can cause the fat to separate, causing the mixture to curdle.
- Allowing the mascarpone to get too warm can wreak havoc with the fat in the mascarpone, causing it to curdle.
- Using mascarpone that is too cold can cause curdling. Let it sit out for 15-20 minutes before using.
- The brand Bel Gioso has been reported to cause curdling, although I have never experienced this.
How to make Tiramisu
The first step is a quick dip of the ladyfingers in the coffee/Kahlua mixture. The coffee flavor of the Kahlua enhances the overall flavor, but it can be left out if you want to make this dessert alcohol-free. And if you’re not a fan of Kahlua, you can use Gran Marnier, rum, or marsala in its place.
*Instant espresso powder can be used to make the coffee for dipped ladyfingers.
How do I prepare the ladyfingers:
- Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture. If you don’t want the added caffeine, decaf coffee or decaf espresso can be used.
- Brushing on the coffee mixture instead of dipped ladyfingers is a great way to control how much liquid gets on the ladyfingers.
- Only use Crunchy SAVOIARDI (ITALIAN LADYFINGERS) Cake style ladyfingers will get too soft. You can find them on Amazon by following the link above.
- Set your pan up with a layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers. (Standard 9″x 9″ pan)
- Then add your first layer of tiramisu cream mixture. Use half of your mixture and spread it evenly.
- Add a second layer of prepared ladyfingers to the pan.
- Add the remainder of the tiramisu cream mixture and spread evenly.
Dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder and you’re finished!
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.
Chef Tips to make the Best Tiramisu:
- Quick Dip – Dip the ladyfingers one or two at a time. A quick dip on each side is enough. You can also use a brush to coat the ladyfingers with the coffee mixture.
- Do not over-soak the ladyfingers or the layers will be soggy and not hold up.
- Double Boiler – When whisking the egg yolks and sugar over the double boiler, make sure the bowl is not touching the water beneath it.
- Allow the yolk mixture to cool until it’s just slightly warm by using the whisk to help disperse the heat. This will cool down the mixture quicker.
- Use very cold whipping cream -whip the cream slowly over about 10 minutes and the cream will be more stable and hold up.
- Do not overmix the cream– When folding the cream into the mascarpone sabayon mixture, do not overmix, or it may become grainy.
- Allow the tiramisu to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before slicing to allow it time to fully set up.
- Tiramisu can be made in advance- it holds up well and can be made up to two days ahead of time.
- Tiramisu will last refrigerated for up to 6 days.
FAQ about Tiramisu
Yes, you can freeze tiramisu. Use plastic wrap and place it directly against the surface (without cocoa powder) to prevent skin from forming; cover tightly. Repeat the process with an additional layer of plastic wrap and then cover with tin foil and freeze. To defrost, let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. After it has defrosted, add a layer of cocoa powder and serve.
Yes, you can. Leaving out the Kahlua is not a deal-breaker, just use more coffee when dipping the ladyfingers.
There are two methods that you can use to make a faux mascarpone. You won’t get quite the same flavor, but it will work. Blend 8 ounces softened full-fat cream cheese with ¼ cup heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter; OR – Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with ⅛ cup whipping cream and ⅛ cup sour cream.
No, you should not use raw eggs! The eggs in my version of tiramisu are slowly cooked over the simmering water as you whip the sabayon. This tiramisu will be safe to eat if you follow my directions.
How to Save your Tiramisu if it doesn’t set:
If, for some reason, your Tiramisu doesn’t firm up, don’t throw it away! You can freeze the cream and have an amazing frozen dessert. I have done this when testing new recipes. Use a springform pan, and you can slice it. Add fruit or other toppings, and you’ve got an amazing dessert.
This is the second time I have made this Tiramisu; we will have it tomorrow for my son’s birthday. It is a terrific recipe, the instructions are so clear. Also I was able to downsize the recipe very easily, and being able to convert measurements to weights instead of volume was great. Thank you, Chef Dennis!!!
This is an incredible tiramisu, better than most restaurants I’ve tried when I’m making at home! Thank you Dennis!
Would lining the pan with parchment work? I found it difficult to cut neat pieces from pan. Amazing Amazing recipe!!!
Chef Dennis Littley
I think it would cause more problems than it would help. If it’s a dessert you think you’ll make often, I would get a square springform pan or a square metal mold to form the tiramisu in.
The best tiramisu ever!! Served this to company, everyone commented “the best tiramisu they ever had”. I usually think “is there anything I can do to improve recipe “. Concluded that the recipe was perfect as is! I could not find lady finger, used stelladoro margherite cookies. Soaked for about 30 seconds to soften. Perfect substitution.
Thank you for an amazing recipe, Keep sharing your knowledge!
The best Tiramisu I have ever had. Thank you!
Phenomenal, wonderful directions.
Love baking, against any processed food, but currently disabled using a knee scooter.
I was able to make this for my caring hubby, for Valentine’s Day.
I’m getting back to normal, but you helped push me in the right direction..
Soooo amazing!!!! I first made this a while back along with your instructional video which was about an hour long but really walked you through it. Comes out perfect. If I can give it 10 stars I would. Worth the time it takes. Thank you
This tiramisu recipe is as good as any of the desserts I had when visiting Italy. And we ate the dessert everywhere. I found that the recipe actually makes a 13×9 in pan of tiramisu as I could only get 2 layers high.
I’ve been making the same tiramisu recipe for years but this one is da bomb! Love love love
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed my tiramisu recipe!
I found this recipe many years ago and it’s been bookmarked in my phone ever since. I always make it when I’m trying to impress for a nice Italian dinner. Will be bringing it to some new friends to try this weekend. Excited to blow them away!
This is an excellent recipe, works every time. A family favourite and a great way to finish an Italian meal.
Have made this tiramisu several times now for various gatherings – leftovers are always non-existent ;). I even made it side-by-side with the ATK recipe and this recipe was the crowd favorite.
THE BEST Tiramisu ever!!! Over restaurants one truly. Easy, little ingredients. Will be making this again this year for Christmas thank you!!!!
Chef Dennis Littley
You’re very welcome and I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed my favorite dessert! It’s hard to order it out when I go to Italian restaurants as more times than not, my version is so much better.
I been making this recipe for many years for any special occasions and always people love it!!! Definitely is the best recipe of all. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
I have made this recipe several times and it’s a FAVORITE! It’s absolutley delicious. Question: I am making it for Christmas and would like to double the recipe. What size pan should I use, or should i just make two of the 9×9 pans?
Chef Dennis Littley
You can use a 13×9 pan and you’ll be able to make the tiramisu a little taller since you’ll have a little more cream. That is how I usually make it.
I’ve made this recipe several times now. And it is always a crowd pleaser. I also love the tips provided! I follow Chef Dennis’ instructions every time I make whipped cream.
Chef Dennis, I’m going to make this tiramisu tomorrow for a party and wanted to add chocolate to half of the sabayon. (That way the bottom layer of the sabayon will be chocolate – a special treat for the chocoholics.) I thought I saw your instruction for adding chocolate to the filling, but now I can’t find it. Would you please repeat that direction for me? Many thanks.
Chef Dennis Littley
I have never mentioned adding chocolate to the sabayon, adding chocolate to the sabayon will overpower the dessert. I have seen people make it with chocolate, but this tiramisu is too good to fool with.
If you really want to make it, the easiest way would be to melt 4 ounces of chocolate in heavy cream, mix it together well and after it cools off but before it begins to set, mix it into half of the sabayon.
I have never made tiramisu this way, this is an educated guess.
OK Chef Dennis, I will take your good advice and make the recipe as you wrote it. Many thanks. Laura
Our corporate Christmas party was last night. Everyone was excited to take home their individually prepared tiramisu. I had your name and website attached to it and mentioned your other recipes when I addressed our group. Of the 51 mini loaf pans, I only took home 4. I can’t thank you enough for such a phenomenal recipe!
Hi Chef Dennis, I honestly cannot thank you enough for sharing this receipe. This is absolutely hands down the BEST tiramisu I’ve ever tasted let alone made! My partner requested Tiramisu for his birthday cake, and I took the opportunity to make your recipe, and he has absolutely RAVED about it ever since. He said it was absolute heaven on a plate. THANK YOU Chef Dennis for making this possible for us. It is beyond restaurant quality – I followed the recipe and so appreciated all the tips, and it produced a phenomemal result! All the best!
Chef Dennis Littley
you are very welcome and I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed my favorite dessert! I hope you find more recipes on my website to try.
You made me look like a rock star
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m happy to hear that Patrick!