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This is a dessert that really is the perfect ending to the perfect Italian meal.

There are just a handful of ingredients in this iconic Italian dessert, so, we recommend using the best of the best to make every component come together to make a dessert you won’t soon forget.

A circular white dessert plate filled with a square piece of tiramisu.

How To Make Tiramisu

We’re presenting you the traditional method for making classic tiramisu.

We’re not including heavy cream, and we’re not heating our egg white peaks or egg yolks.

EXPERT TIP: Go with top-notch eggs here that are very fresh and preferably organic. If you are serving this to anyone who is immunocompromised, consider using pasteurized eggs, or placing the egg yolks and egg white over simmering water for a few minutes. Or, just move on to the next Italian dessert, such as Ricotta Cheesecake!


The Essential Ingredients

Besides eggs (whites and yolks separated), you’ll need to get your fingers on some ladyfingers.

These can be found in the Italian section of many well-stocked supermarkets, Italian specialty food markets, or online.

A strong dose of espresso deepens the flavor intensely but in such a good way!

Mascarpone cheese is also essential and should be at room temperature.

EXPERT TIP: We use our hand mixer to beat the room temperature egg yolks with the sugar. Beat for about 2 to 4 minutes, until a pale yellow. Next, gently mix in the room temperature mascarpone until just mixed.

A glass bowl filled with creamed eggs and sugar with mascarpone being added and then the same bowl after the cheese has been blended in.

How To Build the Tiramisu

Now, it’s time to layer all the delicious elements.

IMPORTANT: Don’t over soak your ladyfingers! Drop them in the espresso for literally a second and then quickly remove them.

Add a layer of cream, then the soaked ladyfingers, another layer of the cream mixture, another layer of soaked ladyfingers, and then finally the rest of the cream.

A hand dipping a ladyfinger cookie into a bowl of espresso, and then layering them in a dish over cream, and then more cream on top, and then another layer of cookies.

Now, it’s time to top this amazing dessert!

Just grab that unsweetened cocoa powder you have in the back of the pantry and add a couple of tablespoons into a small sifter (or, just use your fingers).

Sift the powder liberally all over the top.

EXPERT TIP: We use an 8″x8″ baking dish to build the tiramisu. It may feel small, but you’ll get 9 nice-sized cuts from this size. You could also go with a 9″x9″, and still have great results.

A hand tapping the side of a small sieve filled with chocolate powder over a casserole dish filled with tiramisu.

When To Serve

This is a light dessert that is perfect after a wonderful Italian feast.

It’s amazing after Rustic Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan, Chicken Marsala, or Pasta alla Norma.

EXPERT TIP: It’s really best served the day it is assembled, but you can absolutely make this up to 24 hours in advance of serving. Keep chilled in the fridge.

A square white baking dish filled with tiramisu with half of it removed.

Can Cream Be Added to Tiramisu

Some folks like to include whipped heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture.

Although purists will tell you this is strictly forbidden, it’s still yummy and makes the dish even fluffier (but you didn’t hear this from us).

But trust us, this version right here is simple and incredibly delicious.

A circular white dessert plate filled with a square piece of tiramisu.

No stellar meal is complete without a knock-out dessert.

Folks, here you go.

Creamy. Italian. Scrumptious.

A plate of tiramisu with a bite taken out of it on a nearby fork.

Ready to make the best Italian dessert this side of Venice? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a picture of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and #HowToFeedaLoon!


Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert. Use any liqueur of your choice, or, leave it out completely. Amaretto is a great choice, but so is Marsala wine, Kahlua, or dark rum. Allow the tiramisu to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Keyword: classic tiramisu recipe, how to make tiramisu
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 441kcal


  • electric mixer
  • 8"x8" dish 9"x9" works well, too


  • 6 egg yolks room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 lb mascarpone room temperature
  • 6 egg whites room temperature
  • 25 ladyfingers
  • 2 cups brewed espresso or strong coffee, cooled
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  • 4 tbsp Amaretto or Marsala wine, Kahlua, dark rum (or omit)


  • Use an electric mixer to whip the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, making sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Mix in the mascarpone cheese and whip for about 1 to 2 minutes until well combined and smooth. Mix in the Amaretto.
  • In a separate bowl, use your cleaned electric mixer to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg white into the egg yolks/mascarpone mixture in several additions.
  • Spread a thin layer of the cream mixture in your baking dish (8x8 or 9x9).
  • Very briefly submerge a ladyfinger into the cooled espresso and then place it in the dish on top of the cream (don't over-soak the ladyfingers!). Continue until you filled the dish with one layer.
  • Spoon another layer of the cream mixture (half of the mixture) over the ladyfingers and then repeat with another layer of lightly espresso-soaked ladyfingers.
  • Cover with foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Just before serving, dust the top with the cocoa powder with a fine-mesh sieve.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
Ladyfingers can be found in the Italian section (or in the cookies section) of many well-stocked supermarkets, at an Italian food market, or online
For best results, allow the tiramisu to chill in the fridge for 12 hours.
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.  We don't recommend freezing tiramisu. 
NOTE: Consuming raw eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.  


Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 248mg | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1049IU | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in August, 2014, but was updated with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in March, 2022!


  • This was delicious but a little soft, as though it didn’t quite set. We ate it 24 hours after making. Suggestions?

    • Hi Diane, it does have a very soft texture. It’s hard for me to guess what may have caused it to not quite set though. Sometimes the ladyfingers absorb too much of the espresso liquid, but I’m sure you know that. Wish I could help more but you probably did everything right, it just is very soft. Best, Kris & Wesley

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