This Homemade Tiramisu Recipe is made with layers of creamy mascarpone filling (made with Baileys and no raw eggs), espresso-soaked ladyfingers, and dreamy whipped cream topped with rich cocoa powder. This classic Italian no bake dessert is the best homemade tiramisu I’ve ever had!
Homemade Tiramisu Recipe
I’m not usually one for fancy desserts. I like homestyle desserts. Old-fashioned desserts. Desserts that hold memories, like baking Chocolate Chip Cookies with my mom and sister, fruit cobbler at my grandparents cabin with my dad, birthday cakes made with love and care.
Creme brulee, souffles, pots de creme, etc., are beautiful, delicious desserts that I would not turn down if offered, but they typically are not the desserts I crave. I’d take a slice of buttery peach pie with ice cream over creme brulee any day of the week.
The one fancy dessert that is the outlier, is tiramisu. It’s gloriously sophistacated (at least in my opinion) with it’s layers of delicate espresso-soaked cookies (aka, ladyfingers) that practically turn into sponge cake, silky mascarpone filling, and rich cocoa powder on top.
It’s surprisingly uncomplicated but sinfully delicious in every bite. It’s not as humble as the fruit pie or southern cobbler, but it’s every bit as amazing. Whether you’re team fancy or team homestyle, this Homemade Tiramisu Recipe is an absolute must.
Reasons Why This Is The Best Homemade Tiramisu
- No Raw Eggs: Many traditional tiramisu recipes use raw eggs in the mascarpone filling, but I prefer to cook the egg yolks over a double broiler. It takes a few minutes to whisk the sugar and eggs until they reach the proper food safety temperature, but it’s not difficult to do.
- Baileys: From my research, most classic tiramisu recipes use a combination of rum, coffee liqueur, and espresso. I found that Baileys Irish Cream imparted the best flavor, and truly made it the best tiramisu I’ve ever had. While I would encourage you to try Baileys, I offer some other alternatives below.
- Whipped Cream: Lastly, I topped the final mascarpone tiramisu layer with whipped cream. The mascarpone tiramisu filling is already lightened with whipped cream, so the additional cream on top might be unnecessary, however, I always think more is better (when it comes to whipped cream).
- Egg Yolks: Egg yolks are used to make the mascarpone filling and the eggs help turn the filling into a rich custard.
- Granulated Sugar
- Baileys: Often rum or coffee flavored liqueur is used in tiramisu, but this recipe calls for Baileys Irish Cream. It enhances the coffee and chocolate flavors in this recipe, and it is without a doubt, the best tiramisu I’ve ever had.
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Vanilla Extract
- Brewed Espresso/Strong Coffee
- Espresso Powder: This is an optional ingredient, as we already have coffee in the recipe. I love how concentrated the flavor is, and it really enhances the overall flavor of the tiramisu. (Espresso powder is not the same as instant espresso granules.)
- Ladyfingers: These are light, biscuit-like cookies that soak up liquids and flavors extremely well, thus they are the perfect ingredient in a tiramisu.
- Cocoa Powder
How To Make Tiramisu From Scratch
- Egg Mixture: Whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt, and Baileys in a double broiler over simmering water for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and has reached 160-165 degrees. Whisk constantly. Allow to cool about 10 minutes.
- Whipped Cream: Whip heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar until it is thick and creamy and has reached medium to stiff peaks. (Use a hand mixer or standing mixer.)
- Mascarpone: Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk room temperature mascarpone and the egg mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Gently fold 2/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
- Coffee: Whisk espress/coffee, espresso powder (optional), and Baileys together.
- Assembly: Dip ladyfingers into the coffee mixture, one at a time, and place in a baking dish. Then spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top. Repeat with a second layer of ladyfingers. Top with the remaining mascarpone filling. Lastly, top with the remaining whipped cream.
- Chill: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Serve: Before serving, dust with a thick layer of cocoa powder.
What Alcohol Is Used In Tiramisu?
- This Homemade Tiramisu Recipe is made with Baileys Irish Cream. The Irish Cream really enhances the overall flavor of chocolate and espresso, which is why I am partial to using Baileys.
- However, you can use various types of alcohol, including rum, which is probably the most traditional alcohol used in tiramisu. You can also use Kahlua or another coffee flavored liqueur, Marsala Wine, etc.
- Alcohol: Instead of using Baileys, you can use rum, Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur, marsala, amaretto, etc.
- Alcohol Free: If you want to omit the alcohol completely, you can just subtitute more espresso for the alcohol. Plus, you can add in some rum extract, if you’d like.
- Coffee: Espresso and espresso powder makes for some of the richest and most flavorful tiramisu, but you can use a strongly brewed coffee or even decaf if needed.
- I do not suggest making espresso with instant granules. I find instant espresso granules taste too bitter and a bit fake in flavor. I would definitely brew ground espresso, or brew a very strong cup of dark roast coffee.
- Mascarpone: Mascarpone is incredibly important to the overall integrity of classic tiramisu. It’s like the Italian version of cream cheese. Mascarpone has a higher fat content and isn’t quite as tangy as cream cheese, and it is a very key component to traditional tiramisu.
- However, if you can’t find mascarpone or it’s too expensive, you can substitute cream cheese in its place. Just note that it will taste different than a classic tiramisu—still delicious, but it will have a different flavor.
What Are Ladyfingers?
Ladyfingers are basically a cookie—a very light, crisp cookie. You can buy them storebought or make them homemade. If you make them from scratch you’ll see that the homemade lady fingers batter is like a sponge cake batter that gets piped into strips and baked until it’s light and crisp.
- Where To Buy Ladyfingers: You can find ladyfingers at most grocery stores. My local stores carry ladyfingers in the cookie section near the biscottis and shortbreads. You can also order them online.
- Homemade: You can also make ladyfingers from scratch. If you make tiramisu with homemade ladyfingers it will take longer and won’t be a no bake tiramisu recipe, as you’ll have to bake the ladyfingers in the oven.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Make Ahead: Tiramisu needs to be made ahead of time because it needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. It needs time to firm up, time for the flavors to soak into one another, and time for the ladyfingers to transform into a sponge cake.
Storage: Cover your homemade tiramisu with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. It can last 3-4 days in the fridge.
More Make Ahead Dessert Recipes:
Quick and Easy Tips For The Best Tiramisu Recipe:
- Raw Eggs: Remember, this is tiramisu without raw eggs yolks, which means you will cook the egg yolks, sugar, and Baileys over a double broiler. This can take anywhere from 10-12 minutes, and you need to whisk the mixture continually, otherwise eggs will scramble.
- Room Temperature: The mascarpone should be at room temperature when it gets whipped with the egg mixture and the coffee needs to be at room temperature, or chilled.
- Tools: You will need a double broiler, but if you don’t have one, you can make one yourself by putting a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan.
- Variations: Again, you can subtitute rum, Kahlua, marsala, etc. for Baileys Irish Cream, if you prefer. Ditch the instant espresso granules and brew your own cup of espresso or a strong dark roast.
Tiramisu is translated as “pick me up,” and with the coffee in this recipe, it’s definitely the little pick-me-up dessert everyone needs after a long day. 😉
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream, divided*
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 16 oz mascarpone, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, or strong coffee, room temperature
- 1 tsp espresso powder, optional
- 2 7oz packages of ladyfingers (about 45-50 ladyfingers)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- With a standing mixer or hand mixer, whip heavy whipping cream, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, and vanilla extract together until it thickens and reaches medium to stiff peaks. Set aside.
- Heat egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, salt, and Baileys in a double broiler over simmering water (med-low heat), whisking the mixture constantly. Whisk for 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is thick and it has reached 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool about 5-10 minutes.
- With a standing mixer or a hand mixer, whip mascarpone and the egg mixture until smooth and well combined.
- Gently fold 2/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone filling, until combined.
- Whisk brewed espresso, remaining 2 Tbsp of Baileys, and espresso powder (if using) until combined.
Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, one at a time, and lay them side by side in a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the top of the ladyfingers.
Dip and lay the second layer of ladyfingers, then spread the remaining mascarpone filling on top.
- Lastly, spread the remaining whipped cream on top.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Before serving, dust a thick layer of cocoa powder on top.
- Store leftovers in the fridge.
*You can substitute rum, Kahlua, marsala wine, amaretto, brandy, for Baileys, if you prefer.
*Additionally, you can use a combination of alcohols, such as part rum and part coffee flavored liqueur, etc.
*You can use rum extract as well. Instead of vanilla extract in the whipped cream, you can use rum extract.
*If you want to make this non-alcoholic, simply omit the Baileys altogether. When making the egg mixture over the double broiler, you do not need to replace the Baileys with anything else if you want to keep this alcohol free.
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