Classic Italian Tiramisu


Total Time:

15 minutes



Somehow between culinary school and today (which was legit almost 10 years ago) I seem to have forgotten about Tiramisu! Well – not anymore!! I made my culinary school recipe a few weeks back and OMG WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING WITH MY LIFE!

Classic Italian Tiramisu from (@whatsgabycookin)

This Classic Italian Tiramisu is seriously one of the easiest recipes and is made with a sweet mascarpone filling and layered with espresso dipped lady fingers. It’s truly perfection and I can’t believe I haven’t made it since culinary school. These days, Thomas and I are traveling via the kitchen and I’ve been on a mega pasta / Italy kick. Instead of resorting to my usual cookie consumption for dessert, I changed it up for date night a few weeks back and make a small Tiramisu. BRILLIANT. It takes almost no time to make and the recipe below is one that my culinary school instructor literally engrained into our brains during the dessert portion of our curriculum.

Classic Italian Tiramisu from (@whatsgabycookin)

Let’s talk Tiramisu! A few tips and tricks when it comes to making this classic Italian dessert!

  1. ALL the ingredients for the filling must be cold. So when you read the recipe below, pay attention to the few things that need to be taken directly from the fridge.
  2. Get the ladyfingers from an Italian market if possible!!
  3. Mascarpone is essential. There is no substitution for it – so while you’re out looking for the ladyfingers, grab the Mascarpone.
  4. No espresso on hand – no problem! Use coffee!

Here are some of my favorite Italian dishes to make before you make Classic Italian Tiramisu!

Classic Italian Tiramisu

This Classic Italian Tiramisu is seriously one of the easiest desserts to make! It's picture perfect with a sweet mascarpone filling, espresso dipped lady fingers and all the cocoa powder on top!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people


  • 1/4 cup Dutch Processed cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup brewed espresso (optional to add a few tablespoons of dark rum)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks, cold (I use pasteurized eggs)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 8-ounce tubs mascarpone cheese, chilled
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 2-3 dozen hard ladyfinger cookies


  • Whisk together the cocoa powder, espresso and vanilla in a bowl and set aside
  • In a mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add in the salt, mascarpone cheese and continue to whip until smooth. Add the chilled cream and continue to whip, until light, creamy, smooth and can hold a soft peak.
  • Dunk each ladyfinger in the espresso mixture to absorb the liquid and start to line a 7×11 oval baking dish with the cookies. Top the first layer of cookies with ½ of the whipped mascarpone mixture and use the back of a metal spoon to spread it into an even layer. Dust with cocoa powder. Repeat for another layer and then finish by dusting with cocoa powder on top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Recipe Rating


  1. KStoobs

    I’ve always been told that when making Tiramisu, that if you add alcohol, you must use a glass pyrex baking dish because the metal dishes will react badly with the alcohol. (Old wive’s tale?) But, also, a glass pyrex also shows how pretty the layers are. 🙂

    • Gaby

      I dont own a glass baking dish and none of mine have ever been etched or anything

    • Carol

      If you don’t feel comfortable using raw eggs you can make a sabayon by whisking the egg yolks with the sugar over a pan of simmering water till it reaches 150’f and then follow the recipe from where it says to whip them till pale yellow.

    • Gaby

      good call! we used to make sabayon all the time in culinary and pastry school! man that stuff is delish

  2. Katie

    5 stars
    Well I know what I’m making for my special Valentine’s Day dessert! I love that you make such classic recipes so approachable Gaby!

  3. Avani Patel

    Would you please share a picture of what Expresso and the Cocoa powder you used please?
    Thank you.

    • Gaby

      My husband makes espresso with just regular old coffee beans. And cocoa powder I used Guittard

  4. Tracy

    Do you just dip the ladyfingers in the espresso on each side or let them sit? Trying to find the sweet spot between hard & mushy…

    • Barb

      You will have more control of not dipping ladyfingers but using a mister or spray bottle to control amount of coffee.

  5. Debbie Christianson

    Hi! Why do you need to use Dutch Process cocoa? I have both Hershey’s and also Pernigotti, but not sure if they are Dutch processed or not. Also, how long does cocoa last in a pantry before it needs to be replaced?
    Thank you!

    • Gaby

      its less bitter than plain cocoa powder! either works – but Dutch makes it less bitter. And I go through mine every few months so I get a new one every quarter probably

  6. Thea

    I love tiramisu but prefer not to eat raw eggs. Any helpful hints? I hear to buy pasteurized eggs if you are going to eat raw, but not sure if I’ve ever seen that label?

    • Gaby

      Some people prefer to make a sabayon and use that instead. I havent tested it on this recipe but I know it would be delish. I’ll work on updating the recipe with that as an option in the next few weeks

  7. Karen

    Didn’t read your recipe correctly and bought soft lady fingers instead of hard. Thoughts? Thank you!

  8. Helen Jerman

    What if I don’t have an espresso maker? Can I brew espresso in a regular drip coffee maker? Or can I make tiramisu with just regular coffee?

  9. Deborah Reinhardt

    What’s the destiny of the 1/4 tsp salt? Noticed it’s in the ingredient list but not in the recipe instructions. Should it be added to the egg yolks and sugar? Making this for Valentines!!

    • Gaby

      ah!! thank you – you can add it there or with the mascarpone! updating now!

  10. Karoline Hurd

    5 stars
    Love tiramisu and have only had it in restaurants. This easy recipe remedies that! I had to use soft ladyfingers since I missed the ‘hard’ ladyfingers instruction. Question—where does the 1/4 tsp salt go? I put a pinch in with the espresso/chocolate mixture and another pinch in with the mascarpone/egg yolk mixture! Just curious at this point!

  11. Beth D

    So I made this, super good – but mine was super runny and the only thing I did differently was that I had to use chocolate mascarpone because that’s all I could get. It never firmed up like it should have. Do you think that’s why?

    • Gaby

      chocolate mascarpone! never seen it or used it! was it super chilled when you incorporated it?! maybe it has a different fat content?

  12. Brooke

    5 stars
    Thanks! Love this recipe, you’ve made tiramisu so accessible. I always thought this was a crazy difficult thing to make?! Can’t wait to try it next weekend…

  13. Harley

    5 stars
    This was so good that my guys asked me where I got it.

    You always make me look like a competent cook. Good news is everyone loves it. Bad news is everyone loves it and expects me to keep cooking.

  14. Stephanie Hoover

    I used soft ladyfingers. While I think hard is better I accidentally got soft so I used them. Instead of rolling them in the coffee, I used a pastry brush and brushed the mixture on and they turned out pretty good! I ended up making individual tiramisu and made some without coffee for my husband and child who enjoyed it better that way.

  15. Judy Lynch

    I see that the dish should be 3 inches deep. How long please? Thanks.

    • Gaby

      Mine was roughly 10 inches – but really it’s whatever fits all the ladyfingers

  16. Linda Smock-Landsdowne

    5 stars
    We made the tiramisu and it was excellent!
    Make quite a bit
    We all Thoroughly loved it!!!!

  17. Rachel

    5 stars
    I hosted an Italian-themed dinner for my monthly dinner club and made this for dessert. It BLEW EVERYONE AWAY!!! It was unanimously named the best dessert that’s ever been served at dinner club! I made it the night before and let it chill overnight, and it turned out perfectly!