Easy Tiramisu

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Classic tiramisu is a no bake dessert recipe that is so easy for a beginner baker! Simply prepare the creamy mascarpone filling and layer it with store-bought lady finger cookies soaked in instant espresso and a spinkle of cocoa on top.

A slice of tiramisu is on a white plate, a spoon has a bite on it showing the cream filling and spongey cookie layer.

When I lived in Italy in my 20s, I wanted to make a special dinner when my dad came to visit. My Italian friend, Moira, offered to teach me her recipe for homemade tiramisu.

I thought she was crazy! Surely that recipe had to be difficult. She helped me to prepare an easy tiramisu recipe in just minutes and I couldn't believe it.

My dad insisted it was the best tiramisu he'd ever had and I felt like a baking rockstar.

The truth is, cool and creamy tiramisu is the perfect make-ahead dessert for your party. Simply layer the mascarpone filling with lady finger cookies soaked in coffee and let it chill in your fridge until you're ready to serve.

The dessert tastes even better the next day, so you'll save yourself time prepping for the rest of your party menu!

Why This is the Best Recipe

I absolutely love Italian desserts but I think this is the best tiramisu recipe because:

  1. Authentic Italian Ingredients: This is very nearly the exact tiramisu recipe my Italian friend Moira taught me to make while I was living in Milan. The cookies and mascarpone are spot-on.
  2. Easy for Beginners: Even when I was a total newbie, I could make a homemade tiramisu easily.
  3. Make Ahead Friendly: In fact YES make it ahead! It will taste even better the next day!
  4. Crowd Pleasing: This dessert will disappear in a flash when you serve it for a special event. It will make you look like a rockstar baker, no one needs to know just how easy it was to make!

Ingredients

Not only is this dessert easy to make, it only requires a very short list of ingredients! Most of the items are ready to go and the majority of your "baking time" is really just assembly.

There are just two essential ingredients that are very particular and can be a little tricky to find:

  1. Lady Finger Cookies
  2. Mascarpone Cheese

For shopping tips and clarifications, see below:

Ladyfinger Cookies

Ladyfinger cookies, otherwise known as savoiardi in Italy, are a very crispy cookie with an airy texture. They have a light sugary dusting on the outside.

I was able to find a package of tiramisu cookies in the International Foods aisle at World Market as well as at my local grocery store.

But if you cannot find them locally, you can buy them online here or make these homemade ladyfinger cookies for tiramisu.

The two main ingredients for homemade tiramisu are the lady finger cookies and mascarpone chese.

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Mascarpone Cheese

The other particular ingredient you'll need to make a homemade tiramisu is mascarpone cheese. It's also the base ingredient for my easy cannoli dip recipe.

This Italian cheese is a smoother, creamier, softer version of American cream cheese.

A closer look at creamy mascarpone cheese for a homemade tiramisu.

I was able to find it locally at our Trader Joe's as well as at my regular grocery store in the specialty cheese section near the deli.

If you can't find it locally, you may be able to order it on Amazon for fresh delivery here.

The easy ingredients to make a no-bake tiramisu are on the kitchen counter.

The remaining ingredients are really very easy:

  • Heavy cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Prepared strong coffee: I always keep a package of instant espresso packets in my pantry for baking. I love that I can just use one packet at a time and the rest of the espresso remains fresh. I had just used my last one on a batch of brownies so this time I substituted a strong Starbucks iced coffee beverage. Since the iced coffee is a bit concentrated to be poured over ice, it worked perfectly for this recipe. But keep those espresso packets on hand and you could use them for making other things, too. These coffee cookies would be an excellent choice.
  • Cocoa powder: Unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder worked great.

Make the Mascarpone Filling

First, prepare the creamy mascarpone cheese filling for the tiramisu.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the whipping cream and whisk on medium-high for 2 minutes.

Slowly drizzle in the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the mascarpone cheese. Mix just until combined and set aside.

The whipped mascarpone filling is in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.

Assemble the Tiramisu

You'll want to build your tiramisu in a 2-inch deep, 8x8-inch baking dish. A larger 9x13-in dish will not allow you to have a double layer of cookies and filling. This simple baking dish or one like it would be perfect.

Pour the prepared coffee in a shallow bowl and set it right next to the baking dish.

The ingredients for assembling the tiramisu are all lined up.

Carefully dunk each ladyfinger cookie into the coffee. Turn it once to coat both sides and let the excess drip back into the bowl.

Lay the cookies in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish.

Do not let the cookies soak in the coffee or they will quickly fall apart in the liquid. Just a quick dunk will do.

Cover the entire bottom of the dish with cookies, you may need to break a few in half and get creative with your placement.

Then, spread half of the prepared mascarpone filling evenly over the cookie layer.

Repeat with a second layer of dunked ladyfingers. (Photo 1 below.)

Spread the remaining half of the mascarpone filling evenly over the top. (Photo 2 below.)

The step by step photo collage shows how to layer the coffee-soaked cookies with mascarpone cheese layer and top with powdered chocolate.

Add a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder to a fine mesh sugar duster for shaking over the top of the dessert.

I have a stainless steel sifter with lid like this one here.

Place plastic wrap over the top of the dish (but not touching the cocoa powder) and chill in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours before serving.

A serving of tiramisu is on a plate with a fork.

Make Ahead Tips

This tiramisu is the perfect make ahead dessert recipe.

You can quickly assemble it in the morning for a party in the evening, or you can assemble it up to 24 hours in advance as long as it is covered with plastic wrap or a lid in the fridge.

To freeze the tiramisu, skip the cocoa powder dusting and cover it well. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and dust with the cocoa before serving.

A serving of tiramisu is on a plate with a fork.

Tiramisu Cheesecake Variation

Want to make the ultimate no-bake dessert for your party? Try an easy tiramisu cheesecake.

Simply start with a store bought cheesecake. Make the mascarpone filling from this recipe and spread it right over the cheesecake top.

Sprinkle with cocoa powder and chill to set.

This is just one of my favorite cheesecake topping ideas!

More No Bake Dessert Recipes

Each of these creamy desserts can be made ahead in advance of your party:

📖 Recipe

A slice of tiramisu is on a white plate, a spoon has a bite on it showing the cream filling and spongey cookie layer.

Easy Tiramisu

5 from 35 votes
This cool and creamy no-bake recipe is a classic Italian dessert. Tiramisu, or "pick me up," is so easy to make ahead for your party.
TOTAL TIME 4 hours 10 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
CHILL TIME 4 hours
YIELD 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz container mascarpone cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups cold black coffee the darker the better
  • 1 package lady finger cookies
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

  • Set out an 8 x 8-inch dish for building the tiramisu.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the whipping cream and whisk on medium-high for 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the mascarpone cheese. Mix just until combined and set aside.
  • Add the coffee to shallow dish. Dip the lady fingers one at a time in the coffee, turning to coat. Don't let the cookies soak, they will quickly fall apart. Just do a quick dunk and turn and lay each cookie in single layer on the bottom of the serving dish.
  • Scrape half of the whipped cream over the top of the cookie layer and carefully spread it evenly to coat.
  • Repeat dunking the remaining lady finger cookies and lay them in another single layer on top of the whipped cream.
  • Scrape the remaining half of whipped cream over the top layer of cookies and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle the cocoa over the top using a fine mesh strainer. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 - 4 hours before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Instructions

Prepared tiramisu will keep in the fridge for 2 - 3 days and is a perfect make ahead dessert.

To Freeze:

Omit the cocoa powder and freeze it covered well with plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and dust with the cocoa powder before serving.
COURSETarts & Tortes
CUISINEItalian

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A photo collage shows the finished tiramisu next to the prep photo

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