This easy tiramisu is a simple and updated version of the Italian classic. It still features cookies soaked in coffee and liqueur until tender but not mushy and then layers them in a light and airy and barely sweetened mascarpone cream. But it improves upon the classic by using Tia Maria, that boozy coffee-infused rum, rather than marsala. And it’s only subtly sweet and light as can be whereas often the classic can be cloying and heavy. No mushy cookies or gloppy custard here, folks. And did we mention that it takes just 30 minutes to assemble? And that it tastes even better when made in advance? Essentially, this dessert is your entertaining dream come true.–Angie Zoobkoff

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A serving of easy tiramisu on a white plate with a spoon resting on the side and a shot of espresso in the background.

Easy Tiramisu

4.84 / 6 votes
This easy tiramisu recipe is darn close to the classic and, dare we say, better. It's simple, it swaps the usual marsala for that lovely coffee-imbued rum known as Tia Maria, and quite frankly, it's the best.
David Leite
Servings10 servings
Calories349 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Chill4 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 cup brewed espresso, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Tia Maria liqueur
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • A pinch table salt
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 24 ladyfinger cookies*
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for sprinkling


  • Whisk the espresso, Tia Maria, and milk together in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • In a large bowl or with a stand mixer, combine the egg yolks with the sugar and salt and beat with an electric mixer or the stand mixer for 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow. (Alternatively, if you’d like a great arm workout, you can instead do this by hand.) Add the mascarpone and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the cream to the mascarpone mixture, a dollop at a time, slowly and carefully folding it in until no streaks remain before adding the next dollop.
  • Gently dip half the ladyfingers in the refrigerated coffee mixture long enough for the exterior of the cookie to be soaked but not so long that the entire cookie turns to mush. Arrange the soaked cookies in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the cookies. Soak the rest of the ladyfingers as you did the others and layer them on top of the mascarpone mixture. Cover with the rest of the mascarpone mixture.
  • Sprinkle cocoa powder over the top, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.



Can’t make it to the grocer and your pantry is ladyfinger free? You can substitute a couple of things, so don’t panic just yet. Both pound cake and sponge cake work quite well, here. But you do need to get it good and crispy first. Slice into strips and bake in a low oven (250°F) for about 10 minutes, or until lightly crisp. Problem solved.
3 Times a Day Cookbook

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Three Times a Day

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 349 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 7 gFat: 22 gSaturated Fat: 12 gCholesterol: 223 mgSodium: 69 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 12 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Marilou Champagne | Alexandre Champagne. Photo © 2016 Alexandre Champagne. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This easy tiramisu recipe is lighter in texture than other tiramisu recipes I’ve tried. The creamy mascarpone mixture was light with just enough sweetness. I was skeptical as to how the recipe was going to turn out because I felt the mascarpone mixture was too runny but once it was chilled it firmed up.

I used large ladyfingers and dunked the cookies in the espresso a bit longer than the recipe suggested. This resulted was a coffee-soaked, sponge-y exterior with enough dry cookie left to give it just enough texture.

This definitely hits that old-fashioned tiramisu spot. It’s rich, creamy, full of flavor, and just tender enough. For my taste, I prefer a slightly stronger coffee flavor, so I’d use all coffee and not milk in the soaking liquid.

The amount of soaking liquid wasn’t enough. I ran out of the coffee mixture before I finished soaking the lady fingers. I’d make double the amount of that or maybe 1 1/2 the amount.

I didn’t have Tia Maria but I had Kahlua, so I used that. It’s a bit more alcoholic than Tia Maria but I think the dessert is better for it.

The fridge time that allows this easy tiramisu to rest and come together is a must and shouldn’t be cut short. Actually, an 8-hour or 12-hour rest isn’t a bad idea. The tiramisu tasted even better the day after.

This easy tiramisu recipe makes a lovely dessert for any occasion and is completely doable without hauling out the big stand mixer. Dipping the ladyfingers when everything was ready and assembling the dish took mere minutes. The hardest part was waiting for the tiramisu to chill in the fridge. I made the dessert in the evening and put it in the fridge overnight. When we could finally taste it, we found it to be light, rich, and totally delicious.

The ladyfingers tasted lightly of the liquor and coffee and were soft but not mushy. I used a heaping tablespoon of cocoa to dust the top before refrigeration. The cocoa on top may have seemed a little heavy at the time of assembly but by the time we ate it it had melded together with the other ingredients quite well. Everyone enjoyed this very much. I don’t think I would change anything except maybe serve a good coffee and a little more of the Tia Maria along with it for the adults.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This tiramisu recipe was easy to follow, quick to prepare, and a winner at our family event. It made the ideal amount for the 8×8-inch dish I used.

  2. Love your recipes. I am not asking you to recommend a particular food processor, however, due to different wattage, I think it makes a difference as to how long to pulse, etc with different directions in a recipe. I want to purchase a good food processor and I like to try your recipes. Thank you.
    Linda DeCarli

    1. Hi Linda, so happy to hear that you wish to try some of our recipes. As far as food processors, I have two favorites. I love my new-fangled Breville Sous Chef because it can do everything. But I also love my original Cuisinart from the 1980’s that has a wide chute that fits an entire block of cheese. There are so many options for food processors, including this very popular Ninja. I would look to the functionality as your deciding factor.