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Does Tiramisu Have Alcohol? + Delicious Tiramisu Recipe

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Generally speaking, Italy has so much to offer when it comes to culinary. There is an endless list of culinary masterpieces that this country has produced. Tiramisu is certainly one of them.

It is a classical Italian dessert and the perfect mix of cake, coffee, and alcohol. It is an Italian “cheer me up” or “pick me up”. There are not many people that are fans of sweet dishes and desserts and, at the same time, do not like tiramisu.

There is also the tiramisu ice cream, and that tells a lot about this amazing Italian dessert.

But many people ask the question “Does tiramisu have alcohol?”. As I already mentioned, tiramisu is a perfect blend of cake, coffee, and alcohol. So, yes, in most cases, tiramisu does contain alcohol. From there, many other questions arise.

“How much alcohol does tiramisu have?”, “What type of alcohol is used in tiramisu?”, “How it affects other ingredients?” and some other questions.

In this article, I will try to answer these important questions, and I will also show you how to make your own delicious homemade tiramisu that your taste buds won’t be able to resist.

Quick Answer: Does Tiramisu Have Alcohol?

Yes, traditional tiramisu does contain alcohol, but the alcohol content is not high, i.e. it is just about 1.5%. The most popular types of alcohol in tiramisu are dark liqueurs. If you can’t consume alcohol at all, there is also a non-alcoholic version of tiramisu.

Why Is There Alcohol In Tiramisu?

Tiramisu on a white plate

The reason for adding alcohol to tiramisu certainly isn’t to get you drunk or something like that. There are good reasons why chefs and home cooks add it to everyone’s favorite Italian dessert.

Actually, there are 2 main reasons for adding alcohol in tiramisu.

1. First, alcohol enhances the taste of your tiramisu, i.e. it enhances the taste of all other ingredients incorporated into the dessert.

2. Second, when you use alcohol in tiramisu, it helps to maintain the moisture in your tiramisu cake and protects it from drying.

So, as you can see, there are very good reasons for adding alcohol to your tiramisu, i.e. if you want your tiramisu full of moisture and flavor, then adding alcohol is your best bet.

Can You Get Drunk On Tiramisu?

the woman is eating tiramisu

Well, I personally don’t believe that you can actually get drunk by eating tiramisu. There is just not enough alcohol in it to get drunk, even if you want to.

Even if you eat the whole tiramisu by yourself, I do not think that it can do you any harm, aside from that, you will probably get a few more calories than you should.

The main reason for this is the very low alcohol content in tiramisu, i.e. not more than 1.5%. Only if you have alcohol intolerance or some kind of allergy, I would advise you to prevent consuming tiramisu because of the alcohol.

If not, then you are free to enjoy it to the fullest. Just don’t overeat it because that will cause some other problems not related to alcohol.

What Is The Best Type Of Alcohol For Tiramisu?

Dark rum in bottle and glass

Generally speaking, the best type of alcohol for your tiramisu is definitely a dark type of alcohol. When I say dark alcohol, I specifically refer to dark spirits, i.e. distilled liquors that are darker because of the specific aging process in sealed barrels.

These types of liquors contain some specific flavors that are suitable for other ingredients of tiramisu and the whole cake as well. They go well with the nutty flavor of coffee, as well as with the sweet and rich flavors of other ingredients.

Some of the best dark liquors for tiramisu include:

• Dark rum: It adds a sweet, smooth flavor to your tiramisu that is also very unique. Also, the health benefits of rum are numerous. This statement is confirmed and approved by Jack Sparrow.

Cognac: It has a sweet and fruity flavor that balances the strong flavor of coffee in tiramisu.

•Armagnac: This is a French brandy that has a similar sweet and fruity flavor just like Cognac, but it is bolder than the flavor of Cognac.

• Scotch: It possesses a somewhat malty flavor. Kilning with peat gives it a distinct smokey flavor.

• Whiskey: It has a complex flavor profile that will enrich your dessert very well. It is a combination of cereal, winey, fruity, woody, peaty, and flinty flavors.

What Are Some Other Types Of Alcohol Used In Tiramisu?

Coffee liqueur in a glass

There are some decent substitutes for these types of alcohol mentioned above, and one of the most popular is actually wine. It is an Italian wine called Marsala wine, and I will start with it.

Marsala wine: It is Italian fortified wine made with grapes that are dark brown in color and contains about 14%-22% of alcohol. It is the ideal type of alcohol for tiramisu that can give it a more intense flavor and balance the bitterness of coffee liqueur and espresso.

Aside from Marsala wine, you can also use some other types of wine, such as Port wine or Madeira wine.

Coffee liqueur: This type of liqueur is made from coffee beans that are flavored with either vanilla or chocolate. It contains about 20%-30% of alcohol. This liqueur will add some extra coffee flavor to your dessert and a little bit of sweetness.

There are a lot of brands of coffee liqueur, but the most popular ones for tiramisu include Patron XO Cafe, Tia Maria, and Kahlua.

Amaretto: Amaretto is an Italian liqueur made from almonds. It contains about 24%-28% of alcohol. It has a sweet and nutty flavor and it adds a unique flavor to tiramisu.

It helps you balance the coffee flavor of your tiramisu, and it also adds that nice almond flavor that attracts most people.

If you want to play with different flavors, hazelnut liqueur, chocolate liqueur, or coffee liqueur are some great Amaretto alcoholic substitutes, as suggested by Organic Facts. Non-alcoholic Amaretto substitutes include marzipan, almond extract, and Italian soda syrup.

• Baileys Irish cream: This is one unique cream liqueur made with chocolate, whiskey, and cream. Its ABV is about 17%. It has a sweet and creamy flavor and thick consistency.

Just as in the case of cognac, its sweetness can help balance the bitterness of coffee liqueur and espresso in tiramisu.

The other great thing that this liqueur provides is that it can keep your tiramisu moist because of its thick consistency.

• Frangelico: Frangelico is a liqueur made with alcohol, sugar, and hazelnuts. Its ABV is about 20%, and it possesses a sweet and nutty flavor.

It can help balance the bitterness of coffee liqueur and espresso and it can complement the chocolate flavor of tiramisu. If you can’t find this type of liqueur, you can use other hazelnut liqueurs like Nocello or Nocino.

What About Other Ingredients In Tiramisu?

Coffee in a white cup

Besides alcohol, there are other equally important ingredients in tiramisu that make it so delicious. The main ingredients of one classic tiramisu include liqueur or some other type of alcohol, ladyfinger cookies, mascarpone cheese, and coffee.

Some other traditional dessert ingredients are cold heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar, alongside some extracts like vanilla extract. I will start with ladyfinger cookies.

• Cookies: Ladyfinger cookies are the most common type of cookies used in tiramisu. Other names for these cookies are sponge fingers, savoiardi, baby fingers, and boudoirs.

There are a lot of different types of ladyfingers but when choosing the right one for your tiramisu, choose those that are firm and dry because they are able to absorb more coffee liqueur.

If you can’t find any in your local grocery store, you can substitute them with some of these: biscotti, Margherite cookies, sponge cake, pound cake, Pavesini cookies, bento cakes, or Panettone.

• Coffee: Using classic espresso for your tiramisu is the best thing you can do in order to make one delicious dessert. However, if you don’t like the strong flavor of espresso, you can freely use some other types of coffee like Americano or cold brew. Lately, I’ve been experimenting by adding some iced caramel latte from Dunkin to my tiramisu recipe and it tasted amazing.

• Cheese: One of those ingredients that are popular because it is added to tiramisu is certainly mascarpone cheese. Due to the fact that many people fancy this dessert because of its creamy texture, one creamy cheese like mascarpone is certainly an indispensable part of this dessert.

If you don’t have any mascarpone, you can use cream cheese instead. As its name suggests, it is also creamy, but the problem is that it possesses a bit of tanginess that some people don’t like.

You certainly don’t want to substitute it with feta cheese or tofu or something in that line.

Tiramisu Recipe: Step By Step

the woman makes tiramisu

This is one easy tiramisu recipe that uses dark rum when it comes to the type of alcohol. Also, instead of whole eggs, in this recipe, large egg yolks are without egg whites.

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients for the mascarpone cream:

4 egg yolks

100g powdered sugar

500g mascarpone cheese

200ml sweet cream

Ingredients for cookies:

200g ladyfinger cookies

250ml brewed black coffee

3 tablespoons dark rum

2 tablespoons cocoa powder


1. STEP: You first have to make the cream. In order to do that, you will mix the egg yolks and sugar until foamy and steam, constantly stirring with a whisk, for 10 minutes or until you see that the mixture has thickened.

2. STEP: You will leave it cool, but you will stir it every now and then so that no lumps form. When the egg yolk and powdered sugar cream cool, you will add mascarpone to it and mix well. The mascarpone mixture should be smooth.

3. STEP: You will then blend the sweet cream and mix by hand into the mixture of egg yolks, powdered sugar, and mascarpone to stiff peaks.

4. STEP: You will then cook the coffee. It can be stronger or less intense, it depends on your preferences. It is important to cool a little before you dip the ladyfinger cookies in it so that they don’t fall apart immediately when stacked.

5. STEP: When the coffee cools, you will add rum to it.

6. STEP: Now, it is time to put it all together. But first, you will briefly dip each ladyfinger cookie in the coffee and rum mixture. Then you will place the entire bottom row in a container that you will use as a mold.

It is best if it measures approximately 16 X 16 inches.

7. STEP: You will put the first half of the cream on it, repeat the sequence with the biscuits, and spread the rest of the cream over it.

8. STEP: Finally, sprinkle with cocoa powder and refrigerate overnight to soften the cookies. After that, you can freely serve your sweet masterpiece.

tiramisu recipe

Some Important Tips When Making Tiramisu

Here are the most important tips that you should know if you plan to make your homemade tiramisu.

• Always use fresh ingredients when making tiramisu. It is not a good idea to use pre-made ingredients or packaged mixes.

• Do not over whip the mascarpone cheese. You want to achieve heavy whipping cream and overwhipping the mascarpone cheese will make it too light.

• Always soak ladyfingers in the mixture of coffee and alcohol. This helps with the absorption of flavors and the ladyfingers becoming soft.

• Make sure that you don’t mix sugar and yolks immediately. Mix them when it is time for that because, otherwise, they will begin to cook and become dry.

• Always spread your tiramisu evenly. This way, you will prevent it from becoming soggy.

• When layering your tiramisu, make sure that you start and end with a layer of mascarpone cream. Take into consideration that there are 3 layers of ladyfingers and 2 layers of mascarpone cream.

• Always store your tiramisu in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. It is more delicious when served cold.

• Don’t serve it too cold, i.e. straight from the fridge. Its flavors won’t be at their best, and the texture will be hard.

• Always add enough coffee to your tiramisu. The coffee is what gives it its unique flavor profile.

• Don’t use too much alcohol. Its taste can become overpowering.



Do Italians Put Alcohol In Tiramisu?

Although many people think that classical Italian tiramisu (Authentic tiramisu) does contain alcohol, that is really not true. It does not contain alcohol, but many Italians like to add dark rum or marsala wine to the coffee mixture before dipping the ladyfingers.
This means that in some cases Italians do add alcohol to their tiramisu, but Authentic Italian tiramisu, by the rule, does not contain alcohol.

Does Costco Tiramisu Have Alcohol?

Yes, Costco mascarpone does contain alcohol. It contains about 1.5% of alcohol and that is because of the marsala wine which is one of its main ingredients.
When making this type of tiramisu, unlike other types where marsala wine is added to both coffee and filling, in Costco tiramisu, chefs add marsala wine only in the coffee mix that the sponge cake is soaked in.

Is It Safe To Eat Tiramisu If You’re Pregnant?

It is not recommended to eat tiramisu while pregnant because it contains raw eggs and alcohol as its main ingredients. Also, it is not good for pregnant women to consume too much caffeine and we all know that classical tiramisu contains coffee and chocolate.
This means that most of the store-bought types of tiramisu are not recommended for pregnant women. Also, tiramisu is high in calories and is full of carbohydrates and cholesterol, so take that into consideration as well.
However, there are some types of tiramisu that you can consume if you are in the state of pregnancy, like Melegatti Tiramisu Panettone, Coles tiramisu, Marketside tiramisu cake, Wholefoods Mini Tiramisu Cup, or Kroger Tiramisu layer cake.

Can You Make Non-Alcoholic Tiramisu?

Yes, you can make non-alcoholic tiramisu. There is nothing special to add here. When making non-alcoholic tiramisu, you don’t have to do anything more than not adding any alcohol.
There are no extra steps or some kind tricks. All you have to do is follow the recipe that is similar to the alcoholic tiramisu recipe. The only real difference is that you don’t have to add any type of alcohol in any mixture.

How Long Can Tiramisu Stay In The Fridge?

Homemade tiramisu can last in the fridge for up to 3 days if it is properly stored in an airtight container. Some experts suggest that it can last 1 day more, i.e. up to 4 days, but I wouldn’t recommend you to take that risk.
When you make your tiramisu, it is not good to keep it at room temperature for more than 2 hours, so you have to refrigerate it within that time frame.
The temperature of the fridge must be 40 degrees F or lower.

Can You Freeze Tiramisu?

Yes, you can freeze tiramisu. It will last for up to 3-4 months in the freezer if it is already pre-packaged. If it is fresh and individually wrapped, it can be frozen for a little shorter time, i.e. 2-3 months.
When it comes to the quality of tiramisu, the best time frame in which it is frozen is about 4 weeks. That way, you won’t risk compromising the ladyfinger cookies when thawed.

Final Words

Does tiramisu have alcohol? Yes, most types of tiramisu do contain alcohol. The fact is that some types do not and they are called non-alcoholic tiramisu.

In this article, I focus on the type of tiramisu that has alcohol, and I tried my best to present you with all the important information related to the amount of alcohol in tiramisu, the types that are used, and other ingredients of this sweet treat.In some parts of the text, I also explained how alcohol affects other ingredients and tiramisu in general. And I also presented you with a simple recipe for a very tasty tiramisu.