Does Tiramisu Have Caffeine? And Other Common Questions

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Last updated on March 12, 2023


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Tiramisu is an iconic Italian dessert with a unique flavor profile.

The name means “pick me up,” and Italians serve it after dinner to literally cheer one up. 

This decadent dessert has several unique flavors, and when combined, they make a remarkable dessert.

Tiramisu pairs well with coffee and chocolate, as these are the most recognizable flavors in the dish. But it also pairs well with certain after-dinner wines, like sherry.

We are going to explore what the dish consists of, and if the amount of caffeine is enough to keep you up at night.

Let's dive in.

What is Tiramisu?


Tiramisu is made from lady fingers dipped in coffee and layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, mascarpone cheese, rum, wine, and topped with powdered cocoa.

This dessert exemplifies the benefits of understanding the five flavor profiles and how they pair together.

Tiramisu’s main flavor is coffee - sweet, and creamy.

The creaminess of the mascarpone cheese accentuates the coffee's bitterness and the sugar's sweetness.

The alcohol balances out the flavors for a very unique profile.

How Much Caffeine is in a Slice of Tiramisu?

As obvious as it sounds, the answer lies in how much coffee is used in the recipe.

Typically, a tiramisu recipe calls for less than half a cup of coffee, so the caffeine level is approximately 95 milligrams.

So, a slice of this delicious dessert will most likely not spike your caffeine levels.

Can You Make Tiramisu With Decaf Coffee?


Traditionally, tiramisu is made with espresso, coffee, or liqueur, which gives it the distinct flavor.

However, decaf coffee can be used, and the lack of caffeine will not affect the taste.

Since tiramisu is traditionally made with espresso, a strong form of coffee, the best brewing method for decaffeinated coffee would be a Moka pot.

Can You Make Tiramisu With Cold Brew?


Iced coffee can be used in place of regular coffee for tiramisu, but a darker roast is preferable, as it will blend better with the rum.

You can also use a creamier cold brew coffee as a substitute for the mascarpone cheese.

Cold brew coffee contains more caffeine than espresso (due to a longer steeping time) so if it's used in tiramisu, the amount should be lowered. 

For a comprehensive guide to caffeine levels between espresso and cold brew, see Cold Brew Vs. Espresso.

And if cold brew is your jam, check out our Delicious Cold Brew Recipe.

How Much Alcohol is in a Slice of Tiramisu?

There is approximately 1.5% alcohol in most pre-packaged tiramisu, although not every brand uses alcohol in their recipe.

The alcohol is added as a fourth ingredient to take the flavor up a notch.

The whipped mixture also contains marsala wine for added flavor.

Does Tiramisu Contain Dairy?


The main dairy ingredient in tiramisu is mascarpone cheese. Some lady fingers contain dairy, but dairy-free options are plentiful.

Other than that, tiramisu is dairy free. If the tiramisu needs to be dairy-free, vegan cream cheese is a good alternative.

What is Mascarpone Cheese?

Mascarpone cheese is classified as “cream cheese” but is not the same as American cream cheese.

Although the two are made similarly, mascarpone cheese uses a base of whole cream instead of milk.

Like American cream cheese, it is not aged before consumption.

Mascarpone cheese is slightly sweet and nutty with a hint of acidity.

The taste is comparable to cream cheese, creme fraiche, and ricotta cheese, though less tangy. 

Creme fraiche is the closest substitute for mascarpone cheese.

Does Tiramisu Contain Eggs?


Yes, tiramisu contains eggs in the whipped mixture that's incorporated in the batter.

The mixture contains sugar, eggs, marsala wine, rum, and cocoa powder.

The eggs are better for a creamier dessert, a common European practice. 

How Long is Tiramisu Good For?


If Tiramisu is made at home, it lasts up to three days if stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

If tiramisu is purchased pre-packaged, it should be eaten within two hours. The short shelf life is due to the egg custard.

Tiramisu is easy to freeze, and it 's best to slice it before freezing so that you can pull out the desired amount when needed.

After the custard is defrosted, it should not be re-frozen.

How Do You Make Tiramisu?


Mix the creamy filling. Beat the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks.


Dip ladyfingers. Add the espresso and liqueur (if using) to a shallow bowl and dip the ladyfingers on both sides. Do not let the ladyfingers soak, or they will become soggy.


Layer the mascarpone and repeat. This process is similar to making a lasagna.

There are plenty of recipes online for making tiramisu, but we liked this one because it has a quick prep time.

If you enjoy the process, you can advance to the more complicated versions.

A Highly-Reviewed Tiramisu Recipe


Tiramisu is a classic Italian recipe that pairs well with coffee, cocoa, and wine.

These ingredients are part of the traditional recipe, which gives this dessert a unique flavor.

This is a fun dish to experiment with and is always a crowd-pleaser. It's not too complicated to make and can be frozen for a later time.

Making tiramisu at home is a great way to learn how flavor profiles mix and match.

The reward for this knowledge is a one-of-a-kind dessert that will please any palette.

Let us know how it goes!


About the author, Jason

Jason Phillips is a recipe developer, culinary arts graduate, and coffee connoisseur. After culinary school, he cooked professionally for a while and published a cookbook his chef instructor advised him to write. Jason has a passion for culinary arts and coffee and is always looking for new, innovative recipes. He loves creating chef-quality meals that are also simple to make so that any home cook can do the same.

Jason’s cookbook is The Sea Cook: Recipes and Tales From The Galley. The book chronicles his journey as a cook onboard offshore tugboats and the places he has traveled.