Vegan Tiramisu Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Ella

Tiramisu, the iconic Italian dessert, is loved for its layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, rich mascarpone cheese, and a dusting of cocoa powder. For those following a vegan lifestyle or looking to reduce their dairy intake, traditional tiramisu might seem off-limits. However, with creative ingredient swaps and innovative techniques, a vegan tiramisu can be just as indulgent and satisfying as its classic counterpart. This comprehensive guide delves into the art of making vegan tiramisu, exploring its history, the essential ingredients, preparation techniques, and providing step-by-step recipes to create a decadent, plant-based version of this beloved dessert.

A Brief History of Tiramisu

Origins of the Classic Tiramisu

Tiramisu, which means “pick me up” or “cheer me up” in Italian, is a relatively modern dessert that originated in the Veneto region of Italy in the 1960s. Its exact origins are debated, but it is widely believed to have been created in a restaurant called Le Beccherie in Treviso.


Evolution Over Time

Originally, tiramisu was made with simple ingredients: ladyfingers (savoiardi) soaked in espresso, layered with a mixture of mascarpone cheese, eggs, and sugar, and topped with a dusting of cocoa powder. Over time, variations of the recipe have emerged, including alcohol-infused versions and those incorporating different flavors.


Adapting to Vegan Preferences

With the rise of veganism and plant-based diets, traditional tiramisu has been adapted to meet the needs of those avoiding animal products. By replacing dairy and eggs with plant-based alternatives, the essence of tiramisu can be preserved while catering to vegan preferences.


Essential Ingredients for Vegan Tiramisu

Ladyfingers (Savoiardi)

Traditional ladyfingers are light, sponge-like cookies that are a key component of tiramisu. For a vegan version, you can either make homemade vegan ladyfingers or purchase store-bought vegan alternatives.


Homemade Vegan Ladyfingers Recipe


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

Add the applesauce, plant-based milk, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe ladyfinger shapes onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.

Allow the ladyfingers to cool completely before using them in your tiramisu.


Coffee is a fundamental flavor in tiramisu. Brew a strong pot of espresso or use instant espresso powder dissolved in hot water. Ensure that the coffee is cooled to room temperature before using it to soak the ladyfingers.

Vegan Mascarpone

Traditional mascarpone cheese is made from cream, but there are several ways to create a vegan version using plant-based ingredients.

Homemade Vegan Mascarpone Recipe


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.

In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, coconut cream, lemon juice, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.

Chill the vegan mascarpone in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

Vegan Whipped Cream

To achieve the light, airy texture of traditional tiramisu, vegan whipped cream is essential. You can use store-bought vegan whipped cream or make your own.

Homemade Vegan Whipped Cream Recipe


  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Scoop the solid coconut cream from the top of the can into a chilled mixing bowl, discarding the liquid.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Use an electric mixer to whip the coconut cream until light and fluffy.

Chill the whipped cream in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cocoa Powder

A generous dusting of cocoa powder is the finishing touch on any tiramisu. Use high-quality cocoa powder for the best flavor and presentation.

Step-by-Step Vegan Tiramisu Recipe


  • 1 batch of homemade vegan ladyfingers or store-bought vegan ladyfingers
  • 1 cup brewed espresso, cooled
  • 1 tablespoon rum or coffee liqueur (optional)
  • 1 batch of homemade vegan mascarpone
  • 1 batch of homemade vegan whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder


Prepare the Coffee Mixture:

In a shallow dish, combine the brewed espresso with the rum or coffee liqueur, if using. Set aside.

Layer the Ladyfingers:

Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, ensuring they are fully soaked but not overly saturated. Arrange a layer of soaked ladyfingers in the bottom of a serving dish.

Add the Mascarpone Layer:

Spread a layer of vegan mascarpone over the soaked ladyfingers, smoothing it out with a spatula.

Add the Whipped Cream:

Gently fold the remaining vegan mascarpone into the vegan whipped cream. Spread a layer of this mixture over the mascarpone layer.

Repeat Layers:

Repeat the layering process with another layer of soaked ladyfingers, vegan mascarpone, and the mascarpone-whipped cream mixture.


Cover the tiramisu and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the dessert to set.

Dust with Cocoa Powder:

Before serving, dust the top of the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh sieve.

Serve and Enjoy:

Slice the tiramisu into squares and serve chilled. Enjoy the creamy, coffee-infused layers of this vegan delight.

Variations and Creative Twists

Chocolate Vegan Tiramisu

For a chocolate lover’s twist, add layers of melted dark chocolate or chocolate ganache between the layers of ladyfingers and vegan mascarpone. You can also use chocolate-flavored ladyfingers for an extra cocoa kick.

Berry Vegan Tiramisu

Incorporate fresh or frozen berries into the layers for a fruity variation. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries work particularly well. Layer the berries between the soaked ladyfingers and vegan mascarpone for a burst of freshness.

Matcha Vegan Tiramisu

For a unique and visually stunning twist, replace the coffee with brewed matcha. This green tea powder adds a distinct flavor and vibrant color to the tiramisu. Dust the top with matcha powder instead of cocoa powder for an elegant presentation.

Nutty Vegan Tiramisu

Add a layer of chopped nuts, such as toasted almonds or hazelnuts, between the layers of ladyfingers and vegan mascarpone. The nuts add a delightful crunch and enhance the overall texture and flavor of the tiramisu.

Tips for Perfecting Vegan Tiramisu

Use High-Quality Ingredients

The quality of your ingredients significantly impacts the final result. Use fresh, high-quality coffee, cocoa powder, and plant-based ingredients to ensure the best flavor and texture.

Allow Time to Set

Tiramisu benefits from being made in advance and allowed to set in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to meld and the dessert to firm up, making it easier to slice and serve.

Experiment with Flavors

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Adjust the sweetness, add different extracts, or incorporate seasonal fruits to create your own unique version of vegan tiramisu.

Presentation Matters

Serve your vegan tiramisu in a beautiful dish and garnish with fresh fruit, chocolate shavings, or edible flowers to enhance its visual appeal.

The Nutritional Benefits of Vegan Tiramisu

Lower in Saturated Fat

Traditional tiramisu is high in saturated fat due to the use of mascarpone cheese and heavy cream. Vegan tiramisu, made with plant-based alternatives, is typically lower in saturated fat, making it a heart-healthier option.

Rich in Plant-Based Protein

Using ingredients like cashews and coconut cream provides a good source of plant-based protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair and overall health, making vegan tiramisu a more balanced dessert option.

Packed with Antioxidants

Cocoa powder and coffee are both rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation. These ingredients contribute to the health benefits of vegan tiramisu.

Dairy-Free and Lactose-Free

Vegan tiramisu is naturally dairy-free and lactose-free, making it suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. It allows everyone to enjoy this classic dessert without any digestive discomfort.


Can I Make Vegan Tiramisu Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can make vegan tiramisu gluten-free by using gluten-free ladyfingers or baking your own gluten-free version. Ensure that all other ingredients, such as the coffee and cocoa powder, are also gluten-free.

How Long Does Vegan Tiramisu Last?

Vegan tiramisu can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Keep it covered to maintain freshness and prevent it from absorbing other flavors in the fridge.

Can I Freeze Vegan Tiramisu?

While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze vegan tiramisu for up to 2 months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

What Plant-Based Milk is Best for Vegan Tiramisu?

The choice of plant-based milk depends on your preference. Almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk are all excellent options. Choose a milk that complements the flavors of your tiramisu.

How Can I Make Vegan Tiramisu More Decadent?

To make vegan tiramisu more decadent, consider adding layers of chocolate ganache, using a rich coconut cream, or incorporating a splash of coffee liqueur. These additions enhance the flavor and indulgence of the dessert.

See Also: A Step-by-Step Guide To Making Tiramisu Cake


Vegan tiramisu is a delightful and indulgent dessert that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of dietary preferences. By using plant-based alternatives and creative techniques, you can recreate the classic flavors and textures of traditional tiramisu. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with innovative variations, vegan tiramisu is sure to impress and satisfy. Enjoy the process of making this plant-based masterpiece and share it with friends and family for a truly memorable dessert experience.



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