Limoncello Tiramisu is a simple and make-ahead Italian dessert made with Limoncello liqueur, mascarpone cheese, and ladyfinger cookies. Full of bright flavors, you are going to love this lemony version of classic tiramisu.
Classic tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert consisting of ladyfinger cookies, soaked in coffee and layered with a mascarpone cream mixture and dusted with cocoa powder. The cake is traditionally spiked with rum or a coffee-flavored liqueur.
This Limoncello Tiramisu recipe has all of the traditional components of a classic tiramisu recipe, but is spiked with limoncello and lots of lemon flavors. This is the perfect dessert to make during the warmer months when you are craving those bright citrus notes.
Make-Ahead Limoncello Tiramisu
Limoncello Tiramisu is the perfect make-ahead Italian dessert. Firstly, you must let it sit for at least 4 hours before serving. But, ideally, a day or two ahead in the refrigerator is a great way to allow the flavors to meld.
So if you are looking for delicious make-ahead dessert, then this is it. The ladyfingers are gently soaked in a lemon sugar mixture and come out the perfect texture as they refrigerate. Moreover, letting the tiramisu sit in the refrigerator for a day or two mellows the flavors and really allows them to combine nicely.
Can you substitute the Limoncello?
The total amount of limoncello in this dessert is minimal, but if you wanted to omit it altogether, this is definitely an option.
I wouldn't recommend doing a full lemon juice substitution for the limoncello because it would be too tart. You could mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with a tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of water to get a ¼ cup serving of limoncello.
You could also substitute frozen lemonade concentrate for the limoncello in equal parts. Be sure to thaw the juice concentrate before measuring and adding to the recipe.
Another option would be Torino lemon syrup. Just add half the amount initially then taste to see if it needs more or not.
Lastly, a bit of lemon extract could do the work. Again, start with a small amount, taste, and then adjust as needed.
Italian Lemon Desserts
Lemon is a very common flavor when it comes to Italian desserts. You may think of lemon gelato when you think of Italian lemon desserts, but many baked goods feature this fresh flavor.
One of the most poplar Italian lemon desserts is Lemon Ricotta Cake. This moist and slightly dense cake is simple to make is perfect for a light dessert or decadent breakfast.
Celebrating an occasion? Then Limoncello Ricotta Cake with cream cheese frosting is a cake that everyone will love. Full of flavors and a light and airy texture, it's a great recipe to have on hand for special occasions.
Love lemon bundt cakes? Then this Lemon Ricotta Bundt Cake is guaranteed to be your new favorite dessert. Simple to make and so full of flavor, this cake is topped with a tasty lemony glaze.
Another great Italian lemon dessert are Limoncello Ricotta Cookies with a sweet limoncello glaze. These soft, cake-like cookies, are a delicious dessert for a cookie exchange or anytime of the year.
How to Make Limoncello Tiramisu
This is going to be one of your absolute favorite Italian desserts to make. The dish comes together quickly and is completely make ahead. Just make the layers and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tiramisu has two main components: the soaked ladyfingers and the mascarpone cheese filling. All you need to do is put together the soak and the filling, and you are ready to assemble.
Firstly, prepare the filling. You will need two large bowls for this: one for the whipping cream and one of the mascarpone.
In the first bowl, combine the mascarpone, lemon curd, lemon juice, grated lemon zest, and limoncello. In the second bowl combine the cold whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat the mascarpone to combine and whip the cream to stiff peaks.
Next, fold the whipping cream into the mascarpone mixture. You don't need to be super gentle with this process. Mix to combine.
Secondly, you will need to prepare the soak for the ladyfingers layer. To do this, bring the sugar and lemon juice to a simmer on the stove. Simmer for about 2 minutes, just until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reduced slightly. Add in the limoncello.
Once the soak has cooled slightly, you are ready to assemble the limoncello tiramisu.
How to Assemble Limoncello Tiramisu
To assemble the tiramisu, get all ingredients together near your 9 x 13 baking pan. The bottom layer is the soaked ladyfingers.
For this part, place the ladyfinger cookies in the soak. Allow the cookies to absorb the liquid. How long the cookies sit in the soak varies on the type of ladyfingers you use. As a rule of thumb, I find 10 seconds on each side of the cookie sufficient.
Fit the soaked ladyfingers to layer the bottom of the pan. You may need to trim the cookies with a sharp knife to fit into a single layer.
Next, spoon on half of the mascarpone mixture. Use a knife or spatula to help spread the mixture over the ladyfingers.
Repeat the layers. First the soaked ladyfingers then top with remaining mascarpone whipping cream.
Lemon Curd Topping
Lastly, make the lemon curd topping for the limoncello tiramisu. This simple topping can be made one of two ways.
If you have any remaining soak, you can whisk the lemon curd with the soak to thin it out. However, if you don't have any left, you can just whisk the lemon curd with a tablespoon of limoncello.
Pour the mixture into a pourable cup or spoon it directly on top of the tiramisu. Sprinkle on candied lemon peel if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, or up to two days.
For the lemon curd, you can either make it from scratch or buy it premade. Most grocery stores carry lemon curd, but you can also buy it online here.
Lemon curd is made from lemons, sugar, and eggs. It is a fairly simple recipe but I find the jarred versions easy and just as tasty. And, for a delicious lemony cocktail, be sure to try this Limoncello Spritz!
Hope you love this recipe! Comment below and let me know what you think.
- 9 x 13 glass baking dish
For the Filling:
- 2 cups mascarpone cheese (16 ounce container)
- ¼ cup lemon curd*
- ¼ cup limoncello
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
For the Soak:
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 lemons, zested and juiced
- ⅓ cup limoncello
- 2 packages ladyfinger cookies** (about 40 cookies total)
For the Drizzle:
- ¼ cup lemon curd
- 1 tablespoon limoncello (optional)
- In a large bowl using a handheld mixer, cream together the mascarpone, ¼ cup lemon curd, ¼ cup limoncello, and the juice and zest of one lemon. Set aside.
- In another bowl using a handheld mixer, cream together the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until mixture thickens into peaks.
- Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture. Set aside.
- To make the soak, bring sugar and the juice and zest of three lemons to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour in ⅓ cup limoncello.
- To assemble, take the ladyfingers and dip them in the soak mixture, allowing them to soak up the liquid until softened but not mushy. Repeat with half of the ladyfingers laying them to fit in the bottom of the baking pan, cutting to fit if necessary.
- Gently scoop on half of the mascarpone mixture and spread over the ladyfingers. Repeat the layers with the remaining soaked ladyfingers, ending with the other half of the mascarpone filling.
- To make the drizzle, thin out ¼ cup of lemon curd with either a tablespoon of limoncello, or remaining soak. Whisk and then carefully drizzle over top of the tiramisu.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to a day before serving.
Love this recipe! It was super easy and so delicious. I will definitely be making again!
What a delicious twist to the recipe... live tiramisu and love lemon !Will definitely make this soon
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
This idea is genius! I love classic tiramisu, but for some reason I never thought there could be variations! Saving this to make later 🙂
Tania Pilcher |Fit Foodie Nutter
I love lemon and this lemon tiramisu is a great way to use up beautiful Italian lemons! This dessert looks like a real crowd pleaser!
This is one of my favorite dessert recipes! Such fresh and delicious flavor and I can't wait to make it again!
Thanks for the comment 🙂
I ran out of soak before I could finish the second topping of ladyfingers! Should I make a second batch of the soak?
Yes! Your ladyfingers must have really soaked up that deliciousness! Hope you loved the tiramisu 🙂
I made this for our early Christmas dinner and got rave reviews. I'd made my own limoncello and lemon curd so I think it was especially nice! I made it in one large serving dish in minutes, the night before I served it. Loved it and will be making it again!
Thanks for the comment! So happy you loved it. Happy holidays!
I like your recipe. However, it lists 3 lemons. Due to the variance in sizes of lemons, it would be helpful to know the quantity in ounces or cups. Also, could this be halved to serve 2 people?
Hi! So a lemon will give you about 1/4 cup of juice, so here you'll need 3/4 cup lemon juice. However, getting the exact amount isn't too important and it will turn out great either way. Yes, you could halve the recipe, just use a smaller baking pan. Enjoy!
Hi. Great recipe but I also ran out of soak so I made more without boiling. I did make a change. I made a box of lemon pie filling, added 2 tbs lemonchello and put half on each layer instead of kourd only on top. I also sprinkled on toasted almonds so I could cover with plastic cling. So it wouldn't stick. Thank you for a great recipe. Sorry I changed it a little.
Thanks for the comment! Sounds like tasty substitutions!
I plan on making this soon. Can you soak the ladyfingers in just limoncello ? I want a real limoncello flavor. TIA
yes, that would be delicious! Especially if you love limoncello 🙂
Can someone tell me how would I freeze this in individual servings?
I think it would be best to freeze in smaller individual airtight containers. Hope this helps!
I made this recipe a few weeks ago, it was to die for. Everyone loved it. Hours later it was really great a bit on the sour side but then next day and the day after, it was heavenly. Excellent make-ahead for a crowd/party.
Thanks for the comment! So happy you loved it!
Made this for our “gourmet dinner club” desert - will make again!!!
yay! I'm happy to hear you loved it!
Absolutely love this recipe, made it twice now. Very easy to make and absolutely delicious 😋 Highly recommend.
How long will it stay good refrigerated? How far in advance can you make it ahead?
You can make it 48 hours in advance.
This is truly a fabulous Limoncello Tiramisu recipe using my husband’s home made limoncello from lemons from the Amalfi coast. This is the 3rd time for this recipe and it’s alway a hit. 👋🏼
I'm so happy you love it! Thanks 🙂
Can you substitute lemoncello with a non-alcoholic option?
You can use lemon juice or a lemon simple syrup in its place.
Great and not complicated make ahead dessert. I made a typically heavy “winter”dinner, pot roast, mashed potatoes, etc. I wanted a lighter, refreshing dessert. This hit the spot and was a huge hit. Thank you.
Thanks! So happy you enjoyed it!
Hello. I, too, had to make a second batch of the soak for my ladyfingers. I made the dish and it is in the refrigerator right now waiting to be served tomorrow. I cannot give a verdict yet, but I did sample the various parts of it and all was delicious! I do have one question. In the long instructions prior to where you listed the ingredients, you mentioned vanilla being added to the mascarpone mixture. Did you forget to add that to the ingredient list or was that an error? Thanks so much!
Hi JF. Hope you enjoyed the recipe. No vanilla needed here. The limoncello provides plenty of flavor. 🙂
Is there a liqueur I can use and add lemon to it. Not fond of lemon cell ?
You could try using a citrus vodka or just a simple syrup made flavored with lemon juice.
Delicious and very easy to make! Impressive dessert for a dinner party. Thanks for this recipe.
So happy you loved it!
Is this ok for children? Does the alcohol cook out?
This is a no bake dessert so the alcohol will not cook out. You can substitute lemon juice instead.