Can You Make Tiramisu Without Coffee?

Coffee gives Tiramisu its flavor, but can you make Tiramisu without coffee? This article gives you the possible substitutes for coffee in Tiramisu.

Can you make tiramisu without coffee?
Coffee is one of the key ingredients in Tiramisu

Traditionally, Tiramisu contains coffee – usually espresso or coffee liqueur. It’s one of the key ingredients that gives the cake its flavor. Without it, it doesn’t really taste like Tiramisu. 

With that said, you can make this dessert without any sort of coffee. However, it won’t taste the same. 

Typically, these recipes utilize hot chocolate instead of coffee. As you might imagine, this gives the cake a chocolate-heavy taste that just isn’t usually in Tiramisu. If you’re okay with extra chocolate, then you may like these recipes. 

Don’t plan on making a coffee-free Tiramisu that tastes exactly like a coffee-inclusive Tiramisu. It just isn’t possible! You need the coffee for the flavor. 

However, you can get pretty close and make some yummy coffee-free deserts. 

Can You Make Tiramisu Without Coffee? Substitutes For Espresso

espresso powder
You can use instant espresso powder

Not everyone has an espresso machine or the ability to make espresso otherwise at home. And, you probably don’t want to go purchase espresso for the sole fact of making Tiramisu. 

Espresso from coffee shops is often quite expensive and can cost you around $30.

If you have no espresso machine, you probably don’t want to order a dozen espressos from a local coffee shop!

Instant espresso powder can be utilized if you don’t have true espresso lying around. You can purchase this at most gourmet markets for a modest amount. Some grocery stores will even have powdered espresso. 

Usually, this stuff is much cheaper. It’s a common substitute, so it generally won’t change the taste all that much. 

Alternatively, you can just use robust coffee – made with whatever you have at home. Moka pots can make something reasonably similar to espresso, but many people also use their drip coffee pots. 

If you make the coffee strong enough, it can typically work for most recipes without affecting the final product too much. 

You might also find our round-up of the best coffee for Tiramisu helpful.

What Is An Alternative To Coffee Liqueur For Tiramisu?

Coffee liqueur is the traditional ingredient for Tiramisu. If you don’t want to use an alcoholic beverage in your cake, you can substitute it for espresso. 

Using your espresso machine at home, make some espresso and use it in the recipe instead. However, many people don’t drink espresso and don’t have an espresso machine at home. 

Driving out and purchasing a bunch of espresso from a local coffee shop often isn’t practical. It can be expensive, and you’ll probably get some weird looks for buying so many espressos. 

Luckily, instant espresso often works equally as well. We’ve included some other substitutes for espresso above. If you don’t have access to espresso or instant espresso, head up for more substitution ideas. 

Can The Coffee In Tiramisu Keep You Awake?

caffeine, cappuccino, coffee
Tiramisu contains little caffeine

Most Tiramisu recipes contain a tiny amount of coffee. While bakers add caffeine or coffee to the entire mixture, this makes a whole Tiramisu! Per serving, it’s very little. 

If you have little ones you’re feeding the Tiramisu to, the caffeine included usually isn’t enough to matter. However, if you’re worried, you can dilute the espresso. It won’t taste the same as before, but it also won’t keep anyone awake into the wee hours of the morning. 

For the average person, you usually don’t have to worry about the amount of caffeine in a serving of Tiramisu. As long as you aren’t eating the whole thing, you won’t be consuming enough caffeine for it to matter. If you like this post, you might be interested in learning about what Affogato is.

How Much Coffee Is In Tiramisu?

Most recipes call for about two cups of espresso. This is a lot of espresso.

However, you’re spreading that over a lot of other ingredients and many servings. Therefore, a single serving doesn’t contain that much espresso or caffeine. 

Of course, this does vary from recipe to recipe. It also depends on how much you eat. If you want to consume less caffeine, you shouldn’t plan on eating that much Tiramisu. 


  • Kristin Hitchcock

    Kristin first fell in love with coffee on a trip to Brazil - where she learned that the ground coffee found on American shelves was not the end-all. Today, she loves educating other coffee-lovers on how to make the best cup of coffee, no matter what you enjoy. Find Kristin on LinkedIn.