Lemon Tiramisu

Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli
Italian Cuisine Expert and Food Blogger
Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli, the mastermind behind Nonna Box, has honed his culinary expertise for decades, inspired by family feasts in Emilia-Romagna. Mentored by his restaurateur nonna, he mastered Italian classics and furthered his skills with professional culinary studies in desserts and gelato making from Mec3. Today, he shares this rich legacy and authentic recipes through Nonna Box.
Expertise: Italian cuisine, Pasta, Pizza, Pastry, Dessert

This vibrant and refreshing Lemon Tiramisu is destined to become your new favorite indulgence. With the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness, this zesty spin on classic tiramisu brings together delicate ladyfingers infused with limoncello lemon syrup and a luscious mascarpone lemon cream. Perfect for any season or celebration, each decadent bite is a delicious burst of lemony sunshine that will leave your guests craving more.

slice of lemon tiramisu on a plate

What is Lemon Tiramisu? 

Lemon tiramisu is a tantalizing twist on classic tiramisu that takes the essence of the traditional recipe and infuses it with fresh lemon flavors. Each heavenly bite delivers a delightful burst of lemony goodness that is perfectly balanced with indulgent creaminess. It’s an absolutely delicious, zesty, and refreshing dessert perfect for lemon lovers!

But, what truly sets lemon tiramisu apart is the incorporation of limoncello and lemon cream. While the preparation process is very similar to the classic Italian dessert, the delicate ladyfingers are soaked in a refreshing limoncello syrup and then generously layered with a velvety lemon mascarpone cream. These two elements add an extra divine dimension to the dessert, elevating both its taste and texture.

What is Limoncello?

Limoncello is a traditional Italian liqueur known for its vibrant lemon flavor. Made by steeping fresh lemon zest in alcohol and sweetening it with a simple syrup, the result is a bright and citrusy liqueur that is most often enjoyed after meals as a digestif or used in dessert or cocktail recipes.

In this lemon tiramisu recipe, the addition of limoncello brings a tangy and refreshing touch to the dessert. It enhances the overall lemony flavor profile and also infuses it with a unique boozy twist.


  • Baking Dish: You need a deep 8-inch (20 cm) baking dish that can comfortably fit all the layers of ladyfingers and lemon cream. 
  • Grater or Zester: Necessary to zest the lemons. Choose a fine-grained grater or zester to achieve finely grated lemon zest for the filling.
  • Saucepans: Used to make the limoncello soaking liquid and the lemon cream. 
  • Hand Whisk: Essential for combining ingredients and especially useful for whisking the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest to create the lemon cream. 
  • Mixing Bowls: Used to make different components of the recipe. 
  • Electric Mixer: Helpful for whipping the heavy cream into whipped cream. You can also use a stand mixer.
  • Rubber Spatula: Perfect for gently folding the whipped cream into the lemon mascarpone mixture while maintaining its smooth and airy consistency. 
  • Piping Bag: While not essential, a piping bag fitted with a round tip can make it easier to distribute and layer the lemon filling. Alternatively, you can use a freezer bag and cut off one corner to create a makeshift piping bag.


lemon tiramisu ingredients

Limoncello Soaking Liquid:

  • 2 cups Water: Used to make the limoncello lemon syrup for soaking.
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar: Helps to balance the tartness of the lemon flavors. 
  • Peel of 1 Whole Lemon: The peel of a fresh lemon infuses the liquid with intense citrus oil.
  • 2 Tbsp Limoncello: A type of lemon-flavored Italian liqueur that gives the dessert a distinctive taste. If limoncello is unavailable, you can substitute it with fresh lemon juice and a bit of sugar.

Lemon Cream:

  • 2 Egg Yolks: Adds richness and a creamy texture to the lemon cream. Use room-temperature egg yolks for the best results. 
  • 40 grams Sugar: Provides sweetness to balance the tanginess of the lemons.
  • Zest of 1 Lemon: Adds an intense layer of fresh lemon flavor.
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice: Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best bright and citrusy taste.

Tiramisu Cream:

  • ¾ cup Heavy Cream: Used to make whipped cream, which gives the lemon filling its light and airy texture. You must use very cold cream straight from the refrigerator.
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar: Sweetens the whipped cream and helps to stabilize its texture.
  • 250 grams Mascarpone: A creamy Italian cheese that gives the lemon filling a velvety texture. Use cold mascarpone cheese.


  • 28 to 30 Ladyfingers: Also known as savoiardi, these sponge fingers are the cookies that form the layers of the lemon tiramisu.
  • Zest of 1 Lemon: Finely grated lemon zest is sprinkled over the ladyfingers to enhance the fresh lemon flavor throughout the dessert.

How to make this recipe step-by-step

Make the limoncello soaking liquid

To begin, combine 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and the peel of one whole lemon in a small saucepan (photo 1). Next, heat the mixture over medium and stir it constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. Then turn the heat off and mix in the limoncello (photo 2). Now, let the lemon syrup cool completely, and then put it in the fridge to chill.

lemon tiramisu procedure: saucepot with lemon peel, sugar and water

Make the lemon cream

Next, in a different saucepan, you need to whisk together the egg yolks, 40 grams of granulated sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon (photo 3) until it’s thick and frothy (photo 4).

lemon tiramisu procedure: egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest on a saucepot, next photo is a whisked mixture.

Then place the saucepan over low heat and continue whisking as you slowly add the 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (photo 5). Now, increase the heat to medium and keep stirring until the mixture reaches a thick and smooth consistency. Finally, pour the lemon cream into a bowl and let it cool (photo 6).

lemon tiramisu procedure: mixture in a saucepot with lemon juice. next photo is a thick lemon cream in a bowl

Make the lemon tiramisu filling

After you make the lemon cream, you need to make the mascarpone part of the lemon filling. First, add the heavy whipping cream along with the powdered sugar into a chilled mixing bowl (photo 7). Then use an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks have formed and it has turned into whipped cream (photo 8).

mixing bowl with heavy cream and powdered sugar, other photo is whipped cream

Now, in a separate large bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese until it’s fluffy (photo 9). Next, add the lemon cream to the mascarpone (photo 10) and then whisk them together until fully incorporated.

whipped mascarpone cheese in a mixing bowl, next photo is whipped mascarpone with a lemon cream on top.

Finally, gently fold in the whipped cream mixture using a rubber spatula (photo 11). Then put the lemon mascarpone cream mixture in a piping bag (photo 12) and place it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble your tiramisu. 

first photo is a finished filling next photo is filling in a piping bag

Assemble the tiramisu

Once all the tiramisu components are prepared, it’s time to start building your dessert! Begin by pouring the limoncello-soaking liquid into a shallow bowl. Then one by one, quickly dip half of the ladyfingers into the liquid, ensuring each one is thoroughly coated (photo 13), and then arrange them in a single layer on the bottom of a deep 8” dish (photo 14)

picture of  a square pan with arranged ladyfingers

Next, sprinkle some of the lemon zest over the ladyfingers in the dish. Now, pipe or spoon, dollops of the lemon filling on top of the ladyfingers, making sure to cover the entire surface (photo 15).

Now, repeat the process with the remaining ladyfingers, dipping them into the limoncello liquid and placing them on top of the layer of lemon filling. Sprinkle another round of lemon zest on this layer (photo 16) and then add the final layer of lemon filling to complete the tiramisu (photo 17).

Finally, cover the lemon tiramisu with plastic wrap (photo 18) and pop it into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before serving!

a pan of sliced lemon tiramisu

Expert Tips

  • Choose fresh, juicy lemons with vibrant yellow skin to achieve the most intense and natural lemon flavor. Organic lemons are often the best choice because they are free from waxy coatings and chemicals.
  • Make sure to use high-fat mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream for the lemon filling. Lower-fat versions contain too much water and will not create the traditional tiramisu texture.
  • The lemon cream made in this recipe is not a version of lemon curd. So you can’t substitute it with any type of lemon curd whether it’s store-bought lemon curd or homemade lemon curd. It will not work.
  • When dipping the ladyfingers into the limoncello mixture, exercise caution not to oversaturate them. A quick dip on both sides ensures a delicate texture without making the cookies soggy.
  • Combine the lemon filling with the whipped cream mixture using a rubber spatula and a gentle folding technique. This method is necessary to preserve the lightness and airiness of the creamy filling.
  • Allow your lemon tiramisu to chill in the refrigerator for the recommended 2 hours or longer. This resting time allows the flavors to meld together and for the dessert to set.
  • Consider using a piping bag to layer the creamy filling between the soaked ladyfingers. This technique not only ensures an even distribution of the filling but also adds an appealing visual touch.
  • For a personalized dinner party touch, try serving the lemon tiramisu in individual serving glasses or dessert dishes.

Are you a Tiramisu lover? Try other delicious tiramisu recipes:

Or use Limoncello to make Limoncello cake.


Lemon Tiramisu is already the perfect dessert, but you can easily customize it to suit any occasion or personal preference. The ideas presented here are just a few of the many creative ways you can elevate and personalize this yummy tiramisu. 

  1. Fresh Berries: Serve the tiramisu with fresh raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. You could even layer the berries between the soaked lady fingers and lemon filling. The burst of fruity goodness complements the tangy lemon flavor.
  2. White Chocolate: For a touch of decadence, sprinkle flakes of white chocolate on top and between the layers. The velvety white chocolate perfectly balances the zesty lemon.
  3. Mango: Take a topical approach and add juicy mango slices between the tiramisu layers.
  4. Pistachios: Chopped pistachios layered between the ladyfingers and lemon filling adds a delightful crunch and a nutty undertone. 
  5. Lavender: Infuse the limoncello liquid with dried lavender buds. This floral addition beautifully complements the lemon cream.


Can I substitute mascarpone cheese with cream cheese?

While mascarpone cheese is traditionally used and provides a distinct creamy texture, you can substitute it with whipped cream cheese. However, the dessert will have a slightly different flavor and texture.

Does lemon tiramisu have alcohol?

Yes, it does have some alcohol. The limoncello used to soak the ladyfingers is an Italian liqueur. However, the actual amount of alcohol in each serving is relatively small.

Can I make this recipe alcohol-free?

Absolutely! If you prefer an alcohol-free tiramisu, just substitute the limoncello with lemon juice mixed with a little water and a pinch of sugar.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes! This is a fantastic make-ahead dessert that you can prepare up to 2 days in advance.

How to store?

For optimal freshness, wrap the tiramisu in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

slice of lemon tiramisu on a plate

Lemon Tiramisu

A refreshing twist version of traditional tiramisu recipe. Lemony but not too much, this lemon tiramisu is easy and quick to prepare.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 portions
Calories: 559kcal


Limoncello Soaking Liquid:

  • 2 cups (473.18 g) water
  • 1 Tbsp (12 g) granulated sugar
  • Peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp (29.57 g) limoncello

Lemon cream:

  • 2 (2) egg yolks room temperature
  • 40 g (40 g) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp (45 g) lemon juice freshly squeezed

Tiramisu cream:

  • ¾ cup (178.5 g) heavy whipping cream cold
  • 2 Tbsp (16 g) powdered sugar
  • 250 g (250 g) mascarpone cold


  • 28-30 (28-30) ladyfingers
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  • 1 Baking Dish
  • 1 Grater or Zester
  • Saucepans
  • 1 Hand Whisk
  • Mixing Bowls
  • 1 electric mixer
  • 1 Rubber Spatula
  • 1 Piping Bag


Make the soaking liquid:

  • In a saucepan, heat 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and the peel of 1 whole lemon over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the limoncello. Set the soaking liquid aside and allow it to cool completely before refrigerating.

Make the lemon cream:

  • In a different medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and lemon zest until the mixture becomes frothy and thick.
  • Place the saucepan over low heat and continue stirring with a hand whisk as you gradually add the fresh lemon juice.
  • Increase the heat to medium and continue stirring until the mixture is a thick and smooth lemon cream.
  • Transfer the lemon cream to a bowl and let it cool.

Make the lemon tiramisu filling:

  • Pour the heavy whipping cream into a chilled mixing bowl and then add the powdered sugar. Now, whip the cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form and it has turned into light and fluffy whipped cream.
  • In a different large bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese until it’s fluffy. Then add the lemon cream and whisk until fully combined. The lemon cream must be cool before you add it to the mascarpone.
  • Now, use a rubber spatula to very gently fold the whipped cream into the lemon mascarpone mixture.
  • Transfer the lemon filling into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. This will make it easier to distribute the filling and create a decorative pattern. If you don’t have a piping bag you can use a freezer bag or even just a spoon.
  • Put the lemon filling in the fridge until ready to use.

Assemble the lemon tiramisu:

  • Pour the limoncello soaking liquid into a shallow bowl. Then dip half of the ladyfingers, one at a time, into the liquid and then place each one in a single layer on the bottom of a deep 8” dish. You want to moisten both sides without making them soggy. You may need to break some of the cookies in half to cover the whole dish.
  • Sprinkle some of the fresh lemon zest over the soaked ladyfingers.
  • Then top the layer of ladyfingers with dollops of the lemon filling, making sure to cover all the cookies.
  • Dip the other half of the ladyfingers in the soaking liquid and place them in the baking dish to create a second layer of cookies.
  • Sprinkle the second layer with some fresh lemon zest and then add a second layer of lemon cream.
  • Put the tiramisu in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serving: 150g | Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 254mg | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1393IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 2mg
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