Ladyfingers (also known as “savoiardi” or “sponge fingers”) are simple sponge cookies that are often used to make Tiramisu! These versatile finger-shaped cookies are great for soaking up the flavors of whatever sweet treat you add them to. My recipe is simple, quick, and uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry! Includes a how-to video!
I’ll be completely honest, ladyfingers aren’t my favorite cookies. In fact, they’re not even in my top 100… at least not for enjoying by themselves. These light, airy, delicate sponge cookies have their place in my kitchen, but usually only if they’re dipped in coffee and rum and buried beneath airy mascarpone cream. Maybe you’ve had them this way before? They’re a key ingredient for making Tiramisu!
Unfortunately, ladyfingers can be notoriously difficult to find in most grocery stores (or maybe that’s just the grocery stores near me?) so when I started developing my Tiramisu recipe (coming next week!) I knew I needed to provide a way for you to make your own ladyfingers. Besides, everything is better made from-scratch anyway.
Today I’m sharing my recipe for homemade ladyfingers or, “savoiardi”. They work perfectly in Tiramisu and while they may be plain, simple and not that great on their own (just sharing my honest opinion, if you’re looking for a good simple snacking cookie then try my meringues), they’re still definitely worth knowing how to make. Let’s get started.
What You Need for Homemade Ladyfingers
This recipe uses basic ingredients you probably already have on hand:
- Eggs. You’ll need six eggs total and you’ll need to divide the yolks and whites. For best results, use room-temperature eggs. You’ll get more volume when you whip them and this helps to keep the ladyfingers from going flat while baking.
- Granulated Sugar. Most of the granulated sugar will go into the batter, but sprinkling a bit on top of the unbaked ladyfingers gives them a lightly sweetened and crunchy exterior.
- Flour. I use and recommend all-purpose flour and have not tested any other type of flour with this recipe.
- Cornstarch. Cornstarch adds structure to the batter and helps keep the savoiardi from spreading.
- Salt & Vanilla extract. For flavor!
Room Temperature Eggs, FAST: Bring eggs to room temperature quickly by placing them in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 15 minutes, then dry and use as indicated!
How to Make Ladyfinger Batter
There’s a bit of technique required to make perfect ladyfingers (anytime we’re working with egg whites things can get a bit fussy) but follow my steps and you won’t have any problem:
- Whip your eggs and half of the granulated sugar to thick, glossy, stiff peaks. They’ll increase greatly in volume and be fluffy, opaque, and when you pull the beaters out of the mixture the peak that forms will stay tall and sturdy. Use an electric mixer or stand mixer for this step or you’re up for the most exhausting arm workout of your life.
- Separately, whisk together the egg yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla, salt, until thickened and lightened in color. You can use the beaters you used from your egg whites to save a dish (but don’t ever whip the yolks first and try to use the same beaters for the egg whites or you’ll never get stiff peaks!).
- Combine egg whites and yolk mixture and sift flour and cornstarch over the batter.
- Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together (do not use your electric mixer at this point!).
Piping & Baking Ladyfingers (Savoiardi)
- Be very gentle when folding ingredients together and stir until ladyfinger batter is completely combined, but don’t overdo it. It may not be completely smooth but it should be mostly uniform in color and texture.
- Carefully add the batter to a pastry bag with a ½” piping tip and pipe into 4″ lines, leaving 2″ of space between sponge cookies.
- Evenly sprinkle additional granulated sugar over the cookies.
- Bake the ladyfingers for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Frequently Asked Questions
Savoiardi are best enjoyed the day they are made (unless you’re using them for Tiramisu) but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. They also freeze well and may be frozen for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
Most likely the egg whites were not whipped fully to stiff peaks or the batter was over-worked when the egg whites were combined. Once whipped to stiff peaks, egg whites are delicate and need to be handled as such. Over-mixing the batter will cause them to deflate, resulting in flat cookies.
Room temperature eggs will also yield much better volume when you whip them to stiff peaks, resulting in thicker, sturdier savoiardi, so always start with room temp eggs!
Egg whites can be finicky things, and even the weather can affect them. If even a small, teeny tiny bit of yolk was in with the egg whites or if even a tiny bit of grease or water was in the bowl, they may never whip to stiff peaks.
Yes! This recipe divides in half very well, simply use half of each ingredient called for.
Yes! For Tiramisu they should be stale, though, so make them a day or two in advance and let them sit uncovered on your counter before using. This recipe makes enough for a batch of Tiramisu that is served in a 9×13 pan.
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Enjoy, and stay tuned for my Tiramisu post coming early next week!!
Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Place egg whites in a large, completely clean, dry, and grease-free bowl. Use an electric mixer (or stand mixer) to beat until you have soft peaks¹.6 large eggs
- Continue to stir on medium-speed and gradually (1 Tablespoon at a time) add half (½ cup/100g) of the granulated sugar. Continue to beat until you achieve stiff peaks². Set aside.1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- In a separate bowl combine egg yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium/high speed until lightened and color and slightly thickened (this will take several minutes and the mixture will slightly increase in volume).1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt
- Gently pour the yolk mixture over the egg whites. Sift flour and cornstarch over the mixture and use a spatula to gently fold everything together until completely combined (take care to mix carefully and do not use an electric mixer for this step, you don’t want to deflate your egg whites).1 ½ cups (187 g) all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ½” piping tip (I use a Wilton 1A, you could also use a disposable piping bag with the end snipped off for an opening that is ½” wide).
- Pipe batter into 4” (10cm) lines, leaving 2” (5cm) of space between cookies.
- Sprinkle additional granulated sugar evenly over cookies if desired (alternatively you can dust them with powdered sugar after baking and cooling) then transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake 15-18 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden.additional granulated sugar
- Allow to cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
- If using for Tiramisu, let them sit, uncovered at room temperature overnight before using. Otherwise, store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Soft & Stiff Peaks¹Soft peaks simply means that when you pull the beater straight out of the mixture, the “peak” that forms hardly holds its shape and will fall over itself. ²Stiff peaks means that the peak that forms firmly holds its shape and does not fold over or curl. The mixture will be thick, sticky, and fluffy.
StoringLadyfingers are best when served the same day they are made, but may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Ladyfingers may also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. They thaw quickly at room temperature.
TiramisuIf using for Tiramisu, let ladyfingers sit uncovered at room temperature overnight. This recipe makes enough for Tiramisu made in a 9×13″ pan.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.