Can pregnant woman have tiramisu?

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that’s made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and liquor. It’s a light and creamy dessert that’s become popular all over the world.

When you’re pregnant, there are a lot of rules and recommendations around what you can and cannot eat. Some foods carry risks for pregnant women and their developing babies. So can pregnant women enjoy tiramisu? Or should they avoid this dessert while expecting?

Quick Answer

The quick answer is yes, pregnant women can eat small amounts of tiramisu, as long as it’s made properly. Traditional tiramisu contains raw eggs, caffeine from coffee, and alcohol from liquors like rum or Marsala wine. But none of these ingredients are completely off limits during pregnancy.

The main concern with tiramisu is raw eggs, which carry a risk of salmonella poisoning. As long as the eggs in the tiramisu are pasteurized, the dish should be safe. Homemade tiramisu with raw eggs should be avoided.

Caffeine should be limited to 200mg or less per day during pregnancy. A small portion of tiramisu falls well below this limit. Alcohol should be avoided entirely while expecting, though trace amounts used in cooking are considered safe.

So while homemade tiramisu with raw eggs or large portions should be avoided, pregnant women can feel comfortable eating a modest serving of tiramisu from a trusted restaurant or brand that uses pasteurized eggs and limited coffee and alcohol.

Are the Ingredients in Tiramisu Safe During Pregnancy?

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients commonly found in tiramisu and any risks they may pose during pregnancy:

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs are the main safety concern with tiramisu. Raw or undercooked eggs may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning called salmonellosis.

Symptoms include fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. This type of food poisoning can be especially risky during pregnancy and may lead to dehydration, hospitalization, or premature birth.

Thankfully, salmonella is usually only a concern with raw or undercooked eggs. Eggs that have been pasteurized or cooked to 160°F are safe. So tiramisu made with properly cooked eggs is not considered a risk.

If you’re making homemade tiramisu, use pasteurized egg products instead of raw eggs. When dining out, ask how the eggs are prepared. Avoid tiramisu made with raw or undercooked eggs.


Tiramisu typically contains strong coffee or espresso. Caffeine is the main concern when it comes to coffee during pregnancy.

Studies show conflicting results about caffeine’s effects during pregnancy. Some concerns include miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms in infants.

However, most experts agree that caffeine is safe in moderation. Up to 200mg per day appears safe for most pregnant women. A 2-ounce serving of tiramisu might contain around 25mg of caffeine.

So while caffeine counts toward your daily limit, a small portion of tiramisu is unlikely to exceed safe levels. Limit your intake of other caffeinated foods and beverages to keep your total caffeine below 200mg daily while pregnant.


Some traditional tiramisu recipes call for Marsala wine or rum to be added to the coffee mixture. Alcohol in cooked or baked goods is unlikely to cause major safety concerns.

However, health agencies recommend avoiding all alcohol during pregnancy. Even small amounts may impact brain development. Alcohol passes freely through the placenta to your baby.

The amount of alcohol in a serving of tiramisu is typically negligible. But it’s ideal to use alcohol-free tiramisu recipes when pregnant. You can substitute coffee or juice for the liquor.

When dining out, check if the tiramisu contains alcohol. You may also ask for it to be left out of your serving.

Raw Milk Cheese

Authentic tiramisu is made with mascarpone, an Italian triple-cream cheese. Mascarpone is not always pasteurized. Raw milk soft cheeses like mascarpone and Brie may contain listeria bacteria.

Listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and other complications. Thankfully, pasteurized dairy products are safe. So commercially-produced mascarpone in the U.S. should not pose a listeria risk.

If you’re unsure, look for pasteurized on the label to verify the cheese is safe to consume while pregnant. Soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk, like ricotta or cream cheese, can also be safely substituted in tiramisu.


Tiramisu is a sweet dessert. But the amount of sugar per serving is not a major concern during pregnancy.

Experts advise getting no more than 25g of added sugar per day. A 2-ounce serving of tiramisu may have around 10g of added sugar.

As long as your overall diet is well-balanced and not too high in added sugars, enjoying tiramisu on occasion is unlikely to be an issue. Those with gestational diabetes may need to limit portion sizes of sugary desserts. Discuss your diet with your doctor.

How To Make Pregnancy-Safe Tiramisu

Here are some tips for making pregnancy-safe tiramisu at home:

– Use pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes instead of raw eggs. Pasteurized egg products can be found in most grocery stores.

– Choose an alcohol-free coffee mixture. Brew coffee as usual then allow it to cool before using. You can add juice or more coffee to increase the liquid instead of alcohol.

– Look for pasteurized mascarpone cheese or use pasteurized ricotta or cream cheese instead. Always read labels.

– Use regular brewed coffee or decaf coffee to keep caffeine levels low.

– Limit sugar by using less than recipes call for or a low-calorie sweetener substitute.

– Refrigerate tiramisu within 2 hours of assembling so it spends minimal time at room temperature.

– Avoid sampling raw batter or egg mixtures that may contain salmonella. Wait to enjoy once fully cooked.

With these tweaks, pregnant women can safely satisfy tiramisu cravings! Be sure to store leftovers promptly and consume within 3-4 days.

Risks of Eating Tiramisu When Pregnant

As long as it’s made properly with pasteurized ingredients, small amounts of tiramisu are unlikely to pose major risks during pregnancy. Here are the main risks to be aware of:


Raw or undercooked eggs in homemade tiramisu come with a risk of salmonella infection. Salmonella can be life-threatening to those with weakened immune systems, like pregnant women and the elderly.

Thankfully, salmonella is usually only a concern with raw eggs. Tiramisu made commercially or with pasteurized eggs should not contain salmonella bacteria.

Largely Exceeding Caffeine Limits

Consuming very high amounts of caffeine may potentially increase miscarriage risk or complications. Stick to 200mg or less per day from all sources like coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.

A few ounces of tiramisu are unlikely to greatly exceed caffeine limits. But avoid overindulging or having it alongside other caffeinated foods or drinks.


Though rare, raw milk soft cheeses could potentially contain listeria, a dangerous bacteria for pregnant women. Always verify mascarpone and other soft cheeses are pasteurized or made from pasteurized milk.

High Sugar Intake

Tiramisu is high in sugar. Consuming large amounts frequently may contribute excessive sugar and calories to your diet, which promote unhealthy weight gain.

Eat tiramisu in moderation and be mindful of your overall sugar intake from other sources as well. Those with gestational diabetes require careful carbohydrate counting.

Alcohol Exposure

While trace amounts of alcohol from cooking are considered safe, it’s ideal to use alcohol-free recipes. Avoid tiramisu made with substantial amounts of wine or liquor. No amount of alcohol has been proven completely safe during pregnancy.

Benefits of Tiramisu During Pregnancy

Along with satisfying your sweet tooth, tiramisu can offer some benefits during pregnancy:

Boosts Energy

The caffeine and sugar in tiramisu provide a quick energy boost. As long as you watch your portions, it can help combat pregnancy fatigue.

Rich Source of Protein

Tiramisu contains eggs and mascarpone, both high-quality protein foods. Getting sufficient protein is important during pregnancy to support you and your baby’s growth and development.

Contains Calcium

The cheese in tiramisu provides a dose of calcium, a mineral crucial during pregnancy for your changing bones and your baby’s bone development.

May Ease Heartburn

The high-fat mascarpone can coat and soothe the digestive tract. Some pregnant women even find tiramisu provides heartburn relief compared to other desserts.

Of course, the caffeine in tiramisu could also worsen heartburn for some. Pay attention to your own body’s response.

Provides Iron

Tiramisu made with cocoa powder contains a small amount of iron. Iron needs increase during pregnancy, so every bit from your diet helps.

Nutrition Facts for Tiramisu

The nutrition facts can vary based on the specific recipe and serving size. Here are the approximate calories and nutrients in a 2-ounce serving of classic coffee tiramisu:

Calories: 160

Fat: 11g
Carbs: 15g
Protein: 3g

Vitamins and Minerals:

Calcium: 8% DV
Iron: 3% DV

Tiramisu is high in calories, fat, and sugar. But a small serving as part of a healthy pregnancy diet is unlikely to be of concern. Those managing gestational diabetes would need to carefully work this into their meal plan.

Tiramisu Cravings and Aversions During Pregnancy

Cravings and aversions are common during pregnancy thanks to shifting hormones. Here’s how tiramisu may fit in:

Tiramisu Cravings

Having a craving for tiramisu is normal. The sweet taste and creamy richness make it a food many pregnant women long for. There’s likely no harm in satisfying occasional tiramisu cravings in moderation.

If you’re craving it daily or in large portions, try healthier alternatives like yogurt with fruit or chocolate avocado mousse to get your fix.

Tiramisu Aversions

Some pregnant women may develop an aversion to coffee. Since coffee is a main ingredient, this can turn you off from tiramisu.

Try swapping the strong brewed coffee for a milder decaf coffee or tea. You can also use chocolate sauce or caramel drizzle instead of coffee in the tiramisu if the flavor bothers you.

The eggs or cheese in tiramisu could also trigger aversion due to smell or texture sensitivities. Don’t force yourself to eat it if these ingredients suddenly become unappealing.

Dealing with Pregnancy Cravings and Aversions

Here are some tips for handling cravings and aversions during pregnancy:

– Indulge cravings on occasion but try to make healthier swaps. For tiramisu, use light ingredients.

– For aversions, replace problem ingredients with more appealing foods.

– Stay hydrated, get rest, and eat frequent small snacks to help minimize cravings.

– Give into safe cravings once in a while for satisfaction. Deprivation may worsen them.

– Try relaxation techniques if certain cravings become obsessive or distressing.

Though challenging, navigating cravings and aversions are temporary parts of pregnancy. Share any concerns with your prenatal care provider.

When to Avoid Tiramisu During Pregnancy

Here are some circumstances when it may be best to avoid tiramisu while pregnant:

– If you have gestational diabetes, the sugar content may be too high unless a very small portion. Consult your dietitian.

– Avoid if you have an egg allergy.

– If you’re sensitive or intolerant to ingredients like coffee, chocolate, cheese, gluten, or alcohol, avoid tiramisu.

– If you experience heartburn after eating tiramisu, the coffee may be a trigger for you.

– Skip it if you’ve been diagnosed with preeclampsia, as excess sugar is not recommended.

– Avoid tiramisu with raw eggs because of salmonella risk.

– If food poisoning is common where you live, be very cautious about raw egg dishes.

Listen to your body and avoid any foods that don’t sit well during pregnancy!

Healthy Tiramisu Alternatives

Want the flavors of tiramisu without all the sugar, fat, or caffeine? Try these healthier tweaks:

– Use reduced-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese instead of mascarpone.

– Replace ladyfingers with angel food cake or light sponge cake for fewer calories.

– Use decaf coffee or herbal tea instead of espresso to cut caffeine.

– Sweeten with vanilla extract and stevia instead of sugar.

– Make with light cocoa powder and just a dusting for chocolate flavor.

– Layer Greek yogurt instead of mascarpone for a protein punch.

– Mix in fruit like raspberries or banana for extra nutrition.

– Top with sliced almonds or dark chocolate shavings for crunch.

With smart substitutions, you can still enjoy the classic tiramisu flavors in a lighter, pregnancy-friendly dessert!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about eating tiramisu during pregnancy:

Can I eat store-bought or restaurant tiramisu?

Yes, as long as it’s a reputable commercial brand or restaurant likely using pasteurized eggs. Check that mascarpone cheese is also pasteurized. Limit portion sizes.

How much tiramisu is safe per day?

1 to 2 ounces max per day. Track your caffeine from other sources and don’t go over 200mg total.

Can I have alcohol-free tiramisu?

Yes, alcohol-free tiramisu is safest. Use coffee, juices, or extracts instead of Marsala wine or rum.

What if I’m craving tiramisu daily?

Indulge your craving occasionally but limit portions. Focus on healthy nutrition. Try lighter versions to satisfy your craving without excess sugar and fat.

Can I eat it if I’m at risk for gestational diabetes?

Ask your doctor, but you will likely need to limit portion size or avoid tiramisu altogether.

Is mascarpone safe during pregnancy?

Yes, as long as it’s pasteurized. Pasteurized mascarpone has been heated to kill any dangerous bacteria.

Can I have decaf tiramisu?

Yes, decaf coffee in tiramisu is considered safe during pregnancy. It limits caffeine exposure.

The Bottom Line

What’s the final verdict on tiramisu when you’re expecting? Moderation and proper preparation are key.

Made correctly, tiramisu with pasteurized dairy, cooked eggs, and lower alcohol should be safe for most pregnant women to enjoy in small servings. Just pay attention to nutrition labels and learn how restaurants prepare it.

Be extra cautious if you’re at high risk for food poisoning or have diet-restricted conditions like diabetes. And as always, check with your own doctor about any concerns.

When cravings strike, enjoy a bite of tiramisu occasionally rather than depriving yourself. But focus on an overall healthy prenatal diet with plenty of nourishing foods for you and your growing baby.

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