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If your Tiramisu recipe requires rum and you don’t have any, fear not, there are lots of great alternatives for rum in Tiramisu, including alcohol-free alternatives.

Marsala wine is a fantastic alternative for rum in Tiramisu. In fact, classic tiramisu recipes use Marsala wine rather than rum. Madeira and Port wine, Kahlua, brandy, whiskey and amaretto can also be used instead of rum for tiramisu.

For an alcohol-free Tiramisu, use alcohol-free amaretto or add a teaspoon of vanilla.


Rum substitutes for tiramisu

Marsala wine

Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Sicily, Italy that comes in a range of styles from sweet to dry. It has either brandy or a neutral grape spirit added to a base wine to fortify it. It can range in color (golden, amber, ruby) depending on how it was made and aged. Typical flavors include apricot, brown sugar, tobacco and vanilla. Marsala is traditional in a classic tiramisu recipe, so it is an excellent substitute for rum.


Kahlúa is a Mexican coffee liqueur. It contains rum, sugar and coffee. The rich coffee and roasted chestnut flavors of Kahlúa work well with tiramisu. It makes another excellent substitute for rum.


Amaretto is a sweet Italian liqueur with an almond-like flavor. It is often used in cooking for desserts and its nutty flavor works well in tiramisu.

An alcohol-free amaretto can be used to make an alcohol-free tiramisu.

Madeira wine

Madeira is a fortified wine made on the Portuguese island of Madeira. It is made in a range of styles from dry to sweet. As a fortified wine, it is very similar to Marsala, so it works well in tiramisu.

Port wine

Port wine is made from black grapes grown in the upper Douro in Portugal. It is also a fortified wine, which means that additional alcohol is added to the wine. There are many different types of Port. Ruby or Tawny Port wine can be used to substitute rum in tiramisu.


Brandy is distilled wine, specifically wine made with fermented whole, fresh grapes. Most brandy is either aged in oak or colored with caramel before bottling, giving it an amber or brown color.

You can substitute rum with brandy for tiramisu. It won’t have the exact flavor profile of rum, but it will give your tiramisu a nice boozy kick.



Whiskey is alcohol distilled from various grains. It is often used in cooking and baking, especially for Christmas cakes. It can be used instead of rum for tiramisu.

Traditional tiramisu.

Alcohol-free alternatives to rum in tiramisu

For an alcohol-free tiramisu you can add:

  • Alcohol-free amaretto
  • A teaspoon of vanilla
  • Alcohol-free red wine
  • Grape juice (in a pinch)
  • Just omit it and don’t replace it with anything – you will still have a tasty cake.