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Savoiardi Cookies

Savoiardi Cookies are light, airy, and wonderful with an espresso or cappuccino.

But did you know that this Italian treat is actually quite easy to make at home with very simple ingredients?

Two stacks of savoiardi tied together with a gold ribbon.

You might know this Italian treat by another name – sponge fingers or even lady fingers, either way, you’ll love the taste of this homemade classic. I like to flavor these with a little vanilla extract and finely grated lemon rind.  Just like many Italian recipes, the ingredients used to make this delicate Italian sweet are very basic – just eggs, sugar, flour, and flavorings.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Savoiardi Cookies are the basis of some of the most popular Italian desserts. These sponge fingers are an integral ingredient of Italian Tiramisu but also my Zuppa Inglese. I also like them for my super easy Tiramisu Cups!

This recipe makes soft sponge fingers which are delicious with a superior flavor compared to store-bought, savoiardi ladyfingers. Even though these cookies are soft, they will still stay intact when dipped in coffee or other liquids when you make a tiramisu, trifle, charlotte or other dessert.

Ingredients

You’ll need just the basic ingredients of eggs, sugar, and flour plus flavorings to make Savoiardi Cookies. However, it’s essential to separate eggs without getting any yolk into the whites. Any fat from the yolk will stop the egg whites beat up nice and fluffy.

There are a few ways to separate eggs easily but first start with cold eggs. Cold egg yolks are less likely to break.

  1. Use a little contraption called a ‘separator’ (very inventive name) which allows you to crack the egg into it. The yolk will be held in the little indentation while the egg white slips out into a waiting bowl.
  2. Use the shell to shell method which means cracking the egg and holding the yolk in one half allowing the white to fall into the bowl. Transfer the yolk from shell to shell until most of the white has dripped out.
  3. Use clean hands. Crack the egg into the palm of your hand and allow the white to slip between your fingers into the bowl.

Instructions

Homemade sponge fingers are just a sponge cake batter piped into small, easy to handle cookies.

Four step process of how to prepare the cookie batter as in the recipe card.
  1. Beat egg whites with sugar until thick and glossy just like a meringue.
  2. In a small bowl, beat in the egg yolks with the very finely grated lemon zest and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the egg yolk mixture to the beaten egg whites.
  4. Lightly fold the egg yolks into the whites.
4 step photo collage of how to make these cookies as in the recipe card.
  1. Sieve the dry ingredients over the egg mixture.
  2. Fold the dry ingredients in carefully.
  3. Pipe the batter into lengths.
  4. Sieved powdered sugar over the Savoiardi cookies twice before baking to create the distinctive crust.

Hint: If you don’t have a piping bag you can use a plastic zip lock bag with the end snipped. Or just spoon the batter onto lined baking trays to make circular savoiardi cookies. They won’t be fingers anymore – sponge or lady – but will taste just as good

Storage

Store these savoiardi cookies (savoiardi biscuits or ladyfingers in some countries) in an airtight container for two weeks. At first, if haven’t dried them out completely they may seem a bit sticky however very soon any stickiness disappears.

To freeze, layer in an airtight container with non-stick paper between layers and freeze for up to a month.

Tips for Success

pile of oblong cookies dusted with powdered sugar and sieve on the side viewed from above.

This recipe contains no baking powder. All the lightness comes from the air which is beaten into the egg whites and sugar.  Take care when incorporating the dry ingredients. Use a gentle folding and mixing action so that the air is retained in the batter.

Here are the most important points.

  • Use extra fine white granulated (castor) sugar that will dissolve easily.
  • Beat the egg whites and sugar thoroughly to incorporate a lot of air.
  • Fold the dry ingredients in lightly so as not to deflate the mixture.
  • For dry, crispy savoiardi, dry out these sponge fingers by returning them to a cooler oven after baking. Just place the Savoiardi Cookies on baking trays and return to the oven overnight or until dried and crispy.
  • If you live in a dry climate it might be possible to dry these cookies at room temperature on uncovered baking trays. Unfortunately, because the area I live in is humid and tropical, I can’t test this for you.

FAQ

Are savoiardi biscuits gluten-free?

This savoiardi biscuit (or cookie) recipe as it is written is not gluten-free. However, sponge batter can be made entirely with gluten-free cornstarch (cornflour). Just replace the plain flour with gluten-free cornflour for gluten-free sponge fingers

What is the English name for savoiardi?

Savoiardi cookies are known as ladyfingers or sponge fingers.

What’s the difference between savoiardi and ladyfingers?

There is no difference between savoiardi and ladyfingers. These light and air cookies are known by different names around the world. Savoiardi is the Italian name. It’s said that these cookies were created at the Duchy of Savoy (in the area of Piedmont, Italy) to mark a visit by the King of France.

Serving Suggestion

pile of savoiardi dusted with powdered viewed from an angle.

Of course, Savoiardi Cookies are an important component of many Italian desserts.

You’ll find that homemade Savoiardi Cookies are so delicious and much tastier than the store-bought variety. Along with pizzelle or biscotti, these are perfect served with a good coffee. Just put your feet up and enjoy!

Made this recipe?
Please let me know if you liked it by leaving a ★★★★★ star rating and a review below. And remember to subscribe to my newsletter – it’s free!

two stacks of sponge fingers (savoiardi) tied together with a gold ribbon

Savoiardi Recipe

These are light and airy Italian savoiardi cookies also known as lady fingers or sponge fingers. I like to flavour these with a little vanilla extract and finely grated lemon rind.  Just like many Italian recipes, the ingredients used to make this delicate Italian sweet are very basic – just eggs, sugar, flour and flavourings.
5 from 63 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings:30 cookies
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • cup white granulated sugar superfine or castor sugar is best (75 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon very finely grated lemon zest lemon extract or lemon oil can be used
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cake flour (95 grams
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch wheaten cornflour is some countries
  • pinch fine salt
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar (50 grams)more as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180ºC. Line two large baking trays ( or three small baking tray with non stick baking paper.
  • Separate the eggs, putting the egg yolks into a small bowl for later.
  • Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks.
  • Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy.
  • Mix the lemon zest and vanilla extracts into the egg yolks.
  • Use a spatula to combine the egg yolk mixture with the egg whites until just incorporated.
  • Sift the cake flour, cornstarch and salt over the egg mixture.
  • Use a spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients in until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently to not to deflate the batter meaning that the savioardi would be flat and not as spongy. The mixture will deflate a little but that's fine – you've got a lot of air into those egg whites.
  • Use a piping bag with a plain ½ inch (1.5cm) tip (or you could just snip the end off, or use a ziplock bag filled with the batter.
  • Pipe the batter into 5 inch (12cm) lengths leaving space between each to allow for spreading.
  • Sift half of the powdered sugar over the savoiardi and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will melt and look wet. That’s what it’s meant to do.
  • After 5 minutes, sift over the remaining powdered sugar. You may need a little bit more. Sprinkling with powdered sugar is what creates the characteristic crust of savoiardi.
  • Bake savoiardi cookies for 10 minutes, then rotate the baking trays and bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes then remove with a metal spatula while still warm and cool on a wire rack.
  • Store in an airtight container.

For dry, crispy savoiardi similar to store bought

  • This is what I do using an electric oven.
  • Allow the oven to cool down for two hours or until under 200°F/100ºC. Place savoiardi back on baking trays and return to oven overnight or until dried and crispy.

Notes

Tips for success
  • Try to find fine, white granulated sugar that will dissolve easily. Granulated can also be whizzed in a food processor to create a finer sugar.
  • Egg whites and sugar must be beaten thoroughly until thick, white and increased in volume.
  • Fold the dry ingredients in gently and lightly.
Lemon zest, lemon oil or lemon extract?
All can be used but be sure to have lemon rind is VERY finely grated if that’s what you’re using.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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51 Comments

  1. Hi Marcellina,
    Tried this recipe for the first time and they came out perfectly. Love Italian baking and will be trying your cherry tiramisu for Xmas.
    Regards
    Marilyn

  2. Marcellina: my oven is not working, can I “bake” them in a pan with a lid? I can use a parchment paper… I hope I can because I love this recipe and you explain excellent ????

    1. Hi Jenny! No, unfortunately that wouldn’t work. You’ll love this recipe but it really needs to be baked in the oven. Hope you get your oven working very soon and you can let me know how they turned out xx

  3. 5 stars
    First time I’ve tried anything like this before. They smell wonderful but the batter is runny. I beat the egg whites till there were peaks then slowly added the fine sugar. Not sure what I did wrong!! Was also very careful not to fold the flour mixture too rough!! Help!!! First 6 came out super thin crispy but very dry!!

    1. Hi Stacey. I’m sorry to hear about your problems with baking these delicious sponge fingers. What you describe makes me think that the egg yolks have deflated your egg whites. This can happen and will happen but just a little. Next time just fold the egg yolks in by hand to ensure the egg whites don’t deflate. Sponge fingers are a fairly dry cookie but shouldn’t be super thin. Hope you have more success next time!

  4. 5 stars
    Oh wow, do these biscuits look amazing! I will definitely be trying these soon!

    1. My looked and tasted fantastic but hard to get them off the tin they stuck to the parchment paper otherwise great recipe

  5. 5 stars
    I would think this would be complicated to make but with your instructions I am so confident!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Marcellina,
    Thank you for the very good recipe! My little boy really loves ladyfingers (savoiardi) and they could be costly to buy frequently, so I wanted to just make them. I tried your recipe and this is the first time I made them and they came out very nicely, flavour and texture. The only thing I need to brush up is my piping skill. I am really bad at piping but I’m going to practice a lot as I’m going to keep making these ladyfingers. I baked them twice in 200 degrees oven as you mention to make them as crispy as store bought ones.
    Thank you again!

    Love,
    Ika
    Canada.

    1. Hi Ika! Your little boy has good taste!! And he’s lucky he has a mamma that is such a great baker. I’m happy that you followed all my tips and were able to achieve such wonderful results. Take care. Baci, Marcellina xx

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made these wonderful sponge fingers twice for a tiramisu. However there certainly weren’t 30 of them maybe they were too wide? I needed many more to make 3 layers. Next time I’ll try a smaller dish for the dessert.

    1. I’m so glad you love these as much as I do. Yes, maybe yours were wider than mine. I only do two layers for my tiramisu. The dish I use is 8in x 8in and uses 12 sponge fingers for each layer. Hope that helps.

  8. Those sponge fingers look lovely Marcellina and I’m tempted to try making them! A quick question – I note that you use lemon extract in this recipe. Is there a particular brand you use? Alternatively, would lemon juice work as well?

    1. Hi Lyne, I actually use pure lemon oil from Doterra. But Terpenless Lemon Extract from Chef’s Choice is another good extract. I have also used lemon zest but it has to be very finely grated otherwise there are “stringy’ bits in the sponge fingers. You could use lemon juice, I’m just not sure it would have a strong flavour but it would still be fine. Let me know how you go.

    2. 5 stars
      Marcellina,

      Thank you for your kind reply. And just to clarify what I wrote previously so that nobody makes mistakes because of my confusing comment:
      I baked at 350°F the first time, then cooled down the oven until it was under 200°F and baked them again to make them crispy, exactly as you suggest. Once they were cool I put them in an airtight container, and the next day they were even crispier. They didn’t last long though, they were gone within a day. I will never buy savoiardi again. You explain everything so clearly and very detailed, that’s why I successfully made them on the first try! Hats off.

      Grazie!
      Ika.

      1. That’s wonderful, Ika! Yes, I can’t explain it but they do become crispier as the savoiardi sit. Thanks for clarifying the temperatures. Baci, Marcellina xx

    3. Hi Marcellina,
      So when you dry them out in the oven overnight to make crispy do you leave the oven on at low temperature? Or just in the oven yet not turned on
      I cannot wait to make these!
      Regards,
      Gary

      1. Hi Gary. No, the oven is not turned on when I dry out the sponge fingers. Let the oven cool down to 200°F/100ºC, return the sponge fingers and shut the oven door. This will slowly dry them out until crispy. Enjoy!

  9. Hi Marcellina, I too live in tropical North Queensland and stumbled across your recipe when I went to buy Savoiardi biscuits from my local Woolies. Due to the lock down in Victoria they are not accepting any stock from there at the moment and all imports are affected, which is to be expected.
    This lead me to search for alternatives and I came across your website (how astounded to find we live in the same part of the world – this never happens).
    I can’t wait to try your recipe for a coffee & rum tiramisu with molasses topping that I found in an old Delicious magazine.
    Thanks again for the recipe ????.

    1. Hi Wendy! It’s a small world, isn’t it? I didn’t realise we weren’t getting stock from Victoria. That explains a lot! Luckily we can make our Savoiardi pretty easily. That coffee and rum tiramisu sounds amazing! Happy baking xx

  10. 5 stars
    First time to make Savoiardi sponge fingers and it was a great success. Great recipe which I will definitely add to my recipe book and make again!

  11. Hi Marcellina,

    This recipe looks wonderful. I actually bought 2 savoiardi biscuit baking trays, would this recipe be suitable to use the trays ?

    Thank you.

      1. Apologies for asking another question, but where do we get “cake flour” here in Australia? I’ve never seen it, unless it’s called a different name.
        Thank you

        1. No problem! Ask as many questions as you like. I love to help – recipes and cooking is for sharing and helping. I buy the Lighthouse brand. It’s flour for cakes, pastry and biscuits. If you can’t find it all purpose plain flour is fine – maybe the texture may not be as light but they’ll still be good.

          1. Thank you so much, Marcellina, I’ve heard of the Lighthouse brand, I’ll definitely get a pack very soon.

  12. 5 stars
    Yum and easy to make. One of my favourites
    Will have to make double batch next time!
    My biscuits are soft but I didn’t put them in a cool oven to dry…..will do that next time. Love them! Thanks

    1. Thanks Lisa! If you live in a dry climate, the savoiardi will dry out a bit more. I like to ensure they are crisp by drying them in the oven. Enjoy!

  13. 5 stars
    Hi! It said beat the yolks in, but it looks like I was supposed to fold them from your picture? My mixture deflated and did not hold it’s shape. 🙁

    1. I am so sorry that happened to you and the recipe wasn’t clear enough. The egg yolks should beat in without a problem. Only beat (using the wire whisk) until just combined then mix together with a spatula to scrape to the bottom and mix in any leftover white. However I have amended the recipe adding a note to fold the egg yolks in as an extra insurance that the mixture doesn’t deflate.

  14. 5 stars
    I love ladyfingers, Marcellina, but I’ve never made them at home. Yours are gorgeous with their crackly, sugary tops!
    I’ve tried to leave a 5-star rating, but for some reason the stars won’t respond.

  15. Thanks for the recipe Marcellina! I’ve made lady fingers before for Julia Childs’ recipe Charlotte Mallakoff. However, I like your idea of baking it first with the powdered sugar in order to get the crusty texture. As far as separating egg whites, I prefer the ‘cracked egg shell’ method!

    1. Yes, the powdered sugar creates the crust so familiar on lady fingers and so characteristic of these cookies. Me too, I’m a cracked-egg-shell girl!