5 Best Substitute For Ladyfingers

Ladyfingers Substitute

Ladyfingers, also known as “savoiardi,” are integral elements in the realm of baking, especially in crafting exquisite desserts like Tiramisu. These Italian sweet sponge biscuits, possessing a unique finger-like shape, have carved their own niche with their delightful texture that soaks up liquids while retaining its shape. This attribute allows them to provide an immaculate balance in moisture-rich recipes, making them quite irreplaceable in certain dishes.

However, there might be instances when ladyfingers aren’t readily available in your local grocery store or you’re seeking to experiment with different textures and flavors. This is where substitutes come into play. The best substitutes aren’t just about mimicking the physical attributes of ladyfingers, but also about closely capturing the sensory experience – the lightness, sweetness, and the ability to balance moisture. This article presents a comprehensive guide on the best alternatives to ladyfingers, each holding unique characteristics that make them stand out in their own right, while effectively fulfilling the role of ladyfingers in your favorite recipes.

What is Ladyfingers?

Ladyfingers, also known as “savoiardi,” are sweet, light, and dry sponge biscuits roughly shaped like a large finger. They originated from Italy and are widely used in desserts and puddings, notably in recipes for the famous Italian dessert, Tiramisu. Their unique texture is absorbent and spongy, which helps them to soak up liquids while retaining their shape, providing the perfect balance in moisture-rich recipes.

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Snapshot: Substitutes For Ladyfingers

  • Sponge Cake
  • Madeleines
  • Biscotti
  • Pound Cake
  • Vanilla Wafers

Best Substitutes For Ladyfingers

Finding an ideal substitute for ladyfingers depends on the textural and flavor profile you wish to achieve in your dish. Here are five best alternatives with their unique characteristics.

Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake is a brilliant substitute for ladyfingers, especially when texture is of the essence. Made from sugar, flour, and eggs, the sponge cake carries a delicate and airy structure. It efficiently absorbs flavors from the accompanying components in a dish, much like ladyfingers.

The versatility of sponge cake makes it a viable substitute. Its light and fluffy nature is the result of beaten eggs, and sometimes baking powder, contributing to the cake’s rise. This process results in a final product that boasts of a tender crumb and a moist profile.

When using sponge cake as a substitute for ladyfingers, consider slicing it into thin fingers to closely mimic the shape and size of traditional ladyfingers. This approach ensures that the sponge cake pieces absorb just the right amount of liquid without becoming overly soggy.


Another elegant substitute for ladyfingers is the French-made Madeleines. These shell-shaped, miniature sponge cakes share the same base ingredients as ladyfingers, offering a similar sweetness and sponge-like texture.

Madeleines stand out for their light, buttery flavor and distinct shell shape. However, don’t let the shape deter you. You can cut or shape them into any form suitable for your recipe. When well-prepared, Madeleines have a tender and moist crumb that can stand up against the moisture in recipes like Tiramisu.

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One might argue that Madeleines are a tad more flavorful than ladyfingers due to the addition of lemon zest and vanilla extract in their dough. Thus, they can add an interesting twist to your dishes.


If you’re looking for a bit of crunch and extra durability, Biscotti could be your perfect alternative to ladyfingers. Originating from Italy, Biscotti are twice-baked biscuits, known for their hard texture and durability.

Unlike ladyfingers, Biscotti don’t absorb liquids as readily, but they hold their structure well when faced with moisture, making them ideal for layered desserts or those with a high moisture content. Their unique almond flavor also adds an interesting note to the dessert.

However, due to their harder texture, Biscotti might require longer soaking time in recipes that call for ladyfingers. It’s this resistant nature that makes Biscotti a charming and robust alternative.

Pound Cake

Pound Cake provides an interesting alternative to ladyfingers, especially when the recipe calls for an ingredient that can handle copious amounts of liquid. The dense nature of pound cake allows it to hold up well when soaked in moisture-rich ingredients.

Named for its traditional recipe – a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, pound cake boasts a rich and buttery flavor, adding an extra depth of flavor to your dishes.

Despite its sturdiness, pound cake retains a moist and tender crumb, making it ideal for many desserts. If using pound cake as a substitute, be sure to slice it thinly to mimic the size and shape of ladyfingers.

Vanilla Wafers

Vanilla Wafers offer a readily available and convenient substitute for ladyfingers. These small, round, sweet vanilla-flavored cookies can bring a new dimension to your desserts.

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Their thin, crisp texture might not be a precise match for the sponginess of ladyfingers, but when layered in a moist dessert, they soften and blend beautifully. With their sweet vanilla flavor, these wafers can enhance the overall taste profile of your dish.

While Vanilla Wafers might be smaller than your typical ladyfinger, layering them effectively in your dessert will yield delightful results.

Substitutes for Ladyfingers: Nutritional Profile

LadyfingersYes23 per biscuit0.4g4.2g0.1g0.6g
Sponge CakeYes187 per slice3.1g36.7g0.5g5.2g
MadeleinesYes130 per cake7g16g0.3g2g
BiscottiYes110 per biscuit3.5g16g1g2g
Pound CakeYes330 per slice15g44g1g5g
Vanilla WafersYes12 per wafer0.5g2g0.1g0.1g

Values are approximate and may vary based on recipe

Final Thoughts

While ladyfingers hold a distinct place in the baking world, there are alternatives that can serve as handy substitutes without compromising on texture or flavor. Whether you opt for sponge cake, madeleines, biscotti, pound cake, or vanilla wafers, each offers a unique touch to your desserts. While the exact match may not be achieved, these alternatives can indeed help create an exceptional dessert. Happy Baking!

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