These vegan ladyfingers are a golden crispy treat that's light, airy, and just perfect for your next dessert adventure. Imagine a sponge-like biscuit, sweet and crisp, lightly kissed with olive oil, that you can dunk into your favorite coffee or layer into my lush vegan tiramisu recipe. That's the magic of ladyfingers, or as the Italians call them, "Savoiardi".
Legend has it that ladyfingers made their debut in the 15th century during a royal visit by the king of France to the court of the Duchy of Savoy. They were then known as savoiardi and earned the prestigious title of an "official" court biscuit. I super-love the idea of having an official biscuit in my house, so these are gonna be that for me too, I guess. Now, let's bring this royal treat into the 21st century by making them without any harm to animals!
In this recipe, I've replaced the usual egg whites with aquafaba, the liquid gold from canned chickpeas, which works wonders in creating that signature light texture. This recipe just takes 8 simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand and can be ready in about 30 minutes.
Whether you're a seasoned baker or a first-timer, this recipe is designed to help you knock it wayyyy outta the park on your first try. Let's get baking and create some biscuity magic in your kitchen today!
🥰 Why you'll adore this recipe
✊ Vegan AF: Like all of my plant-based desserts, these ladyfingers are 100% plant-based, proving that no animals need to be involved for a spectacular treat.
👩🔬 Perfect Crumb: Aquafaba, the chickpea water, is the secret star here. When whipped, it creates peaks so perfect, they could stand up to any meringue, making the texture of these ladyfingers light and airy.
🌡️ Just Right Baking: The baking process for these ladyfingers is fine-tuned. Baking at a lower temperature allows them to dry out slowly, ensuring they're crisp on the outside yet tender inside, without the powdered sugar forming a glaze that prevents absorption of coffee syrup if you intend to use these for tiramisu.
✅ Tested and Approved Worldwide: Like all of my vegan recipes, these ladyfinger cookies sing that song by Lisa Stansfield that goes “I been around the world and I I I…” That’s right. After I tweaked the darned recipe to perfection, I shared it with a massive crew of recipe testers I work with all around the planet who gave it a thumbs up before I dared to publish it for you to make at home.
🧈Ingredients and substitutions
A small amount of cornstarch, tapioca starch (which is essential in Southeast Asian desserts like klepon and bubur cha cha), or arrowroot is key for achieving the right light texture in ladyfingers. They also help mimic the binding property of eggs, making your ladyfingers hold together beautifully.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Unlike desserts leavened powerfully with yeast, such as my vegan apple fritters and twisted donuts, these leavening agents are essential for the delicate rise that ladyfingers need. The result of using baking soda and powder is a slightly cakier crumb which is why they are my leavening agents of choice for vegan apple cider donuts and Malaysian cekodok pisang. The delicate leavening also allows lady fingers to have much better keeping quality, so they don’t become horrible and bready after a day or two.
The liquid from a can of chickpeas, aquafaba, is a vegan baking marvel. It whips up like egg whites, creating the fluffy, airy structure that's crucial for ladyfingers. You can use other canned beans for this same stuff, but for flavor the only ones I would consider are white beans. But what? What the heck are you gonna do with the actual beans you drain for this magical juice you ask? Use the drained chickpeas to make Moroccan harira, drained navy beans to make escarole and bean soup or homemade vegan chicken, and drained navy beans to make loubia (Moroccan stewed white beans).
Cream of Tartar:
This acid stabilizes the whipped aquafaba, helping it maintain its structure and volume. It's a key player in getting the right texture for these delicate cookies.
Unsweetened Vegan Yogurt
Adding a bit of vegan yogurt keeps the ladyfingers moist and adds a slight tanginess, similar to traditional recipes that use dairy. Some recipes I have seen use coconut cream for this purpose, but I think that flavor is out of place for classic Italian sponge fingers. It blends seamlessly into the batter, enhancing the overall texture. If you have some leftover after making this, you can use it to make vegan labneh, use it in my simple, 4 ingredient vegan cream cheese recipe, or use it to make some vegan Turkish yogurt soup with mint oil.
A lot of ladyfinger recipes call for a neutral-tasting oil. Me? I think that’s a missed opportunity to let these babies tell the rustic story of their ancestry. Good quality, fruity-tasting olive oil adds moisture and richness to the ladyfingers, making them tender. Its use is a nod to the Mediterranean roots of the dish. You can of course use boring ol’ canola oil, sunflower oil, melted vegan butter, or vegetable oil to make these instead if you, like hate olives, or whatever.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
Lemon Zest Ladyfingers: Try adding lemon zest, and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice to the batter. This ladyfinger variation is popular in some regions of Italy, where the addition of citrus brightens the flavor.
Almond Ladyfingers: Mixing finely ground blanched almonds, and a tiny splash of almond extract into the batter gives a nutty flavor and a slightly different texture. This is especially nice if you are looking for a classic Italian dessert to serve with tea.
📖 How to make vegan ladyfingers
Nail these perfectly on your first shot, and prepare for the best vegan tiramisu you ever had in your gosh darned life by following these step-by-step instructions with helpful tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Dry Mix Magic:
First, warm up your oven to 300°F (150°C). Got a convection fan? Flip it on!
Grab a medium bowl and whisk the all-purpose flour, cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca starch), baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Then, put it aside.
Whip it Real Good:
In a stand mixer (whip attachment on) or with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the aquafaba and cream of tartar to stiff-peak stardom.
✅ If you don’t have either of those mixers, a high-speed blender works fine too, but may require a little extra time to get the aquafaba nicely aerated. But some kind of electric mixer is a must here. You will not get the same results with a whisk.
Sweeten the Deal:
Slowly add sugar while mixing, until your mix is shining and ribbon-y.
Start Making it Taste Like Something:
Time for vanilla extract, olive oil, and vegan yogurt to join the party. Mix 'em in until just right, but don’t worry if the peaks fall apart on you. That’s likely to happen at this stage.
Fold with Care:
Gently fold the dry mix and wet ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Scoop that thick, sticky ladyfinger batter into a sturdy piping bag with a round tip. It’s piping time!
Make sure you have a fairly heavy-duty piping bag because this batter is a bit stiff and sticky. A disposable paper or plastic piping bag will probably burst on you.
Sugar Dust & Bake:
Pipe out your ladyfingers on a parchment-lined baking tray (about 3 ½ inches by 1 inch) (8 X 2.5 cm). Sprinkle them with vegan powdered sugar, then bake for 30 minutes until they’re golden and happy.
Cool Story Bro:
Let them hang out on the tray for 5 minutes, then cool them on a wire rack until you are ready for a cookie festival in your face.
- Chill the Aquafaba: Before whipping, chill the aquafaba (chickpea brine) in the fridge for a few hours. Cold aquafaba whips up better, creating stiffer peaks for a fluffier texture.
- Sift the Dry Ingredients: To avoid lumps and ensure even mixing, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda (which can tend to clump up).
- Fold Gently: When combining wet and dry ingredients, fold them gently to retain as much air as possible. This is crucial for the light, airy texture ladyfingers are known for.
- Consistent Piping: Ensure each ladyfinger is piped to the same size for uniform baking. Use a ruler or mark your parchment paper as a guide to keep them consistent. I mean look, if you are using these for tiramisu, it probably doesn’t matter THAT much for them to be all perfectly even, but doesn’t hurt to try!
- Don't Open the Oven: Resist the urge to open the oven door while baking. Delicious vegan ladyfingers are a product of patience! Consistent temperature is key for even baking and to prevent the ladyfingers from collapsing.
🤷♀️ Recipe FAQs
After cooling completely, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze them in a zip-lock bag for up to 3 months.
Yes, you can make them gluten-free by substituting the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
Proper rising depends on correctly whipped aquafaba and gently folding the dry ingredients into the wet mix. Overmixing or under-whipping can prevent the ladyfingers rising.
✌️My faves to serve with these cookies:
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Savoiardi Cookies (Vegan Ladyfingers Recipe)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch arrowroot, or tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup aquafaba the drained liquid from a can of chickpeas
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup unsweetened vegan yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup vegan powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C), and if you have a convection fan in your oven, turn that on.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca starch), baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set this aside.
- Either in In a stand mixer with the whip attachment, or using a hind mixer, whip the aquafaba with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar, continuing to mix until the mixture becomes glossy and falls in ribbons.
- Either in a stand mixer with the whip attachment, or using a hand mixer, whip the aquafaba with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- Carefully fold the dry ingredients into this wet mixture in increments to avoid overmixing.
- Transfer the batter to a sturdy piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. The dough will be very thick and sticky, so it will be a little hard to pipe, but trust me, it will work!
- Pipe the mixture onto baking trays lined with parchment paper, forming each ladyfinger about 3 ½ inches long and 1 inch wide (8 x 2.5 cm), leaving space between them.
- Dust the piped ladyfingers with icing sugar (make sure it's vegan) before baking them in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Allow them to sit on the tray to set up for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.