Treat Yourself to a Splendid Italian Affogato

When a plain cup of coffee is not enough to bring joy to your day, an affogato will pick up the slack with sweet and creamy fun!

Vertical image of a dessert beverage with a spoon on a plate with cookies, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Affogato is the name of a single-serving dessert originating from Italy, made with espresso and ice cream.

The Italian word for “drowned,” the name of this treat illustrates the simple technique for making it.

Without sounding too macabre, you effectively drown scoopfuls of cold ice cream in the hot beverage!

In its most basic format, you can make an affogato by pouring freshly pulled espresso on top of a cup filled with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

The hot, bitter liquid playfully enrobes the scoops, slowly melting them while the very core of the scoops remain cold.

Vertical close-up image of a spoon inserted into a glass filled with frothy espresso topped with a frozen scoop of vanilla ice cream on a plate with cookies.

As the ice cream melts into the espresso at the bottom of the cup, you’ll create the most delectable fusion of drink and dessert in a single serving.

There are variations galore for this dessert – let’s start with the frozen part!

You can choose from a wide selection of flavors of store-bought options or homemade recipes, gelato, frozen yogurt, or a non-dairy frozen dessert.

While vanilla and chocolate are foolproof classics, experience an impressive flavor awakening with more unique selections like pumpkin spice or cherry chocolate chip.

Vertical top-down image of three glasses filled with affogato next to small cookies.

You can also add a splash of amaretto or another liquor or liqueur, or drizzle caramel sauce or chocolate syrup on top.

For some added crunch, consider sprinkling chopped toasted hazelnuts or candied nuts on top. You can also serve the affogato with a crisp cookie, like shortbread or biscotti.

Even the ratio between the ice cream and espresso is yours to command.

If you prefer the zippy, flowing presence of liquid caffeine, pull two shots instead of just one, or use less ice cream. But if you’d rather have a heftier dessert, go for bigger scoops.

Vertical image of two glasses with espresso and ice cream on plates with cookies.

And don’t run off with this beverage in your travel mug! Especially if you’ve chosen to pour a shot (or two…) of liquor into the cup!

Have a seat, friend – enjoy the dessert, have fun with it! Swirl the melted ice cream into the steamy drink, and slowly sip every warm and sumptuous spoonful at your leisure.

Use this time to treat yourself, and – just like the ice cream – happily melt into this blissful moment!

Print
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Horizontal image of two cups filled with scoops of a frozen dessert and coffee on plates next to spoons, coffee beans, and cookies.

Italian Affogato


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x

Description

For a dessert that has bursts of both flavor and energy, sip on an Italian affogato. This recipe is a delightful combo of espresso and ice cream.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 large scoops (about 1 cup) vanilla ice cream or gelato
  • 1 shot (about 23 tablespoons) espresso

Instructions

  1. Scoop the ice cream into a cup or mug.
  2. Pull a shot of espresso, then immediately pour it over the ice cream. The hot espresso will start to melt the ice cream.
  3. Serve with a spoon and enjoy immediately.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Espresso
  • Method: Espresso Maker
  • Cuisine: Beverage

Keywords: espresso, ice cream, Italian, affogato

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure and Prep

Prepare your appliance for making espresso, adding the appropriate amount of water you need for a single serving.

Horizontal image of ground coffee and vanilla frozen dessert in cups next to a metal scooper.

Measure and grind the amount of coffee beans recommended in the instruction manual for your appliance for a single shot.

Set out a mug or cup, ice cream scoop, and a spoon for serving.

Make sure the vanilla ice cream is readily accessible in your freezer.

Step 2 – Make the Espresso and Scoop the Ice Cream

Make the shot of espresso.

Horizontal image of brewing espresso in a stovetop coffee maker.

As the espresso is brewing, remove the ice cream from the freezer.

Horizontal image of two scoops of a vanilla frozen dessert in a glass.

Place two hefty scoops, measuring about 1 cup, into the mug or cup. Use more or less of your chosen frozen dessert, depending on your personal dessert preference.

Step 3 – Pour and Serve

When the espresso is ready, pour it over the scoops.

Horizontal top-down image of three glasses filled with affogato next to small cookies and coffee beans.

Serve the dessert immediately, with a spoon, while the liquid is still hot and beginning to melt the frozen scoops.

Enjoy an Italian Coffee Shop Favorite Right at Home

If you don’t feel like going into the nearest coffee or pastry shop to request this Italian delight, why not make your own affogato?

Horizontal image of two cups filled with scoops of a frozen dessert and coffee on plates next to spoons, coffee beans, and cookies.

This beverage can be replicated easily in your home kitchen, and can be adapted to the supplies and appliances you have available.

You don’t need an espresso maker for this – if you don’t have an appliance specifically for brewing espresso, your coffee maker is standing by, waiting for you!

You can achieve the same results by brewing a fresh batch of strong coffee in whatever appliance you have, whether you have a drip coffee maker or a pour-over model.

Don’t you just love this quick and easy dessert? How will you customize the flavors? Leave a comment below!

Vanilla loves to love! This classic aromatic is an essential ingredient in so many sweet treats. When you take your last sip of affogato, try more of our desserts featuring vanilla:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Mike Quinn on March 28, 2015. Last updated on October 20, 2022.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

8 thoughts on “Treat Yourself to a Splendid Italian Affogato”

  1. This sounds heavenly! I don’t have an espresso machine, but I did an internet search, and found a way to make it at home in my french press, so I might actually be able to try this recipe out. Hopefully at some point in the future, I’ll have an espresso maker of my own, but until then, it’s good to know there are alternatives. I love the idea of this recipe, and pouring the espresso over ice cream, with whipped cream on top, it would be the perfect treat after a dinner party, or for a special romantic touch.

    Reply
  2. That sounds absolutely decadent. I am a coffee lover but espresso is a treat for me anyway. Adding all of this? Oh my.

    I’ll have to make this for my girls next time everyone is together. They would enjoy this very much. I bet a treat like this would be quite expensive in a shop, but it’s perfectly do-able for making at home. Thanks for this. My daughters will thank you too.

    Reply
  3. I think my favorite coffee shop only serves affogato seasonally, so I’m glad to come across this recipe. I’m not actually much of a coffee/espresso drinker but I do enjoy it mixed with other ingredients, so the modern version is right up my alley. Will definitely have to try it out!

    Reply
  4. This looks like one of those decadent things that make you happy to be alive! LOL I have so little time to indulge in my favorite things, but this looks like something I may treat myself with while on vacation. I would love to have it first thing in the morning, out on my deck, curled up in my p.j.’s!

    Reply
  5. Oh, man. Affogato is amazing. Two years ago, some friends and I were in Florence (yes, the one in Italy, not in Alabama!), and we stopped at a gelato shop. Their version was actually made with hot cocoa, though, and you could get milk or dark chocolate. It was so rich and thick it may as well have been chocolate syrup or hot fudge! And it was absolutely amazing. One big ladle of cocoa over your gelato. I would love to go back to Florence just to do that again.

    Reply
  6. I’m on a fast today and this just makes me salivate! Oh my, I definitely would enjoy this one. This is my first time to hear of the Afforgato style. This is truly another way to enjoy my ice cream. It’s too hot in my part of the world now, and this just makes me want to enjoy this to cool off.

    Reply
  7. Oh my goodness. My mouth was watering when I looked at the photo. before I’d even started reading the first paragraph of this article. Italian food is my favourite, and this looks incredible. I have never tried it but I would definitely have a go as it is pretty easy to make and it look so much more difficult than it actually is – perfect for a dessert at a dinner party.

    Reply
  8. I’ve never heard of affogato till now. I guess that shows just how uninspired my meals have been up until now. At this point I am so eager to expand my menu and this looks like a perfect addition. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t love italian food, it just looks so awesome.

    Reply

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