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!
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.
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!
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.
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! Perhaps this is the sweet ending to an hours-long leisurely Italian meal. So there’s no rush.
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
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.
- 2 large scoops (about 1 cup) vanilla ice cream or gelato
- 1 shot (about 2–3 tablespoons) espresso
- Scoop the ice cream into a cup or mug.
- Pull a shot of espresso, then immediately pour it over the ice cream. The hot espresso will start to melt the ice cream.
- 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.
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
As the espresso is brewing, remove the ice cream from the freezer.
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.
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?
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!
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 an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger 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.