Affogato Espresso Recipe

Affogato recipe

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Today, we’re diving into the heart of Italian cuisine with a classic Italian dessert that’s as simple as delectable – the Affogato. This delightful treat literally translates to “drowned” in Italian. It is a heavenly concoction of hot espresso poured over cold vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Affogato espresso presents an irresistible fusion of contrasts – hot and cold, bitter and sweet, liquid and solid. This fusion will leave your taste buds begging for more. So, grab your favorite apron, dust off your espresso machine, and go on board this Italian culinary adventure together.

Besides, you can also try these Cuisinart Ice cream recipes, or Ninja Creami Ice Cream recipes, for a different flavor.

What is Affogato

With a combination of two basic ingredients – espresso and a scoop of vanilla ice cream – Affogato is a traditional Italian dessert. In English, Affogato means ‘drowned’. It is a perfect meaning of this dessert because the scoop of vanilla ice cream is drowned in espresso.

This Italian recipe finds itself in a delightful dilemma. Is it a dessert or a beverage? Some cafes list it as a drink, thanks to the espresso shot it cradles. Yet, the hefty scoop of gelato that comes with it demands the use of a spoon, making it feel more like a dessert. So, what do you think? Should we call it a dessert or a drink?

Let’s give up on this argument whether the Affogato is a dessert or a drink and enjoy its flavors that will burst cold and hot flavors in your mouth.

What does Affogato taste like?

Affogato is a coffee-based dessert with strong flavors that leave an aftertaste of Frangelico in your mouth. On the other hand, Vanilla ice cream in this dessert compensates for the bitter flavor, making it a delectable dessert with a burst of the sweet and bitter flavors combined in one dish.

Affogato Ingredients

  • 2 cups of your favorite ice cream or gelato
  • 4 shots of freshly brewed espresso (or 1 cup of strong brewed coffee)

Ingredient Notes and Variations

Vanilla Ice Cream
  1. Ice Cream/Gelato: I recommend using a high-quality, rich vanilla ice cream or gelato for the classic Affogato experience. However, feel free to experiment with different flavors such as chocolate, caramel, or even fruit-based options for a unique twist. For those with dietary restrictions, you can substitute with dairy-free, sugar-free, or vegan ice cream alternatives.
  2. Espresso: Freshly brewed espresso is crucial for the authentic taste of an Affogato. If you don’t own an espresso machine, a Moka pot or a strong brewed coffee using a French press will also work.

How to Make This Recipe:

Preparing Affogato
  1. Brew the Espresso:
    • Using an espresso machine, Moka pot, or French press, brew the espresso or strong coffee according to your preferred method.
  2. Prepare the Ice Cream:
    • Scoop 1/2 cup of ice cream or gelato into each chilled serving glass.
  3. Assemble the Affogato:
    • Pour one shot of hot espresso (or 1/4 cup of strong coffee) over the ice cream in each glass.
    • Serve immediately with a spoon and enjoy!

How to Serve: The Affogato is best served immediately after assembly to enjoy the contrast of hot espresso and cold ice cream. Consider offering additional toppings like crushed nuts, biscotti, or a selection of sauces for guests to customize their Affogato.

Storage and Freezing Instructions: The Affogato should be enjoyed immediately and is not suitable for storage or freezing.

Tips to Make This Recipe:

  1. Brew your espresso just before serving to maintain the perfect temperature and aroma.
  2. Chill your serving glasses in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before assembly to prevent the ice cream from melting too quickly.
  3. Experiment with different toppings such as crushed nuts, chocolate shavings, or a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce for added texture and flavor.

Alternative Recipes:

  1. Dairy-Free Affogato: Substitute traditional ice cream with a dairy-free or vegan alternative, and use plant-based milk like almond or oat milk to create a dairy-free espresso.
  2. Boozy Affogato: Add a splash of your favorite liqueur, such as Amaretto, Frangelico, or Kahlúa, to the espresso before pouring it over the ice cream. Also, check out these boozy cupcake recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use regular coffee instead of espresso?

Yes, you can use a strong brewed coffee as a substitute for espresso, but the flavor will be slightly different.

What are some other ice cream flavors that work well with Affogato?

Some popular options include chocolate, hazelnut, caramel, coffee, and even fruit-based sorbets for a tangy twist.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for a party?

Unfortunately, the Affogato should be prepared and served immediately to maintain the ideal temperature and texture contrast. However, you can pre-scoop the ice cream into serving glasses and store them in the freezer until needed. Brew the espresso just before serving.

Affogato recipe

Best Affogato Espresso Recipe

Adalynn Ward
The Affogato espresso offers a refreshing balance of flavors and textures, making it the perfect dessert for any occasion
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 4 persons


  • 2 cup your favorite ice cream or gelato
  • 4 shots  freshly brewed espresso) or 1 cup of strong brewed coffee

How to Make?

  • Brew espresso or strong coffee.
  • Scoop ice cream or gelato into chilled serving glasses.
  • Pour hot espresso over ice cream and serve immediately.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 59kcalCarbohydrates: 7.2gProtein: 1gFat: 2.9gSaturated Fat: 1.8gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 28mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 5.6gCalcium: 33mg
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Hello!! My name is Adalynn I love to eat, travel, and eat some more! I am married to the man of my dreams and have a beautiful little girl whose smiles can brighten anyone’s day!