Affogato Recipe

A Delightful Italian Dessert

The affogato, an exquisite Italian dessert, is a testament to the simplicity and elegance of Italian cuisine. This delightful treat, whose name translates to “drowned” in Italian, traditionally consists of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream “drowned” in a shot of hot espresso. The origin of affogato is somewhat ambiguous, but it’s widely believed to have emerged in Italy as a post-dinner refreshment. Over the years, it has evolved beyond its Italian roots, gaining immense popularity worldwide. The affogato is celebrated not just for its delicious taste but also for its cultural significance, embodying the Italian flair for creating harmony from contrasting elements – the hot and cold, bitter and sweet, creamy and robust. This dessert has become a symbol of indulgence and sophistication, often featured in cafes and restaurants globally.

The Classic Affogato Recipe

Creating the perfect affogato is surprisingly simple, yet the result is utterly sophisticated. Here’s how you can make it:

Ingredients Needed

  • 2-3 scoops of premium vanilla ice cream or gelato
  • 1 shot of freshly brewed espresso

Step-by-Step Preparation

  1. Scoop the Ice Cream: Begin by placing 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream or gelato into a serving bowl or glass.
  2. Brew the Espresso: Brew a shot of espresso. For an authentic experience, use a high-quality espresso machine.
  3. Drown the Ice Cream: Pour the hot espresso over the ice cream scoops.

Tips for the Perfect Espresso Shot

  • Quality of Coffee: Choose high-quality coffee beans for a rich and robust espresso.
  • Espresso Machine: Invest in a good espresso machine. A proper machine will extract the full flavor and create a desirable crema on top of the espresso. Explore top espresso machine reviews.
  • Temperature: Ensure the espresso is hot enough to melt the ice cream slightly, creating a creamy blend.

Variations of Affogato

The basic affogato recipe invites numerous variations, allowing for creativity and personalization:

  • Different Ice Cream Flavors:
    • Experiment with different flavors like chocolate, caramel, or even fruity sorbets for a unique twist.
    • Seasonal flavors can add a festive touch to the dessert.
  • Adding Spirits and Liqueurs:
    • Elevate the affogato by adding a splash of spirits like whiskey, rum, or liqueurs such as Kahlua or Amaretto.
    • This not only adds depth to the flavor but also makes it a perfect adult dessert.
  • Non-Dairy and Vegan Options:
    • Use dairy-free ice cream or gelato made from almond, soy, or coconut milk for a vegan-friendly version.
    • Ensure the espresso is also prepared in line with vegan standards.

Each variation of the affogato offers a unique experience, making it a versatile dessert that can cater to various tastes and dietary preferences.

Serving and Presentation

The presentation of an affogato is almost as important as its taste.

  • Ideal Serving Glassware:
    • A clear glass cup or a small bowl is ideal, as it showcases the beautiful contrast between the dark espresso and the creamy ice cream.
    • A stemmed glass can add an extra touch of elegance.
  • Presentation Tips for Elegance:
    • Serve immediately after pouring the espresso to maintain the temperature contrast.
    • A small spoon on the side adds a practical touch and suggests savoring the dessert slowly.
  • Pairing with Other Desserts:
    • Affogato pairs wonderfully with simple cookies or biscotti.
    • It can also be served as a sophisticated finale to a meal, following lighter desserts like fruit tarts.

Customizing Your Affogato

Personalizing your affogato can turn it into a signature dessert.

  • Toppings and Add-ons:
    • Sprinkle chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, or crushed nuts for added texture and flavor.
    • A drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce can enhance the sweetness.
  • Flavor Combinations:
    • Try different ice cream flavors like caramel or hazelnut for a twist on the classic recipe.
    • Experiment with coffee flavors, like adding a shot of caramel or vanilla espresso.
  • Creative Twists and Experiments:
    • For a summer treat, replace espresso with a shot of cold brew coffee.
    • Incorporate seasonal fruits or flavored syrups for a unique twist.


What is the best espresso machine to use for an affogato?

Can I substitute espresso in an affogato?

  • Yes, strong brewed coffee or instant espresso can be used as substitutes.

Can Affogato be made ahead?

  • Yes, scoop the ice cream into glasses and freeze. Pour hot espresso over it just before serving.


The affogato is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in Italian cuisine. Its versatility allows for endless customization, making it a dessert that can be reinvented time and again. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with your own variations, the affogato is sure to delight. So, embrace your inner chef, experiment with different flavors and toppings, and enjoy the delightful fusion of coffee and ice cream in this exquisite Italian dessert.

Classic Affogato Recipe

Classic Affogato Recipe

This classic Affogato recipe offers a delightful fusion of hot espresso and cold ice cream, embodying the essence of Italian dessert simplicity. Perfect for an elegant after-dinner treat or a sophisticated afternoon pick-me-up, this recipe is both easy to prepare and impressively delicious.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Beverage, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 serving
Calories 250 kcal


  • Espresso machine or coffee maker
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Serving glass or bowl


  • 2-3 scoops of premium vanilla ice cream or gelato
  • 1 shot about 1 ounce of freshly brewed espresso


Prepare the Espresso:

  • Brew a shot of espresso using a quality espresso machine. For the best flavor, use freshly ground coffee beans.
  • If you don't have an espresso machine, you can use strong brewed coffee as a substitute.

Scoop the Ice Cream:

  • Place 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream or gelato into a serving glass or bowl. The glass should be able to withstand the temperature contrast between the hot espresso and the cold ice cream.

Combine and Serve:

  • Immediately pour the hot espresso over the scoops of ice cream.
  • Serve right away while the espresso is still warm and the ice cream is cold, creating a delightful contrast.

Optional Toppings and Variations:

  • Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or cocoa powder for an added touch of elegance.
  • Add a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce for extra sweetness.
  • For a twist, try different ice cream flavors like caramel, hazelnut, or chocolate.
  • To make it an adult dessert, add a splash of liqueur such as Amaretto, Kahlua, or Baileys.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve the Affogato with a small spoon and enjoy it as a dessert after a meal or as a luxurious treat any time of the day.
  • Pair it with simple cookies or biscotti for a complete dessert experience.


  • The Affogato is best enjoyed immediately after preparation to experience the perfect balance of hot and cold, creamy and bold.


  • For a stronger coffee flavor, use 2 shots of espresso.
  • Experiment with different ice cream flavors for variety.
  • If serving to adults, consider adding a splash of liqueur for an extra kick.
  • Serve immediately to enjoy the contrast of hot and cold.
Keyword Classic Affogato Recipe

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Karen Elliot

Written by Karen Elliot

Hi, I'm Karen Elliot is a food blogger who founded to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Spain, Karen was inspired by exquisite dishes prepared using simple ingredients. Karen Elliot is particularly known for making anyone can cook.


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  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for the tip with adding some sea salt to the choice to use chocolate syrup. I made one this morning to try it out, next time will add sea salt! Loved your video.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi! i love the combination of coffee and ice-cream together! (should 12-year olds be drinking coffee? LOL!) can i replace the vanilla ice-cream with strawberry flavored? how will the taste be like?

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