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Learn how to make an authentic Italian affogato featuring sweet, creamy vanilla ice cream and hot, bitter espresso. Smooth, decadent, and packed with caffeine, it is a perfect way to start and end your day!


I love caffeine! My day begins with a cup of one and continues to fuel me throughout the day in various forms like whipped, peanut butter, or good old iced coffee

When planning Italian spreads, I always fall back on the classics like panna cotta, tiramisu, or ricotta cookies for desserts. But when pinched for time, I call on this little treat- affogato!

Table of Contents
  1. What is affogato?
  2. Why you’ll love this recipe
  3. Ingredients Needed
  4. How to make the best affogato
  5. Tips to make the best recipe
  6. Flavor and recipe variations
  7. Storage instructions
  8. Recommended tools to make this recipe
  9. More tasty coffee recipes to try
  10. Frequently asked questions
  11. Affogato (Recipe Card)

What is affogato?

Affogato, which means drowned in Italian, is a classic coffee dessert. You’ll have a scoop of vanilla gelato drowning in an espresso shot.

Unlike a sipped espresso shot, eat away spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream dunked in coffee to enjoy it fully.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Two ingredients. Make this dessert with just a scoop of ice cream and some coffee.
  • Customizable. I have made this coffee dessert in its simplest and most basic form. Add all the toppings you want to make it more indulgent.
  • Full of caffeine. You’ll make this dessert more often if you’re a coffee lover like me.
  • Quick. Like a coffee mousse, If you have ice cream ready in your freezer, you only have to brew some coffee to serve this dessert.

I love the classic combination of caffeine and vanilla. A match made in heaven! 

Ingredients Needed

It cannot get simpler than making a dessert with two ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vanilla ice cream. I usually have a pot of vanilla ice cream in my freezer. Buy a good quality Italian gelato.
  • Espresso. Brew two shots of espresso to make two servings of affogato.

How to make the best affogato

This ‘fire and ice’ dessert can be assembled in two steps. Here’s what you need to do: 

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream per glass in cold clear glasses. Brew espresso in a machine or a moka pot and pour about 30ml over each ice scoop.

how to make an affogato.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Choose a strong coffee. Since there are only two ingredients, select the best coffee beans for this dessert. If possible, grind coffee beans just before use for maximum flavor.
  • Chill your glasses. Chill your serving bowls or glasses in the freezer before serving this dessert.     
  • Serve it in a clear glass. The sight of the brown caffeine and snowy ice cream melting together is not to be missed.  
  • Buy a good quality gelato. Buy a dense Italian gelato with vanilla beans, or make your own using this simple ice cream recipe.

Flavor and recipe variations

  • Use a different flavored ice cream. Make your affogato with chocolate, mint choco chip, or even coffee ice cream.
  • Booze it up. Add a shot of café liqueur or Kalhua to make it boozy.    
  • Make it chocolaty. Serve it with a topping of chocolate syrup for a little mocha effect. You can also sprinkle some chocolate chips for a bite or decorate with chocolate shavings.
  • Crumble some cake. This is entirely optional, but if you wish to convert this simple affogato into a full-on sundae, add a layer of brownie pieces (it’ll be like a tiramisu!).
  • Play around with the ratio. Add two scoops of ice cream per shot of espresso, reverse the game, or stick to a 1:1 ratio of gelato to espresso.
  • Add toppings. Add toasted hazelnuts, whipped cream, crushed biscotti, amaretto, or dulce de leche to add more complexity.

Storage instructions

Since ice cream is already frozen and espresso is freshly brewed, affogato is best enjoyed fresh.

To store. You can always store leftover coffee in the refrigerator until later use but do not store or freeze assembled affogato.

  • Espresso machine or a Moka pot. Makes the perfect cup of espresso every single time.
  • Coffee glasses.
  • Ice cream scoop.
affogato coffee.

More tasty coffee recipes to try

Frequently asked questions

Can I use coffee not made with an espresso machine?

Definitely, you can also brew your espresso coffee in a moka pot. Or use a strong coffee made using a French press.

Can I make it using decaffeinated coffee?

Planning to enjoy it after dinner? Pour a shot of decaf espresso on your ice cream scoop and enjoy decaffeinated affogato.

Can I make vegan affogato?

Traditionally, gelato is made using dairy milk. But you can whip up a dairy-free version using vegan ice cream like my creamy oat milk ice cream.

affogato recipe.


5 from 2 votes
Learn how to make an authentic Italian affogato featuring sweet, creamy vanilla ice cream and hot, bitter espresso. Smooth, decadent, and packed with caffeine, it is a perfect way to start and end your day!
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 1 minute
Total: 2 minutes


  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup Espresso divided


  • Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to two glasses.
  • Pour 30 ml of hot espresso over each one.
  • Serve immediately. 


Serving: 1affogatoCalories: 120kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSodium: 58mgPotassium: 163mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 323IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 121mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 14g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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