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How To Make An Affogato - Recipe

May 14, 2024 ● Jasmin Tétreault

The affogato is one of my favorite Italian desserts, blending the bold flavors of espresso with the creamy richness of gelato or ice cream. Perfect for coffee lovers with a sweet tooth, it's surprisingly simple to make at home. It’s incredibly easy to make and with two ingredients, you'll have this treat in no time. 

What Is an Affogato?

The term affogato translates to "drowned," describing how the espresso is poured over the ice cream. Although the exact date of its invention is unknown, it likely originated in the 1950s after the espresso machine was created. While some Italian restaurants still list it as a beverage, it is recognized as a dessert. Purists will insist on fresh espresso and vanilla gelato, while others are more flexible, using ice cream and moka pot coffee or even adding a splash of whiskey or Kahlua.

What is affogato made of?

An affogato is made of two primary ingredients: a scoop of gelato or ice cream and a shot of hot espresso.

Choosing the Right Ice Cream or Gelato

For a classic affogato, vanilla gelato is the traditional choice, providing a creamy, neutral base that pairs perfectly with the robust espresso. While gelato is the traditional choice, high-quality ice cream can also be used. Don't hesitate to experiment with other flavors like chocolate, hazelnut, or caramel for a unique twist.

Espresso Quality Matters

The key to a great affogato is high-quality, freshly brewed espresso. A medium to dark roast complements the gelato best. If you don't have an espresso machine, strong coffee from an Aeropress or Moka pot can be a substitute.

How to Make an Affogato


  • 1 scoop of gelato or ice cream (vanilla or your preferred flavor)
  • 1 shot of hot espresso (about 2 ounce)


  1. Brew the Espresso

    • Make a shot of espresso using your espresso machine or preferred method.
  2. Scoop the ice cream

    • Scoop one serving of ice cream or gelato into a glass or bowl.
  3. Pour and Serve

    • Pour the espresso over the ice cream or gelato. Serve immediately with a spoon.

How to Enjoy an Affogato

Is affogato eaten or drunk?

Affogato is usually enjoyed with a spoon. This creamy, coffee-flavored treat can be sipped towards the end with a straw when it's melted.

How do Italians eat affogato?

Italians usually enjoy affogato as a dessert. They typically eat it with a spoon slowly, allowing the gelato to melt into the espresso, resulting in a smooth, creamy mixture that can be enjoyed both by spoon and sip.

Variations and Tips

  • Alcoholic Affogato: To give it an alcohol twist, add a splash of liqueur such as Amaretto, Baileys, or Frangelico to the espresso before pouring it over the gelato.
  • Iced Affogato: On a hot day, try an iced affogato by pouring cold brew coffee over the gelato instead of hot espresso.
  • Toppings: Feeling fancy? Top your affogato with biscotti crumbs, chocolate shavings, or caramel drizzle.


Can I use ice cream instead of gelato?

Yes, you can substitute ice cream for gelato. While gelato has a denser texture and richer flavor due to its lower air content and higher milk-to-cream ratio, ice cream can still make a delicious affogato.

What's the best way to enjoy an affogato?

An affogato is best enjoyed immediately after the espresso is poured over the gelato. This allows you to savor the contrasting temperatures and textures before the gelato melts completely.


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