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Best Affogato Recipe (Easy Italian Dessert)

Upgrade your usual iced coffee for this stunning affogato recipe, and it’ll soon become your new go-to summer treat.

Espresso, ice cream, and a touch of booze? Yes, please!

Affogato with Ice Cream
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This affogato recipe is super simple: add vanilla ice cream or gelato to a glass, then pour hot espresso over the top.

The contrast between the cold, creamy gelato and the hot coffee is a match made in heaven.

Eat it with a spoon, then drink the ultra-creamy coffee to finish it off. Yum!

This affogato recipe also includes Amaretto for a boozy kick, and it’s every coffee lover’s dream come true.

What Is An Affogato?

Affogato (which is Italian for ‘drowned’) is a traditional dessert featuring vanilla ice cream or gelato ‘drowned’ in a shot of espresso.

Also known as ‘affogato al caffe’ (‘drowned in coffee’), it’s sometimes served with a splash of Amaretto, Kahlua, or another liqueur, such as hazelnut.

The magic happens when the hot espresso is poured over the cold gelato, creating a perfect balance of flavors and temperatures.

As the hot coffee melts the gelato, you essentially get two desserts in one. And while the booze is optional, it brings lovely added flavor.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, don’t worry. You can make a delicious affogato using a French press, a Moka pot, or even instant coffee.

Just make sure to brew a strong cup of coffee, and you’re good to go.

The traditional affogato is made with vanilla gelato, but you can get creative and use any flavor of gelato or ice cream you like. 

Some popular options include chocolate, caramel, or pistachio.

Serve it without the booze for lunch, or add a splash as an after-dinner treat. Either way, you’ll love it.

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Homemade Affogato Ice Cream in a Wooden Board

The Best Ice Cream for An Affogato

Choosing the perfect ice cream for your affogato is crucial. After all, you want to ensure you get that signature melt-in-your-mouth finish.

With that in mind, the best ice cream for an affogato is vanilla or milk-infused gelato.

And it needs to be top-quality, so no giant tubs of budget ice cream, please!

Instead, look for something that’s full-fat with real vanilla beans. That way, you get the best taste and texture.

Of course, vanilla isn’t the only option! Think of this dessert like your favorite iced coffee: what do you like in that?

I’m a caramel gal, so I often use Häagen-Dazs® Dulce de Leche ice cream when making affogato.

But if you’re a mocha fan, go for chocolate. Or how about hazelnut or even coconut?

There are no wrong answers!

Affogato with Ice Cream Garnished with Shaved Dark Chocolate

How to Make an Affogato

Follow these easy steps for the perfect affogato:

1. Brew the coffee.

Time to brew that delicious espresso. Use whatever method you prefer, and use whatever coffee you like best.

Since the coffee will melt into the gelato, it’s recommended to brew it strong. That way, it won’t be weak when you drink that last mouthful.

Of course, if you prefer something mellow, that’s okay! It’s your dessert, after all.

2. Scoop the ice cream or gelato.

While the espresso is brewing, scoop the vanilla gelato or ice cream into a small drinking glass.

I think two scoops is ideal, and it’s best served in a whiskey glass for easy eating.

3. Pour the espresso over the ice cream.

When the espresso is brewed and still hot, pour it straight over the ice cream.

Remember: since you’ll add something hot over something iced, be sure you have a solid, heatproof glass.

If you use something fragile, it might crack under the shock of the temperature change.

4. Make it your own.

To add a little kick, pour in a splash of Amaretto or your choice of alcohol. Then, top it with chocolate shavings. Yum!

Affogato with Ice Cream in a Clear Glass

Tips & Tricks for The Best Affogato

Try out some of these tips and tricks to make the best affogato possible: 

  • Use high-quality ingredients. The key to making the best affogato is to use high-quality ice cream and freshly brewed espresso or coffee.
  • Keep the ice cream in the freezer until the coffee is ready. You want it to melt slowly under the coffee. If you take it out of the freezer too soon, you’ll be left with a soupy mess (that’s still tasty, of course!).
  • Experiment with different types of espresso. A strong, bold espresso will give your affogato a more robust flavor. And a smoother, milder espresso will create a more delicate taste.
  • Use the right glassware. As mentioned, it should be heatproof to avoid cracks. Also, go for something short with a wide rim so you can get a spoon in easily.
  • Use the proper ratio of espresso to ice cream. The ratio of espresso to ice cream will affect the overall taste and texture of your affogato. A general rule of thumb is to use 1-2 ounces of espresso per scoop of ice cream.
  • Serve it immediately. Affogato is best served immediately after preparing to ensure that the ice cream is not melted and the espresso is hot.
  • Add something crunchy, like crushed cookies or nuts. It’ll give you a nice bit of texture to go along with the smooth ice cream.

Affogato Topping Ideas

Try out these fun and delicious toppings for a decadent twist on the classic coffee and ice cream combo:

  • Chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel or chocolate sauce
  • Crushed nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, or pistachios
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Fresh fruit like berries or sliced banana
  • A dusting of cocoa powder
  • A few chocolate espresso beans
  • Crushed biscotti or Italian pizzelle cookies
  • A pinch of sea salt

More Coffee Recipes You’ll Love

Starbucks Pistachio Latte
Coffee Bombs
Banana Milk Coffee
Irish Coffee
Dalgona Coffee

Best Affogato Recipe (Easy Italian Dessert)

Servings

1

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Calories

232

kcal

Upgrade your usual iced coffee for this stunning affogato recipe, and it’ll soon become your new go-to summer treat. It’s a coffee lover’s dream come true!

Ingredients

  • 1 shot of espresso (1-2 ounces)

  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla gelato or ice cream

  • 1 splash Amaretto

  • shaved dark chocolate for garnish

Instructions

  • Brew 1 shot of espresso or strong coffee.
  • While the espresso is brewing, place 1-2 scoops of vanilla gelato or ice cream into a small drinking glass.
  • Pour the brewed espresso shot over the ice cream. Add the liqueur, if using.
  • Garnish with shaved dark chocolate, serve, and enjoy!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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