How to Make a Delicious Affogato

Have you ever made an affogato at home? It’s a fancy word for espresso over vanilla gelato but if you call it a fancy name it tastes fancy right? I’m sharing my tips on how to make one right here!

What is an affogato

Before we can talk about how to make this delicious dessert you probably need to know what it actually is.

Affogato literally means “drowned” in Italian, and it’s directly referring to food. It’s used to describe pouring liquid over a food. In this case we’re talking about pouring espresso over gelato (or ice cream)

This wonderful dessert should be called affogato al caffe (Italian for drowned in coffee) but we’re okay with shortening it to affogato.

Make Fresh espresso to pour over your gelato and you've got an affogato!

Basically it means to pour a (hot) shot of espresso over vanilla gelato, or vanilla ice cream.

Top it off with whipped cream and a biscotti and if you’re really feeling it add some dark chocolate shavings onto it to make it the most scrumptious dessert!

The Best Gelato to use for Affogato

If you’re at a restaurant ordering an affogato it’s generally going to be made with vanilla gelato, but when you’re at home you can use your imagination!

Vanilla bean ice cream is a great base to use because of it’s rich and creamy flavor.

If you’re feeling adventurous you might enjoy a chocolate or coffee flavored gelato or ice cream as your base.

The recipe is generally two scoops of gelato to one shot of espresso but it doesn’t have to be a perfect measurement. I generally prefer to have a little more ice cream in the bottom of mine!

You can use gelato or ice cream for your affogato

Making an Affogato without an espresso machine

I have my very own espresso machine and it’s fantastic. It doesn’t stop me from visiting coffee shops – I still love a barista and I’m never going to be good at latte art.

If you don’t have an espresso machine you can still make an affogato at home! Just brew coffee but you’ll want to make it very strong to get the full effect.

Or you can use regular coffee – the best thing about making dessert at home is making it with the ingredients you have on hand and tweaking it to include your favorite flavors!

How to Serve an Affogato

If I’m making this dessert for myself I’ll just put it in a regular coffee mug and use a spoon.

If I’m making this for someone else I love using a clear mug or a clear bowl for it. It just looks so much fancier when you can see that delicious espresso running down the sides of the clear mug.

This is generally a 2 ingredient recipe but there are so many ways to make this your very own recipe. Or to even change it to match the menu that you’re serving.

We put a Pirouette cooke in this affogato for an afternoon treat

Ideas to individualize your recipe:

  • Try using a different flavor of gelato or ice cream – mocha, coffee, mint, etc.
  • Whipped Cream on top is always a great addition

Other Toppings to Try:

  • Crushed nuts – hazelnuts or pistachios, slivered almonds
  • Syrups – dark chocolate or caramel
  • Dark chocolate shavings
  • Coconut

You can also add liqueur to your affogato. I personally love a drizzle of Frangelico but I think a dark rum would be delicious as well. You might have to sample a few to get the perfect ratio on this one!

Tip for Making an Affogato

Pouring fresh espresso over ice cream for an affogato dessert

You’ll want to be sure everyone is already at the table before you get this dessert ready to serve.

You also want to be sure that your gelato is frozen. It’s definitely not a prep ahead dessert but it is a quick one to make.

I won’t tell anyone if you make this for your afternoon treat instead of serving it after dinner. Or even if you’re the only one having this amazing treat after dinner – it’s delicious and I prefer mine in the afternoon because of the caffeine.

But I won’t turn one down after dinner either!

Ingredients for an Affogato de Caffe:

  • 1 pint vanilla gelato or vanilla ice cream for 4 servings
    If you’re making a singlet just a generous scoop (or fill your cup or bowl)
  • 4 shots freshly brewed espresso for 4 servings
    1 shot for a single serving
  • Lightly whipped cream for serving (optional)


Place a large scoop of gelato into each of 4 individual glasses or bowls. Pour 1 shot of espresso over each scoop. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve immediately. Serves 4.

frequently asked questions-

Can I make this ahead of time?

This is not a dessert you can make ahead of time. You can prep the toppings but you’ll need frozen gelato and fresh (hot) espresso for this recipe.

Can I use coffee?

Of course you can. The recipe is designed for espresso so you might want to make a very strong batch of coffee just for this recipe!

Traci Signature | My Simpatico Life Blog

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