The Affogato

When you make an affogato, there's no need to choose between coffee and dessert after dinner. This is a brilliant Italian ice cream treat that's topped with espresso and it's incredibly easy to make. It's perfect for a dinner party, but it's too delightful to reserve for special occasions. Enjoy an affogato on a weeknight or when you need an utterly delicious afternoon pick-me-up.

The affogato was designed to feature two of Italy's favorite things: espresso and gelato. Literally meaning "drowned," affogato first appeared in the dictionary in the early 1990s and the dessert drink has since found fans worldwide. You can make it with espresso and vanilla gelato, or switch to strongly brewed coffee and vanilla ice cream. If you like, spike it with a liqueur—amaretto, hazelnut, and Irish cream are favorites.

In theory, pouring hot coffee over ice cream would cause it to melt, but that's not the case here. The trick is to serve it in an ice-cold glass or dessert dish. This balances out the temperature difference and the coffee will slide down the sides of the glass, encasing the sweet frozen cream. Place glasses in the freezer for at least 15 minutes—or before you sit down for dinner—and they'll be ready for your special dessert.



  • 1 scoop vanilla gelato (or ice cream)
  • 2 ounces hot espresso (or strongly hot brewed coffee)
  • 1 piece chocolate (grated)

Steps to Make It

1- Gather the ingredients.

2- In a chilled glass or dessert dish, place a large scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream.

3- Slowly pour the espresso or coffee over the ice cream.

4- Garnish with shaved or grated chocolate.

5- Serve with a spoon and enjoy!


For the best affogato, use a gelato or ice cream flavored with real vanilla beans. The vanilla flavor will be more intense and natural, a perfect pairing for the coffee.