Affogato is a simple and elegant dessert made with espresso, poured over ice cream.

Vanilla ice cream and espresso, combined expertly, allow you to enjoy this classic Italian coffee dessert at home, no matter where you live.

a small pitcher pouring espresso into an affogato in a clear mug.

What is Affogato?

Hot espresso mingles beautifully with cold, creamy vanilla ice cream to make “caffè affogato”, a decadent, authentic Italian ice cream dessert.

Italy has given the world many amazing ice cream desserts, including gelato, granita, tortoni, and tartufo. Try a traditional Semifreddo with raspberries too!

Stracciatella Gelato is also a delightful Italian treat.

Why You’re Going to Love this Affogato Recipe

This 2-ingredient dessert couldn’t get any easier! Similarly to making a Coke Float, you simply need to combine vanilla ice cream with a delicious beverage (in this case, rich espresso) to create an entirely new flavor and experience.

Enjoy a bit of Italian Culture. If you’ve never been to Italy, you may have heard that the food culture there is impeccable. Italians enjoy only the finest things in life, and affogato is definitely one of them!

If you enjoy the combination of coffee and ice cream, you should make our recipe for Coffee Flavored Ice Cream or try Java Chip Ice Cream instead.

a clear coffee mug filled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, on a saucer with a teaspoon.

Ingredients in a Classic Affogato

Vanilla Ice Cream – In Italy, an affogato is made with scoops of vanilla gelato. Outside of Italy, ice cream is more common than gelato is. Plus, this is an ice cream website, so that’s what we’re going to use!

You can use storebought vanilla ice cream or vanilla gelato in your affogato, or make vanilla bean ice cream instead.

Espresso – Ideally, you will make a freshly brewed shot of espresso to make your affogato. It’s become common for us to have espresso machines, or espresso pod machines at home, and this is a great way to use them!

If you don’t have a way to make espresso, you can brew very strong coffee and use that instead. You want the espresso or coffee to be very strong since the ice cream dilutes it. Regular brewed coffee will not hold its own against the creamy ice cream.

espresso being poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a glass mug

How to Make Affogato

  1. Brew a shot of espresso or 3 ounces of strong coffee. Let the espresso rest for a minute while you prepare the mug.
  2. Add a large scoop of vanilla ice cream to a coffee mug.
  3. Pour the espresso or coffee over the ice cream.

That’s it! Affogato is a very simple ice cream dessert, perfect for serving after dinner.

Be sure to enjoy your affogato right away so that the ice cream doesn’t melt all the way.

You want to be able to enjoy the varied textures and temperatures created by mixing hot coffee and cold ice cream.

Coffee affogato with vanilla ice cream, viewed from above

Tips for Making Affogato

Use quality ingredients – When a recipe only has two ingredients, it is important that both of them be high quality and delicious. Use vanilla ice cream or high-quality ice cream from the store.

Chill out – Keep your ice cream very cold until just before scooping it. Since you will be adding hot coffee to the ice cream, you don’t want the ice cream to be softened at all.

Let the Espresso Rest – Allow the espresso shot to rest for at least a minute before pouring it over the ice cream in the mug. This brings it a bit closer to room temperature and lets the flavor develop.

Serve Immediately – The hot coffee will melt the ice cream, so be sure to enjoy the affogato before that happens!

How Does Starbucks Make Affogato?

At the popular coffee chain, you can order an affogato shot with your iced Frappucino. This means that the barista will pour a shot of espresso over your vanilla bean Frappucino, or frap of your choice.

It’s not quite the same thing, but Starbucks doesn’t stock ice cream, so it’s the best they can do!

What Does Affogato Mean in Italian?

The word “affogato” literally means “drowned” in Italian. This dessert is a scoop of gelato or ice cream drowning in hot coffee.

Is There Caffeine in an Affogato?

Yes, there is caffeine in this dessert. The amount will depend on how much espresso you add.

Feel free to use a decaffeinated coffee if you’d like to reduce the amount of caffeine in your affogato.

How Much Coffee Goes into an Affogato?

If you’re using espresso, the traditional amount would be one serving or about 1 ounce. You could also use a double espresso, which is usually about 2 ounces.

If you want to use coffee instead of espresso, I suggest using up to 3 ounces, so that you’ll get the same amount of flavor.

All of that said, you can use as much or as little coffee or espresso in your affogato as you like!

To Make a Dairy Free Affogato

Choose a non-dairy vanilla ice cream to create a dairy-free or vegan affogato. If you need a recipe, try this one for Oat Milk Ice Cream.

How Do You Drink an Affogato?

If done correctly, an espresso affogato should be both liquid and solid at the same time.

You can’t eat it with a spoon, at least not efficiently.

You also can’t properly drink the whole thing, as you’d be left with ice cream in the cup.

The best way to enjoy an affogato is by using a combination of sipping and spooning. Enjoy the ice cream/coffee blend with a spoon while the ice cream is still cold. When the ice cream is all gone or melted, you can pick up the mug to drink it!

Two images of affogato in a glass mug.

Affogato Variations

The method we’re sharing with you today is very basic, but once you understand it you’ll be able to create unlimited affogato variations.

Affogato Correto – In Italy, if you order this you’ll typically be served an affogato made with gelato, espresso, and an ounce or so of alcohol, likely brandy or sambuca. Try it with Kahlua or Bailey’s too!

Add a Syrup – Ice cream syrups or coffee syrups can be added to affogato to change the flavor. Try chocolate or caramel ice cream syrups, hazelnut coffee syrup, or any of your favorites.

Add Chocolate – Shaved dark chocolate will melt under the hot espresso too. Yum!

Use Another Ice Cream FlavorDulce De Leche Ice Cream or Chocolate Ice Cream are excellent options. I do suggest using smooth ice cream, without too many add-ins.

Want to make something a bit different? Try Raspberry Ice Cream or Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream in your affogato.

More Homemade Ice Cream Desserts

Use vanilla ice cream, or any of your favorite ice cream flavors to make these easy ice cream desserts:

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Did you make this Affogato Ice Cream Recipe? Leave a Comment Below letting us know what you thought and if you added any additional add-ins.

a small pitcher pouring espresso into an affogato in a clear mug.


Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Creamy vanilla ice cream and rich espresso are combined expertly to create a delicious affogato, an Italian specialty, at home.


  • 1 large scoop vanilla ice cream or vanilla gelato
  • 1 shot espresso or 3 oz. of strong brewed coffee


  1. Brew the espresso or the strong coffee.
  2. Add the vanilla ice cream to a mug.
  3. Pour the espresso or 3 oz of strong brewed coffee over the vanilla ice cream.
  4. Enjoy right away.


  • Traditionally, affogato is made with two scoops of gelato. We're using 1 large scoop of vanilla ice cream, but if you have a smaller scoop, you could use two.
  • Any flavor ice cream can be used to make affogato, but vanilla is traditional. Try chocolate or almond ice cream for an exciting twist on the original.
  • After brewing the espresso, I like to let it sit for at least a minute before making affogato. This cools it just a bit. Espresso generally tastes best after resting as well.
  • Instead of brewed espresso, you can brew very strong regular coffee to use in this recipe.
  • The nutrition values here will vary based on the ice cream that you use.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 201mgSodium: 219mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 9g

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