Main menu


Affogato | RecipeTin Eats

Affogato – coffee, dessert and your after dinner drink, all rolled into one. This is what you have when you’re “too full for dessert”! Just pour espresso coffee over vanilla gelato or ice cream, enjoy the melty swirls and dig in. The Italians are genius.

Pouring coffee over ice cream for Affogato


When was your last affogato? It’s my go-to dessert at restaurants. Even if I claim I’m too full, affogato doesn’t count as it’s practically liquid, right? It’s like having a glass of water! (Yes, really, that’s how my works – don’t judge me!😂)

For those new to affogato, it’s a traditional Italian coffee-dessert where hot espresso is poured over gelato or ice cream, with the option of adding a splash of liquor. It’s coffee, dessert, and an after-dinner drink, all rolled into one. The contrast of hot, bitter coffee with cold, creamy ice cream is utter perfection. And the fact that it’s so simple with a bonus DIY fun factor? Brilliant!

Eating Affogato

Ingredients in Affogato

All you need for affogato is a shot of hot espresso (coffee), ice cream or gelato and optional half a shot of liquor (Frangelico, amaretto, rum). A little more information on each of these below!

Affogato ingredients
  • Espresso – This is a small concentrated shot of hot coffee. The standard size for a shot of espresso is 30 ml (1 ounce).

    It goes without saying that the better your coffee, the better your affogato!

  • Vanilla gelato or ice cream – Traditionally gelato though ice cream is just as good, in my opinion! More important is the flavour. Vanilla is the classic choice because it pairs so well with coffee. Feel free to experiment!

    How much ice cream – Use one large(ish) or two small(ish) scoops for one shot of coffee, for a good balance of the two. Though if using liquor, I lean towards two medium scoops, as pictured.

  • Liquor (optional) – To roll your after dinner drink into this all-in-one dessert, add half a shot of liquor! Amaretto (almond flavour) and frangelico (hazelnut) are probably the most common. Rum, sambucca and Kahlua are also standard offerings at Italian restaurants. Though really, you can add anything you think/know goes well with coffee!

    PS A shot of liquor is 30 ml / 1 ounce so half a shot is 15 ml / 0.5 ounce which is 1 tablespoon. Though nobody will hold you back from dialling the quantity up!

Optional extras

The traditional affogato is nothing more than espresso, gelato and optional liquor. However, even in restaurants these days there’s all sorts of optional extras. So adapt to your taste and make affogato your own! Here are some suggestions:

  • Chocolate grated or shaved on the ice cream (I did this)

  • Biscotti for dunking (I also did this!)

  • Whipped cream

  • Melted chocolate – I’d drizzle across the ice cream

  • Crushed or chopped nuts – pistachio and hazelnuts would be on theme here

I know I’m missing a stack of other ideas – drop suggestions in the comments below so I can come back and add to the list! 🙂

How to make affogato

I need more recipes with so few steps!

How to make Affogato
  1. Brew hot espresso using your coffee making appliance of choice. That’s 30 ml/1 ounce for a single shot.

  2. Put a scoop or two of ice cream in a glass.

  3. Pour over hot coffee. Enjoy watching the ice cream swirls melting into the hot coffee!

  4. If using liquor, pour that over next. Eat!

Pouring coffee over Affogato

PS I used a small beaker to do the pour shot so I could do a neat pour for the photos. I don’t use a beaker in real life!

Overhead photo of Affogato

Serving – for DIY pour

From a practical perspective, as restaurants do, serve the glass with just the ice cream in it and the espresso on the side. So the eater can pour then dig straight into the affogato before the ice cream fully melts.

Serving Affogato
Dunking biscotti into Affogato

Oh, and a side of biscotti for dunking wouldn’t go astray either. Recipe coming up soon. Never been fully happy with my biscotti attempts! Need to put some time into it, and it’s currently on my radar.

Share your affogato twists! Do you like yours straight up, classic, just coffee and vanilla gelato? Or are you all about the toppings and getting creative with ice cream flavours?? Don’t let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t take your affogato – make it your own! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

Hungry for more? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Pouring coffee over Affogato



Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above. The world’s fastest and smartest dessert, courtesy of the Italians. This is what you make when you claim you’re too full dessert! It’s coffee, dessert and optional after dinner drink, all rolled into one. Genius.Hot coffee and melty gelato or ice cream is a match made in heaven.


  • Put ice cream in glass suitable for affogato eating (Note 4).

  • Place shot of espresso and liquor (if using) on the side.

  • Pour the hot espresso then liquor over the ice cream. Enjoy swirls of melty ice cream blending into the coffee. Dig in immediately!

Recipe Notes:

1. Gelato is traditional, ice cream is perfectly acceptable. Vanilla is the classic flavour and a dead-set perfect match with coffee flavour. However, feel free to use any flavour you want!
2. Espresso (short black) – Make sure it’s hot (so it melts the ice cream) and strong (so your ice cream coffee “soup” isn’t weak and bland)
3. Liquor – Kahlua, sambucca, rum and bailey’s are also common offerings. Use what you know works with coffee!
4. Glass – Fancy restaurants use shallow cocktail glasses which I find impractical and poontsy, just for show. I like the glass taller than wider so you can dig in. Try to find one not too tall, it’s easier to eat out of.
5. Optional extras (not traditional, but nobody can stop you!)

  • Biscotti (excellent for dunking)
  • Chocolate shavings – use microplane or potato peeler
  • Whipped cream
  • Melted chocolate – on ice cream
  • Nuts – roughly chopped pistacchio and hazelnuts on theme

Leftovers – nobody keeps half eaten melted affogato, do they??
Nutrition per serving, assumes 1/2 cup of ice cream which is a little on the generous side.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 183cal (9%)Carbohydrates: 20g (7%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 29mg (10%)Sodium: 55mg (2%)Potassium: 151mg (4%)Fiber: 0.5g (2%)Sugar: 19g (21%)Vitamin A: 278IU (6%)Vitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 85mg (9%)Iron: 0.1mg (1%)

Life of Dozer

Going to town on ice cream garnished with a liver treat and doggie friendly sprinkles (pinched off another doggie treat!).

table of contents title