Make a classic Italian Affogato with this elegant yet quick and easy recipe. It’s the best coffee-inspired dessert out there!
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Homemade Affogato recipe
Who would ever turn down hot espresso poured over a big ol’ scoop of vanilla gelato? It’s like a coffee lover’s ultimate dessert! The sweet and creamy, cold gelato melds with the hot coffee to make the best treat ever.
Traditional affogato is made with a shot of espresso and a scoop of gelato or vanilla ice cream. You can often find it on the drink menu at restaurants, even though it is really a dessert. And there are many other variations of this classic Italian treat too.
Oh, and drizzle it with some delicious homemade chocolate syrup because why not?! It makes it just that much better and turns a classic affogato into a mocha chocolatey ice cream treat.
So, grab those bowls and make some fresh espresso because this dessert will rock your world. Coffee ice cream desserts are just a dream!
Why you’ll love this recipe
A scoop of ice cream covered in rich espresso — what’s not to love? This easy recipe is so much fun:
- This is great to serve at parties as a fancy dessert. It’s very different and unique and everyone will enjoy it! It’s a wonderful treat to serve around the holidays too.
- You can use whatever type of espresso you want when you make your own affogato. And you can adapt the recipe and add all kinds of fun flavorings and toppings!
- You only need two ingredients to make this Italian dessert. No long list of things to keep on hand.
There are only two main ingredients to making the best affogato. Here’s what you need:
- Espresso: Whether you use an espresso machine or a something like a stovetop moka pot, you’ll need one shot of espresso for each affogato you plan to make. You can also use strong brewed coffee in place of espresso if you do not have a way to brew espresso.
- Gelato: While vanilla bean gelato is the most commonly used gelato in affogato, you can use other basic flavors like salted caramel or chocolate if you prefer. You can make the best gelato at home (like this Stracciatella gelato), and you can sometime find it in stores too! If you cannot find gelato, then regular ice cream will work just fine.
Optional extra toppings
There are tons of amazing toppings that you can put on your affogato. Aside from making it boozy with a little alcohol, there are traditional ice cream toppings that pair wonderfully with an affogato:
- chocolate shavings
- sliced almonds
- sea salt
- chocolate sauce
- caramel sauce
- dollop of whipped cream
More Affogato variations
Try one of these variations on this recipe:
Boozy affogato: Add a shot of liqueur, like Irish cream, coffee liqueur, Frangelico or amaretto, or a spirit like rum or whiskey to give this dessert a little spike. You could also pour an espresso martini over top.
Without caffeine: Use decaf espresso beans if you’d rather not have the caffeine but still want to enjoy a nice affogato.
Affogato float: Top it with a splash of soda water for an ice cream spin on a coffee soda.
How to make espresso
Espresso can be made with and without a fancy coffee maker.
If you have the room and think you’d use it a lot, espresso machines are a great thing to have. My husband and I were given a Nespresso machine for a wedding gift and we love it. It makes for a lovely and quick latte in the mornings! (And I love that the pods are recyclable.)
For the best result, buy whole-bean coffee and grind it finely for any of these options.
How to make an Affogato
There are only a few steps to this simple dessert recipe. So, here is what you need to know:
Brew your espresso with whatever method you prefer. Just before it is done brewing, scoop a generous scoop of gelato into a small bowl.
Pour the hot espresso over the top of the gelato, then add a spoon to bowl and enjoy!
Tips & tricks
Check out these simple tips to make your affogato perfectly perfect:
- Don’t pre-plate the gelato or it could begin to melt before adding the espresso. Only scoop the gelato into bowls once the espresso is almost done being brewed.
- I do not recommend scooping the gelato into glass bowls and then placing the bowls in the freezer until needed. When you pour hot espresso over the ice cream, the rapid change in temperature could break the glass.
- Be careful with fruity flavors of gelato in your affogato. Some may pair well with espresso, while other would be an odd flavor combination.
Depending on how much your gelato melts, you can serve this dessert in a mug and just drink it! However, you can also dig in with a spoon. And sip up all that delicious melted gelato and espresso that pools in the bottom. We’re not judging if you drink it out of the bottom of the bowl!
It’s a little bit of both. The espresso is quite strong and bitter, but gelato is sweet and creamy. Mixing the two together is like the perfect pairing of sweet and bitter flavors.
More Dessert Recipes
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- 1 shot espresso
- 1-2 scoops gelato
- First, brew the espresso.
- Just before it finishes, scoop gelato into a small bowl.
- Pour hot espresso over top of the gelato.
- Enjoy with a spoon.
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