Affogato is an Italian dessert featuring hot espresso poured over creamy gelato. You can make this affogato recipe for one, or prepare a tray full to impress your guests. This 2-ingredient espresso dessert will have you feeling fancy in minutes!!
Learn how to make affogato the classic way in the recipe card below, or try one of the many suggested flavor combinations.
Did you know that this term doesn’t just refer to the espresso dessert?
Affogato, meaning “drowned” in Italian, describes liquid poured over any food (usually cold).
It can also refer to cooking techniques that require minimal liquid and never reach boiling temperatures.
That said, most assume you mean affogato al caffe — the traditional name of affogato meaning “drowned in coffee.”
How To Make Affogato
It doesn’t get much simpler than this — scoop your frozen treat into a bowl or glass, then pour hot espresso over the top!
While gelato is what’s typically used, you can get away with any high quality ice cream that’s just as dense and creamy.
You can even add a shot of your favorite liqueur if you want your dessert to be a little boozy!
Obviously, affogato ice cream melts pretty quickly, so be sure to dig in right away.
Affogato Ice Cream Flavor Combinations
Set up a “create your own” station for guests so everyone can try their favorite concoctions.
For alcohol-free versions of these affogato flavors, simply leave out the liqueur.
- Creamsicle – vanilla gelato, Grand Marnier (or orange juice), whipped cream, orange zest
- Peppermint – vanilla gelato, peppermint schnapps, crushed peppermint candies
- Turtle – caramel gelato, Frangelico, chocolate and caramel sauce, chopped pecans
- Smores – vanilla gelato, Godiva liqueur, chocolate syrup, marshmallow
fluff, chopped chocolate
- Tiramisu – vanilla gelato, dark rum, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, crushed lady fingers
- Cookies & Creme – cookies and cream gelato, Baileys, dollop whipped cream, hot fudge, crushed Oreos
- Peanut Butter Cup – peanut butter gelato, Kahlua, hot fudge, chopped Reese’s
More Topping Ideas
There’s really no limit to what you can come up with for affogato. You can even go a little savory if you prefer.
Search through your pantry to see what you have — the options may surprise you!
- Caramel sauce
- Shaved chocolate bar
- Crushed biscotti
- Liqueur: 1 ounce of Amaretto or Kahlua
- Sea salt flakes
- Cookie crumbles
- Toasted and chopped hazelnuts or pistachios
- Cinnamon or nutmeg
Affogato Recipe FAQ
If you think they would like the flavor, brew some decaf coffee for them to use.
Otherwise, crack open a can of root beer and pour them a float instead!
Brew a small pot of strong coffee or combine espresso powder with hot water.
Follow the directions on the container of powder for exact measurements.
Scoop the ice cream into individual glasses, then cover them with plastic wrap and freeze until you are ready to serve.
Espresso should be made fresh since the shots will “die” (become bitter) if they sit for too long — sometimes, in as little as 10 seconds!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Italian Dessert Recipes
2 Ingredient Affogato + Video
- 1/2 cup vanilla bean gelato, or good quality vanilla bean ice cream
- 2 shots espresso, freshly brewed, or strong brewed coffee
- Place gelato in a glass or bowl. Pour hot espresso over the ice cream.
- If desired, add any of the flavor combinations shown in the notes section, below.
- Serve and enjoy! Best eaten immediately.
- Creamsicle Affogato – vanilla gelato, grand Marnier (or orange juice), whipped cream, orange zest
- Peppermint Affogato – vanilla gelato, peppermint schnapps, crushed peppermint candies
- Turtle Affogato – caramel gelato, Frangelico, chocolate and caramel sauce, chopped pecans
- Smores Affogato – vanilla gelato, Godiva liqueur, chocolate syrup, marshmallow fluff, chopped chocolate
- Tiramisu Affogato – vanilla gelato, dark rum, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, crushed lady fingers
- Cookies & Creme Affogato – cookies and cream gelato, Baileys, dollop whipped cream, hot fudge, crushed Oreos
- Peanut Butter Cup Affogato – peanut butter gelato, Kahlua, hot fudge, chopped Reese’s
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published July 2021, updated and republished September 2023
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