Affogato-An Italian Coffee Dessert Recipe

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Affogato is an Italian coffee and ice cream dessert that is perfect for entertaining, yet easy enough for an everyday treat!

affogato al cafe in glass

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If you’ve been around here for a while you may have heard me mention that my husband and I used to live in Italy.  It was when we were dating and first married (ie kid-free) and it was the most amazing experience! Our third real date was actually me flying to Venice to visit him (he was stationed near there in the Army and we were long distance for some time.)

Italy Collage

I had never been anywhere before and it was amazing to learn the language, travel to places I only ever dreamed of, try new foods…just a priceless experience overall.

Melissa & the Tower

I do have to tell you though, in the first six months I lived there I gained about twenty pounds….the food, oh the food! 

One of my favorite things to do was grab a gelato after dinner…all the families would be out in their finery each evening around 9pm strolling the main “courso,” or street, eating their gelato.  We’d also stop in at one of the many outdoor coffee shops and have a coffee in the evenings as well.  One of my favorite desserts was called Affogato al Cafe-it means “drowned in coffee!”

What is affogato al cafe?

Affogato is traditionally made by pouring espresso over gelato. You can also make it with ice cream. If you don’t have an espresso maker you can substitute strongly brewed coffee for the espresso.


  • top with chocolate or caramel syrup
  • garnish with crushed hazelnuts
  • top with whipped cream
  • change up the gelato flavor: vanilla, coffee, chocolate
  • add a liqueur like Frangelico or Kahlua
  • use iced coffee instead of hot for a chillier treat, although the gelato won’t melt into the coffee as much


What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?

Gelato is an Italian version of ice cream made from milk and sugar, combined with flavorings. Gelato comes from the Italian word gelare, meaning “to freeze.” Because there is less fat & cream, and fewer eggs in gelato, it has a lighter flavor.

What kind of glass do you serve affogato in?

I prefer to use a short glass as you are only using a little bit of espresso.

How do you eat affogato?

Use a spoon to eat the gelato then sip the sweet coffee/gelato mixture leftover afterwards!

You might also like this Dalgona Korean Whipped Coffee recipe or this Skinny Coffee Smoothie!

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affogato al cafe in glass

Affogato-An Italian Coffee Dessert Recipe

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Affogato is an Italian coffee and ice cream dessert that is perfect for entertaining, yet easy enough for an everyday treat!


  • 1 shot espresso or 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 1 scoop gelato or ice cream
  • Chocolate Shavings for garnish if desired


  1. Scoop gelato into small serving dish
  2. Top with espresso and garnish as desired.


  • allow coffee to cool and/or serve in a chilled cup to make the drink last longer
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: none
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 246
  • Sugar: 36.9 g
  • Sodium: 133.5 mg
  • Fat: 4.7 g
  • Trans Fat:
  • Carbohydrates: 43.9 g
  • Protein: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.8 mg

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  3. Yum! We get affogatos from the gelato store on the corner and it’s delicious, but I’m happy to know it’s pretty easy to make at home too!

  4. Ahhhh…the memories your post brings back. I went to Italy on a tour with my bff after high school many years ago, and back in 2008 we went to visit our daughter while she was there for a semester in college. Both times we only visited the ‘tourist’ sections of Italy. I would someday like to return to visit some of the lesser known regions, in particular Bari and Abruzzi, where my family is from.

    I saw a similar recipe recently on Food Network and thought..hummm, that’s something I might want to try. I think with seeing your post the universe is telling me I can indeed forego the calories and indulge. 🙂

    1. Isn’t Italy fabulous Doreen? We lived in Vicenza, in the northeast near Venice and Verona. It was amazing to travel around. I think Capri and Florence were our favorite parts!

  5. I also became addicted to affogato when we went to Italy two years ago… that and cafe shakerato (iced espresso shaken with ice & sugar)… and cafe marrochino (chocolate and espresso)… I could keep going! This recipe is really nice for a quick & easy treat. Yum. Gonna have to get me some of this!

  6. This looks awesome! My husband LOVES that International Delight Iced Coffee in the Mocha flavor. If I showed him this, I could get anything I want! I’m going to put this in my pocket for Valentine’s Day (or any day, it’s win-win for me).

    So jealous you’ve been to Italy!

  7. This looks absolutely AMAZING!!! It would make a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  8. Ciao! This looks delicious! I do have an espresso maker, so I think I’ll churn out a version of this! Never been to Italy, though, but it’s on my bucket list! Loved seeing your photos!

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