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This classic Italian-inspired affogato recipe is easy to make in just a few minutes with ice cream, espresso and your choice of toppings.

Quite possibly one of the easiest and best desserts out there — affogato! ♡

This Italian classic has long been one of my go-tos for easy entertaining, especially on warm summer nights when you’re craving a cold sweet treat! Simply add a scoop of your favorite ice cream or gelato to a small bowl or glass, top it with hot espresso, add a shot of liqueur or a sprinkle of toppings if you’d like (both optional), and this delightful and sophisticated dessert will be ready in no time.

If you’re like me and are sensitive to caffeine late in the day, no prob, just use your favorite decaf espresso or strongly-brewed coffee! And while vanilla ice cream is the traditional option here, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the fun flavors of ice creams and toppings that you can pair together here, so don’t hesitate to raid the freezer and use whatever pint sounds good. This fun dessert is always a winner!

Affogato Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Affogato Ingredients

Here are a few quick notes about the classic affogato ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Gelato or ice cream: Vanilla ice cream or gelato is most commonly used when making affogato, but feel free to use whatever flavor you love best!
  • Espresso: Hot espresso (or strongly-brewed coffee) is essential in affogato to balance out the sweetness of the ice cream. You can use one or two shots of your favorite espresso per serving, and I generally like to offer a decaf option when serving this drink to friends later in the day or evening.
  • Liqueur (optional): Here are a few liqueurs that pair nicely affogato:
    • Amaretto (almond-flavored)
    • Frangelico (hazelnut-flavored)
    • Bailey’s Irish Cream (creamy chocolate and vanilla-flavored)
    • Kahlúa (coffee-flavored)
    • Sambuca (anise-flavored)
  • Toppings (optional): I often love to sprinkle chocolate shavings on top of affogato, which are quick and easy to make by running a vegetable peeler along the edge of a chocolate bar. Or you’re welcome to add flaky sea salt, sprinkles, a dusting of cocoa or cinnamon or nutmeg, crushed nuts, fresh berries, biscotti or ladyfingers.

Affogato Tips

Detailed instructions for how to make affogato are included in the recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind!

  • Brew fresh espresso (or coffee) just before serving. This will ensure that the coffee has the most robust, rich flavor to add to the affogato. (As tempting as it may be to heat up old coffee, I really don’t recommend it since the flavor can become more diminished and stale the longer it sits out.)
  • Serve immediately. Obviously, the hot espresso will begin to melt the cold ice cream quite quickly. So it’s best to serve affogato immediately after assembling.
  • Use decaf if preferred. I’m super sensitive to caffeine later in the day, so I always appreciate it when decaf espresso is available when enjoying affogato. Whatever you prefer!
  • Have fun with flavors. Don’t hesitate to play around and experiment with new ice cream, espresso, liqueur and/or topping pairings. The options are limitless and so fun!

Affogato Variations

Speaking of having fun with flavor pairings, here are a few tasty variations on classic affogato that you’re welcome to try:

  • Double chocolate affogato: chocolate ice cream + chocolate sauce drizzle
  • Mint chocolate chip affogato: mint chocolate chip ice cream + chocolate shavings and a sprig of fresh mint
  • Coconut affogato: coconut ice cream + toasted coconut flakes
  • Salted caramel affogato: caramel ice cream + caramel sauce drizzle + flaky sea salt
  • Peanut butter affogato: peanut butter ice cream + crushed peanuts
  • White chocolate affogato: white chocolate ice cream + white chocolate shavings

More Coffee Dessert Recipes

Love coffee desserts as much as we do? Here are a few favorite recipes to try:

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5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x


This classic Italian-inspired affogato recipe is easy to make in just a few minutes with ice cream, espresso and your choice of toppings. See notes above for more flavor pairing and topping ideas!


  • 1 scoop vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • 1 to 2 shots espresso
  • 1/2 shot (1 tablespoon) liqueur, optional*
  • chocolate shavings, optional


  1. Mix. Scoop the cold ice cream into a serving bowl or cup. Pour the hot espresso directly over the ice cream, followed by liqueur, if using.
  2. Garnish and serve. Sprinkle chocolate shavings or any extra toppings you might like on top. Then serve immediately and enjoy while the ice cream is still cold!


Liqueur ideas: If you would like to add liqueur to your affogato, we would recommend either Amaretto (almond-flavored), Frangelico (hazelnut-flavored), Bailey’s Irish Cream (creamy chocolate and vanilla-flavored), Kahlúa (coffee-flavored), or Sambuca (anise-flavored). Or you could also add a half shot of either rum, cognac or brandy.

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2 comments on “Affogato”

  1. We keep an orange in the freezer and sprinkle its zest on top of ours! It’s amazing.

  2. I top mine with a shot of amaro (Averna or Melletti are good for this). So tasty!