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Italian Affogato al Caffe

Learn how to make an Italian affogato with creamy vanilla ice cream, strong coffee or espresso and melted chocolate. This easy Italian dessert looks impressive and indulgent but is so simple to make! 

I first learned to make affogato when I moved to Italy. In Italian affogato translates to ‘drowned’ and it describes this traditional dessert perfectly as a simple vanilla ice cream or in Italy the fior di latte is drowned in strong coffee! 

Affogato in a martini glass.


 

I make this after dinner drink and dessert combo for the Italian and myself often during the summer. We also enjoy this creamy Italian iced coffee and Bailey’s iced coffee, too!

Coffee lovers and ice cream lovers will love this sweet treat that can be made in only a few minutes. I love to garnish mine with melted chocolate but you can add a shot of liqueur if you would like! 

Why I Love Affogato al Caffe

  • Simple yet perfect: Hot coffee poured over rich and creamy vanilla ice cream or gelato is a delicious mix of hot and cold with sweet and bitter tastes rolled into one simple affogato recipe. 
  • Classy yet easy: Affogato coffee ice cream looks so elegant yet only takes 15 minutes or less to put together. This Italian coffee dessert is the best last minute sweet treat!

Italian Affogato Recipe Ingredients

  • Dark chocolate: A good quality dark chocolate, melted for the bottom of the glasses. 
  • Strong coffee: You can also use espresso coffee. I use unsweetened coffee but you can use sweetened coffee if that is your preference. 
  • Vanilla ice cream: Gelato is common to use as well.
  • Grated chocolate: I like to add grated chocolate shavings on top before serving. This is optional but recommend! 

What is the Best Ice Cream to Use?

A quality vanilla ice cream is my preference although if I have my homemade no churn vanilla ice cream I use that. Classically an affogato uses vanilla gelato but you could also change up the flavor to chocolate or a personal favorite if you prefer.

The coffee dessert in two glasses.

Should I Use Coffee or Espresso?

A shot of hot espresso or coffee is really your preferece for this classic Italian dessert! You can use espresso, instant espresso or strong brewed coffee. It goes without saying the better the quality of the coffee the better your Italian affogato will be. 

Affogato Toppings and Extras

Traditionally affogato is made with only espresso (or coffee), ice cream and optionally a shot of liquor. It’s so fun to make it your own, though, and you will find this is true even at restaurants and cafes. 

How to Make Affogato al Caffe

Divide and drizzle the melted chocolate on the bottom of each glass. 

The melted chocolate in the glass.

Add a scoop of ice cream on top of the chocolate in each glass. 

A scoop of ice cream in the glass on the chocolate.

Pour espresso (or hot coffee) over the ice cream then sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Serve immediately.

Pouring chocolate over the ice cream.

How to Serve

Serve affogato with a spoon. I know it seems like the ice cream would melt right away, but you will be surprised that it does not! After it has melted a little, you can drink it right out of the cup, it’s so good with the chocolate on the bottom. Perfection! 

Recipe Tips

  • Ice cream to coffee ratio: I like one shot of coffee (or espresso) to 2 scoops of ice cream but use more or less depending on your preference.
  • Cold ice cream: You want your ice cream very chilled so it doesn’t melt immediately when the hot coffee is poured over it. Scoop your ice cream and serve immediately!
  • Add liqueur: Coffee, dessert and after dinner drink rolled into one! Add a splash of Frangelico (hazelnut), Amaretto or rum are most common although I love my creamy coffee liqueur or even chocolate liqueur if I have it on hand!
  • For serving: I like to serve this perfect after dinner dessert restaurant style. Serve the ice cream in a chilled martini or cocktail glass with the espresso shot on the side.

Can I Make it Ahead?

You can assemble the melted chocolate and ice cream in a glass, cover, then store in the freezer until ready to serve. When serving, take extra care to pour the piping hot shot of espresso over just the ice cream so the glass doesn’t break. There are no storage instructions for this recipe as an Affogato should be consumed completely after making.

More Italian Drinks to Try

The coffee dessert in two glasses.

When you are looking for a simple and easy Italian dessert to make I hope you give an Affogato al Caffe a try and of course let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Affogato in a martini glass.

Italian Affogato al Caffe

Rosemary Molloy
Learn how to make an Italian affogato with creamy vanilla ice cream, strong coffee or espresso and melted chocolate. So good!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Brunch, Desserts, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 323 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 glasses (martini or coctail)

Ingredients
 
 

  • ounces dark chocolate melted (50 grams)
  • 4-6 tablespoons strong coffee (sweetened if desired) (2 shots more or less)
  • 2-4 scoops vanilla ice cream (depending on the size of the glasses)

EXTRAS

  • 1-2 tablespoons grated chocolate

Instructions
 

  • You can use homemade or store bought vanilla ice cream.
  • Divide and drizzle the melted chocolate on the bottom of each glass. Add 1-2 scoops of ice cream on top of the chocolate in each glass. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of hot coffee over the ice cream, sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

I don’t sweeten the coffee because I never sweeten my coffee when I drink it. If you use milk chocolate then I think you really don’t need it or if you do less then usual would be enough.
Serve affogato with a spoon. I know it seems like the ice cream would melt right away, but you will be surprised that it does not! After it has melted a little, you can drink it right out of the cup, it’s so good with the chocolate on the bottom. 
You can assemble the melted chocolate and ice cream in a glass, cover, then store in the freezer until ready to serve. When serving, take extra care to pour the piping hot shot of espresso over just the ice cream so the glass doesn’t break. There are no storage instructions for this recipe as an Affogato should be consumed completely after making.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 288IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 3mg
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