End a special meal at home on a sweet note with this affogato coffee, a favorite at fancy restaurants. Hot coffee is poured over cold ice cream. Grab a spoon and enjoy right away!

Two small glasses of ice cream, with a person pouring coffee from a French press over the ice cream.

What is Affogato?

Affogatto is the Italian word for “drowned,” and the most traditional version is generally a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato with hot espresso poured over it.

I’m hoping more restaurants will take notice of how amazing affogato is, so it starts to become more widely offered in my area. Right now, it’s a pretty rare (and exciting) find on a restaurant menu.

Since I so rarely find it at restaurants, I figured the best thing to do would be to just take matters into my own hands and make a version at home.

I mean, after all, it’s just two simple ingredients. I don’t need a restaurant to make this affogato recipe for me!

Small glass of affogato made with coffee and ice cream.

What is an Affogato made of?

  • Coffee – espresso is best, but very strong brewed coffee is also perfect.
  • Ice Cream – vanilla is classic, but you can experiment with other options!

What ice cream should I use for this affogato coffee recipe?

If you have homemade vanilla ice cream, that would be the gold standard, in my opinion. But how often do I have that in the freezer? Next to never, especially if it’s not July.

The next best thing is a really high quality store bought vanilla ice cream (preferably with vanilla beans in it) or gelato (I like Talenti brand). The same kind of you might put on top of French toast with ice cream.

Sometimes I’ll sneak an extra layer of coffee flavor into an affogato coffee and use coffee ice cream! Sure, I’m bouncing off the walls for the next few hours due to caffeine intake, but it’s so delicious that it’s worth it.

One time, I even tried making this affogato recipe with my milk tea ice cream. I thought the combination of coffee and tea might be really strange, but it was actually pretty lovely. You can also use the cream cheese ice cream (without the mix ins) from my blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe.

Small glass of ice cream with French pressed coffee being poured over it.

Is Coffee with Ice Cream a drink or dessert?

According to Wikipedia, restaurants and cafes in Italy typically categorize affogato as a dessert, while some restaurants and cafes outside of Italy categorize it as a beverage.

Sure, it’s not a shortbread thumbprint cookie, but here in the Midwest, it’s usually on the dessert menu. And I prefer to have it after my meal, as a dessert. It’s the perfect end note to a delicious dinner of something like fettuccine bolognese.

How to make this Affogato Recipe

  1. Brew some espresso or a pot of very strong coffee.
  2. Place a scoop of vanilla or coffee-flavored ice cream in a small glass or mug for each serving.
  3. Pour espresso over ice cream and serve.
Small glass of ice cream and espresso dessert with French press, napkin and spoon.

Coffee and Ice Cream variations

Hey, you do you. You want to add a shot of booze to this? I’ll be right here, cheering you on. Make yourself a tipsy affogato! Heck, even drizzle some microwave caramel sauce over it if you want.

You can either stir the alcohol into the coffee before you pour it all over the ice cream, or simply place a shot of alcohol in the glass with the ice cream.

What alcohol do you put in Affogato?

If I wanted to add alcohol to an affogato coffee (or a salted caramel cream cold brew), I would probably choose amaretto (sweet almond flavored liqueuer), Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), Kahlua (coffee liqueur made with rum) or Baileys Irish cream.

Small glass of coffee affogato made with ice cream.

How to serve Affogato Coffee

The most important thing to remember about affogato is that it needs to be served IMMEDIATELY after the coffee is poured over the ice cream, because the ice cream is going to melt fast!

Make sure you and anybody you are serving are ready to eat it the moment that the coffee is poured.

Are you supposed to drink an Affogato?

Yes, you can absolutely drink an affogato! While you can eat it with a spoon, many people prefer to drink it, allowing the coffee and ice cream to melt together in their mouths.

When should I drink Affogato?

Affogato is a versatile dessert that can be enjoyed almost anytime:

  • AFTER A MEAL – it makes for the perfect sweet treat to conclude a meal.
  • AFTERNOON PICK-ME-UP – gives you a little energy boost to get through the rest of the afternoon.
  • SUMMER REFRESHER – On a hot summer day, affogato is a cooling and indulgent treat.
  • ANYTIME YOU CRAVE IT – There’s really no wrong time to enjoy an affogato, so savor it when the mood strikes!

What pairs well with Affogato?

If you’re looking to enhance your affogato experience, consider serving it with biscotti or a small piece of dark chocolate on the side.

Ice Cream and Coffee (Affogato) FAQs

What’s the difference between a macchiato and an Affogato?

While both macchiato and affogato involve espresso, they are quite different. Macchiato consists of a shot of espresso with a small amount of frothy milk. Affogato is a dessert that combines hot espresso or coffee with a scoop of ice cream.

What is the difference between classic Affogato and house Affogato?

Classic affogato consists of vanilla ice cream and hot espresso or coffee. When you see the term “house affogato” on a restaurant menu, it may include different flavors of ice cream, added liqueurs or unique toppings.

Does Starbucks do Affogato?

Yes, Starbucks does serve affogato in some locations. Ask your barista if they have vanilla ice cream, and if they’ll make you an affogato!

How do you say Affogato in English?

In English, “Affogato” is pronounced as “ah-fuh-GAH-toe.”

What does Affogato taste like?

Affogato tastes like the most incredible combination of rich coffee and sweet, creamy ice cream. The contrast between bitter and sweet and hot and cold make it a memorable treat.

Small glass of ice cream with French pressed coffee being poured over it.

Ice cream and Coffee (Affogato Recipe)

Yield: 1 affogato
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

End a special meal at home on a sweet note with this affogato coffee, a favorite at fancy restaurants. Hot coffee is poured over cold ice cream. Grab a spoon and enjoy right away!


  • 1/2 cup vanilla or coffee ice cream
  • 1/2 cup hot strong coffee or espresso


  1. Place ice cream in small glass or bowl, and pour hot coffee over it. Enjoy immediately!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g

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