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.

When it comes to the end note of a great restaurant meal (remember those?), I usually have one simple request: Just coffee, please. If they have espresso, even better.

If the restaurant makes homemade ice cream in house, I might think about trying a scoop, but I’ll ask the server to bring me my coffee while I mull it over.

Oh, this place has affogato? I will love this restaurant forever.

I mean, you guys know that I’m a coffee lover and am forever trying to turn my kitchen into a fancy coffeehouse with homemade caramel syrup for coffee, hot caramel coffee and caramel iced coffee.

And as my frozen tiramisu cup demonstrates, the combination of coffee and ice cream is just irresistible.

Small glass of affogato made with coffee and ice cream.

What is affogato coffee?

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.

Yes, the hot coffee instantly melts the cold ice cream, so you have to be ready to start eating it the moment it hits your table.

There are to be no bathroom breaks once you’ve placed your affogato order, as Jeff learned the hard way one time at a restaurant.

By the time he got back to the table, the ice cream was fully melted and I’d eaten almost the entire thing. I’ve teased him about it ever since.

But I couldn’t help it – I love a good combination of hot and cold (like waffles and ice cream), and the combination of cold and sweet ice cream with hot and bitter coffee is one of the most lovely things in the world.

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 coffee affogato made with ice cream.

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 ice cream French toast.

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 affogato 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.

Small glass of ice cream and espresso dessert with French press, napkin and spoon.

Can I add alcohol to this affogato recipe?

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.

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 ice cream with French pressed coffee being poured over it.

Affogato Coffee

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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Collage of images of a coffee and ice cream dessert with overlay: COFFEE AFFOGATO coffee + ice cream = heart.