Affogato Coffee Ice Cream is an easy Italian dessert. It’s so good, you won’t believe it’s only 2 ingredients! Affogato looks and tastes fancy but takes seconds to make.

Single serving desserts like Panna Cotta, these Mini Cheesecakes or Chocolate Eclairs are so classy, elegant and perfect for parties. Affogato coffee ice cream is delightful and once you try it, you will crave it often.

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Pouring espresso over ice cream for affogato

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What is Affogato?

Affogato means “drowned” in Italian and it is essentially drowning ice cream in coffee. The hot coffee starts to melt the ice cream and forms a thick foam at the top. My cousin’s wife, Alla shared this delicious idea with me. Watch the video tutorial below and you will see just how easy this is.

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A finished affogato with ice cream and espresso

What can I Substitute for Espresso?

We love the rich flavor and crema in espresso (and here is the Espresso machine we love) but you can substitute the espresso shots by using:

  • Strong brewed coffee (hot)
  • Instant Espresso powder in boiling water

The Best Ice Cream for Affogato:

We make affogato with vanilla bean ice cream because it’s easier to find in the grocery store but it is classically made with vanilla gelato so if you want the authentic Italian experience, pour espresso over vanilla gelato and watch the magic happen.

Espresso and Ice Cream ingredients for affogato

Affogato Coffee Ice Cream Toppings:

There is so much room to experiment with Affogato toppings. You can absolutely serve it with just coffee and ice cream, but if you are feeling adventurous or really want to impress someone, try these:

  • Caramel sauce
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Chocolate shavings from a chocolate bar
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Grated chocolate espresso beans
  • Biscotti or Italian pizzelle cookies, crushed
  • Sea salt
  • Toasted and chopped hazelnuts or pistachios
  • Liquor for adults (Kahlua, Bailey’s or Frangelico)

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Toppings for Affogato Dessert

The Best Affogato Flavor Combinations:

  • Vanilla ice cream, chocolate shavings, espresso
  • Vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce, roasted chopped pistachios, espresso
  • Vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate sauce, sea salt, espresso

Can Affogato be Made Ahead?

You can scoop the ice cream into glasses and even add toppings ahead, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Just before serving, remove from the freezer and pour espresso over ice cream. If espresso or coffee are piping hot, pour over the ice cream and not directly over glass so the glass doesn’t break.

Serving the affogato in chilled glasses or bowls is awesome for hot days or if serving outdoors so the ice cream doesn’t melt right away

Made affogato in glass with chocolate shavings

More Easy Dessert Recipes You Will Love:

  • Cherry Pie – don’t skip the scoop of ice cream
  • Cream Puffs – these prove that homemade is best
  • Blueberry Pie – pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • No-Bake Cheesecake – with the best strawberry topping
  • Chocolate Cake – the ultimate birthday cake

Watch How to Make Affogato:

This recipe makes 1 affogato dessert. I wrote it out that way intentionally so you can scale up it easily. The ratio is 1 shot (1 oz) of espresso per 1 scoop of ice cream.

  1. Use an ice cream scooper to add 2 scoops of ice cream to a serving bowl or glass.
  2. Add desired toppings (see list below).
  3. Pour over 2 shots of hot espresso or strong brewed coffee and serve right away.

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