Affogato Recipe | Italian Coffee and Gelato Dessert

Affogato is Gelato “drowned” in Espresso. An easy and quick Italian spoon dessert recipe. Perfect in any season and for any occasion.

If you like the flavor of sweet and creamy gelato, mingling with the strong flavor of espresso, an Affogato is the treat for you.

You usually enjoy Affogato at the end of a meal. A dessert always up-to-date, quick to make and always appreciated. This thanks to the perfect mix and balance of flavors, consistencies and temperatures.

authentic italian affogato recipe

Now we are going to show you the authentic Affogato recipe.

As we said, it’s an easy recipe. A few ingredients are enough to prepareit. But obviously they must be of  a very good quality. High quality Espresso and creamy Italian gelato, maybe homemade.

In the Italian tradition there are many desserts made with coffee. For example the famous Tiramisu or Coffee Mascarpone Cream.

affogato recipe

Espresso has a tradition deeply rooted in Italian culture. Have an Espresso after a meal is almost a ritual for many Italians. If we dip a scoop of gelato into the coffee then…Wow! This is an amazing combo!

With Affogato your gelato melt slightly in the Espresso. It becomes creamy, partly cold and partly hot.

A fantastic, truly greedy contrast that won’t make you regret the more elaborate desserts!

authentic italian affogato recipe


How to Make Authentic Italian Affogato

  • Prep Time: 5 Min
  • Cook Time: 5 Min to make espresso
  • Servings: 1


For a small dessert, instead of just Espresso (just a sweet cuddle)

  • 1 scoop of gelato
  • 1 cup of Espresso (about 40 ml)

For a “real” dessert, ideal both as a snack or for a greedy evening with friends.

  • 3 scoops of gelato
  • 3 cups of Espresso (about 120 ml)

affogato recipe

Kitchen Tools and Equipment for Making Authentic Italian Affogato Recipe

Of course, to make a good Affogato you need to make an excellent Italian coffee. The coffee should be creamy and strong.

You need a good Espresso machine with single-dose capsules. Or the traditional – and always  loved in Italy – Italian moka, (“Caffettiera” as we call it) with ground coffee.

Espresso cups are important too for dosing the quantity of coffee. Coffee must not be too much, compared to the quantity of gelato. So have a look to these traditional Italian style Espresso cups for small Affogato after dinner.

Glasses or mugs, better if transparent, for a bigger and more substantial Affogato, a real dessert.

The the ice cream scoop is very useful, if not necessary. With this tool you dose the quantity of gelato.


For a small dessert, instead of just Espresso (sweet cuddle)

authentic italian affogato recipe

Make a small cup of Espresso for each person. You can make the coffee, concentrated and of good quality, either with the Espresso machine or with the traditional Italian moka.

If this is the case, brew extra strong coffee. Put a little coffee in the cup so that it does not overflow once you place the gelato.

Put one scoop of Gelato in the hot Espresso and serve immediately.

For a “real” dessert, ideal both as a snack or for a greedy evening with friends.

authentic italian affogato recipe

Place three scoops of gelato in a glass or in a goblet for each person. Then pour the hot coffee directly on top of the Gelato. Serve immediately.

Affogato: a Perfect Balance of Flavors, Consistencies and Temperatures.

Affogato is a very easy dessert to make. For just this reason you need to follow few very important tips to succeed, regarding FLAVOR, TEXTURE and TEMPERATURE.

First of all it’s important to balance the flavors and the contrast between the bitterness of the coffee and the sweetness of the gelato.

To achieve this contrast, you must use COFFEE WITHOUT SUGAR and gelato flavors such as VANILLA or FIOR DI LATTE, that blend very well with the taste of coffee.

fior di latte gelato

A second characteristic of the Affogato is the contrast between the consistences. Liquid coffee vs solid gelato. Because GELATO MUST STILL BE SOLID when you pour the coffee.

To have the creaminess of the authentic Italian Affogato dessert – and not to end up with a melted gelato in plenty of watery coffee – ESPRESSO MUST BE SHORT.

This way, when you finish eating the gelato you can enjoy the excellent coffee cream left in the cup. 

italian espresso

Finally, another feature of the authentic Italian Affogato is the contrast of temperatures: HOT COFFEE + COLD GELATO. Although obviously the contrast does not last long, it’s delicious to taste the gelato that gradually melts in the hot coffee.

Many let the coffee cool before composing the dessert, but this takes away one of the main characteristics of the Affogato: the contrast between hot and cold!

How Much Coffee and How Much Gelato?

For all the reasons described in the previous paragraph, the quantity of coffee and gelato must be proportionate.

In fact, you shouldn’t have gelato floating in plenty of watery coffee, but not too much gelato just soiled with coffee.

The ideal proportion is 1 CUP OF ESPRESSO FOR EACH SCOOP OF GELATO. Possibly the espresso must be short, that is about 40 ml (1/6 cup) of coffee.

What’s the Best Gelato to Use for Affogato?

The classic version of Affogato is the one with “gelato alla crema” and  “Fior di latte gelato”. Also hazelnut gelato and nougat gelato are excellent combinations.

NEVER make Affogato with coffee gelato because the taste would be decidedly banal and obvious. And Affogato al Caffé with fruit gelato flavors? Mmmhhh thanks but no thanks!

Finally, Affogato with dark chocolate gelato (total black version) should not be underestimated for lovers of strong and bitter flavors. Try it with the addition of a drop of rum.

affogato with chocolate gelato

How to Enjoy an Affogato.

Affogato is considered a spoon dessert. It should be enjoyed first with a teaspoon and then sipping the remaining espresso, made creamy by melted gelato.

For the sweet cuddle, which involves adding a scoop of gelato to a short espresso, it’s better to use a small Italian espresso cup.

This little cup keep the coffee temperature longer, it’s proportionate to the quantity of gelato and respect the tradition.

On the other hand, for the larger Affogato, which is the “real” dessert, use transparent glasses or mugs.

In fact, it’s a delight to watch through the glass the espresso hit the gelato and to see that it begins to blend.

Affogato Recipe: Some Variations

Authentic Italian affogato recipe wants only two ingredients: espresso and gelato. That’s all.

There are no decoration or topping of any sort, especially for the small affogato served in the small espresso cup.

However, someone love to add something before serving. The recommendation is to not overdo the additions. In fact you risk ruining your affogato by covering the taste of the coffee.

A little bit of whipped cream or a drop of liqueur (Rum or Amaretto) are acceptable.

But too much whipped cream, or chocolate flakes/drops, or melted chocolate, or crumbled biscuits, or chopped hazelnuts, or pistachios, or meringues, although very good, transform the Affogato into another type of dessert.

affogato recipe

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