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An Affogato Is The Perfect Ice Cream Treat For Coffee Lovers

Delish 10/14/2022 Casey Elsass

Calling all coffee lovers: This is the dessert for you. An affogato is a simple Italian dessert — just espresso poured over a scoop of gelato — but sometimes the easiest things require the most attention to detail. Here are a few key rules to keep in mind for the perfect affogato:

Start cold. A clear drinking glass is a must (you want all eyes on the pour) and make sure it’s freezing cold. Even a 15-minute stint in the freezer will keep the gelato from turning into a puddle too quickly. (Make sure your gelato is super cold too!)

Always gelato. Sure, in a pinch, you can grab a quality ice cream (or make your own!). But gelato is really the way to go. It’s denser and less airy than American ice cream, so it’ll hold up to the hot pour of espresso. Vanilla is the classic flavor, but chocolate or caramel would be excellent too.

All about the ratio. Affogato means “drowned” in Italian, but in reality you want enough gelato to keep things more sundae than soup. A shot of espresso is about 2 tablespoons, so 2 scoops of gelato will be enough to keep it above the liquid line. The ideal bite will have some cold gelato and a pool of warm espresso on the spoon.

Toppings optional. A little amaretto adds a lot of flavor, as do chocolate shavings. Crushed biscotti give a nice little crunch, but all of these are totally optional. Even the espresso can be swapped out, if you don't own an at-home espresso machine. Just brew some extra strong coffee and measure out 2 tablespoons to pour over.

The final slurp. Your reward, after all this careful consideration and effort, comes when all the gelato has been scooped up and you’re left with a pool of tan, creamy espresso. Knock it back and savor the moment. You’ve earned it!

Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below.

Yields: 1 serving

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins


  • 2

    scoops vanilla gelato (or flavor of choice)

  • 1

    shot espresso or 2 tbsp. strong brewed coffee

  • Splash of amaretto, crushed biscotti, or shaved chocolate, for topping (optional)


  1. Scoop gelato into a chilled glass. Pour espresso in a slow stream over gelato. Add a splash of amaretto and a sprinkle of biscotti and chocolate, if using. Serve immediately.
Affogato © Erik bernstein Affogato
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