Creamy, decadent, sweet and caffeinated are just a few of the ways to describe Affogato! Don’t ever choose between coffee or dessert after dinner again – enjoy the best of both worlds with this classic Italian treat. You only need gelato, espresso, and some shaved chocolate to make this little indulgence.

A spoon is dipping into the cream at the top of a glass.


I really don’t know if there’s any after-dinner dessert that beats Affogato. Essentially, it’s just vanilla gelato topped with a shot of espresso… And it’s pure bliss! I love a shot of good quality espresso, especially when it’s sweetened with smooth vanilla gelato. No worries if you’re all out of gelato either, because you can simply swap it out for vanilla ice cream. It’s your kitchen, you make the rules!

As for the espresso, don’t be too sad if you don’t have an espresso machine. (But with that being said, you should treat yourself to an espresso machine)! You can use some strongly brewed coffee instead if that’s what you happen to have on hand. Either way, you’ll end up with a caffeinated dessert that’s equal parts bold and sweet. Plus, the gelato (or ice cream) base makes it oh so creamy!

I like to feel a little fancy by topping my affogato with shaved chocolate, and if I’m really feeling like showing off, some espresso beans! After all, if you’re hosting a dinner party, the after-dinner drink/dessert should be like the cherry on top of the sundae. It’s the final touch that will make everyone smile, so aim to impress with a little simple but effective garnish.

A shot of espresso is being poured into a glass over a scoop of gelato.

How to Make Affogato

This timeless Italian dessert really couldn’t be easier to make. Don’t you just love a recipe that’s incredibly easy but still appropriate to serve as an after-dinner dessert for a dinner party?

Assemble. Add two scoops of gelato to a glass. Pour a shot of espresso over the scoops. Garnish with chocolate and espresso beans. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Three glasses of affogato are placed on a placemat.

Variations to Try

With a recipe this simple, you can easily customize it to perfectly fit your tastes! Here are just a few ways to get creative. Comment below if you try something outside the box entirely!

  • Make it boozy. Oh yes, this creamy, caffeinated concoction can be made into a cocktail. Stir in a splash of Bailey’s or any other flavored liqueur like amaretto or hazelnut to add a delightful spike to this dessert.
  • You can use ice cream. Vanilla gelato is best if you can get your hands on some! Most grocery store do sell it right next to the ice cream. If you can’t find any, no worries – ice cream will work just fine. In fact, you can really show off with my easy homemade vanilla bean ice cream recipe!
  • You can use coffee. No espresso machine? No problem! Some dark roast coffee will also get the job done just fine.

Tips for the Best Affogato

These two quick tips will help you make the very best Affogato every time:

  • Chill the glass. This is a great way to keep the ice cream from melting right away. Pop your glasses/bowls in the freezer for about 1 hour prior to serving. This helps the temperature of the dessert stay just right and not get too hot from the espresso.
  • Don’t skip the garnishes. Grated chocolate is the most classic garnish for this dessert. It only takes a few seconds to grate some good quality dark chocolate over the top of your glass and it really makes all the difference!
A garnished glass of affogato is placed on a small plate.

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Three glasses of affogato are placed on a placemat.

Get the Recipe: Affogato Recipe

Italian Affogato is easy to make with your favorite ice cream and espresso. A simple and elegant ending to any dinner.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 pint vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • 4 shots espresso or strong brewed dark roast coffee
  • Chopped or shaved dark chocolate
  • Espresso beans, optional


  • 4 glasses


  • Place two small scoops of ice cream in a chilled glass or coffee mug.
  • Pour a shot of espresso over the ice cream and top with chocolate.
  • Repeat with remaining ingredients
  • Garnish with espresso beans, if desired and serve.


Best if served soon after making.
Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 95mg, Potassium: 237mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 498IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 151mg, Iron: 0.1mg