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Freshly brewed espresso is poured over creamy vanilla ice cream to create Affogato, an Italian dessert that is a marriage made in flavor heaven.

Horizontal shot of affogato (vanilla ice cream and espresso), served in a glass with a silver spoon and a floral print towel


As a bona fide, lifelong lover of homemade ice cream, Affogato is an absolute dream come true. It’s the perfect blend of hot and cold, as the warm espresso meets cool ice cream.

Because the ingredients are not mixed or blended, you end up with a wonderful range of colors, textures, flavors, and temperatures in this recipe. Eating it is such a treat, because each bite is a slightly different experience.

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Vertical shot of espresso mid-pour, starting to cover vanilla ice cream in glass

What is an Affogato?

If you’re wondering “What is an affogato?”, it’s really quite simple. Affogato is simply a shot of espresso poured of a scoop of gelato or ice cream. That’s it. No stirring required, just start eating.

The hot and bitter espresso is cooled and sweetened by the ice cream, while the freezing cold ice cream is softened and warmed by the espresso. Together, they become something more, something magical.

A shot of espresso pouring from a machine into a glass mug

Affogato Shot

Don’t happen to have a fancy espresso machine? NO WORRIES! (The one pictured above is a very new addition to my kitchen and I love it dearly, but it is not a requirement!)

You can use freshly brewed dark coffee from any kind of coffee maker, you can brew espresso with these K-cups (I really like them!), or you can brew authentic espresso shots with an inexpensive stovetop espresso maker like the one above that I’ve used for years to make Cafe con Leche.

Learn how to make Cafe con Leche at home! get the instructions at

When making the espresso for an affogato shot, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind:

  1. Freshly ground coffee is best for making a quality shot of espresso. Also, you typically will want to grind the beans as finely as possible when making this type of coffee.
  2. Your first few shots might not be ideal, and that’s okay! Just as when cooking, you’re going to want to taste it and make adjustments. If it’s too bitter, try a coarser grind. If it’s too sour, adjust for a finer grind.
  3. The amount of time it takes the water to finish moving through the tamped coffee grounds and reach the cup is known as extraction time. If it takes more than 30 seconds, you will probably benefit from a coarser grind.
  4. Make sure to clean the espresso machine well between uses, and to run a shot of hot water through it before brewing. This will give you more consistent results.
Vertical shot of glass pitcher containing espresso, poised over glass of vanilla ice cream

You may have heard of an affogato-style shot, too. Starbucks offers it for their blended Frappuccino drinks. It’s not exactly authentic, but it is certainly a delicious way to get an extra shot of caffeine.

It is possible to use espresso in this way at home, too. Iced drinks, milk shakes, smoothies, etc. would all be viable candidates to have a shot of piping hot espresso poured over the top of them.

Vertical shot of espresso mid-pour, starting to cover vanilla ice cream in glass

How to Make Affogato

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:

Want to make your Affogato without caffeine? We like this decaf espresso by Lavazza for after-dinner drinks and desserts.

Vertical shot of affogato (vanilla ice cream and espresso) swirled together in a glass, served with a silver spoon

Brew a one-ounce shot of espresso. This can be done in a number of ways. I adore my Breville Infuser Espresso Machine, but I also swear by the Bialetti Stovetop Espresso Maker.

As the espresso or coffee brews, place a scoop of ice-cold ice cream or gelato into a small serving bowl or cup. Then, pour the hot espresso over the ice cream. Serve immediately.

You can garnish an affogato with a number of optional toppings. While I usually enjoy mine simply with espresso and ice cream, it could be fun to try it with chocolate shavings and homemade caramel sauce. You can also add fresh berries, mint leaves, or even biscotti.

Overhead shot of a spoonful of affogato, poised over the mouth of the glass

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Interested in another coffee ice cream recipe? I’ve got you covered!

Cafe con Leche Ice Cream ~ rich, creamy, coffee-flavored ice cream. Just sweet enough to take the bitterness out of the coffee, without so much sweetness as to be overwhelming and cancel the richness of the coffee.

Irresistibly rich, Coffee Ice Cream is a dessert that captures the morning joy of a freshly brewed cup of your favorite java. Perfect any time of day. I’ve got my eye on this Hot Chocolate Affogato recipe, too!

I love a simple, smooth yet rich and creamy authentically coffee-tasting ice cream. Espresso Ice Cream is quite easily one of my favorites.

The perfect creamy, thick, and frothy coffee milkshake doesn’t require a single scoop of ice cream! Two ingredients, plus time to chill, are all that you need in order to blend together an awesome Coffee Milkshake.

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Vertical shot of espresso mid-pour, starting to cover vanilla ice cream in glass


Freshly brewed espresso is poured over creamy vanilla ice cream to create Affogato, an Italian dessert that is a marriage made in flavor heaven.
Servings: 1


  • ½ cup vanilla ice cream or gelato
  • 1 ounce espresso (1 shot) or strong-brewed coffee


  • Scoop the COLD ice cream into a small serving bowl or glass.
  • Pour the HOT espresso or strong-brewed coffee over the ice cream and serve immediately.


Calories: 139kcal · Carbohydrates: 16g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 7g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g · Monounsaturated Fat: 2g · Cholesterol: 29mg · Sodium: 57mg · Potassium: 164mg · Fiber: 0.5g · Sugar: 14g · Vitamin A: 278IU · Vitamin C: 0.5mg · Calcium: 85mg · Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!
Vertical shot of espresso mid-pour, covering vanilla ice cream in a glass; superimposed white text reads "How to Make Affogato"

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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