Classic Italian Affogato Recipe

The classic Italian affogato is arguable the simplest dessert you could make.  It’s an incredibly delicious blend of (traditionally) just two flavours, coffee and Fior Di Latte Gelato (or vanilla ice cream).  A hot and cold delicacy that really has taken the world by storm.

We love an affogato here at Presto and want to share some of our favourite variations on this wonderfully simple, but incredibly tasty dessert.

History of Italian Affogato

As you might imagine, the Affogato originated in Italy and began to spread around the world in the late 1900s.  The word “affogato” directly translates to the word “drowned” in English, which is an apt description of the dessert.

An affogato is a shot of espresso over a scoop of Fior di latte or vanilla ice cream.  And that’s it!

What is Fior di latte many of you may ask?  

It’s the purest form of Italian gelato.  No additional flavourings like fruit, chocolate, or vanilla, just gelato made from the highest quality grass-fed cow milk.

In most places outside of Italy, however, you’ll find your affogato is made with vanilla ice cream.

How to Serve and Eat Affogato

There’s actually some debate about whether an affogato is a dessert or a drink (many café’s in Italy still have it on the beverage menu), but one thing that seems to be universal is the way you serve and eat your affogato.

The trick is to pour your coffee over the Fior di latte at the very last second and then eat with a spoon, trying to get every last bit before it all melts.

It really is the most delicious little dessert, a true testament to simple is best.

So, without any further ado, let’s get into our classic Italian affogato recipe and some of our favourite variations.

Classic Affogato Recipe

As we’ve said, this is so simple.  Unfortunately, Fior di latte is next to impossible to find outside of Italy, so in this instance, we have opted for the other classic option, vanilla ice cream.

If you’ve never had this before you’re in for a surprising treat.



  1.       Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl.
  2.       Pour over your shot of espresso.
  3.       Eat immediately and enjoy!

Our favourite Affogato variations

The beauty of this dessert is that there are endless variations and adjustments that you can do to really make it your own and tailor it to your own tastes.

The simplest variation is changing up the coffee you pour over the top.  Have a play with different beans from different countries.  Each will add its own unique flavour to the dessert.

You could also experiment with the ice cream that you use.  A bit of Belgian chocolate ice cream gives it a gorgeous mocha feel, or a nice caramel ice cream adds to that sweet kick.

The world is your oyster really.  Here are some of our favourite variations to give you a bit of inspiration:

Salted Caramel Affogato

This is a delicious variation.  Caramel and coffee go so well together.  Trust us, give it a try!


  •         1 scoop salted caramel ice cream
  •         1 espresso shot
  •         Caramel sauce
  •         Chocolate curls


  1.       Add your scoop of ice cream to a bowl.
  2.       Pour over your espresso shot
  3.       Add a good splash of caramel sauce
  4.       Sprinkle on your chocolate curls (for sprinkling)
  5.       Enjoy!

Hot chocolate Affogato

If you want to make this a bit more child friendly then you can swap out the coffee for a shot of hot chocolate, and enjoy it with the whole family.


  •         1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  •         1 tbsp hot chocolate powder
  •         30ml hot milk
  •         Chocolate sauce
  •         Chocolate curls (for sprinkling)


  1.       Add your scoop of ice cream to a bowl
  2.       Pour over your shot of hot chocolate
  3.       Add a good splash of chocolate sauce
  4.       Sprinkle on your chocolate curls
  5.       Enjoy!

Candyfloss (cotton candy) Affogato

If you want to put on a bit of a show dessert for your friends, but can’t be bothered with too much effort this is a great option.  The candyfloss adds a lovely extra sweet kick to the dessert, and watching it melt as you pour over your coffee is really satisfying.


  •         1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  •         Handful of candyfloss
  •         1 espresso shot


  1.       Add your scoop of ice cream to a bowl
  2.       Place your candyfloss on top of the ice cream.
  3.       When you’re ready to serve pour over your espresso shot.
  4.       Watch the candyfloss melt and tuck in

However you choose to make your affogato we know you are going to love it!

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