Affogato Recipe

Affogato literally means “drowning” in Italian, which is exactly what this scoop of gelato is doing in a shot of espresso. It’s the best sort of tragedy to happen at the dinner table.

Affogato Recipe

The term affogato means “drowned” in Italian and has essentially come to refer to a single scoop of gelato “drowned” in a single espresso. The author of this particular rendition of it refers to affogato as “The effect of pale and dark, hot meeting cold, sweet and lactic meeting a full, tannic espresso.” Contrary to most things Italian, one must make haste when luxuriating in this dessert so as to capture those moments before the opposing and contrary tastes and temperatures and textures meld into homogeny. As such, the most precatical way to share this with guests is, Roddy cautions, “to keep the gelato and coffee separate and let people do the drowning themselves.” Mark her words.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Affogato Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 4


  • 4 scoops vanilla gelato or fior di latte gelato
  • 4 shots freshly brewed espresso


  • 1. Plop a scoop of gelato into each of 4 short glasses.
  • 2. Give everyone a glass containing a scoop of gelato, a small cup of espresso on the side, and a spoon. On your marks, get set, pour the espresso over ice cream. Plunge your spoon in quickly so as to appreciate the contrast between hot and cold and the still-distinct flavors before the cream melts into the dark liquid.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews

I can't help but respect anything that conjures such happiness from so few ingredients. Count 'em. Espresso and gelato. Uno. Due. And you really can't mess this up, making it a tremendous dinner party trick. I first experienced affogato when I was a 20-something living through a sweltering summer in Washington, DC, without air conditioning. And affogato is what soothed me morning and night. Don't overlook the author's admonition to serve the espresso steaming hot and the gelato cold from the freezer and to allow your guests to pour it themselves because the unfolding of the gelato melting and melding with the espresso is truly something you must not miss, not even for a moment.

Testers Choice
Ralph Knauth

Mar 03, 2016

So easy to do. And absolutely foolproof. And utterly delicious. So how much better can it get ? I’m totally in love with affogato and make it often at home—at least once a week. My guests are always impressed with the simplicity and taste.

  1. Stu says:

    This makes eating fun. It is a sensory experience.

  2. Victoria says:

    Rachel is THE BEST. I have the British version of her book, Five Quarters (couldn’t wait for the US publication) and got the US one on my Kindle the day it was released.

    Now, Renee, try making this with Jeni’s Sweet Cream Ice Cream, which you have posted here.

    You just may faint.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hah! Lovely, Victoria. I appreciate the challenge and I shall rise to it! Many thanks for taking the time to chime in!

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