Affogato means “drowned” in Italian and throughout Italy it’s commonly used to refer to a single scoop of gelato “drowned” in a single shot of espresso. Contrary to most things Italian, one must make haste when luxuriating in this dessert so as to capture those moments before the opposing tastes and temperatures and textures meld into homogeny. As such, the most practical way to share this with guests is to keep the gelato and coffee separate and let people do the drowning themselves. Here’s how to make it.Renee Schettler Rossi

Espresso being poured over gelato in a cup to make affogato.


5 / 2 votes
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. Here’s how to make it.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories159 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes


  • 4 scoops vanilla gelato or fior di latte gelato (or substitute vanilla ice cream)
  • 4 shots freshly brewed espresso (or substitute strongly brewed coffee)


  • Plop 1 scoop of gelato in each of 4 squat glasses or coffee cups.
  • Give each dinner guest a glass containing a scoop of gelato, a small cup of espresso on the side, and a spoon. Then let everyone pour the espresso over the gelato and plunge their spoons in quickly so as to appreciate the contrast between hot and cold and still-distinct flavors before the cream melts into the dark liquid. Then sigh deeply out of contentment.
My Kitchen in Rome Cookbook

Adapted From

My Kitchen in Rome

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 159 kcalCarbohydrates: 34 gProtein: 5 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 17 mgSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Rachel Roddy. Photo © 2016 Julie208. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Select a Tester

I respect affogato. It’s something that conjures such happiness from so few ingredients and so little effort. I first experienced affogato when I was a 20-something living through a sweltering summer in Washington, DC, without air conditioning. Affogato is what soothed me morning and night. And since you really can’t mess this up, it’s a tremendously practical dinner party trick.

Don’t overlook the author’s admonition to serve the espresso steaming hot and the gelato cold from the freezer. And let your guests pour it themselves because the gelato melting and melding with the espresso is truly something you must not miss, not even one moment of it.

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

10 Festive Christmas Drinks

Festive cocktails and mocktails for your holiday party that are certain to keep your guests feeling merry.

Peach Iced Tea with Mint

One taste and you’ll understand why this refreshing, lightly sweetened peach iced tea is our new go-to summer sipper.

2 hrs

Whipped Coffee

You’ve heard about it and wondered if it’d make you #Instafamous too. We can’t guarantee that but we know that you’ll make it over and over.

15 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    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.

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