Affogato with Cacao Nib Ice Cream (Dairy-free, Vegan)


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Affogato recipe with espresso that’s kicked up a notch with homemade cacao nib vanilla ice cream. Bonus – the homemade ice cream is dairy-free and vegan and ultra creamy.

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

Affogato Recipe

I thought I would’ve accomplished so much more in my first week home from Portugal. I thought I’d have something like two new recipes, a couple of posts and my Lisbon City Guide done. Nope. Haven’t done any of that. But I did drive to OC to visit my brother and his family, dropped off some gifts from Portugal and then had dinner with a girlfriend in LA. So I did do stuff…just not work stuff.

Thankfully, I still have two recipes in the coffers (which I made before I left) that have allowed me to ease back into recipe development and the blogosphere. ‘Cause getting back into the groove after a month overseas really does take time (hello, jet lag). But I’m sure I’m not getting much sympathy, am I?

Alrighty, so let’s dive in then. Today, I’ve got an affogato recipe for you…that’s kicked up a notch. And I fully admit to having more than one serving! My thought process behind this recipe was that is uses espresso…and espresso is the coffee du jour in Portugal. Kinda like flat whites are coffee du jour in Sydney. So I considered it “pre-trip preparation”…even though affogato is really an Italian thing. I know, my brain works in mysterious ways.

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

Affogato with a Cacao Nib Ice Cream Twist

But given that coffee and chocolate are the perfect pairing, I thought it all just made sense. I took the base from my popular vegan ice cream recipes and added cacao nibs…which one website describes as “nature’s chocolate chips.” I like that.

So you’ve got cold vanilla ice cream with crunchy bits of chocolate, which turns into a creamy, floaty, delicious mess when hot espresso is poured on top. Are you with me?

Now that the weather is warming up, this is a perfect use of your ice cream maker. And it makes for the most easily elegant and impressive dessert.

I use a small cookie scoop to get lots of little ice cream balls rather than one big ball, but anyway you scoop it you’ll be fine. I’ve also become slightly obsessed with my moka esspresso maker.

In all honesty, I’d never made espresso at home before this recipe. I swoon over those expensive contraptions you see in Crate and Barrel, but it seems any time I’ve had espresso it’s been when I’ve been traveling. At home, I always opt for lattes and cappuccinos. But Portugal seriously changed me. I’m an avid espresso lover now. And over ice cream? For affogato? Even better. Enjoy!

(Note: My Lisbon City Guide is now done, so make sure to check it out!) 

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Dairy-free and vegan.

More Vegan Ice Cream Recipes & Desserts

(dairy-free, vegan, paleo) Affogato with cacao nib ice cream. Espresso is poured over vanilla ice cream with cacao nibs.

Affogato with Cacao Nib Ice Cream (Vegan)

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 hours
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Affogato with cacao nib ice cream is the perfect indulgent treat. It's also dairy-free and vegan. 


Ice Cream


  • 6 servings of espresso


  • Add all of the ice cream ingredients (except the cacao nibs) to a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer the ice cream base to a covered bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The more chilled the better.
  • Pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and proceed according to maker directions. Add the cacao nibs in the last minute to combine into the ice cream.
  • Place the ice cream into a small loaf pan and chill in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours.
  • Remove from freezer 10 minutes before eating to more easily scoop the ice cream. Scoop the ice cream into small balls and place into short glasses or jars. Pour a serving of esspresso on top.


Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 322mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3.5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: affogato, affogato recipe, cacao nib ice cream, vegan ice cream
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!


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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was amazing!! I made the recipe minus the coconut oil to use in the ninja creami. It came out so good! I will definitely be making this again! Thank you for your delicious recipes ❤️5 stars

  2. Hi Lisa! This looks amazing!

    Is the ice cream maker an essential step? I’m wondering what the texture would be like just blending and freezing. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lina – you could make it without the ice cream maker, it will just be more dense and less fluffy. :)

  3. Hi Lisa,

    I am excited to try this recipe! Can you use homemade coconut milk? Or do you need that thick white solid thing that happens with the cans of coconut?



    1. Hi Lara – unfortunately, homemade coconut milk won’t work for this recipe. You do need that thick white coconut cream from a can to make this. :)

  4. Thank you for this lovely recipe! I also love the mini cups. Would you mind sharing where you got them?5 stars

  5. You have my sympathy! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – ease back into the normal routine at whatever pace is best for you, and just post on your blog/work on recipes when you can. No worries or rush :) Love this dessert recipe!

    1. Thanks Liz! You’re always so supportive and I greatly appreciate that. Much love! xo