Chai Affogato (with Honey-Sweetened Coconut Milk Ice Cream)

Chai affogato - a light and simple, hot and cold dessert.

Hello from Minneapolis! I’m in town with King Arthur Flour’s Bake For Good Tour. Yesterday, Susan taught us how to bake yeasted bread and pies (my first pie ever!) in the culinary classrooms at the art institute. The scales and measuring cups reminded me of my college chemistry classes. This time, though, I got to taste our experiments at the end of the day. Needless to say that I paid a lot more attention yesterday.

Today we will be serving a full meal (along with our bread and pie) to families at the Family Service Center. Most of the food that I prepare is only shared over the world wide web, so I’m very much looking forward to serving food in real time this afternoon.

honey coconut ice cream ingredients

This chai tea affogato would be a really fun dessert to share with your loved ones. The concept came to me a few weeks ago while answering emails at a local coffee shop recently. I ordered a chai tea latte upon arrival and quickly thereafter requested an affogato (because how often do you see affogatos on coffee shop menus?).

Traditional Italian affogato is espresso poured over a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was thunderstruck by the combination of super strong, hot coffee poured over creamy, cold ice cream. It’s as delightful as a hot fudge sundae, but not so decadent that it leaves you with a stomachache.

I went to the trouble of making my favorite honey-sweetened coconut milk ice cream for my affogatos, but I won’t blink twice if you pour strong tea over your favorite vanilla ice cream. Dessert is ready.

coconut milk ice creamhoney coconut milk ice cream recipechai teachai affogato recipe

Chai Affogato (with Honey-Sweetened Coconut Milk Ice Cream)
5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Strong, spiced chai tea poured over rich, honey-sweetened ice cream makes a beautiful hot-and-cold dessert. The creamy homemade coconut milk ice cream is dairy free and egg free. For a super simple treat, buy a quality vanilla ice cream and pour extra-strong, freshly brewed chai tea over it.
Honey-Sweetened Coconut Milk Ice Cream (yields 8 small scoops of ice cream)
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) full fat coconut milk
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash fine grain sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons arrowroot starch (see notes)
Strong chai tea (use 4 tea bags per 1 cup water, which yields enough tea for 4 small servings)
  • 8 spiced chai tea bags
  • 2 cups water
  1. In a Dutch oven or a big, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the coconut milk, honey, water, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat while whisking often. While the mixture warms up, whisk the arrowroot starch with a couple tablespoons of the coconut milk mixture in a small bowl until thoroughly incorporated and no lumps remain.
  2. Once the coconut milk mixture reaches a gentle simmer, pour the arrowroot mixture into the pot and simmer, whisking constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, then place the bowl in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely and thoroughly chilled.
  3. Before you start your ice cream maker, place your future ice cream container in the freezer to chill. Use a spoon to scoop off the thickened top layer of ice cream and discard it. Whisk together the chilled mixture in case the honey has separated from the rest. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer it to your chilled container. Freeze for several hours.
  4. When you're ready for dessert, bring 2 cups water to a boil and pour the water over 8 chai tea bags. Steep for 4 minutes, then remove the bags (squeeze out some of the water they have absorbed). Scoop your ice cream into small bowls, then pour hot tea into the bowls. Serve immediately!
Coconut milk ice cream adapted from my chai coconut ice cream recipe.
I like Numi's organic chai tea and Trader Joe's chai tea.
Wait, what's that?: Arrowroot starch significantly improves the texture of the ice cream (by making it less icy and therefore more creamy) so I strongly recommend using it. Look for arrowroot starch near the cornstarch in the baking section of well-stocked grocery/health food stores (I used Bob's Red Mill brand) or buy it online. Arrowroot is a great thickener in non-dairy sauces and desserts. It's also used in gluten-free baked goods. A lot of people prefer arrowroot over cornstarch because it has more healthful properties and is a less processed ingredient, but you can probably substitute an equal amount of cornstarch for the arrowroot if you'd like. Both arrowroot and cornstarch must be activated by heat, so that is why the instructions call for heating the ice cream mixture to a simmer before adding the starch.


  1. says

    Oh my goodness this sounds like a dream. Just stumbled across your blog and I am loving it! Your pictures are gorgeous. Have a great Saturday!

  2. Kathleen says

    You read my mind…I have been craving affogado lately. I am so excited to try your version! I make my own Chai concentrate from time to time because I like more spice, less tea (favorite recipe here ). I keep it in the fridge to mix with milk and honey. I think it will be dessert tonight!

    • says

      Kathleen, thank you! I bet it is extra-good with ice cream. I’ve tried a couple other chai concentrates that didn’t quite satisfy so I’m looking forward to trying your favorite.

  3. Wendy says

    This looks amazing and so simple. Also your pictures are stunning. I feel like I could eat this straight from my screen.

    My question: I don’t have an ice cream maker and really don’t want another appliance. Is there a way of making this without a maker?

  4. says

    I would definitely eat more ice cream with this recipe. I remember ordering Brandy Ice as a child when we would visit one particular restaurant. It was a vanilla ice cream with brandy poured on top–I wonder if these days you would be carded to eat just a divine pleasure. I don’t know why I never thought to pour espresso or chai over ice cream. Thanks for sharing, always interested in a new ice cream recipe. Happy Nesting!

  5. says

    Great idea! I love that you switched up an affogato, making it a friendly option for people who don’t drink coffee. I LOVE affogatos. My favorite is at Capogiro’s in Philly, where I get the espresso poured over bacio gelato. Sometimes I order two in a row …

  6. says

    My Mom used to put coffee over vanilla ice cream. I loved it as a kid but I had forgotten that memory of my dear Mom. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I think I’ll try your version and make a new sensory memory. Be well

  7. says

    I can’t drink coffee in the afternoon/evening because SLEEP, which means I never get to have affogatos! This tea fix is clutch. So clutch.

  8. MaryB says

    This sounds fantastic! I’m curious – what is the reason for scooping away the top layer of the ice cream mixture before freezing in the ice cream maker? Love the idea of using the arrowroot powder for creamier texture.

    • says

      Hi Mary, I’m sorry I didn’t answer your question sooner. The arrowroot greatly improves the texture, but it adds a weird film to the top of the chilled ice cream mixture. If you’ve made pudding with cornstarch before, it’s like that. I just wasn’t sure the film would mix back in very well.

  9. says

    Oh my god, I absolutely LOVE this combination. Chai is so good all on its own but combined with ice cream and coffee? Holy goodness. You know what, I was actually in Italy just a week ago and was perplexed to find how rare it is to see affogato on the menu. I was really bummed. It’s really the perfect post-dinner treat.

    • says

      Really? I’m surprised affogato was a rare find over there. I don’t think I even knew what affogato was when I visited Italy in college! Time for another visit. :)

  10. says

    Brilliant. This sounds so delicious! I love how you recreated a traditional affogato and with chai! I’m definitely going to try this, as well as a traditional affogato!

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