Easy Coffee Granita

3-ingredient coffee granita made with coffee, (coconut) sugar and water – that’s it! A light and refreshing dessert that will be your favorite pick-me-up this spring and summer. Naturally refined sugar free, vegan, paleo and dairy free.

Coffee granita in a small glass, with a spoon and another glass of granita in the background

If you’re one of these people who can’t function properly without their daily dose of caffeine but also can’t be bothered with a hot drink when the temperature starts to climb outside, coffee granita is exactly what you need!

You can have it at the end of a meal as a dessert, or as mid-morning/mid-afternoon snack.

If you’re not too sure what a granita is, let me explain 🙂

What is granita? What the difference between a granita, a sorbet and a slushie? 

Granita is originally from Sicily, Italy. It’s a frozen dessert made with a base of fruit (or coffee in our case!), water and sugar.

Unlike the sorbet that’s frozen and churn, the granita base is spread into a layer and frozen until icy, flaked with a fork and frozen again.

The result is a delicious fruity or coffee-y crunchy ice that melts in your mouth.

It’s very similar to slush except granita is “crunchier” with bigger ice crystals and slush is usually more liquid with a finer consistency. Granita is eaten with a spoon whereas you drink slush with a straw.

Coffee granita in a transparent glass, with a metal spoon and topped with whipped cream. Another glass of granita and a small bottle of milk in the background.

How to make coffee granita – step by step

First, start by adding instant coffee powder and coconut sugar in a heat-resistant bowl (steps 1 and 2). 

Then pour some hot water and mix well until coffee and sugar are dissolved (step 3).

Pour coffee in a large metal, freezer-friendly dish and let it cool completely before placing in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until mixture starts to be icy on the edges (step 4). 

Collage of four step by step picture to make coffee granita with coffee, sugar, hot water and the mixture in a pan.

Using a fork, scrape ice crystals from the edges, stir the mixture and break all the icy chunks. Return to the freezer.

Repeat every half hour for about three hours (step 5 is half way).

Granita is ready when it’s no longer liquid and looks like a big pile of crystals (step 6).

Spoon into glasses or bowl, top with whipped cream if you’d like and serve immediately 🙂

Collage of two step by step pictures to make coffee granita, showing granita in a metal pan.

A few more tips!

  • Coffee: if you’re a true coffee lover and feel offended by the use of instant coffee, you can definitely use freshly brewed coffee instead! Skip the water and use three cups of coffee.
  • Strength: you can adjust the quantity of coffee used to modulate the strength of the granita. 1/4 cup makes for a light coffee, 1/3 cup medium strong and 1/2 cup very strong. It really is a personal taste!
  • Sweetener: I like to use coconut sugar because it’s healthier than regular sugar (read more about it here) but classic brown (or white) sugar would work too. You could also use honey or maple syrup. I recommend tasting the mixture before you start freezing it so it has just the right amount of sweetness for you.
  • Can you make granita ahead? Can you freeze leftover granita? Yes, you can! Keep the granita (that you’ve made ahead, or the leftovers) in the freezer covered and when you’re ready to eat, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes (exact time will vary depending on the quantity you have) until it softens and you can scrape it again and break the icy chunks. Place it back in the freezer for a final freezer for about 15-30 minutes before serving and you’re good to go!

Close up picture of coffee granita in a small glass, with a spoon and another glass of granita in the background

If you tried this coffee granita, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went in the comments below – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

Coffee granita in a small glass, with a spoon and another glass of granita in the background
5 from 6 votes
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Easy Coffee Granita

3-ingredient coffee granita made with coffee, (coconut) sugar and water - that's it! A light and refreshing dessert that will be your favorite pick-me-up this spring and summer. Naturally vegan, paleo and dairy free.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword granita recipe, italian granita, summer dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Freezing time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 65 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup instant coffee powder use 1/4 cup for a light coffee and up to 1/2 cup for a strong coffee - see notes to use brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar, honey and maple syrup
  • 3 cups water

To serve (optional)

  • whipped cream coconut whipped cream to keep it vegan + paleo

Instructions

  1. Boil water in a kettle or on the stove.

  2. In a large bowl, add instant coffee and sugar. Pour water and mix well. Taste and add sweetener to taste if needed. 

  3. Transfer coffee mixture to a large baking dish suitable for freezing, let it cool completely and place in the freezer. If possible, use a big (to make sure the liquid is as spread out as possible) + metal pan. This will speed up the freezing process. 

  4. Freeze for about 1/2 hour or until icy at the edges. Using a fork, scrape ice crystals from the edges. Stir mixture well, breaking all icy chunks, and put back in the freezer.

  5. Repeat every half hour for about 3 hours (exact time will depend on your freezer). Granita is ready when granular but still slushy (see picture #6 above)

  6. Scrape granita into glasses or small bowls, top with whipped cream if using and serve immediately.

  7. Make ahead / Leftovers: If you have leftovers or want to make this ahead, keep in the freezer covered and when you're ready to eat, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes (exact time will vary depending on the quantity you have) until it softens and you can scrape it again and break the icy chunks. Place it back in the freezer for a final freezer for about 15-30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

COFFEE:

  • You can adjust the quantity of coffee used to modulate the strength of the granita: 1/4 cup makes for a light coffee, 1/3 cup medium strong and 1/2 cup very strong. It really is a personal taste!
  • Instead of coffee powder, you can also use freshly brewed coffee. In that case, simply use 3 cups of coffee and no water. Dissolve sugar in the coffee (it will be easier if it's hot) and follow the rest of the recipe from step #3. 
  • You can also use decaf coffee
Nutrition Facts
Easy Coffee Granita
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 65
% Daily Value*
Sodium 45mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Sugars 13g
Calcium 0.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
More frozen desserts:

UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published on May 12, 2013 and republished in June 2018 with an updated recipe, new photos and more tips.

Coffee Granita: an easy pick-me-up summer dessert that you can make with only three ingredients. Refined Sugar Free too! Full step by step recipe on NotEnoughCinnamon.com #summerdessert #lightdessert #frozendessert #healthydessert #paleo #vegan #glutenfree

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posted in
Clean Eating Dairy Free Desserts Frozen Desserts Gluten free Italian Inspired Paleo Paleo/Primal Primal Recipes Refined Sugar Free Snacks Summer Recipes Under 300 cal Vegan Vegetarian
12 Comments
  1. I’m a huge coffee fan but still will drink a hot cup in the morning. That doesn’t stop me from something cold for my mid afternoon break though! This looks and sounds so easy, I am going to have to try it!

  2. I love coffee granita, while traveling in Italy, espicially around Rome, we used to have one granita con panna every day – the perfect summer treat!

  3. This sounds like the PERFECT cold treat during these HOT days. I could sit on the patio and eat this no problem. Love the addition of coffee….like a cold brew in ice form.

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