Classic Panna Cotta

Here’s A Panna Cotta Recipe For A Dessert That Will Impress!

Searching for a smooth and creamy dessert that is also easy to make? This panna cotta recipe is for you!

Made from just a handful of ingredients, this classic Italian dessert is thickened with gelatin and topped with fresh fruit and a berry puree!

Meaning “cooked cream” in Italian, panna cotta is a popular dessert with a simple, sweet taste, irresistible texture, and an elegant look.

glass of panna cotta with berries and red berry puree on top
Our panna cotta – beautiful, simple and delicious!

Dessert enthusiasts might know that panna cotta is similar to Bavarian cream.

While both are thickened with gelatin, Bavarian cream has egg in it and also includes whipped cream which has been folded into the dessert!

Panna cotta is definitely easier to make – but equally as delicious.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you make this recipe, have a look at these recipe tips and considerations:

  • We use 35% whipping cream for this recipe. You can also use heavy cream with a fat content of 36% if this is widely available where you live. Just aim for a cream with approximately 35% fat content.
  • There are different types of gelatine available. We use powdered gelatine that needs to be dissolved in water. When preparing the gelatine, make sure to follow the directions in the packaging.
  • It’s really important to make sure that the panna cotta has cooled to room temperature before putting it into the glasses/molds. If it’s too hot, it might separate since the gelatin hasn’t had a chance to lightly set yet.
  • When making the berry puree (coulis), put it through a sifter to remove the seeds if applicable.
three glasses of panna cotta on wooden board
Panna cotta looks irresistible on a wooden serving board!

How to Make Panna Cotta – Step by Step Instructions

For those who have never made a recipe like this before and want to follow along visually, you can find the recipe process photos in this section.

This way, you can have a better idea of exactly how we make ours!

Alternatively, you can just skip to the recipe card at the bottom of this post with exact measurements and ingredients.

boiling milk and cream in silver pot on stove with whisk
Add ingredients to a pot.

First, add the cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium-sized pot. Heat the ingredients on the stove while whisking regularly.

When the contents in the pot are just boiling, remove the pot from the heat.

gelatin prepared in white bowl on counter with silver spoon
Prepare the gelatine.

Next, prepare the gelatin according to packaging directions (if the gelatin needs to be soaked or boiled first, prepare the gelatin before boiling the cream).

We use powdered gelatin that needs to be dissolved in water while stirring.

pouring gelatin into silver pot on stove with whisk
Add the gelatine to the pot.

Now add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture while whisking constantly.

mixing bowl full of cooling panna cotta with whisk inside
Let the mixture cool.

Now the mixture has to cool down to room temperature. This step is very important otherwise the panna cotta might separate after pouring it into serving bowls.

To cool the mixture, you can transfer it to a bowl and let it sit on the counter for 30-45 minutes while regularly giving it a stir.

To speed up the process, transfer the mixture to a metal bowl that you then place into a larger bowl (or the sink) filled with ice-cold water. Stir constantly until the mixture is at room temperature.

four glasses on counter filled with panna cotta
Pour the mixture into serving glasses or bowls.

Then transfer the panna cotta to serving bowls or into molds (if you plan on turning it over to serve later).

Cover the serving bowls with cling film and place them in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight if you plan on flipping the panna cotta onto a plate or bowl to serve.

strawberries in small blender on counter top
Make the berry sauce.

Before serving, prepare the strawberry or raspberry sauce (coulis) by blending the berries in a blender.

If the blender has trouble, add a little bit of water. You can also add a little bit of sugar but we don’t usually do this.

strawberry puree through metal sifter into white bowl below
Pour the puree through a sifter.

After blending the berries, pour them through a sifter to capture any large pieces or seeds (this is especially important when using raspberries).

glass of panna cotta with berries and red puree on top
Panan cotta perfectly topped with berries… and more berries!

Then spread the fruit puree on top of the set cream and garnish with more fruit.

Alternatively, you can flip the panna cotta out of its mold onto a plate and pour the puree on top with a side of fresh berries.

Storage Tips

Keep any leftovers refrigerated with cling film on the top until consumed.

The dessert will keep well in the fridge since there are no eggs in it. However, we would recommend consuming leftovers within 3-4 days to avoid fridge odors from changing its taste.

FAQ

What is panna cotta?

Panna cotta – meaning “cooked cream” in Italian – is a sweetened cream dessert that is thickened with gelatin.

What does panna cotta taste like?

Without toppings, panna cotta itself tastes creamy and sweet. It typically smells of vanilla – often because vanilla or vanilla extract has been added to the cream. Toppings – like berry puree – will change the flavor substantially.

What is the difference between panna cotta and Bavarian cream?

While both desserts are thickened with gelatin, panna cotta is made without egg. Bavarian cream on the other hand includes eggs as well as whipped cream which has been folded into the mixture before setting.

What to serve with panna cotta?

Panna cotta can be served as is but is usually served with fresh fruit, a berry puree (coulis), and sometimes even chocolate or caramel sauce.

How to make panna cotta?

To make panna cotta, bring milk, sugar, and cream to a boil, add in the prepared gelatin, let the mixture cool, and pour it into molds to set. Garnish to your liking. You can find the detailed panna cotta recipe below.

Related Recipes

For more creamy European dessert recipes, have a look at these sweet and tasty creations:

glass of panna cotta with berries and red puree on top

Panna Cotta

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Panna Cotta - literally "cooked cream" - is a delicious Italian dessert. Made from sweetened cream thickened using gelatin, it's a fancy-looking dessert that serves well with fresh fruit, a coulis, or other sweet sauces!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream (approx. 35%)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pouch powdered gelatine (= 1 tablespoon)
  • 8 oz strawberries or raspberries for topping

Instructions

  1. Add the cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium-sized pot. Heat the ingredients on the stove while whisking regularly.
  2. When the contents in the pot are just boiling, remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Prepare the gelatin according to packaging directions (if the gelatin needs to be soaked or boiled first, prepare the gelatin before boiling the cream). We use powdered gelatin that needs to be dissolved in water while stirring.
  4. Add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture while whisking constantly.
  5. Now the mixture has to cool down to room temperature. This step is very important otherwise the panna cotta might separate after pouring it into serving bowls. To cool the mixture, you can transfer it to a bowl and let it sit on the counter for 30-45 minutes while regularly giving it a stir. To speed up the process, transfer the mixture to a metal bowl that you then place into a larger bowl (or the sink) filled with ice-cold water. Stir constantly until the mixture is at room temperature. Then transfer the panna cotta to serving bowls or into molds (if you plan on turning it over to serve later).
  6. Cover the serving bowls with cling film and place them in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight if you plan on flipping the panna cotta onto a plate or bowl to serve.
  7. Before serving, prepare the strawberry or raspberry sauce (coulis) by blending the berries in a blender. If the blender has trouble, add a little bit of water. You can also add a little bit of sugar but we don't usually do this. After blending the berries, pour them through a sifter to capture any large pieces or seeds (this is especially important when using raspberries). Then spread the fruit puree on top of the panna cotta and garnish with more fruit. You can also flip the panna cotta out of its mold onto a plate and pour the puree on top with a side of fresh berries.

Notes

  • If you plan on flipping the panna cotta out of its mold upside down to serve, let it set overnight since it will need to be completely set.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 44mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

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