Vanilla Panna Cotta Recipe

Updated on September 27, 2017
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberries
Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberries | Source

Low-Fat Pannacotta Recipe

Jackson was 12 years old when he made his first panna cotta. The dinner plates had been cleared away when his mother served the elegant dessert. It was silken, creamy, and delicately scented with rose water. We were blown away. Was Jackson some kind of child prodigy, we wondered?

Then I learned how fast and easy it is to make panna cotta. An Italian dessert whose name literally means "cooked cream," it is straightforward, simple, and elegant. I've since added it to my arsenal and have yet to find a better dessert for company.

Although we love full-fat panna cotta, I often replace half the cream with kefir, plain yogurt, or buttermilk. Not only does it cut the fat and calorie content, but it also makes a light, fresh panna cotta.

You can flavor panna cotta with vanilla, dark rum ala Chef Gordon Ramsey or a liqueur like Grand Marnier. Pour into ramekins, custard cups or, in a pinch, short drinking glasses. Chill for at least two hours and garnish with fresh fruit, berries, chocolate shavings or frosted rose petals. Or drizzle caramel sauce or wild berry sauce over individual servings of panna cotta. You'll have an easy dessert fit for a king: simple, elegant, delicious.

Panna Cotta & Frosted Rose Petals
Panna Cotta & Frosted Rose Petals | Source

Tips

  • Traditional panna cotta is made with heavy cream. We like to replace half of the cream with kefir, yogurt or buttermilk for a light, lower calorie dessert.
  • The cream and yogurt will separate if boiled--just heat to steaming.
  • Flavor panna cotta with our favorite vanilla paste (see Amazon capsule), dark rum or a liqueur such as Grand Marnier.
  • If you don't have vanilla paste, substitute a vanilla bean or vanilla extract.
  • Pour hot panna cotta mixture into ramekins, custard cups or short glasses.
  • For picture-perfect panna cotta, briefly soak ramekins or custard cups in hot water. Panna cotta will easily slide onto the serving plate.
  • Panna cotta is best eaten within a day or two. Texture won't be as creamy after a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Vanilla Panna Cotta & Exotic Wild Berry Sauce
Vanilla Panna Cotta & Exotic Wild Berry Sauce | Source
4.8 stars from 6 ratings of Vanilla Panna Cotta

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (236 mL) heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup (236 mL) plain Kefir, yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste or liqueur (see tips)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons powdered, unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Instructions

  1. Pour cream, yogurt, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is steamy. Do not boil!
  3. While the cream heats, combine unflavored gelatin and cold water in a cup. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Stir gelatin mixture and vanilla paste or liqueur into hot cream.
  5. Lightly grease ramekins or dessert dishes with a flavorless vegetable oil such as canola.
  6. Pour panna cotta into dishes and refrigerate at least 2 hours, until set.
  7. To unmold: set dishes in very hot water for a few seconds, until panna cotta easily unmolds. Do not leave in hot water too long or panna cotta will melt.
  8. Garnish individual panna cottas with wild berry sauce, fresh berries or fruit, caramel sauce or chocolate shavings.

Have you ever tried Panna Cotta?

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Questions & Answers

    Comments

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    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Au fait, panna cotta is so easy to make and a great make-ahead dessert for company.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      I love this and I really should learn to make it from scratch. Your photos make it look so delicious, which I know it is!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Hi Suzanne! Of course, that would be great. I'll have to be over to see your new vanilla bean body scrub soon. Sounds just as fabulous as all your DIY recipes. I miss HubPages...we just moved into our new place and this week are headed back to the U.S. for vacation for the next couple of months. Hopefully, after that I can be more active on HP. I can see you're doing great...keep up the good work. It's always nice to hear from you!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Vespa,

      back again as I LOVE this desert so much! Will be linking it to my new vanilla bean body scrub if that is okay? Hope all is good with you!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Kathryn Stratford, thanks for telling me about the link problem! I'll look into it immediately.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Just so you know, two of the links to recipes (Mango Cheesecake and the Blondie one) go to an Amazon product, rather than the actual recipes. I was curious about the cheesecake, so I will manually look for it.

      Have a great day!

      ~ Kathryn

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Deborah-Diane, this is a great dessert for guests since you it's quick and easy and can be made ahead of time. It's especially delicious with berry sauce! Thanks for your comment.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      I have never tried Panna Cotta, but oh my goodness, it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Ishwaryaa, it's always nice to see you! I'm glad you're familiar with panna cotta due to Masterchef Australia. We love that show! And this one is a winner. Hope you enjoy. : ) Thanks for the share, votes, etc.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An interesting recipe! I am familiar with the name panna cotta thanks to Masterchef Australia. With your easy-to-follow directions and attractive photos, any dessert-lover including me would like to try your exotic recipe. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & pinned

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      CZCZCZ, I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe and photo. It is a delicious and simple dessert. I hope you can try it sometime. Thanks for your comment!

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 

      5 years ago from Oregon

      Great looking recipe, I like the berry sauce picture at the bottom. This looks amazing and tasty.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      shanmarie, I hope you can try this easy and elegant dessert! Thank you for coming by.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Oh, that sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to make it a point to try that.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      sgbrown, I hope you enjoy this panna cotta! I love that it's so easy but elegant and can be made ahead of time. It's perfect for company. Thanks for your comment--they're always welcome!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I have heard of panna cotta before, but didn't really know what it was. This sounds not only delicious but easy too! I am going to enjoy giving this a try. Voted up, useful and sharing! Have a great day! :)

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      MamaKim, Italian desserts are among my favorites, and panna cotta is no exception. I think it's even better with berries. : ) Thanks for all your support!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      5 years ago

      As an Italian... I adore panna cotta and I cannot wait to try your recipe!! Thank you so much for sharing this, voting and pinning!!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      beingwell, I'm glad this inspired you to try panna cotta. It's so easy to make at home; I hope you try it sometime! Thanks for the comment and vote.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 

      5 years ago from Bangkok

      I just had a one, strawberry flavor yesterday! It's yum! I haven't tried making it, though. You make it sound soo easy. Voting this one up.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Kathryn Stratford, so nice to meet you! Any friend of Suzie HQ is a friend of mine. : ) I hope you have a chance to try the panna cotta sometime.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I have never heard of it, but it looks great! And I love that you have some of those frosted roses on top of one. I actually came here from Susie HQ's page, and I am so glad I did!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Lindacee, I know what you mean about availability of products. That was always a problem in Peru but with the improved economy over the years, many products are now available that I could only have dreamed in the past. I love all the tropical fruit we have, too. Thanks for your comments and I hope you enjoy the panna cotta!

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      We were there for 3 years. I do miss the quality of life, however, I don't miss the lack of available products. Also the quality of most everything was far below what we're used to in the States and the prices were ridiculously high.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Lindacee, I'm happy you'll be able to try this recipe. In Peru we can get both the powdered and sheet gelatin but I always use the powdered. If you can only buy the sheets, you'll need about 12 grams (about 3 sheets, depending on how they're sold in Uruguay). Soften them in cold water for about 5 minutes. Wring out the sheets, drop them into the warm cream/sugar mixture and stir until dissolved. I didn't know you had lived in Uruguay! How interesting. Do you miss it?

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. I didn't realize how easy it is to make. Woohoo! Another one of your delish recipes I need to try. Thanks so much for sharing this one! Just curious--can you get powdered gelatin there or do you have to buy the sheets? That's all I could find when we lived in Uruguay.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      GlimmerTwinFan, I hope you have a chance to try the panna cotta some time!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      DeborahNeyens, I'm happy to have reminded you of an old favorite. I love that it's so easy to prepare, too. Thanks!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Vespawoolf - Thanks for this. I have never tried panna cotta, but have hear how good it is.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      5 years ago from Iowa

      We used to make panna cotta all the time, but it kind of fell off the radar. Thanks for the reminder about this old favorite. I think I will make it for Valentine's Day.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      randomcreative, I'm glad you want to give this a try! Panna cotta really is a delicious and simple dessert. Thanks for your comment.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I am intrigued and want to give this a try sometime! You make it look easy. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      You're welcome btrbell! Thanks for coming over!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      This looks great! I will have to try it! Thank you!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Alocsin, I enjoyed SuzieHQ's Hub about frosting rose petals. It's so easy to do and the results are impressive. They make the panna cotta seem even more special. Thanks for the votes!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Moonlake, I'm glad you're adding panna cotta to your recipe box. I hope you love it as much as we do! A always, thanks for all your support.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      RajanJolly, it really is easy to make and the payoff comes when you taste it! So creamy and delicious. I hope you have a chance to try it.Thanks for the comment and votes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This looks so exotic and yet sounds delicious. I especially like the rose petals -- never had a desert with that component. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      I have never had Panna Cotta. I have to add this to my recipe box. Voted up and more.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Amazing recipe. I've never tried making this but it does not seem to be too difficult to make. Thanks for sharing.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Peggy W, I'm glad you're going to add panna cotta to your dessert repertoire! There aren't many desserts that are easy and elegant. Thanks, as always, for your suport.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We love Panna Cotta but have never made it. Will be adding it to our dessert offerings from now on. Just read your wild berry sauce recipe and now this. Am getting hungry for something this luscious sounding! Gave you another 5 stars & up and useful votes. Love how you tie all your recipes together!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Anamika, enjoy! It's so easy and you can vary it so many ways. Thank you for coming by.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Lemonkerdz, I'm glad you're going to try the panna cotta. We love that it's creamy, delicate and comforting. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Beth, thank you for the kind words!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Carol, I'm glad you're going to get set up with ingredients. I love that it's so easy and yet so delicious and satisfying. Enjoy and thanks for all your support!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Hi Suzanne! I'm glad you approve of the use of your frosted rose petals. The photos really didn't do them justice. I know how much you love everything Italian, so I'm pleased that you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for all the votes, share and pin!

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      5 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      That looks yummy! I have eaten this dessert by had no much idea of the ingredients or recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 

      5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      I have never made panna cotta (hence my vote) but after reading i think i maight have a go at it some time soon. I like the idea of doing a vainilla and just add whatever flavour sauce you fancy.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Beth37 

      5 years ago

      You are so gifted and creative. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      well this sounds easy enough and creamy delicious. Will have to head to the store today. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to vote up+++ and pin in my favorite recipes.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi vespa,

      What a great choice to show how to make this Italian classic that I love!

      Delighted to have your recipe to make as I know it will be gorgeous. I loved your intro with Jackson. Thanks for all the lovely suggestions, berries I adore all types and their rich coloring looks great with the creamy panna cotta. Thanks so much for linking my rose petals they look fab with this desert!!

      All the votes (not funny) sharing and pinned!!

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Vickiw, thank you for the kind words! What I wouldn't do to have a freezer full of berries. : ) I make this dessert often--it's hard to beat fast, easy and elegant. Thank you for all your support.

    • vespawoolf profile imageAUTHOR

      vespawoolf 

      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      DDE, I'm glad you approve!

    • profile image

      Vickiw 

      5 years ago

      Oh Vespawoolf, this is one of my favourite desserts too! Love your photo. I have a freezer full of berries, so I should make some of the delicious sauce. I like the way you have cut the richness too - that would also add a more complex taste. Your family must bless the day you started writing these Hubs - bet they eat so well all the time!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome choice of recipe, one of my favorite treats.

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