Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a delicious Italian dessert made with cream, milk and gelatin. It’s simple to make and can be flavored with anything from fruit to chocolate. Best of all, it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it.


  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small saucepan. Let stand 1 minute to soften.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk in gelatin mixture until well blended. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.

Potential changes & improvements

There are many ways you can change up this recipe to suit your taste. For example, you could use flavored gelatin, swap out the milk for another type of dairy or non-dairy milk, add in some fruit or chocolate, or top with a homemade sauce or whipped cream.

What other food it works well with

Panna cotta goes well with a variety of fruits, such as berries, stone fruits or citrus. It also pairs well with chocolate or caramel sauces. For a savory twist, try serving it with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake when making panna cotta is not whisking the gelatin mixture into the cream mixture until it’s completely smooth. If there are any lumps of gelatin, they will not dissolve and your panna cotta will have a grainy texture. Another mistake is not cooking the cream mixture long enough. You want it to come to a boil so that the gelatin will activate and thickens the mixture. If it doesn’t boil, your panna cotta will be too runny.

Nutritional Information

Panna cotta is a rich and indulgent dessert, so it’s best to enjoy it in moderation. One 6-ounce serving has approximately:

  • 300 calories
  • 22 grams of fat
  • 16 grams of sugar
  • 6 grams of protein


Panna cotta contains dairy and gelatin. It may also contain nuts, soy, eggs and wheat, depending on the ingredients you use.

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