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Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

It doesn’t get much better than this easy and delicious Italian Panna Cotta recipe.  This is one of those really easy dishes to make, it tastes amazing and it looks really fancy! 

If you are not familiar with how to make Panna Cotta, it is an Italian custard made up of cream, milk, gelatin and sugar and it is almost fool proof to make. It is also a great dessert to entertain with not just because it is easy, but because it is made ahead of time. 

multiple panna cotta

There are only a few ingredients you need to make this creamy Italian dessert. All the ingredients can be found at any grocery store and the gelatin in this is actually good for you!

Here are the ingredients you will need for this Panna cotta recipe:




Gelatin (plain)

Vanilla extract

panna cotta recipe ingredients

For the ramekins I used to make the Panna cotta, I have standard size white porcelain condiment ramekins. Since I do not have too many of these, I also use some small glass pyrex containers, also used for condiments or small sides of food.

When choosing what you put your Panna cotta in since we are not flipping it out, try to find something that looks nice for serving. I sometimes use stemless wine glasses as well. Mix and match if you need to!

ramekins for panna cotta

Often you will see Italian Panna cotta flipped out of its container on to a plate. I have chosen to not invert my Panna cotta and I left them in their cups when they were ready for serving. 

If you do decide you want to be fancy and invert these little guys on a plate then all you need to do is lightly oil the cups that you place the panna cotta in and after they are done chilling place them in a warm water bath for a few minutes to loosen them and then turn them out.

close up panna cotta

Helpful tips when making this Panna cotta recipe:

  • Have a large liquid measuring cup handy (I use a 4 cup one) to pour the panna cotta from the pot into it so it makes pouring into small ramekins easier.
  • Have a very large flat bottom plate or tray available and place your empty ramekins on that before pouring the custard mixture into them. This makes moving them from the counter to the refrigerator so much easier.
  • If you end up with air bubbles on the top of your Panna cotta after pouring them into the ramekins, just take a small spoon and gently scoop the air bubbles until they pop. Then carefully place in the fridge to cool.

Italian Panna cotta is great served any time of year from summer all the way through winter. It is great for entertaining with and a great dessert on those hot days. Change your toppings up based on the season or your mood. Get creative!

I love my fancied up version of Panna cotta sometimes, a Horchata Panna Cotta. Sometimes just plain is all I need.

It really is a great dessert!

summer panna cotta
panna cotta
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Panna Cotta

A delicious and easy Italian custard
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
chilling time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Stir to distribute, and set aside to soften 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Get out your dishes that you will be pouring the panna cotta in and set aside. Half-fill a large bowl with ice and add enough water to make an ice bath and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, and whisk in the softened gelatin and the vanilla extract.
  • Set the saucepan in the ice bath (making sure the top of the saucepan is well above the surface of the water), and whisk until the mixture is lukewarm.
  • Pour mixture into ramekins and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. If you’re going to keep them longer than overnight, cover them with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap gently against the panna cotta to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Add toppings to your liking.

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