Panna Cotta

This panna cotta, made with light cream, sugar, gelatin, and your favorite flavoring, is a classic, creamy Italian dessert, suitable for any special occasion.

Two shallow bowls, each with an unmolded panna cotta in caramel, with a spoon resting in the bowl.

The English translation of the term panna cotta is “cooked cream” and it really just doesn’t do justice to this creamy as sin, subtly flavored, lightly sweetened, melt-in-your-mouth classic Italian dessert.–Angie Zoobkoff

Making Panna Cotta Is Easier Than You May Think

Gelatin being added to panna cotta cream mixture.

Panna cotta mixture being strained into individual cups.

Panna Cotta

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 8 H
  • Serves 8
Print RecipeBuy the The Italian Regional Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Special Equipment: Eight small metal molds or ramekins


Ingredients sent!

Send Grocery List

Email the grocery list for this recipe to:

Is required
Sign me up for your or newsletter, too!
Is required


Set two medium saucepans over medium-low heat and add 2 cups cream to each saucepan. Heat the cream in both saucepans until they almost reach a boil, about 7 minutes.

To one saucepan of cream, add the confectioners’ sugar and to the other add the gelatin sheets or powdered gelatin.

Constantly whisk the cream in both saucepans until the confectioners’ sugar and gelatin have completely dissolved and the cream is very hot but not boiling, 1 to 2 minutes.

Tester tip: It can be tricky to whisk with both hands at the same time! You may want to ask for some help at the stove.

In a large bowl, whisk the cream from both saucepans together. Let the mixture cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the granulated or superfine sugar. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar melts and turns pale golden, anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and the exact temperature of your burner.

Immediately coat the bottom of 8 small metal molds or ramekins with the caramel-like melted sugar. Let cool.

Strain the cooled panna cotta into the molds and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

When the panna cotta is firmly set, dip the molds into boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds and turn out onto cold plates. Top with lemon rind, shaved chocolate, or ground coffee beans, if desired.

Print RecipeBuy the The Italian Regional Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    What you Need to Know About How to Fancy Up your Panna Cotta

    • Tux variation

      If you’d like to get a little adventurous with your panna cotta flavorings, we have a few suggestions of potential add-ins. If you choose to add flavoring, simply stir it in during step 4, once the two cream mixtures have been stirred together.

      • • Grated zest of a lemon or lime
      • • A shot of espresso
      • • 3 tablespoons liqueur or brandy
      • • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Recipe Testers Reviews

    I couldn't stop eating this panna cotta. It's silky, a little sweet, creamy, and super easy to make.

    I couldn’t find light cream at any grocery story in town so I used 2 cups heavy cream and 2 cups of 1/2 and 1/2. I also used powdered gelatin and regular granulated sugar. I added 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the cream mixture.

    I let them set overnight and they did come out intact. And now I cannot stop stealing bites of it. This panna cotta is so, so good.

    Simple and delicious! This is a perfect recipe for an easy dessert that will impress your guests! I flavored my cream with strong coffee and served it topped with a mixtures of roasted cacao, toasted nuts, and shaved dark chocolate.

    It took an hour to completely cool the cream. I then refrigerated it for 6 hours and they came out beautifully. The recipe made 10 servings.

    I used individual nonstick ramekin molds and poured the mixture equally among 8 molds.

    I used 3 sheets of gelatin. The recipe doesn’t say to presoak the gelatin in water to soften it and it felt strange putting unsoaked sheets straight into the cream. However, it still worked. I left the panna cotta overnight in the fridge to set.

    After standing the molds in water for 5 seconds, the panna cotta generally came out cleanly. Sometimes I had to stand the mold for an additional 5 seconds if the dessert didn’t come out on the first attempt.

    I got 8 good servings from the recipe. I did not try any of the flavorings suggested. The desserts were wonderful, lightly flavored with sugar, and just set with a wobble. They looked like crème caramel with the caramel on the top and around the edges.

    I would definitely make this again and would recommend it to others.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Have something to say?

    Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

    Rate this recipe!

    Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

    Upload a picture of your dish