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  • Writer's pictureShalini Vemuri

Panna Cotta

A creamy, luscious classic Italian dessert made of sweetened cream and garnished with fresh fruit. A very pretty dessert that can be made in a jiffy!

Panna cotta means "cooked cream". The beauty of the dish lies in its simplicity. Cream is sweetened, boiled, flavored with Vanilla and then thickened. It mimics the consistency of a molded pudding. Panna Cotta can be made in a variety of flavors, the recipe below is a wonderful Vanilla.

Traditionally, gelatin is used to thicken the cream. But, in the recipe below we are using the plant based replacement Agar Agar. Agar agar is made from red algae and doesn't impart any foreign taste or flavor to the dish. However, it does thicken the dish. It is also known to have a lot of health benefits so a clear win-win.

A good quality agar agar is essential for this recipe. I had to toss out a version that I tried earlier as the agar agar I used didn't dissolve even at boiling point. Here is a link to one that gave me flawless results.

The recipe can easily be made vegan by replacing milk/cream with coconut milk/coconut cream.


Serves 2 Total Time 4 hr 30 min Prep Time 10 min


3/4 cup Milk

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp Agar agar powder

1 tbsp Strawberry Jelly/compote

Berries for garnish


1.Lightly grease a couple of ramekins or any heat resistant dish.

2. In a sauce pan, heat cream and milk.

3. Add in the sugar and stir until it dissolves.

4. Take 2 tbsp of water in a cup and dissolve the agar agar powder.

5. Add it to the milk and cream mixture and stir until incorporated.

4. Agar agar activates at a high temperature, so keep stirring and bring the liquid to a boil.

5. Turn off the flame and set aside for a minute and then add the Vanilla extract.

6. Stir and pour it into the prepared ramekins.

7. Cover with a foil or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

8. Once ready, gently run a thin knife along the edge to unmold the Panna Cotta onto a plate. The consistency shouldn't be hard or rubbery. It should be creamy and yet hold the shape.


Serve cold as is or with a fruit compote. Garnish with fresh berries.

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