How to make Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is a delicious dessert that originated in Piedmont, Italy. The words panna cotta translate to cooked cream. Panna cotta is sometimes referred to as a type of custard, but true custard is thickened with eggs and not gelatine. Despite our recipe, sometimes it is flavoured with coffee, vanilla and more. 

It is the perfect creamy dessert, or it can be eaten as a snack. We like to make it the night before to be ready to eat the next day. We recommend serving with your choice of fresh berries and garnish with fresh mint. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the finished dessert before serving to make it extra special. This recipe serves 4 people.


  • Double cream (600ml)
  • Whole milk (200ml)
  • Caster sugar (100g)
  • Vanilla pod with seeds scraped out (1)
  • Gelatine leaves (3)


Put the milk, sugar, cream and vanilla pod and seeds into a pan and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, immediately remove it from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water. Lift the vanilla pod out of the cream, wash it and put it into your sugar to make vanilla sugar.

Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, then into the infused cream and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Continue to stir to cool the mixture. Pour the cream into four 150ml pudding moulds and leave to set in the fridge overnight. The next day serve with stewed rhubarb, coulis, berries, liqueur, caramel or chocolate sauce. 

Frequently asked questions 

Whats the difference between panna cotta and creme brûlée?

Panna cotta doesn't require a blowtorch, whereas, with creme brûlée, the sugar on the top is blow torched to caramelise the sugar slightly. Another difference is that Panna cotta is thickened with gelatine, whereas eggs thicken creme brûlée. The cooking process is slightly different too, panna cotta is cooked on the hob, and creme brûlée is baked in the oven. 

What does panna cotta taste like?

It typically tastes sweet, milky and like vanilla. 

What does panna cotta mean?

The words panna cotta translate to cooked cream.


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