This creamy Panna Cotta is a great make-ahead dessert that’s simple to make, and pretty enough for a special occasion. Because Panna Cotta is so often served at restaurants, it’s easy to think of it as complicated or fancy, but it’s one of the easiest desserts you can make yourself. Just like a Tiramisu!

Panna Cotta - In Glasses with Fresh Berries On Top of Raspberry Gelee

And because it has to be made ahead, it’s a great stress-free dessert for entertaining.

All you have to do is pull it out of the fridge when you’re ready to serve.

What is Panna Cotta?

Panna Cotta is a creamy Italian custard that’s enjoyed cold.

It’s traditionally set with gelatin, and can be served in glasses like I have here, or inverted onto a plate for a molded look.

Panna Cotta Recipe - Served In Glasses with Fresh Berries On Top of Raspberry Gelee

I think it looks beautiful in glasses, and then you don’t have to deal with the stress of inverting them perfectly. But, these can be inverted if you’d like. The panna cotta stays molded very nicely, while the raspberry sauce spreads slightly.

How to Make Panna Cotta:

In a small saucepan set off the heat, combine milk and gelatin together and let sit for 5 minutes:

Pouring milk and Gelatin Into a Saucepan

This is called blooming, and ensures that the gelatin dissolves evenly.

Heat the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes until the gelatin dissolves, then add heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt:

Adding Cream and Vanilla Extract to the Saucepan

Heat for another 5 minutes or so, until the sugar dissolves.

Then pour the panna cotta mixture into glasses:

Pouring Panna Cotta Gelatin Mixture Into Small Glasses

Let cool briefly at room temperature, then place into the fridge for 6 hours, to set.

For the raspberry gelee, combine gelatin with water, and again let it bloom:

Bloomed Gelatin in a Saucepan

Add raspberries (I use frozen), lemon juice, and sugar to the pan:

Frozen Raspberries, Sugar, and Lemon Juice Added to Saucepan

Simmer this mixture for 5-8 minutes, until the raspberries have broken down into a jammy texture and the sugar has dissolved:

Raspberry Gelee Mixture in Saucepan Cooked

Strain the seeds out using a fine-mesh strainer:

Straining the Raspberry Seeds with a Fine Mesh Strainer

Let the gelee cool to room temperature, then pour it evenly over the four panna cotta glasses:

Pouring the Raspberry Gelee over the Set Panna Cotta

Return the glasses to the fridge for another hour, to allow the gelee to set.

To serve, add a few fresh berries on top of each one:

Panna Cotta Dessert - Served in Glasses with Raspberry Gelee and Berries

Blackberry CrispRaspberry Frozen Yogurt, and Fruit Pizza are some of my other favorite fruity desserts. Enjoy!

Panna Cotta In Glasses with Fresh Berries On Top of Raspberry Gelee

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Gelee

Creamy panna cotta is served with a bright raspberry gelee on top. It's a beautiful and delicious make-ahead dessert!

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For the Panna Cotta:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 envelope powdered unflavored gelatin (only use 1.5 tsp of it here)
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the raspberry gelee:

  • remainder of above gelatin envelope (about 3/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (6 oz)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  • In a small saucepan off the heat, combine 1.5 tsp of the gelatin with the milk, and let stand for 5 minutes. This process is called blooming, and lets the gelatin absorb liquid and dissolve evenly later on.
  • Set the pan over medium heat, and stir frequently for 5 minutes, until the gelatin dissolves, making sure you don’t boil the milk. Turn the heat down to medium low, if necessary.
  • Add the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt, and stir for another 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  • Evenly pour the mixture into 4 glasses or ramekins of your choice (4-ounce ramekins are a good size), and let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Then chill in the fridge for 6 hours to set.
  • To make the raspberry gelee, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining gelatin with the water, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice, then simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Use a fine meshed sieve to strain out the raspberry seeds.
  • Let the gelee cool to room temperature before pouring evenly over the chilled panna cotta (if the liquid is hot, you’ll melt the panna cotta very easily).
  • Refrigerate for another hour to set the gelee. If desired, serve with fresh berries, and enjoy!


Calories: 442kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 122mg, Sodium: 193mg, Potassium: 182mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 1390IU, Vitamin C: 13.3mg, Calcium: 107mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in February 2019. Originally published August 2011.