This Italian panna cotta with vanilla is an easy Italian dessert to make and really delicious. This creamy vanilla panna cotta is perfect for entertaining or for a make-ahead dessert and so easy to make.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Italian Panna Cotta is an Italian custard made up of cream, milk, vanilla, gelatin, and sugar and it is so delicious and almost foolproof to make. It is also:
- A great make-ahead dessert: You can make this ahead of time so it is ready for you or your guests.
- The perfect portion size: Small individual portions are great when you want a small dessert or for serving at gatherings.
- Light and delicious: Italian panna cotta is very light and not too heavy. The perfect ending to any Italian meal.
- Made with simple ingredients: There are only a few ingredients you need to make this easy creamy Italian dessert. All the ingredients can be found at any grocery store.
I love making this Italian panna cotta for the holidays or when my family wants a cool dessert in the warmer months. We sometimes switch up the flavors and make a buttermilk panna cotta or cinnamon panna cotta as well.
How to make Italian Panna Cotta
The ingredients for this Italian vanilla panna cotta are all simple ones that anyone can find at their local grocery store. Here is the list:
- Milk: Whole milk is what you want to use for this recipe since it has a higher fat content.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar.
- Cream: Look for heavy whipping cream at the store.
- Gelatin (plain): Make sure to purchase plain gelatin. You can use powdered gelatin or gelatin sheets.
- Vanilla extract. The best quality you can find.
- Water and Ice: For the ice bath for cooling the panna cotta mixture.
Making panna cotta is so simple. Here are the easy steps (full recipe below):
- Prepare gelatin: Place the water in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the top, stir, and allow to soften for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Prepare containers and ice bath: Get out the panna cotta containers that you will be pouring the panna cotta in and set aside.
- Combine and heat ingredients: In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat then whisk in the softened gelatin and the vanilla extract.
- Set pot into ice bath: 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 for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Garnish: Add strawberries on top before serving.
- 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 the panna cotta containers you are using 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. Getting rid of the air bubbles on the panna cotta is just aesthetic and will not affect the taste.
Italian Panna cotta is great served any time of year from summer all the way through winter. It is great for entertaining and a great dessert on those hot days.
More Italian Recipes
If you are looking for ideas of what to serve with this Italian vanilla panna cotta, here are some ideas:
More Italian Desserts
If you love this Italian panna cotta, you may also like these:
Italian Vanilla Panna Cotta
- 8 small containers containers that hold about 4-5 ounces
- 2 ½ cups Whole Milk
- 1 ½ cup Heavy cream
- ⅓ cup Granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin (or 4 sheets of gelatin.)
- ½ 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.2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
- 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 milk, cream and sugar and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.2 ½ cups Whole Milk, 1 ½ cup Heavy cream, ⅓ cup Granulated sugar
- Turn off the heat, and whisk in the softened gelatin and the vanilla extract.½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix until the gelatin is fully dissolved. This may take a couple minutes.
- Once the gelatin is dissolved, 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.