We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Panna Cotta?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert, most popular in Northern Italy, and probably originated in the Piedmont region of the country. Its name translates to cooked cream, but it is actually not cooked that much. Milk and cream, plus sugar and flavorings are cooked together for a brief period of time, and then added to a thickening agent (most often gelatin). This simple pudding gets firmer as it cools and is usually served chilled.

The relative simplicity of the panna cotta recipe makes it a terrific dessert choice for even novice cooks. While many European custards get their firmness from adding eggs, gelatin makes panna cotta difficult to mess up, and eliminates the possibility that you will end up scrambling your eggs in hot custard mix. The only thing you need know about this dessert besides the recipe is that you’ll need to prepare the dessert in advance so it has time to chill. It’s also a good idea to purchase ramekins so that you can create individual serving sizes. The pudding can either remain in the ramekin, or be unmolded and plated.

Since the base recipe for panna cotta produces a very light taste, the dessert is often served “dressed up” with various sauces. Adding sauces made of berries, summer fruits, or even tropical fruits can be delicious. Typically you would add these after the panna cotta has achieved the desired firmness. You could even serve panna cotta with a dollop of jam if you want to keep things simple, thus creating a dessert somewhat similar to castle pudding.

There are other recipes for panna cotta that are more complex. Though vanilla is the most traditional, variations can include many additions. The dessert can be made chocolate, mixed with coconut, flavored and colored with saffron, or even forgo sugar and be turned into a savory dish. Nowhere is the subject of this dessert more completely covered than in the 2007 cookbook, Panna Cotta: Italy’s Elegant Custard Made Easy by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Her recipes include classic ones, and some unusual interpretations of the pudding, such as flavoring it with lavender or creating a butterscotch variety. Moreover, Saulsbury’s book contains numerous suggestions for savory renderings of the dish, including those made with varied vegetables and goat cheese.

You should note that if you are a vegetarian, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this Italian classic. Instead of using gelatin, you can substitute agar-agar, a seaweed derivative. This will easily give the custard the desired thickness needed, and adds little to no flavor to the dish.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.