Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries

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This Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries is a new favorite of mine. It’s light, creamy and full of fresh pops of fruit! It’s also easy to make and serve and is always a hit.

Why You’ll Love this Panna Cotta Recipe

  • Easy to make. This recipe is so easy to make. A little chopping, a little dissolving gelatin, and a little heating on the stove is all it takes to get these cuties ready to chill and set in the fridge.
  • Creamy texture. Because panna cotta is primarily made from cream and milk, it has a ridiculously smooth texture that is firmed up with a little unflavored gelatin and flavored with vanilla.
  • No bake. This recipe is also no bake, which is a bonus. Yes, you use the stove, but not for long. Most of the work to finish the panna cotta is done by your refrigerator!
  • Festive. Panna cotta has a creamy white color. With the addition of fresh strawberries and blueberries, they’re perfect for celebrating anything red, white and blue!

What You’ll Need

I can’t wait for you to try this recipe. Here are a few ingredient tips to keep in mind when making panna cotta. Check out the recipe card toward the bottom of this post for full ingredient amounts.

ingredients for panna cotta in glass bowls on marble background

For the Panna Cotta

  • Fresh strawberries and blueberries – For the best taste and texture, use fresh chopped strawberries and whole blueberries. Frozen berries would end up a little mushy and aren’t ideal.
  • Unflavored powdered gelatin – I use Knox brand gelatin and need 2 packets, but don’t use all of the second one.
  • Cold water – It’s best to dissolve gelatin in cold water so that all the granules “bloom” correctly.
  • Heavy whipping cream – Creates the creamy, smooth texture of panna cotta. The higher the percentage of fat in the cream the better!
  • Whole milk – Use whole milk for the best taste and texture. Lower fat options won’t be quite the same.
  • Sugar – To sweeten the panna cotta.
  • Vanilla extract – Be sure to use a high quality vanilla for the best flavor.

For the Whipped Cream

  • Heavy whipping cream – When making whipped cream, start with cold heavy whipping cream. Cold cream whips up to stiff peaks more quickly and has better volume.
  • Powdered sugar – To sweeten the whipped cream and keep it from wilting.
  • Vanilla extract – For light flavor.
  • Additional berries – If desired, use additional fresh berries for topping.
cup of panna cotta with a spoonful being lifted out

How to Make Panna Cotta with Fresh Fruit

Here’s what you’ll need to know about how to make Panna Cotta with Fresh Fruit. The full recipe directions can be found in the recipe card below.

To Make the Panna Cotta

  • Divide berries evenly into glasses: Divide the berries evenly between eight 8-oz glasses.
  • Prepare gelatin: Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Heat heavy cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan: While gelatin sits, heat the heavy cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not boil.
  • Stir in vanilla: Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour milk mixture over gelatin and stir to dissolve: Pour the milk mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Pour panna cotta mixture evenly over the fruit in each glass: Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cups prepared with the berries, dividing it evenly among the cups. Chill them until firm, 3-4 hours.

To Make the Whipped Cream and Assemble

  • Begin whipping heavy cream: Once the panna cotta cups have firmed, make whipped cream. Whip heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract together until stiff peaks form.
  • Top cups with whipped cream and berries: Top panna cotta cups with whipped cream and some additional shopped strawberries and blueberries if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
overhead image of cups of panna cotta with fresh berries sitting on silver platter with fruit around it

Tips for Success

Although panna cotta has a fancy name, it’s actually a very simple dessert to make. Here are two important tips to keep in mind.

  • Use cold water to dissolve gelatin. The temperature of the water used to dissolve unflavored gelatin is very important. Hot water will cause the outer granules of gelatin to swell more quickly than the center and might create a pocket of undissolved gelatin in the center. You’ll get more even results if you use cold water.
  • Do not boil the milk mixture. Gelatin will need to be added to the milk mixture to help the panna cotta set properly. If the milk mixture is too hot (boiling) the gelatin could get damaged and might not set properly. Don’t risk it!

Variations

Want to change things up? This simple panna cotta recipe has endless possibilities for changes. Take a look and get your creative juices flowing.

  • Different flavoring extract. If you want to experiment, you could try changing the vanilla extract used in the panna cotta and whipped cream to almond, lemon or coconut.
  • Change the fruit. Another way to change these up is to use a different type of fruit. Any soft berry would work well. You could try raspberries, blackberries, or cherries. You could also simplify the fruit by only using blueberries or only using strawberries.
  • Switch up the toppings. You can eat the panna cotta plain and leave off the whipped cream and berries. Or, add a drizzle of your favorite dessert sauce like Hot Fudge Sauce, Easy Strawberry Sauce or even a little Salted Caramel Sauce.
  • Serve it with cookies: Because panna cotta is such a light dessert, it tastes delicious when paired with a crunchy, sweet cookie like my elegant Lace Cookies or these Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies.
overhead image of cups of panna cotta with fresh berries sitting on silver platter with fruit around it

Storage Information

  • Refrigerate. Keep your panna cotta refrigerated until you are ready to serve it. It holds up well for a few days, so you could definitely make it a day ahead if desired. However, it’s best to eat them within 2-3 days, so the fruit doesn’t start to go bad or get mushy.
  • Freeze. I don’t recommend freezing these. The texture will be altered by freezing.

More Delicious Fruit Inspired Desserts

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close up of glass cup of panna cotta with berries in it
Recipe

Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chill Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 panna cottas
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries is a new favorite of mine. It’s light, creamy and full of fresh pops of fruit! It’s also easy to make and serve and is always a hit.


Ingredients

Panna Cotta

  • 1 1/4 cups (166g) chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) blueberries
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatin
  • 5 tbsp cold water
  • 3 cups (720ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (29g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Additional berries, for topping

Instructions

Make the panna cotta

  1. Divide strawberries and blueberries evenly between eight 8-oz glasses (Approximately 1/4 cup of fruit per glass). Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl. Be sure all of the gelatin is touching water or it won’t all activate properly. You can gently stir in to moisten everything, if needed. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. While gelatin sits, heat the heavy cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, or until melted and smooth. Pour the melted gelatin into the milk mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly between the prepared cups.
  6. Chill panna cotta until firm, 3-4 hours.

Make whipped cream and assemble

  1. To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  2. Pipe the whipped cream onto the chilled panna cotta and finish off with some additional strawberries and blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best if eaten within 2-3 days. 

Notes

Recipe modified from Food Network.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 trifle
  • Calories: 633
  • Sugar: 59.5 g
  • Sodium: 239.4 mg
  • Fat: 39.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 62.7 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 122.3 mg

Categories

Enjoy!

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13 Comments
  1. Daniela Fonseca

    Hi Lindsay, your recipies are always absolutely fabulous! I’m your no.1 fan! I’m Portuguese and I like to search for recipies from out of my contry and when I found your website I fell in love 🙂 Thank you for sharing these beautiful kitchen treasures 🙂

  2. Jessica @ Sweetest Menu

    Wow, that is alot of travel! You must be a seasoned traveller by now. Meanwhile this panacotta looks amazing. I have never made it at home before! Perfect for July 4!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      I don’t know about seasoned, but certainly learned a few things. You definitely have to try panna cotta – I never would’ve thought I’d love it, but I do!

  3. Joan Hayes

    Lindsay, these are so gorgeous! They look like the perfect light treat for a 4th of July party! Thanks for sharing your recipe. : )

  4. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting

    Welcome back!! This past year was the first time I have had a panna cotta and it was awesome!

  5. Kimberly@The Little Girls Bakery

    Maybe I should give this a shot! Anything made with gelatin never really sounded to pleasing to me, but now that you’ve demystified panna cotta, it sounds great!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Yes, gelatin is one of those things that I generally avoid, but is great in the right things. And panna cotta is definitely more delicious than I would’ve thought. 🙂

  6. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures

    I have never made panna cotta before, but you have encouraged me to give it a try!

  7. Beth

    I’ve been seeing lots of recipes for panna cotta but I didn’t know what it was, so thanks for explaining that 🙂 Your photos are gorgeous!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      I had been too – I’m glad I finally figured it out because it’s delish! 🙂 Thanks Beth!

  8. Mir

    All the security measures are somewhat reassuring, even though I’m sure it was pretty wearying to have to keep getting everything checked. It sounds like a great trip, though!
    And these are intriguing me. I’ve never tried panna cotta, and now I really want to even more. It’s always there on menus and I’m not sure if I want to order it. I’m gonna give it a shot, Lindsay!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29