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Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

Panna cotta is a thick creamy, gelatinized dessert that you’ll crave again and again. This panna cotta recipe is made with strawberries and is equal parts sweet and tangy.

If you’re in the mood for more custard-like desserts, you’ve got to try this classic creme brulee, my salted caramel coffee mousseor this incredible no-bake tiramisu recipe.

Two wine glasses filled with panna cotta and topped with strawberry sauce and a mint leaf.

Panna cotta topped with strawberry sauce left chunky.

Best Panna Cotta Recipe

I have tried a lot of different panna cotta recipes, and I still hold that this is the best of them all. Every spoonful of this dessert brings a creamy rich flavor that isn’t too heavy on your palate.

Even though traditionally panna cotta has heavy cream as the main ingredient, my recipe uses sour cream instead. This gives it the perfect balance of sweet and tart to keep your coming for spoonful after spoonful.

If you are like me and don’t love your desserts to be overly sugary-sweet, this is the best panna cotta recipe to make. You will love the balance between the sweet, tart and fruity. Every bite tastes just right.

Vanilla panna cotta in a dome on a plate surrounded by homemade strawberry sauce.

Panna cotta unmolded onto a plate, then surrounded with pureed strawberry sauce.

Panna Cotta: The Best Party Dessert

If you are having a party or a large gathering, panna cotta is the perfect dessert choice. It takes minutes to create, but your guests will never guess how easy it is!

Serving this dessert in miniature cups makes it looks high-end and fancy, but it is truly just as easy as making it in a large batch. The only difference is the added few minutes it will take you to scoop the panna cotta into individual serving cups.

I also love making this for dinner parties because it can be made ahead of time. It means I can make the dessert earlier in the day instead of running in and out of the kitchen while guests are over.

Tray of individual serving cups with panna cotta topped with strawberry sauce and mint at a party.

Panna cotta in mini dessert cups is perfect for parties as it’s only a couple of spoonfuls.

Panna Cotta vs Flan vs Creme Brulee

If you’re curious what the difference between flan, creme brulee, and panna cotta is, you aren’t alone. They are all custard-like desserts, but there are a few key differences.

  • Panna cotta is an Italian dessert that can be flavored with almost anything (fruits, berries, coffee, chocolate, caramel). It has gelatin in it for structure and form and is a very versatile dish.
  • Flan on the other hand, is a traditional Spanish dessert. It is made with eggs (to thicken it) and always flavored with caramel sauce.
  • Creme brulee is a French dessert. It is similar to flan, except for instead of baking with a caramel sauce, a caramel coating is torched onto the top into a glasslike crust.

I love all three of these desserts, but panna cotta is the most versatile and the easiest to make, particularly for a larger group or when you need to make dessert ahead of time.

Vanilla panna cotta topped with strawberry sauce, fresh strawberries and edible flowers.

Can I Make This Strawberry Panna Cotta with a Different Berry?

The beauty of this dessert lies in how versatile it is. While this is a strawberry panna cotta recipe thanks to a luscious sauce, it also has a few raspberries pressed into the dessert for extra flavor.

However, you can make this strawberry panna cotta into any other flavor you would like.

Other popular flavors of panna cotta are:

  • raspberry
  • blueberry
  • blackberry
  • lemon
  • mango
  • passion fruit
  • coconut
  • coffee
  • or a sprinkle of cocoa to make a chocolate version

Tips for Making This Panna Cotta Recipe

  • heavy cream will give you the best result, but if you opt to use milk make sure it is whole milk so it thickens appropriately
  • the gelatin needs to be unflavored. You can order unflavored gelatin powder here, or look for it in the baking aisle.
  • this dessert must be chilled until it is completely set. It will normally take 2-4 hours in the fridge.
  • if you are in a rush, you can set panna cotta in the freezer, but you’ll need to be careful not to let it completely freeze. 30 minutes or so should do the trick, but keep a close eye or set a timer.

How to Make Panna Cotta

  • Combine cream, sugar & gelatin and let bloom for 5 min.
  • Heat the mixture & stir to dissolve the gelatin and sugar.
  • Whisk in the sour cream & vanilla until smooth.

Visual step by step directions for how to make panna cotta

Panna cotta in a glass with strawberry puree on top


More Dessert Recipes to Try

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

5 from 8 votes

Panna cotta is a thick creamy dessert that you'll crave again and again. This panna cotta recipe is made with strawberries—equal parts sweet and tangy.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: berry panna cotta, panna cotta, strawberry panna cotta
Calories: 334 kcal
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12


Panna Cotta Ingredients

Strawberry Sauce:

Equipment (Choose 1 option)


How to make Panna Cotta

  1. Sprinkle 2 tsp (use 3 tsp for unmolded panna cotta) of gelatin over 1.5 cups of heavy cream and stir to combine. Allow the gelatin to bloom (hydrate) for 5 minutes. Then, gently heat until almost boiling, but not quite to dissolve the gelatin. Do not bring to a boil.

  2. Add 2/3 cups sugar and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract or vanilla paste and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the 2.5 cups sour cream 1 cup at a time whisking it in completely before adding more. Work quickly as the cold sour cream starts to set the gelatin fast.

    If the mixture starts to set too quick, just microwave it in 5 second intervals, stirring after each until it is thinned back down.

  4. For 2 oz mini dessert cups: Divide the mixture between 40 dessert cups using a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour, followed by pressing 1 raspberry into the middle, then tap the cup against the table to cover the raspberry and flatten out the top. Only fill cups 2/3 full, leaving the rest of the space for the strawberry topping.

    Tap the dessert cup to cover the raspberry completely.

    To serve in wine glasses: using a 1/3 cup measuring cup alternate pouring the mixture and dropping 2 raspberries between each layer.

    To serve the dessert unmolded: pour into ramekins and press a couple raspberries into the middle of panna cotta. Rap the ramekins against the table to flatten out the top.

Meanwhile make the Strawberry Sauce Topping **(see notes)

  1. For the step by step picture tutorial follow the link HERE.

    Combine 2 cups chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tsp lemon juice in a saucepan and set it over medium heat to cook.

  2. Stir the 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water together. Then slowly, while continuously whisking the strawberry mixture pour the cornstarch slurry in. Cook for about 1 minute after the sauce starts to boil. Use a spoon or a potato masher to mash the berries into a sauce, or an immersion blender to completely puree it. Allow to completely cool.

How to Serve Panna Cotta

  1. Top the panna cotta cups with strawberry sauce and serve. If you wish to serve the dessert unmolded, see the Notes below.

Recipe Notes

To unmold the panna cotta:

Run the outside of the glass with the already set panna cotta under warm water for a couple of seconds (or submerge the outside of the glass into warm water, being careful so no water gets into the glass). Wipe the glass dry. Turn the glass over a serving dish and tap lightly to unmold. Pour the strawberry sauce around the unmolded panna cotta and serve.<br><br>

If the mixture starts to set too quick, just microwave it in 5 second intervals, stirring after each until it is thinned back down.<br><br>

**You can make the strawberry sauce by cooking it with the cornstarch like the recipe requires, or just simply puree the fresh strawberries with sugar (leaving out the corn starch, water and lemon juice). The choice is yours.

Nutrition Facts
Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 66mg22%
Sodium 52mg2%
Potassium 142mg4%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 34g38%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 735IU15%
Vitamin C 17.7mg21%
Calcium 78mg8%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Luba

    Love it ❤️
    But there’s mistake. “Add sugar” written twice…
    Could you fix it plz? Thank you

    · Reply
  • Anna

    What do you mean by “bloom” for 5 minutes? I would love to make this recipe.

    · Reply
  • Lalith

    You have repeated the ingredients in the steps. It is not clear at what stage Suharto and vanilla should be used

    · Reply
  • Kat

    It looks amazing Marina! My sister makes panna cotta dessert and it’s always such a hit but I’ve never made it myself. Saving this one!

    · Reply
  • Dina

    Marina, what a stunning dessert! Panna Cotta is such a perfect summer dessert, especially with all the juicy strawberries this time of year. I love how you included different ways of serving it.

    · Reply
  • Julia

    Oh my goodness, the texture of your panna cotta looks absolutely divine. It is actually my favourite dessert. That and creme brulee! I need to try your recipe, Marina!

    · Reply

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