Strawberry panna cotta combines the fresh, delicate flavor of spring berries with the comforting warmth of vanilla bean for a dreamy, creamy dessert that is a total cinch to put together!
Strawberry panna cotta has a light delicate berry flavor that’s like a breath of fresh air at the end of a long winter. Perfect for rounding out a Valentine’s day dinner, or for impressing dinner guests with next to no effort at all!
Panna cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a traditional no bake dessert made with simple ingredients and minimal effort. If you’ve never made one before, I think you’ll be surprised at how streamlined the process is. The result is a silky, rich, custard-like dessert with no eggs to temper or water baths to fuss with.
what you’ll need to make perfect strawberry panna cotta
With simple ingredients like these, quality matters. Look for fresh strawberries and use the best quality vanilla bean paste you can find!
- strawberries – the fresher and riper, the better!
- heavy cream
- whole milk (you can also use all cream for a richer dessert)
- granulated sugar
- gelatin – we’re using the powder kind that comes in little packets
- vanilla bean paste
- you can also use the seeds of one vanilla bean, scraped out, or vanilla extract.
- 4 small ramekins
- Part of the charm of panna cotta is letting it set up in little molds and then turning them out onto dessert plates. It’s a unique and pretty presentation you can decorate in simple or creative ways. Most ramekins for this purpose are 4 ounce capacity, and you can see a selection here.
how to make strawberry panna cotta – step by step
- First we’ll make the strawberry puree by simply cooking down chopped strawberries in a saucepan for a few minutes, and pressing them through a strainer.
- Then we’ll bloom the gelatin by adding some water to a medium sized bowl (big enough to accommodate the rest of the ingredients which will get added later), and sprinkling the gelatin over the water. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl for later, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- While the gelatin is blooming, heat your cream, milk, and sugar, in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved. When it’s just about to start simmering, take it off the heat.
- Let the cream mixture cool for a few minutes, and while still quite warm, stir in the strawberry puree and vanilla bean extract.
- Pour this whole mixture through the strainer into the bowl with your gelatin. Mix everything together well to make sure the gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Pour the strawberry panna cotta mixture into your ramekins or molds. Set in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. That’s it!
tips for un-molding panna cotta
There’s always one tricky bit to every recipe, isn’t there? In this case, it’s un-molding the strawberry panna cotta for presentation, but the good news is, you can totally skip this part if you want! Simply serve your panna cotta out of small ramekins, glass jars, pretty cocktail glasses, or whatever you want to make them in. If you do plan to un-mold them, here are my best tips.
- Brush the sides of your ramekins or molds with vegetable oil before filling with the panna cotta mixture. This will help them slide out better.
- Make sure you give them enough time to set fully, at least 4 hours.
- Run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the panna cottas before unmolding.
- If they are still sticking, fill a shallow bowl with hot tap water, and partially submerge your containers in the hot water for 5 seconds or so to loosen them (obviously don’t submerge them far enough for water to get into the containers!)
- Make sure you don’t leave your panna cottas sitting in the hot water for too long or they will get melty around the edges and not look very pretty.
- Place your serving plates on top of the panna cotta molds and then invert the plate, tapping on the bottom of the molds and giving them a little shake.
why we love this simple, elegant dessert!
I have always loved creamy desserts (give me all the pot-de-creme’s, creme brulees, puddings and custard sauces!), but strawberry panna cotta takes the cake for ease and elegance. If you just want to have some fun in the kitchen, this is what you should make!
Strawberry Panna Cotta
- 4 6-ounce dessert ramekins buy here
- Set out your containers on a baking sheet or tray for easy transfer to the fridge. I used 4 6-ounce rammekins, but you can use any other small containers. Plan to get around 4-6 servings depending on the size of container you use. If you plan to un-mold your panna cottas, lightly brush the inside of the containers with vegetable oil.
- Make the strawberry puree by placing the chopped strawberries in a saucepan over medium heat and cooking until the fruit has broken down and the juices have cooked down a bit (about 10 minutes.)
- Push the strawberries through a fine metal strainer and set aside (you should have about 1/2 cup of a thin puree)
- Add 3 tablespoons of water to a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let sit for 5-10 minutes while you make the rest of the panna cotta mixture.
- Add the cream, milk, and sugar to a saucepan. Heat over low/medium heat until just barely starting to simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the strawberry puree and vanilla bean paste, and mix to combine. The mixture should still be quite warm.
- Pour the warm cream mixture through a metal strainer into the bowl with the gelatin mixture.
- Mix well to combine, making sure the gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Pour the panna cotta mixture into your prepared containers, and carefully transfer to the fridge to set. Allow to chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Once the panna cottas are set, enjoy as is, or if you would like to un-mold your panna cottas, run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the containers. Place a small serving plate on top, and invert, tapping on the bottom of the container to release. If they are still not coming out, fill a shallow bowl with very hot tap water, and gently submerge the panna cotta containers partway into the hot water (don't let any water get inside the container) for 5-10 seconds. Then run a knife around the edge again and invert to release.
- Serve the panna cotta with extra berries.