Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with fresh berries sauce – vegetarian

vanilla bean panna cotta long

Directly from the Italian tradition (with a vegetarian twist) one of the most indulgent dessert ever: panna cotta, literally translated with “cooked cream”. It’s a perfect summertime quick dessert that will literally please EVERYBODY as it is silky, creamy and (I’m not kidding) addictive 😉

panna cotta24

The fresh berries coulis (I used strawberries and raspberries) it’s an amazing summer complement to the panna cotta. In winter you can easily substitute it with some chocolate warm cream.

What makes the panna cotta kind of unique is the gelatin that is used to thicken the cooked heavy cream. The gelatin gives that kind of wiggle and light taste to this dessert. Originally the gelatin was made from fish bones (the collagen is the thickening agent), but today is made with the collagen from animal parts (skin, bones, cognitive tissues). Being that said, the traditional panna cotta is NOT vegetarian. As I was preparing a dinner for some vegetarian friends (and I really wanted them to try the panna cotta) I switched the traditional animal gelatin powder with a vegetarian agar agar powder with the same final result: delicious!!

panna cotta png

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is vegetarian thanks to the agar agar but if you want you can use the animal gelatin without any problem.

Here you are the quantities for 6 servings:

panna cotta ingredients

And that’s how simple the recipe is:


– in a medium size sauce pan add all the cold ingredients: heavy cream + cane sugar + agar agar + vanilla bean

panna cotta5

panna cotta6

panna cotta7

panna cotta8

– turn the heat on at medium, stir well with a whisk and let the mix almost boil

panna cotta9

– when tiny bubbles will start forming around the edges, reduce the heat at minimum and keep cooking and stirring for 2/3 minutes more

panna cotta10

panna cotta11

– turn the heat off and fill any pudding mold you like. I used a simple silicon cupcakes mold, perfect size for kids and adults too. The panna cotta cannot be considered a super light dessert, so I prefer to offer small portions. You can still indulge yourself without feeling too guilty 😉

panna cotta12

panna cotta13

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. That’s the other beautiful thing about the vegetarian agar agar gelatin…it requires so much less time to thicken compared to the animal gelatin!


– wash the fresh berries. I used strawberries and raspberries in a 1:1 ratio. Place them in a food processor and blend for 1 minute creating a smooth puree

panna cotta14

– strain the berries mix in order to remove the seeds (the kids will appreciate!!)

panna cotta15

panna cotta16

– add the lemon juice and the powdered sugar. mix.

panna cotta17

panna cotta18

panna cotta19

– refrigerate up until serving it with the panna cotta. either on top of it or, like I did, as a pink/red bed.

panna cotta20

panna cotta2

The panna cotta can be served immediately once thickened or stored in the refrigerator for up to 2/3 days (nothing more). If you are planning a dinner or a party and you want to impress your guests, that’s a recipe to add to the menu’! Easy and simple and you can prepare it in advance.

vanilla bean panna cotta square


Did you make this recipe? Share the love, tag @buonapappa on Instagram and hashtag it #buonapappa I would love to see your creations!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Why isn’t there a print friendly button?

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      September 22, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Hi Arianna!
      Thank you for your comment as it gave me an additional reason to add the “print” plugin to my recipes. It is something I’ve been thinking about for a while but I didn’t have time to work on it. Starting from this week (Thursday) all new recipes will have a print option. Thanks. All of your comments help me improving BuonaPappa website 😉 b

  • Reply
    Bangla Recipe
    April 6, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    I tried out the recipe but cake didn’t rise and got a strange shaped cake…

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      April 11, 2016 at 12:24 am

      Hi! the panna cotta is not supposed to rise as it doesn’t have any yeast or rising agent in it. It is just supposed to get thicker with a gelatine consistency, like a pudding. That being said, basically it will assume the shape of the container you are using. I hope you enjoyed it!! ciao, b

  • Reply
    June 16, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Is the same amount of gelatin powder for replacing the agar agar powder

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      June 26, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Noemi! if you would like to use regular gelatin, you will need less amount. Agar agar is much more powerful than gelatin. For the recipe I would use less than 1/2 teaspoon of regular gelatin. Ciao! b

  • Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Tried this and loved it!! So easy to make and so tasty.

  • Reply
    Prerna Borar
    April 29, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Hi! The mixture thickened but I couldn’t get the giggly(the actual) texture. I tried twice once keeping it in the refrigerator and once kept it out at room temperature. Here in India it’s very hot, 43°C

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      May 30, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      Hi! The temperature outside doesn’t help, you are right. Also, being a vegetable gelatin, agar agar doesn’t have that wiggly final effect, stays a bit more “still”. I hope I was helpful!! ciao, b

    Leave a Reply