Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

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Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

A few more of my favorite holiday desserts easy to make fro your guests are my Skinny Chocolate Parfaits, Gluten Free S’Mores Tartlets, Dark Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding, Mini Mixed Berry Pie, and NO-Bake Strawberries and Cream Crepe Cake.

Panna cotta is one of my FAVORITE desserts when prepared properly. It’s such an easy dessert to make and it can easily be adapted with many different flavor profiles. Although it’s usually made very rich with heavy cream, I’ve been able to play around with the ingredients through the years to give this dessert that same lusciousness, yet using much less cream.

If you need a dessert this Holiday season to impress your guests, I promise, this one is it! And since it needs at least four to five hours to set it’s the perfect dessert to make a day or two ahead.

I’ve tried so many panna cotta recipes from blogs through the years that looked so beautiful, only to be disappointed. Perhaps I’m a bit of panna cotta snob, because I know what a good panna cotta should taste like. It shouldn’t have the texture of jello, instead it should be creamy and smooth, almost pudding like in texture. I’ve tested this particular recipe FIVE times to get it perfect, so if you plan on trying this – don’t change a thing!

For diabetics, yes, this will work with Splenda or other sweeteners, and of course cut back on even more calories. So go grab a spoon and savor each spoonful of this vanilla treat.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!
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Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberries

7
7
7
SP
158 Cals 5 Protein 20 Carbs 7 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Chill Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 35 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dessert
CUISINE: American
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta – Vanilla beans, strawberries and cream make this easy, light and luscious dessert worthy of a standing O! Perfect for the Holidays if you need a dessert to impress!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups fat free milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin, Knox
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half cream
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  • Place the fat free milk in a medium heavy saucepan with the seeds from the vanilla bean.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let it stand for 10 minutes to soften the gelatin grains.
  • In the meantime, prepare an ice bath in a large plastic bowl.
  • After 10 minutes have passed, heat the saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the half & half cream, 5 tbsp sugar and salt.
  • Whisk well and and leave until the mixture is hot, but do not let it come to a boil, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, then transfer the liquid into a clean, metal medium-sized bowl.
  • Place the bowl in the ice bath to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Divide the mixture evenly, about 1/2 cup each between 6 small dessert bowls or glass parfait glasses, then cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  • 1 hour before serving, combine sugar and halved strawberries in a medium bowl, tossing to coat.
  • Cover and chill, tossing strawberries occasionally.
  • Drain strawberries before serving.
  • When ready to eat, spoon the fresh strawberries over the panna cotta and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1panna cotta with 1/4 cup strawberries, Calories: 158kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4.5g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 48mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g
Blue Smart Points: 7
Green Smart Points: 7
Purple Smart Points: 7
Points +: 4
Keywords: easy holiday desserts, light panna cotta, low calorie panna cotta, panna cotta dessert, vanilla bean panna cotta

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58 comments

  1. I’m pretty bummed, by no fault of the recipe. I got to the ice bath part and shattered my glass bowl. DO NOT use a glass bowl, as the recipe states, use a metal bowl. I’ll have to try again when I purchase a metal bowl. 

  2. I made this with all vanilla almond milk instead of milk and cream. It turned out great! I didn’t think it would set at all because it never thickened in the ice bath but it did end up setting nicely, not falling apart but not too gelatin firm either. The taste is great and with almond milk it came out to be 80 calories each. 

  3. Could this recipe by unmolded onto a plate like I’ve seen panna cotta at restaurants or should it be served in a cup as pictured?

  4. will this work with fat free half and half?

  5. Made this tonight and it was delightful, however, mine came out more on the jello side rather than the pudding side like creamy jello and thickened about 2 hours into fridge. I measured everthing to the T.  Any thoughts? Still great flavor!

  6. This is one of my go to desert recipes when I make a heavy meal, this is light and refreshing with an elegant taste. I do use different fruit sometimes. Tonight I am using mango mixed with Grand Marnier instead of sugar. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe 😛

  7. Used 2 tsp vanilla extract instead on vanilla bean. Turned out great!

    • Thanks for the tip, I was wondering if that would work too because vanilla bean is pricey and sometimes my budget doesn't allow it (yes, my budget dictates everything I do.. lol)

  8. Well you probably didn't let it sit long enough

  9. Well you probably didn't let it sit long enough

  10. Mine never jelled. Right now it's just cold soup.

  11. i am vegan and don't eat gelatin products. i wonder if this could be made using xantham gum or agar agar flakes?

  12. Madet this as a light but elegant finish to New Year's Eve dinner. It turned out great, but I was worried because it did not thicken AT ALL, either on the stove or in the ice bath. It was still completey liquid when I poured it into parfait glasses. One hour later it was no better, and I thought it was a lost cause. But sure enough…after about 5-6 hours it firmed up beautifully. I made it the day before we were going to eat it, and I'm glad I did, because otherwise it would not have been ready. Great recipe! My first panna cotta and I must say it was lovely.

  13. I made this last night for dinner, and I loved it. I used 2% milk and stevia and it worked out great. Took a bit longer to thicken up, and had to stick it in the freezer to hurry up the setting process, but it turned out great. Thank you so much for this!

  14. Can Fat Free Half & Half be used in this recipe?

  15. i just made this and mine did not thicken up in the ice bath, I used 1% do you think that is why?

  16. how long will this stay in the refrig? and of course another amazing post

  17. can you plz tell me what is half and half cream Im from Australia ..thanks

  18. I wonder if you could use vanilla almond milk?

  19. Absolutely beautiful, Gina! I've already shared this one with a few friends who I know would ADORE a good panna cotta recipe! 🙂

  20. I had panna cotta for the first time this week. Can't wait to try this recipe.

  21. I just recently discovered I am lactose intolerant. Can almond milk or other lactose free milks be used?

  22. Oh my gosh, I've never had panna cotta, but I definitely want to give this a shot!!

  23. I am in love with your pictures! Have you taken photography classes?

  24. Oh boy, I need to try this! The first time I had Panna Cotta was at Il Tesoro in Goshen, and it was divine… and loaded with fat & calories I'm sure. I'll have to give this a try and see how it turns out.

  25. Your petite dishware is perfect, do you recall a brand name or a link to where I might them? Thanks!

  26. yum yum! if only I could find vanilla bean around here I've been really unsuccessful so far. 🙁 thanks for an awesome recipe! xx. gigi. www.gigikkitchen.com

    • You can get vanilla bean mail order from Penzey's (or at a store if you're lucky enough to have one in your area) – usually a much more reasonable price than supermarket.

  27. Can you use fat free half and half?

  28. This is such a gorgeous, easy and elegant dessert. Love it!

  29. This may be a dumb question, but where do you get a vanilla bean? This sounds delicious! Thanks.

  30. I really can't wait to try this as I love panna cotta but have never considered making it myself.

    (also, you might want to change 'partical' to particular (unless you really meant partical, then disregard this edit)).

  31. Thank you for this post! I am obsessed with vanilla bean. Definitely making this over the holidays!

  32. It's seriously good, and the vanilla bean makes it extra special!

  33. This looks outstanding! I've never made panna cotta, but anything with vanilla bean has me totally intrigued. I could definitely see friends and family being impressed with this one at the holidays! And only 4 PP?! More cookies for me . . . 🙂