Dairy-Free Panna Cotta Recipe

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Dairy free panna cotta recipe
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Dairy-Free Panna Cotta Recipe

Panna cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a delicious dessert that originated in northern Italy. It is made from simmering a mixture of cream, milk, and sugar (and don’t forget the fresh vanilla bean!) and then adding gelatin and chilling until set.

I’ve also dressed up this dessert for special occasions (like a date night in) with a drizzle of honey, some fresh berries, and even a splash of Marsala wine. I’ve even made this for birthdays before in place of cake or ice cream and it was a hit!

The Best Panna Cotta Recipe (Dairy Free and Delicious)

To me the best recipe is also one with real food, healthy fats, and lots of nutrition. Panna cotta fits the bill.

In fact I found one source that said traditional Italian panna cotta was made by simmering cream with fish bones so that the gelatin in the fish bones would cause the cream to gel. I’m not sure I want to get that traditional (!) so I’m taking the modern approach and using powdered gelatin from a healthy source. (This is the one I use.)

I love this dessert because it’s the perfect backdrop of fresh fruit or berries when in season, not to mention quick and easy. It takes less than 10 minutes to make guest-worthy dessert, but is definitely kid-approved as well. (Better yet, teach the kids how to make it!)

Just by its nature panna cotta is gluten free and grain free, but I wanted to find a dairy-free version as well. For this recipe, I used my homemade almond milk and homemade coconut milk, though store-bought versions will work as well.

Panna Cotta Flavors and Toppings

Almost like a sundae, you can dress up panna cotta in a variety of (mouth-watering) ways. Some toppings I’ve seen on panna cotta in restaurants are:

  • fresh fruit or berries
  • chocolate sauceDairy Free and Refined Sugar Free Panna Cotta Recipe
  • various fruit sauces
  • caramel sauce
  • grated chocolate
  • nuts
  • a splash of Marsala wine

I love that this panna cotta recipe can be lightly sweetened, just fruit sweetened, or even completely unsweetened. The gelatin whipped with creamy milk creates a silk-like texture that is a favorite of kids and adults alike in our house.

Dairy free panna cotta recipe

Dairy-Free Panna Cotta Recipe

Delicious and creamy homemade coconut milk panna cotta is a perfect nutrient-rich treat for any time of year. With healthy fats, skin-healthy gelatin, and a hint of vanilla it’s a family favorite at our house!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Calories 302kcal
Author Katie Wells


8 +



  • Pour both milks into a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the top.
  • Gently whisk in gelatin and wait 5 minutes before turning on the heat to allow the gelatin to soften.
  • Add honey and maple syrup and vanilla to saucepan.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until milk is hot enough to steam. Do not boil as this will deactivate the gelling properties of the gelatin.
  • Lightly grease small bowls or molds with coconut oil and pour the heated mixture into the bowls.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours or overnight.
  • Serve in bowls or gently turn out onto serving dishes and add toppings.


Nutrition Facts
Dairy-Free Panna Cotta Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 /2 cup)
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 230
% Daily Value*
Fat 25.6g39%
Saturated Fat 22.7g142%
Sodium 31mg1%
Carbohydrates 13.6g5%
Sugar 9.1g10%
Protein 8.4g17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Coconut milk or almond milk may be used, just use 4 cups of milk total. Dairy milk also works well for this recipe.
  • Make sure that the gelatin is actual gelatin and not collagen hydrolysate/collagen peptides or it will not gel.
  • Honey or maple syrup can be used alone or left out completely. Fresh fruit puree can also be used for natural sweetness.

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Have you ever made panna cotta? How was it? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


35 responses to “Dairy-Free Panna Cotta Recipe”

  1. Teresa Avatar

    Hi, Is there a way to make this low carb so its kept friendly? Have you tried it with different sweetners? just wondering if there is some substitutions you have tried, it sounds delicious!

  2. Jenna Avatar

    HI! Is there something I could use instead of gelatin? Im a vegetarian and do not eat animal gelatin. Would pectin work?

  3. Patricia Avatar

    Hello dear Katie,
    Greetings from busy Shanghai!
    Just bumped into your website and feel impressed by all your achievements and generous sharing about your doings as a mother and home-MAKER!
    Please, DO keep going & inspiring!
    I have a question about this lovely panna cotta: as heating the milk is necessary to activate the gelatine/agar-agar to have the preparation nicely set, I fear that many of the enzymes in the milk/honey might perish! Have you tried to heat only part of the milk with the gelatine and then incorporate the rest of the mixture at the last moment, just to minimise heat exposure?
    Thank you!
    P.S. I would use 4 to 5 grams of agar-agar per litre or 4 cups of liquid.

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