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.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

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. Donna Avatar

    Hi Katie! I’ve been using your panna cotta recipe for about a year now and my family loves it. Its a great healthy alternative to other unhealthy desserts, and I’ve played with this recipe just to change it up and my family loves it when I add in cooked brown rice right before I put it in the fridge to gel it. I just made this again last night and added raisins and nutmeg, along with the brown rice. Yum!

  2. Danyelle Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    When I click on the link to the collagen/ gelatin you use, it just goes to the website not the specific one. Can you clarify this for me please. Is it collagen, collagen creamer or collagen and whey and then which collagen flavor?

  3. Amrita Avatar

    I wonder if using agar agar instead of gelatin would work? Is there a place to get good quality gelatin. I’ve seen videos of how gelatin is made and it is tragic. Any ideas? I am not a vegan but I need to know that products are created in ways that are not as traumatic as most meat processing.

  4. Donna Pawlak Avatar
    Donna Pawlak

    4 stars
    Hi Wellness Mama, not really directly to do with this recipe, but I bumped into a honey making expert by accident the other day. I knew that you couldn’t heat honey because you destroy all the beneficial goodness, however, this honey expert said that honey shouldn’t be added to very hot/boiling water as it becomes poisonous. He claimed that doctors were urging him to share this information with his buyers. Have you heard of this before and do you have any ideas on it?

    1. Adelaide Avatar

      Hey Donna,
      I’ve heard that too. I’ve become quite careful about using it now. I don’t even put it in hot tea. There doesn’t seem to be a one size fits all answer but I figure it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

  5. Krista Avatar

    You’re so wonderful. I’ve been meaning to learn how to make this since the first time I had it just a few months ago.

  6. Monika Avatar

    Hi, is it possible to use pectin instead of gelatin? Would that give me a similar result? Thanks.

  7. Kristina Avatar

    Got it! That’s where I must’ve read it and not noticed the guest writer xx

  8. Kristina Avatar

    Of course I would to expect bikini pictures from a reapectable mother, I obviously offended you — which was my intention. I do believe you have mentioned that once you changed your family food plan you and your husband lost over 65lbs? Which is great! I guess that amount implied a weight problem to me. But again, since not many details are given about the meal plan — I just wanted to clarify before I buy xx

      1. Kristina Avatar

        Not sure where my reply went. I was trying to clarifying some embarrassing typos that implied I meant offense to you and that I think you should be in a bikini — neither of which are true, but iPhone spell check typos.

        I obviously mistook your guest author for you when reading about the massive weight loss. I thought it a positive thing, and wanted to know how it was contributing to your meal planning xx

    1. Kristina Avatar

      Oh dear! I just now saw all the typos in my reply…note to self — never type on an iPhone.

      I meant I would NOT expect bikini pictures…and meant NO offense.

      Sorry for the sloppy reply xx

  9. Kristina Avatar

    I have a question about the meal program and your recipes in general. I love your whole food approach, and am considering the meal plans. One thing is holding me back, the weight issue. Is a healthy weight part of the planning of your meals and recipes in general? I’ve only seen your profile picture and have no idea about your family, but I do remember reading that you and your husband were obese before starting to eat real food. Are you overweight now? What is the design of your meals in regards to calories, carbohydrates, and weight gain? Before spending the money on a membership those are questions I think are important and not addressed.

    A private email reply is fine if you prefer, I just didn’t know anywhere else to ask this question. The CONTACT page isn’t exactly encouraging. Thanks xx

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I think you must be thinking of another blog, as neither my husband nor myself have ever been obese. My approach to meal planning is to focus on nutrient-dense real foods like our great-grandparents and grandparents would have eaten, before there was ever drama about calories and carbs (and when there was a much lower obesity rate). If you haven’t already read it, I’d suggest the book “The Calorie Myth” by Jonathan Bailor for some great info on that 🙂

      On the other hand, I’m not posting bikini pictures to get people to sign up for the meal planning system… SO if that is a requirement for you, it might not be for you 🙂

  10. Erica Avatar

    Thank you!! I absolutely love panna cotta but haven’t had it since being dairy free, so I’m very excited to try this! Thanks for your great recipes!! 🙂

  11. Sarah Avatar

    Ooh! Smooth, creamy, and dairy free – its sure to be a winner 🙂 Would make a great breakfast. Do you think I could add protein powder?

  12. Terry Avatar

    When do the honey/maple syrup and the vanilla get added in? I’m not seeing that step in the method. After heating?
    I’m looking forward to trying this out.

  13. Rebecca Avatar

    When do you add the honey and maple syrup? The directions don’t specify. Thanks!
    Oh, and, shouldn’t the word be grease instead of crease in direction #3?

  14. Carla Avatar

    I just had to check this out because I’d never heard of Panna Cotta before. Interesting!

  15. Melissa Smith Avatar
    Melissa Smith

    I just made panna cotta last night for the first time! I went with heavy cream, milk, and a bit of Greek yogurt for a probiotic factor. Absolutely delicious. The panna cotta was lemon flavoured, and for a topping the recipe called for gelled pomegranite juice (more gelatin). I think I’m in love. Looking forward to trying out a non-dairy version too.

  16. Heather C Avatar
    Heather C

    We can’t use almond. Would it be ok to sub more coconut milk?

    1. Heather C Avatar
      Heather C

      Oops you actually answeredthat later on in the post! Sorry 🙂 we will try this with just coconut! Thanks!

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