4 ingredients and a little gelatin, and you’ve got what contestants on MasterChef struggle with almost every episode — a beautifully light panna cotta. Don’t get me wrong, this seemingly simple dessert isn’t without its complications, but with a little bit of practice and experimentation (and isn’t that what cooking is all about anyway?), you’ll wow your family and friends with this recipe.

A Few Note About this Recipe: I’ve infused vanilla flavor by cooking the cream with a split vanilla bean. But you could certainly infuse any flavor you like — ginger, cinnamon, even earl grey or green tea.

Also, my original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of gelatin. However, as you can see from the picture below, the panna cotta with that quantity didn’t set quite right (and I let it sit over night). So I’ve updated the recipe to 2 teaspoons gelatin.

de-molded panna cotta

Lastly, I garnished this dessert with this Easy Raspberry Coulis, a bit of chopped almonds for crunch, and chiffonade mint (because, yum).

Batch 2 with 2 teaspoons gelatin yielded a set panna cotta.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Category: Baking, Sweet

Servings: 6 panna cottas

Simple ingredients, simple recipe, a beautiful dessert.


  • 12 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz milk
  • 3 tablespoons super fine sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 4 teaspoons water


  • Place the cream, milk, sugar, and split vanilla bean in a medium pot over low heat.
  • Keep over heat, stirring occasionally, until the vanilla bean seeds start to fall out and are visible throughout the milk mixture (5 to 8 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, place 2 teaspoons gelatin powder in a small bowl.
  • Add the 4 teaspoons of water and whisk with a fork until dissolved.
  • Add dissolved gelatin to the milk mixture and whisk until the gelatin is fully incorporated (there should be no lumps or granules).
  • Pour the panna cotta into ramekins (I used silicon tartlet shells).
  • Place in the fridge until set (4 to 6 hours minimum).


*total time does not include resting time


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