This quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce is a deliciously light and creamy Summer dessert. It is the perfect make-ahead dessert for a fancy dinner party, Date Night or even Valentine's Day!
Why we love this recipe
Fresh, creamy and light, this Strawberry Panna Cotta recipe is simply perfect for Summer! The classic Italian dessert is very easy to prepare but looks so impressive and sophisticated.
This recipe is made from the simple, basic ingredients and flavoured with a homemade Strawberry Sauce. The extra strawberry topping brings such a delicious, fresh and bright touch to this dessert - you won't be able to stop eating it!
We love this recipe because:
- It is very quick and easy to prepare in less than 30 minutes and with 7 ingredients. The panna cotta is simply set in serving cups so no need for fancy silicone molds!
- It is a great dessert to prepare in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
- The panna cotta is naturally flavoured with lots fresh strawberries and can also be made with frozen strawberries.
- The recipe is gluten-free and can easily be made dairy-free.
There are two sets of ingredients required to make this recipe. You will need to prepare a Strawberry Sauce (Strawberry Coulis) that is used both inside the Panna Cotta and as a topping too.
Scroll down to recipe card below for all quantities
What is the Panna Cotta made of:
For the Strawberry Sauce:
- Strawberries: you can use both fresh or frozen strawberries for this recipe. No need to thaw them either if using frozen ones!
- Lemon Juice: to balance the flavour of the strawberries and help the sauce thicken.
- Sugar: I used Caster Sugar or Fine White Granulated Sugar. You could use Brown Sugar too, or even a liquid sweetener like Honey or Maple Syrup, but you will need to cook the sauce for longer to remove any extra liquid.
For the Strawberry Panna Cotta Cream:
- Strawberry Sauce: part of the Strawberry Coulis prepared during the first step is added to the panna cotta cream to flavour it. The rest is used as a topping layer over the cream
- Dairy: a mix of Full Milk / Whole Milk and Thickened / Heavy Cream (Double Cream). You could use only milk or cream but I have found that the best texture is found by mixing both.
- Vanilla: Essence, Extract or Paste. You could also use fresh Vanilla Bean if preferred, although it tends to be very pricey. It is an optional ingredient, but definitely boosts the flavour of the dessert!
- Gelatine: I use a Gelatine Powder mixed with a little bit of cold water. Gelatine Leaves can be used instead, but tend to be harder to find in supermarkets.
To make this recipe with no gelatine (thus vegetarian), read the FAQs section below.
How to make Strawberry Panna Cotta
There are two steps to make this dessert. First, you will need to prepare the Strawberry Sauce for Panna Cotta - which is actually a Strawberry Coulis.
Secondly, you will have to make the Panna Cotta Cream flavoured with the Strawberry Sauce. Once these two elements are ready, they will simply need to be layered to create the finished dessert!
- Photo 1: Wash, core and slice the Strawberries into small cubes. Place them in a small Saucepan and add the Lemon Juice and Sugar. Turn on low to medium heat.
- Photo 2: Leave to cook for about 10 minutes or until the fruits are very soft and easily break apart.
The exact time will vary based on how ripe the fruits are or if you use frozen strawberries.
- Photo 3: With an Immersion Blender, blend the mixture until you get a completely smooth sauce. Alternatively, use a regular blender.
- Photo 4: Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any seeds.
- Set aside to cool down. If making in advance, store in the fridge in a jar or airtight container.
You could use some fresh Strawberry Puree if referred (simply cooked and pureed strawberries) but I personally find that using a Strawberry Coulis brings a nicer depth of flavour to the dish.
Strawberry Panna Cotta
Once the sauce is ready, you can start the panna cotta preparation.
- Photo 5: Sprinkle the Gelatine Powder into a small bowl and add some very Cold Water. Mix with a small spoon then set aside for a few minutes until it turns into a thick paste.
Check the instruction on the gelatine package for the recommended water quantity. If there are no specific instructions, add about 1 or 2 tablespoons water - or enough to mix the powder and get a thick paste.
- Photo 6: Place the Milk, Cream, Sugar, Vanilla and part of the prepared Strawberry Mixture in a small pan.
- Photo 7: Whisk well to combine then turn on low heat.
- Photo 8: Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat. The liquid mixture does not need to boil here.
- Photo 9 & 10: Away from the heat source, add the bloomed Gelatine to the saucepan and whisk well until it has has fully dissolved.
- Photo 11: While still warm, pour into your serving cups, molds or ramekins.
- Place in the fridge to set for at least 2 to 3 hours - or overnight. The exact time it will take to set can vary based on the gelatine brand and temperature. To know they are set, gently touch the surface - it shouldn't be liquid anymore.
- Photo 12: Once the Strawberry Panna Cotta have set, top with the rest of the Strawberry Sauce and garnish with some fresh Strawberries, Mint Leaves and some Desiccated Coconut.
- Keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or until ready to serve.
Tips to make this Recipe
- If you want to start preparing this dessert early, the Strawberry Coulis can be made a few days in advance and kept in a jar or air-tight container in the fridge. Or even be made ahead and frozen for a couple of months!
- Using a mix of Milk and Cream (instead of Cream only) creates a much lighter dessert. For a richer Panna Cotta, you can substitute the Milk for more Cream.
- To get two separate layers, allow for the Panna Cotta to completely set in the fridge before topping with the remaining strawberry sauce. Depending on the type of gelatine you use, it should take about 2 to 3 hours in the fridge for the strawberry panna cotta to set.
- Switch things up with another Berry - or even with multiple fruits - by replacing the Strawberry Coulis with a Raspberry Coulis or a Blueberry Coulis.
- For more texture, replace the Strawberry Coulis with a Strawberry Compote.
Yes you can, be you will need to use another type of gelling agent or the cream won't set and stay liquid. Instead, you could use some Agar Agar Powder, a plant-based gelling agent, like I used to make my Coconut Panna Cotta.
To make this panna cotta with Agar Agar, substitute the gelatine with 1,5 grams or 3/4 teaspoon of Agar. Agar needs to be boiled to activate, so you will need to add it to the saucepan and whisk it for about 1 minute once the cream starts to boil, then pour it directly into the serving cups.
Yes, I have made Panna Cotta with a combination of Dairy-Free / Plant-Based Milk and Cream. Note that if using a flavoured cream and milk like Almond Milk or Coconut Milk, the overall flavour of the dessert will change too. For a flavour neutral cream/milk, I recommend using Soy.
You could if preferred but I personally like the fresh, natural flavours of a homemade Strawberry Sauce.
Storing & Making Ahead
This dessert should be kept in the fridge and will last for up to two days. I recommend adding any decoration or toppings just before serving the dessert to stay as fresh as possible.
If you want to start making it ahead, you could prepare the strawberry sauce up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge. You could also make a larger batch of strawberry coulis and freeze it!
More Strawberry Desserts
- Fraisier Cake
- Strawberry Almond Cake
- Strawberry Charlotte Cake
- Easy Strawberry Mousse
- Strawberry Mousse Cake
- Strawberry Custard Tartlets
- Crumble Cake with Strawberries
- Strawberry Custard Tart
- Strawberry Upside-Down Cake
Made this recipe?
Let us know if you liked it by leaving a comment below, and tag us on Instagram @a.baking.journey with a photo of your creation!
Strawberry Panna Cotta
Strawberry Coulis (Sauce)
- 600 gr (1.3 lbs) Strawberries - fresh or frozen
- 1/2 Lemon, Juiced - about 20 ml / 1 tablespoon of juice
- 60 gr (1/4 cup) Caster Sugar
- 250 ml (1 cup) Heavy / Thickened Cream
- 250 ml (1 cup) Full Cream Milk
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) Strawberry Coulis - (keep the rest for the topping)
- 60 gr (1/4 cup) Caster Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 7 gr (2 teaspoons) Gelatine Powder - plus 1 to 2 tablespoon cold water
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
Strawberry Coulis Sauce
- Wash, hule and cut the Strawberries into small cubes. Place them in a small saucepan with the Lemon Juice and Sugar. Stir to combine then turn on medium-low heat.
- Leave to cook for about 10 minutes, or until the strawberries are very soft (see note 1). Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth then pour it through a thin mesh sieve to remove any seeds. Set aside.
Strawberry Panna Cotta
- In a small bowl, mix the Gelatine Powder with a little bit of very cold water (See note 2). Leave until it turns into a thick paste.
- Place the the Milk, Cream, part of the Strawberry Sauce (keep the rest for the topping), Sugar and Vanilla in a medium-size saucepan. Whisk well to combine then turn on medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.
- Away from the heat, add the bloomed Gelatine and whisk well until it has completely dissolved into the hot cream.
- Pour into the serving cups, molds or ramekins. Place in the fridge to set for about 2 hours, or until slightly firm to the touch (see note 3).
- Once the Panna Cottas have set, top with the rest of the Strawberry Sauce. Optionally, garnish with some fresh Strawberries, fresh Mint Leaves and Desiccated Coconut.
Tried this recipe? Make sure to leave a comment and star rating below!
- If using frozen strawberries, you might need to cook them for a little bit longer to allow for the fruits to thaw and the extra juices to evaporate.
- I used about 2 tablespoons of water, but some brands might recommend a different quantity of water to dilute the powder. Check your gelatine package for any different recommendation. The gelatine will turn into a thick paste after being mixed with water - it's normal.
- The exact time will depend on the temperature of your fridge. Simply make sure the desserts have set before topping with the rest of the strawberry sauce to keep nice layers.