Panna cotta (without gelatin!)

Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts: for months I tried to find a recipe that did not contain disgusting commercial gelatin of animal origin (have you ever wondered what gelatin is made of? Trust me, it’s gross!), or strange algae like agar-agar that I am not very familiar with, and after much trial and error… well, I finally found it!

Panna cotta

This is the most simple and wholesome panna cotta you can possibly prepare. Nothing but plain whipping cream, sugar, and eggs: the true, traditional panna cotta, like Italian grandmas used to make in the old days!

Panna cotta

Panna cotta

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Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 80 g sugar
  • 30 g honey
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 vanilla pod


  • In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, honey, and a horizontally scored vanilla pod to a boil. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved.
    500 ml heavy cream, 80 g sugar, 1 vanilla pod, 30 g honey
  • In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg whites with a fork until bubbles form on the surface. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and carefully add the cream to the egg whites. Then, pour the mixture into individual oven-ready ramekins.
    4 egg whites
  • Fill a baking pan with water and place the small ramekins in the pan. The water should reach the level of the cream but not the edge of the bowls.
  • Position the pan in the lower part of the oven preheated to 250°F and bake for approximately one hour. You can check if the panna cotta is ready by gently touching the surface, which should feel bouncy yet firm.
  • Allow the panna cotta to cool, then transfer it to the fridge to firm up until ready to serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

In my opinion, this creamy dessert is delicious on its own, just plain, because one gets to really taste the flavor of the cream itself, but you can go wild and serve it with chocolate sauce, fruit compôte, fresh berries, caramel… it’s like a blank canvas for your creativity.

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One Comment

  1. I sure wish I knew the Italian language, but I don’t. I was thinking about learning it, but at almost 72 years old, I’m a little old for that. Your recipe looks so delicious, and I really appreciate your English translation. I hope everyone you love is safe and healthy. This corvid-19 scares me, and I don’t know when it’s going to end. In the interim, I’m going enjoy your recipe.
    Cheryl Masters