This homemade strawberry panna cotta recipe has the best strawberry flavor. Smooth and creamy, this homemade recipe is easy to make and is a delicious Italian dessert.
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made with a cream base sweetened with sugar and thickened with gelatin. It is usually served in a small glass, or ramekin, or unmolded into a dome shape and served on a plate. Panna cotta has a very rich and creamy texture and flavored in many different ways.
The word "panna cotta" translates to cooked cream, which describes how to prepare this delicate dessert. This strawberry-flavored panna cotta recipe is made using a simple puree from fresh strawberries and has the best fresh strawberry flavor!
Even though it's made from simple ingredients, it's a great no-bake dessert for summer days. It would be the perfect dessert served after steak pizzaiola, creamy chicken piccata, or fried chicken cutlets.
🍓 Ingredient notes
- Puree - I make fresh strawberry puree during strawberry season and freeze it for use all year long. It only takes a few minutes to make and it's only made from pureed strawberries. This gives it the best strawberry flavor without it being too sweet. I recommend making the puree homemade if you can instead of buying it. Pre-made purees usually contain extra sugar. This will make this dessert too sweet and throw off the texture.
- Gelatin - Powdered gelatin packets dissolved into the cream mixture make the panna cotta set. You can find unflavored gelatin powder in the baking aisle or with the jello at the grocery store. It can also be found online.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Berries - Substitute the strawberry puree for raspberry, blueberries, mangoes, or a mixed berry puree.
- Vanilla - Increase the half and half to 1 ½ cups and omit the strawberry puree.
🥣 Step by step instructions
First, grease six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with baking spray or butter and place them on a small baking sheet.
Next, pour the cream into a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top. Let it sit to bloom for 5 minutes and then place it on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
Let the gelatin mixture heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves completely. Add in the strawberry puree and sugar and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Take the strawberry mixture off of the heat and stir in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Strain the panna cotta mixture through a fine sieve.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dishes or serving glasses. Move to the refrigerator to chill for 2-6 hours or overnight for best results. Serve the strawberry panna cotta with fresh berries or a simple strawberry sauce.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that is mentioned, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Panna cotta can be put into any heat-proof dish or serving glass that will hold 4 ounces of liquid. Ramekins, custard cups, jelly jars, small glasses, dessert cups, or silicone muffin molds all work great.
- Make sure to let the gelatin "bloom" for 5 minutes with the half and half. When you sprinkle it over the half and half and let it sit, it lets the granules slowly absorb the liquid and enlarge. If you skip this step, the gelatin will clump together and make hard lumps in the panna cotta.
- Strain the panna cotta mixture with a fine-mesh sieve before chilling. This will make sure the end result has the best smooth and creamy texture.
- Let the strawberry panna cotta chill for a minimum of 2 hours. If you are planning on inverting onto a plate, 6 hours or overnight is best to make sure the panna cotta sets fully.
- When inverting the panna cotta, let the dish sit in a bowl of hot water and then run a knife around the edges of the dish. Place the serving plate on top of the dish and then flip it over. In my experience silicone molds are the easiest way to make sure you can invert the panna cotta with no issues.
⏲️ Make ahead and storage instructions
This easy recipe for panna cotta is the perfect make-ahead dessert and can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. It's best to not invert it until serving time. Do keep it covered with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.
Leftover strawberry panna cotta will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator. It will last more than that but will start to get rubbery.
🍓 More strawberry recipes
If you loved this strawberry panna cotta recipe, check out these other strawberry recipes that I know you will love too!
- Strawberry Rossini Cocktail
- Strawberry Rhubarb Skillet Cobbler
- Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Biscuits
Strawberry Panna Cotta Recipe
- Pour the half and half in a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let the gelatin sit for 5 minutes to bloom.
- Heat the gelatin mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the gelatin is dissolved.
- Add the strawberry puree and sugar and continue to heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove the mixture off of the heat and stir in the cream, vanilla and sea salt.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and then pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins or cups.
- Move the baking sheet to the refrigerator and let the panna cotta chill for 2-6 hours until it’s completely set, or overnight for best results.
- Any heat-proof dish or serving glass that will hold 4 ounces of liquid will work. Ramekins, custard cups, jelly jars, small glasses, dessert cups, or silicone muffin molds.
- Let the strawberry panna cotta chill for a minimum of 2 hours. If inverting onto a plate, 6 hours or overnight is best to make sure the panna cotta sets fully.
- When inverting the panna cotta, let the dish sit in a bowl of hot water and then run a knife around the edges of the dish. Place the serving plate on top of the dish and then flip it over. Silicone molds are the easiest way to make sure the panna cotta inverts with no issues.
Substitutions and Variations
- Flavor - Puree made from just fresh strawberries gives the best flavor and texture. Store bought puree with extra sugars can make the dessert overly sweet and affect the texture. Different types of fruit puree can be made such as mango, raspberry, blueberry or mixed berry.
- Plain - Vanilla panna cotta can be made by omitting the strawberry puree and increasing the half and half to 1 ½ cups.