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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberry Compote Recipe

Panna Cotta
Molly Aronica

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is the ultimate warm weather dessert — creamy, chilled custard topped with your favorite seasonal fruit of choice. Nothing beats it. 

This version of panna cotta includes vanilla to add an extra depth of flavor. The key to the strawberry compote is the fresh lemon zest, which brightens up the whole dish. Feel free to play around with different flavorings and fruit combinations. 

Click here to see 9 Ways to Enjoy Summer Strawberries.


For the panna cotta:

  • 3 cups half and half
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing molds

For the strawberry compote:

  • 1 pint strawberries, quartered
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Zest of 1 lemon


For the panna cotta:

Heat the half and half and sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat, whisking frequently to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Meanwhile, lightly grease the small cups or ramekins you'll be using as molds for your panna cotta.

Remove the pot from the heat as soon as the cream begins to boil and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the gelatin and vanilla into the warm cream, making sure to dissolve the gelatin fully. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared molds and refrigerate them until they're set, at least 4 hours.

For the strawberry compote:

Add the strawberries, sugar, and water in a small pot over medium-high heat — cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the strawberries have broken down and a syrup has formed. Remove the sauce from the heat and swirl in the honey and lemon zest. Cool the compote and serve it over the panna cotta.