Panna Cotta — Your tips and tricks

I’ve never made panna cotta. I’ve eaten plenty of it, though — I much prefer a softer texture (a little jiggle) to a hard set.

I’m going to try my hand at it, so I’d love any tips and tricks from folks who already have this down pat!

Curious about a perfect traditional version, but also about

  • using agar agar (because: vegetarians)
  • yogurt
  • milk (saw something recently about using 3/4c milk + 1/4c butter to sub 1c cream)

What a coincidence! Last night i ate some that I had frozen. That’s my best trick.

Discussed in this thread.

Here’s a picture.

Here’s a post about using buttermlk. Not sure I mde this one.

I agree on the jiggle. We like a combination of cream and buttermilk.

Which recipe from there did you end up with?

I’m seeing variation on gelatin proportion across recipes.

I think the lemon on lemon because I wrote
“. I went for it with a lower liquid recipe which was intended to go in a mold.”

and it says “If you have used straight-sided ramekins for the panna cotta, unmold onto individual serving plates”

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You can use yogurt. Keep in mind that more solids/less liquid means less gelatin is needed than if you were setting an equal volume of cream or milk.

Agar has a higher melting point than gelatin so will have a firmer set. IIRC, approx 140F vs 100F. Gelatin will more or less melt in your mouth, agar won’t, which makes it a challenging substitute.

I’d say if the vegetarians are strict, consider creme brulee instead. Or if you don’t want to turn on the oven, a lemon posset or seasonal fruit fool for something light and creamy.


Thanks - had not thought about this.

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My family enjoys this one. It typically gets made in the spring with fresh strawberry/rhubarb sauce and candied almonds.

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Ok, I’m back at this. Looking at a Shrikhand Panna Cotta tart for Diwali maybe.

Here’s one, but no mango for me.

I do like the SK recipe, maybe I can use that with a cookie crust.

Or here’s one with agar agar.

And one without any setting agent… I guess the yogurt would have to be really well-drained.

The sour cream here would have the right tang.

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Thought I’d try no setting agent first to see what texture resulted.

Should really have drained the yogurt overnight but it’s Greek and also broken into so a bunch of liquid had already separated, so I’m living dangerously.

Saffron, cardamom, and nuts plus sugar.

Biscoff and butter crust, so this is currently completely vegetarian, which would be a big plus.

Will let it set up for a day before cutting in.



I really like Claudia Fleming’s buttermilk panna cotta recipe. It has a lovely soft set, and restrained sweetness. I generally use 2 cups of buttermilk and 1 cup of cream so I can just buy a half pint of cream, and it comes out great.


Thank you - i prefer a soft set so this sounds good

Color me shocked. This worked out remarkably well.

The filling holds firm so that I could cut a clean slice, but isn’t technically “set” in a panna cotta or cheesecake way.

My laziness in not draining the yogurt did have a slight impact - there was syrupy liquid at the bottom of the container I had put the whole tart pan into, ie the yogurt continued to drain - through the crust :joy:. But I had baked the crust, so it didn’t sog out. (Next time I would drain the yogurt over a day or two, thoroughly.)

The biscoff crust was a nice counterpoint: shrikhand is a bit tart and not overly sweet, and the crust had a toasty, buttery sweetness that balanced the tartness very nicely.

Will continue to experiment with the others.



My only quibble with Fleming’s is that I think her recipe is too sweet. I recorded in my copy of The Last Course to cut back the sugar. Otherwise yes, her recipe is very good.
Alice Medrich has very similar ratios in terms of gelatin (both Fleming and Medrich are a bit below 1%), but she likes less sugar in hers. She has recipes for saffron and cardamom panna cotta, jasmine, and honey in Pure Dessert.
Also with less sugar and similar ratios is Russ Parsons, who wrote a great article on panna cotta:


Thanks! I am in the midst of making a yogurt panna cotta tart (in the form of a Mishti Doi Tart, which will be a twist on one of my favorite Bengali desserts).

My real problem is cookie crust, because no matter what I do something goes wrong :woman_facepalming:t2:

Today I think the butter might have been a bit shy, although I made the same tart base twice, separately, and one of them turned out perfectly. The other one… sigh. The sides fell in - and also out - because I lightly bumped it by mistake. So I did some remedial work on it and put it back to bake for a bit. Every. Single. Time. Who knew “instant” cookie crusts would be my nemesis, but I’d be able to pull of bagels :rofl:

Re the actual panna cotta: looks like the gelatin proportion varies from 1/2tsp per 1cup of liquid to 3/4tsp across recipes. I think I might stick to the low end of that because I have 3c of thick yogurt (full fat Greek drained overnight) plus 1c of whole milk. So, thicker than cream and milk. And I really don’t want a hard set.

Any thoughts? I’m not going to get to it till late tonight.


Most recipes ime are more than that. As I mentioned in my other post, 1% gelatin is a really good baseline amount for a guaranteed set but still creamy panna cotta. That’s about 3/4 tsp per cup (a tsp being 3 grams, so 3/4 tsp is 2.25 grams). You can go a bit below that, but at 1% it’s not a hard set. I used a little under 1% for my espresso panna cotta and it was juuuust spoonable. Medrich is right below 1% and Fleming a touch lower. Most recipes I see call for more than that, and those I ignore because they make hard panna cotta.


Stella Parks has a nice recipe. It’s right around 1% gelatin, which can be lowered a little bit if preferred. The sugar amount is good, and I like that she explicitly calls for salt. I add salt to all my panna cotta, so I appreciate the rare recipe that calls for it explicitly, because I do find it necessary even though practically nobody calls for it.

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This thread just sent me down a gelatin rabbit hole, so i thought I’d share this handy conversion chart in case anyone has ever struggled with sheets vs powdered!


I made this yogurt panna cotta tart with fresh citrus a few winters ago and enjoyed it.

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