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Chocolate Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is one of those great desserts that you can make ahead of time.  It's so quick and easy and can be served in any pretty glass.  When I make this recipe, I always have some mixture left over and I pour the extra into small ramekins.  You can also pour this into coffee cups or espresso cups for a really fun presentation.

Panna Cotta means "cooked cream" in Italian and is a very adaptable recipe and  can be flavored with just about anything.  If you want to leave out the cocoa powder from this recipe, you can add some vanilla bean and have vanilla panna cotta.  Or add a touch of honey or a little pureed blueberries.  You really can flavor it any way you like.  

When you cook this, be sure to gently heat the mixture.  Do not let it boil.  Make sure all the sugar has dissolved before removing it from the heat.

Chocolate Panna Cotta

for a printable recipe, click here

makes enough for 6 large panna cottas or 12 small ramekins, with some leftover

  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 4.5 cups heavy cream
  • good quality cocoa powder, 2 to 4 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • chocolate and white chocolate bars, for garnish


Put the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the milk. Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften. Turn heat to medium and stir milk just until the gelatin dissolves.

Add the cream, sugar and salt. Whisk in the cocoa powder until you get the amount of chocolate you like. Whisk over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves, just a few minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool completely. (I pour the mixture into a 6-cup Pyrex to cool.) Stir mixture frequently during cooling to prevent skin from forming. Pour the cream mixture into 6 martini glasses or into a dozen small ramekins.

Cover and refrigerate. Chill until set. 

With a vegetable peeler, shave small chocolate curls from each of the chocolate bars onto the panna cotta.

Can be made the day before.
For some other delicious panna cotta recipes (White Russian panna cotta, anyone?) check out these sites:

Delicious Days
Baking Obsession


For another dessert served in glasses, try these peanut butter and chocolate pudding parfaits:


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Reader Comments (28)

I love panna cotta. My husband loves chocolate--someday I will make this.

June 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaybelles mom

wow this looks delicious! I just made this the other day... but no chocolate! Next time I am adding the chocolate!

June 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGaby

You can use gelatine leaves instead of powder.
It gives more consistence.

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFabio

I love pannacotta and this looks so so yummy creamy delcious.

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHappy cook

I have never made panna cotta, but you make it sound easy and wonderful. I must do this soon.

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterangela@spinachtiger

This looks delicious and is so pretty I would love to serve it to guests!

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Hey there! Wow, chocolate panna cotta, I am going to rock that one out! I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog, and in fact you inspired me to start my own ( a few weeks ago—stop on by!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I was thinking of making panna cotta, since I just made a raspberry coulis sauce. I like your technique of blooming the gelatin in the milk, rather than separately. So much easier. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterA Feast for the Eyes

Mmm, this looks wonderful. I like how it's a light chocolate and not real dark. I may have to give this a try :)

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Those look just perfect.

June 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChocolate Shavings

Pann cotta is perfect. How many desserts look so sexy yet are so effortless?

June 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan from Food Blogga

i'm a panna cotta fan from way back. but i like mine better with a lower cream/higher milk factor. the lighter, milkier gelatin thing totally works for me. i actually prefer it. plus then i feel superior in my lower fat intake. but only because i am demented in that regard.

you always make these things look gorgeous...

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercook eat FRET

Stunning photo's, What a beautiful and elegant dessert!

June 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterProud Italian Cook

That chocolate panna cotta look so good!

July 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I like this recipe. these chocolate panna cotta are sure to taste great and are extremely nutritious as well. I am going to make it for the holidays when my kids will be at home. I'll be sure that what they are eating is healthy. thank you for shearing your post.

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRumela

can this be frozen? I'm just thinking it's a bit much for a 2 person household and was wondering what to do with the rest...

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkim

From The Italian Dish:

Kim: I have never frozen this recipe. I'm not sure how well it would freeze. I guess it's worth a try. Let me know if you do and how it turns out. Thanks.

August 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

You can freeze panna cotta for a couple of months ust remember to give it time to defrost when you are ready to eat.

I don't think it tastes quite as good as when it is fresh but it is still nice and nothing frozen is ever as tasty as fresh :) Good luck with it.

October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clare

I have loved cooking for others all my life, with being laid off my job at 51 i decided it was time to follow my passion and get my degree in Culinary arts. I have been on the hunt for beautiful Italian dishes for my private chef business and here you are.... I'm excited to explore many of you dishes add my own twist and create a little heaven here on earth. I am making your Panna cotta today for fun, can't wait to taste it.

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuanita

I made the Panna cotta today along with Creme Brule for desert for my family. It was a big hit, I did 3 different panna cotta, blood orange, Madagascar chocolate and espresso oh so good!

November 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuanita

Wonderfu dessert, made it ahead, used Sharffenberber coco powder,poached dried cherries in port, cooled, on top in old sherbert glasses, dinner party hit!

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpattik

I made this dessert several times for dinner parties. Put in beautiful old stemed glasses, made ahead, easy and delicious. I poached some dried cherries in port, put a few with delicious syrup on top..elegant . My friends and my husband loved it!!!

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpattik

Easy to make yet elegant, light & delicious....a hit with my friends....thanks

November 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I made mine last night and it had not yet set. Is there a reason for this?

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Constantly order panakota in restaurants. I want to say that in every institution their taste is different from each other.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercool company

This recipe is also nice. I feel like it is easy to follow and there are a lot of essential tips to consider when cooking.

November 30, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlink to

The best desert I have ever tried. With its chocolate taste I cannot stop eating this very delicious thing. Of course I will recommend everybody this recipe.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterwritten papers

I really like its taste, so the opportunity to cook it yourself, because it is made so easily and simply as it turned out.

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