Easy Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta


Panna cotta—literally "cooked cream"— is a silky, eggless custard, thickened here with a touch of gelatin. Though often served unmolded, E. Michael Reidt's vanilla bean panna cotta is so tender that he serves it in ramekins.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins


  • 1 quart heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • Mixed berries, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the mixture just to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until evenly moistened, about 5 minutes.

  3. Uncover the cream mixture and bring just to a simmer over moderately high heat. Remove from heat, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove the vanilla bean and save for another use. Pour the panna cotta mixture into eight 4-ounce ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the panna cotta is set but still jiggly, at least 3 hours. Serve in the ramekins, with berries.

    Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with berries
    Photo by Adam Friedlander / Food Styling by Pearl Jones

Make Ahead

The panna cottas can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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