Coconut Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

Coconut Milk Panna Cotta –  a luscious light and healthy spin on a classic Italian dessert that’s dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free. It’s especially delicious when paired with a homemade fresh strawberry compote. 

overhead shot of serving of coconut milk panna cotta topped with fresh strawberry compote

Coconut Milk Panna Cotta – love by the spoonful!

Coming at you with the silky, creamy, custardy revelation that is coconut milk panna cotta!  Am I overselling?  Nah, I don’t think so! Seriously, this stuff is the bomb!

This panna cotta is sumptuous and luxurious, yet so much lighter than a traditional Italian panna cotta, which is made with a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. There’s no dairy, only full-fat coconut milk, and it’s also free of refined sugar, as honey acts as the sweetener in both the compote and the panna cotta.

You can use raw honey, lavender honey, thyme honey or orange blossom honey to really compliment the flavors of the strawberry compote. Little gourmet tip on the side. 🙂 Hello, date night?

side view of a serving of coconut milk panna cotta topped with strawberry sauce

How to make Coconut Panna Cotta?

Prep: Prepare 4 small dishes to pour the panna cotta into. You can use ramekins, small glasses… size isn’t super important but the container must be round if you’re planning to un-mold them. Place the containers on a small baking sheet or a small flat surface for easy transfer to the fridge.

IMPORTANT:  This recipe will NOT work with coconut milk that separates as it sits, as the panna cotta will separate too.

picture collage demonstrating how to bloom gelatin in coconut milk to make panna cotta

Step 1 – Place about half of the coconut milk into a medium pot. Sprinkle with gelatin and set aside for about 10 minutes to let the gelatin bloom.

Step 2 & 3 – Add remaining coconut milk, honey, and vanilla to the pot. Whisk to combine. Gently heat the mixture on medium-low heat, whisking from time to time, until the gelatin and honey are fully dissolved – about 10 minutes. Make sure NOT to boil the mixture. Turn off the heat.

 

picture collage demonstrating how to make fresh strawberry honey compote as a panna cotta topping

Step 4 – Pour the mixture equally into each dish, let cool a bit and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.

Step 5 –  While the panna cotta is setting, prepare the strawberry sauce. Add sliced strawberries, lemon juice, honey and water to a medium pot.

Step 6 – Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

a picture collage demonstrating how to make homemade strawberry compote in a blender

Step 7 – Remove from the heat and blend, using either an immersion blender, a food processor or a blender (be careful, it’s hot). At this point, you can strain the sauce into a sieve if you don’t like strawberry seeds, but it’s completely optional (I didn’t do it). Transfer sauce to a bowl or jar and stir in fresh chopped strawberries.

Can I make this Coconut Milk Panna Cotta vegan?

For a vegan version, you could use maple syrup instead of honey and agar agar instead of gelatin as the thickening agent.

side view of a jar of coconut milk panna cotta topped with fresh strawberry puree

Can I make this with almond milk? 

I have not tried it myself but if you want to swap I would recommend you go for a thick and creamy brand likeDream Ultimate Almond. Make sure to shake the almond beverage well before opening. Then pour into a medium bowl or measuring cup. If the liquid looks lumpy, whisk it until very smooth, then run it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps.

a spoon dipping into a small jar with homemade dairy-free coconut panna cotta

How to invert panna cotta from a mold? 

To make life easy when it comes to inverting make sure to use round ramekins! While the size isn’t super important the shape matters and the container must be round if you’re planning to un-mold the panna cotta accident-free!

For inverting, I recommend spraying the bottom of the vessel you’re chilling the panna cotta in with some non-stick spray or coating it with a bit of coconut oil, then inverting it onto a plate after it’s had time to chill out in the fridge. I find it helps to run a butter knife along the edge to help loosen the pudding, then just give it a gentle shake. Place the serving plate of top of the dish (make sure it’s centered, because moving the unmolded panna cotta is close to impossible), flip the plate and the panna cotta should slide right out.

Alternatively, you can easily serve this dairy-free dessert out of little glass jars as in the picture above (this is what I usually do).

Once inverted, top with strawberry sauce and serve with more strawberry sauce on the side if you have leftovers.

a half-eaten coconut milk panna cotta covered with homemade refined sugar-free strawberry compote

What consistency should the perfect panna cotta be?

The perfect panna cotta should have a soft jiggly texture. So not as firm as regular gelatin dessert – you cannot swish and squish it between your teeth like jello. Which is, by the way, also not a good look for date night. No, panna cotta barely holds its shape (careful when unmolding) and upon hitting your tongue it should promptly dissolve into a  coconutty cloud of bliss.

My panna cotta doesn’t set! What did I do wrong?

Did you give the panna cotta enough time to set up?  If so, one potential issue might be that the gelatin didn’t melt all the way or you boiled the gelatin mixture. When you boil gelatin, it loses all of its thickening power and won’t set up. Boo.

Tips for success:

  • This recipe will NOT work with coconut milk that separates as it sits, as the panna cotta will separate too.
  • Make sure to not boil the coconut milk or the gelatin will lose its setting power.
  • Both the panna cotta and the strawberry sauce can be made ahead (up to 2 days) and stored in the fridge. Assemble before serving.
  • The recipe can easily be doubled to make more servings.
  • For a boozy date night version, drizzle about one teaspoon of amaretto or Grand Marnier over each panna cotta.
  • Instead of the vanilla extract, you could use 1/2 vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and add them to the coconut milk along with the scraped out vanilla bean. Remove the bean pod in step 3, after heating.
overhead shot of dairy-free coconut milk panna cotta served with strawberry compote
5 from 1 vote
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Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote (Dairy-free)

A luscious light and healthy spin on a classic Italian dessert that’s dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free. It’s especially delicious when paired with a homemade fresh strawberry compote.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Keyword coconut milk panna cotta, coconut panna cotta, dairy-free panna cotta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting time 4 hours
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 296 kcal
Author Marie

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk 13.5 oz full fat coconut milk - important: pick a brand of homogeneous coconut milk. The kind that separates into two layers will not work for this recipe
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin I used powdered beef gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Sauce

  • 2 cups strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup strawberries hulled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Place about half of the coconut milk into a medium pot. Sprinkle with gelatine and set aside for about 10 minutes to let the gelatine bloom.
  2. Prepare 4 small dishes to pour the panna cotta into. You can use ramekins, small glasses… size isn’t super important but the container must be round if you’re planning to un-mold them). Place the containers on a small baking sheet or a small flat surface for easy transfer to the fridge.
  3. Add remaining coconut milk, honey, and vanilla to the pot. Whisk to combine.
  4. Gently heat the mixture on medium-low heat, whisking from time to time, until the gelatine and honey are fully dissolved, about 10 minutes. Make sure NOT to boil the mixture. Turn off the heat.
  5. Pour the mixture equality into each dish, let cool a bit and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
  6. To serve, you can either serve them directly in the dish (I recommend this method, it’s easier) or unmold them on a plate. If unmolding, run a clean flat knife on the side of the dish to “loosen” it a bit and pull the panna cotta from the edge. Place the serving plate of top of the dish (make sure it’s centered, because moving the unmolded panna cotta is close to impossible), flip the plate and the panna cotta should slide right out.  Top with strawberry sauce (see recipe below) and serve with more strawberry sauce on the side if you have leftovers.

Strawberry Sauce

  1. While the panna cotta is setting, prepare the strawberry sauce. Add sliced strawberries, lemon juice, honey and water to a medium pot.
  2. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and blend, using either an immersion blender, a food processor or a blender (be careful, it’s hot). At this point, you can strain the sauce in a sieve if you don’t like strawberries seeds, but it’s completely optional (I didn’t do it). Transfer sauce to a bowl or jar and stir in fresh chopped strawberries.

Recipe Notes

  • For this recipe, I used this powdered beef gelatin.
  • This recipe will NOT work with coconut milk that separates as it sits, as the panna cotta will separate too.
  • Make sure to not boil the coconut milk or the gelatin will lose its setting power. 
  • Both the panna cotta and the strawberry sauce can be made ahead (up to 2 days) and stored in the fridge. Assemble before serving.
  • The recipe can easily be doubled to make more servings.
  • For a boozy date night version, drizzle about one teaspoon of amaretto or Grand Marnier over each panna cotta.
  • Instead of the vanilla extract, you could use 1/2 vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and add them to the coconut milk along with the scraped out vanilla bean. Remove the bean pod in step 3, after heating. 
Nutrition Facts
Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote (Dairy-free)
Amount Per Serving (1 /4 panna cotta with strawberry sauce)
Calories 296 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Sodium 18mg1%
Potassium 339mg10%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 23g26%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin C 50.6mg61%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you tried this Coconut Panna Cotta Recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

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Breakfast / Brunch Clean Eating Dairy Free Desserts Italian Inspired Paleo Paleo/Primal Recipes Refined Sugar Free Snacks Spring Recipes Summer Recipes
4 Comments
  1. The coconut milk adds such a wonderful flavour to these, that makes them so much better than traditional panna cotta. So easy to make too, even for those scared of handling gelatin. Thanks!

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