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Three cups of homemade chocolate panna cotta.

Photo: iStock

Chocolate panna cotta

Chocolate panna cotta is the perfect make-ahead dessert for any occasion. Easy to whip up and undeniably decadent, this classic Italian dessert is sure to impress your family and friends with its luxurious flavour and creamy texture. Indulge in the heavenly combination of smooth chocolate and rich cream. Try it today.

20 February, 2023
Average: 4 (3 votes)

serves for


total time

0 HR 20 MIN


1 ¼ cup (300ml)
1 ⅛ cup (250ml)
3 leaves
1 ½ tbsp (20g)
Dark chocolate
3.5oz (100g) with 70% cacao, finely chopped
Vanilla pods

Step 01

Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Step 02

In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add vanilla to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the milk and cream to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

Step 03

Add the chopped chocolate to the milk and cream and stir slowly to melt the chocolate completely.

Step 04

Squeeze the gelatine thoroughly, then add it to the hot cream and chocolate. Whisk until the gelatin has melted, then remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool.

Step 05

Pour the mixture into serving glasses and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. 

Tips & tricks

If your panna cotta didn't come out as expected, there are a few possible reasons:

  • Usually, it's a problem with the gelatin – when combined with milk, it may not have dissolved completely.
  • Another possibility is that the gelatin was mixed in when the cream mixture was too warm. The cream should be hot enough to dissolve the gelatin and the chocolate but not to the point of boiling. When gelatin is exposed to high temperatures, its thickening power is lost.
  • Allow enough time for the panna cotta to set up in the refrigerator – let it chill for at least six hours before serving.

History and origins

Panna cotta is a popular dish known worldwide, but it didn’t enter the mainstream until the 1960s. Most historians argue that it originated from the northern Italian region of Piedmont

Some unsubstantiated claims suggest that a Hungarian woman invented it in the early 1900s, but the story is largely unverified. An 1879 dictionary mentions a dish called Latte Inglese (English milk), made in the same way as the contemporary panna cotta: cream cooked with gelatin, then moulded.

This sweet treat became widely known and trendy in the US thanks to Italian Americans’ profound influence on the country’s popular and culinary culture. From there, it was unstoppable, and now it’s a favourite in restaurants worldwide.


Check out our different takes on this decadent Italian dessert with these two popular recipes: panna cotta with blueberry compote and panna cotta with strawberries

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