yogurt-panna-cotta-with-walnuts-and-honey Recipes

yogurt panna cotta with walnuts and honey

Guys, I just discovered the ultimate weekend brunch treat/decadent dessert that still contains a whiff of moderation/preschooler snack. The ingredient list is so short, and the cooking process is so simple that you’ll have the recipe memorized by the time you make it the second time. And you will make it a second time, maybe even within a week. It looks pretty, tastes luxurious and… well, most of you probably discovered panna cotta a decade ago.

lemon, gelatin, sugar, milk/cream, yogurt
thick greek yogurt

I’m sorry, I’m just slow. For example, this week I started reading this new book that everyone was talking about in September … 2007. And that’s just the beginning. Gallery wall? Skinny jeans? Arrested Development? Quinoa? People, I am on it. True to sluggish form, it’s been a full four years since my friend Nicole gushed to me about the wonders of yogurt panna cotta. I put it on my cooking to-do list, blinked, and that about brings us up to last week when I saw it on my list and thought, “right, wasn’t I going to make that a few days ago?”

yogurt whisked with milk or cream

adding warm gelatin-milk-sugar to yogurt
in a large pan to set
in little cups to set

I made up for lost time quickly by making this three times in one week because I couldn’t get it right, as seems to be the aggravating theme lately. In the first round, I had some difficulties unmolding the panna cotta. [Why won’t this unmold? Shake. Shake-shake-shake. Let me just flip it back over an… THUUUUURP-FLOP! Splat! Tasty floor panna cotta, anyone?] Not that I tried it or anything (cough) but it was excellent, albeit so rich, I suspected I could replace some of the cream with milk and use less sugar. The second round unmolded beautifully, but as it turns out unsweetened yogurt panna cotta, even draped with honey, tastes like… you know, yogurt. On the third round, I became preoccupied with clearing my neighborhood stores of their Greek yogurt supply single serving panna cottas, unmolded or scooped from their cups. Aren’t they darling?

to unmold a large pan
to unmold a little cup
greek yogurt panna cotta
yogurt panna cotta with honey, walnuts

There are so many things I love about these, but one of the biggest is the clarity of the yogurt flavor. This is a dish for yogurt lovers, as well as those obsessed with its health virtues (the yogurt, barely heated, keeps its bacterial/probiotic wonders intact). The inspiration is the simple way yogurt is served in Greece — with honey and walnuts, known as yiaourti me meli. There, it’s dessert, but seeing as we here file yogurt almost exclusively in the morning category, I wanted to give it a breakfast spin. To do so, I replaced most of the cream used in traditional panna cottas with milk (and you can use all milk and no cream if you’re feeling especially virtuous) and found little change in richness, due to the wonders of thick Greek yogurt. I reduced the sugar quite a bit, as well, so again, it smacks of breakfast, not dessert. But you can serve it as if it’s a little of both, either sliced like a cheesecake or flan for guests at a brunch buffet, unmolded in individual forms for a fancier one, or scooped from a cup because you are totally craving dessert right now but don’t want to overdo it.

drizzling honey on yogurt panna cotta
greek yogurt panna cotta with walnuts and honey

One year ago: Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Two years ago: Crispy Potato Roast and Sour Cream Cornbread with Aleppo
Three years ago: Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits
Four years ago: Pasta with Favas, Tomatoes and Sausage
Five years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
Six years ago: Margarita Cookies and Tequila Lime Chicken with Green Onion Slaw

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey and Walnuts

As far as panna cottas go, this is on the soft side but will still slice or hold a form. For a firmer panna cotta, reduce the milk or cream by 1/2 cup. I used this recipe as my starting point but altered the proportions so it used one container, not one plus a fraction of another, always irksome, of yogurt. I significantly reduced the sugar; I recommend 1/2 cup for a standalone but not achingly sweet yogurt panna cotta that could be served with fresh berries or just a drizzle of honey. If you’d like to fully drape or coat the panna cotta with honey, I recommend dropping the sugar to 1/4 cup to compensate. I also replaced most of the suggested cream with milk, using 1 1/2 cups milk with 1/2 cup cream; you can use all cream, all milk, or anywhere in-between but I found that at least a small amount of cream added a richness that stretched far. As for the yogurt, I used, and highly recommend a full-fat Greek yogurt. The dish will work with others (lower fat and non-Greek yogurts) but it is astronomically more delicious with the real deal. If you only have regular yogurt but want to approximate the richness of Greek yogurt at home, you can set yours to strain in a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or layers of cheesecloth over a bowl in the fridge for a few hours or up to a day until the yogurt on top thickens.

[Updated 4/29/13 to move the lemon juice addition to the end, as some people were experiencing curdling when it was heated. So sorry for any trouble.]

Yield: 1 9-inch round panna cotta or 7 to 8 1/2-cup servings*

Panna cotta
Neutral oil such as canola or safflower
4 tablespoons (60 ml) water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet or 1/4 ounce or 7 grams) unflavored gelatin
2 cups (460 grams) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 cups (475 ml) milk, heavy cream or a combination thereof (see note up top), divided
1/4 to 1/2 cup (50 to 100 grams) granulated sugar (see note up top)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)

To serve
1/3 to 1/2 cup (110 to 170 grams) honey
1/2 to 3/4 cup (55 to 85 grams) walnuts, toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped

If you plan to unmold the panna cotta later, lightly coat the inside of a 9-inch round cake pan or smaller dessert cups with the oil. (No need to if you will scoop it from its cups.)

Place water in a small bowl. Stir in gelatin and set aside until the gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk all of yogurt and 1 cup of milk, cream or a mixture thereof. In a small saucepan, bring remaining milk or cream and sugar to a simmer. Stir in water-gelatin mixture (it will dissolve immediately) and remove from heat. Whisk this mixture into the yogurt mixture, then stir in lemon juice at the end. Pour mixture into cake pan or smaller cups and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours for small cups and up to 8 for a large pan. It’s best to do this the night before you need it, to be safe.

To unmold the cake pan, fill a larger baking dish with 1-inch boiling water. Dip panna cotta cake pan in it for 10 seconds, then flip it out onto a flat round platter. (A curved one will cause the panna cotta to appear sunken in the middle.)

To unmold smaller dishes, bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer and dip the bottom of a small panna cotta cup in one for five seconds, then invert it onto a plate. Repeat with remaining cups.

Right before you serve the panna cotta, sprinkle it with walnuts and drizzle it with honey. This needs to be done right before you serve it because the honey will (unfortunately) become liquidy and roll off it it sits on the panna cottas for too long.

Do ahead: Panna cottas can be made two days ahead, though I suspect longer. Keep refrigerated.

Non-gelatin panna cotta: Because gelatin is an animal by-product, many vegetarians will not eat it. I haven’t tested vegetarian options, but I’ve read a lot about using Natural Dessert’s Vegan Gel as well as agar-agar as a replacement. If you Google around a bit, you will find many directions for using either.

Dairy-free panna cotta: This isn’t really in the realm of this recipe, which was designed for yogurt, but there are many recipes on the web for panna cottas made with almond, coconut and/or soy milks, if you’re interested in looking into them.

* I put 1/3 cup each in these tiny (5.75 ounce) tumblers. You could also put about 2/3 cups each in this 7 1/2-ounce size.

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251 comments on yogurt panna cotta with walnuts and honey

  1. Looking over your recipe reminded me of why I’ve never made panna cotta. Any suggestions for those not inclined to use gelatin? Or, should I just set this one aside and think about a cheesecake for Shavuot in a few weeks?

  2. M

    If my Pinterest desserts board is anything to go by I am also OBSESSED with panna cotta right now. So you’re right on time as far as I’m concerned ;) Yummmmm.

  3. Andrea

    AgarAgar is the perfect replacement for gelatin in panna cotta. It’s tasteless, super easy to work with. You should be able to buy it at natural food stores, and maybe Whole foods? It’s based on algae (but tasteless!).

  4. Gorgeous! That 9-inch panna cotta is impressive, even if you had trouble unmolding it on the first round… I know I’d be too intimidated to ever make panna cotta in one large form like that, which means I should probably invest in some adorable smaller cups like yours!

    1. deb

      Re, the little Duralex cups — I bought them at Brook Farm Store in Williamsburg a few years ago, but they don’t seem to sell them online anymore. They have such lovely stuff, I just wanted to make sure I gave them credit where due! I bought them because Jacob never took to sippy cups and they seemed perfect for little hands. He’s never broken one; from a small height, they seem to bounce rather than break. (I, however… lack his grace.)

  5. Maryl

    Wow that is easy! But two questions, will it work as well with almond or soy milk? And how does it stack up calorie count wise (at least approximately)? I’m trying to be good to prepare for swimsuit season.

  6. I’ve yet to make yogurt panna cotta…a little slow to the bandwagon too I guess! This looks fantastic though, so I hope to join in the trend soon. The combination of walnuts, Greek yogurt and honey is one of my favorite simple treats.

  7. Panna cotta was on nearly every bistro menu in France last year, and I think I sampled most of them. It’s a dessert that, when prepared properly, deserves a standing O. Happy to see it here and cannot wait to see it as it approaches my mouth.

  8. JP

    Just right for coming summer heat. Looks delicious. Thank you as always for the wonderful recipe and a blog that is such fun to read.

    1. deb

      Aunt Vixen — Just one, and it was a gift from one of my husband’s grad school friends that we met up with while I was on book tour. I like to sneak it into photos here and there. ;)

  9. steph @ stephsapartmentkitchen

    wow. wow. wow.

    I love panna cotta but (maybe I’m late to the game as well?) have never heard off yogurt panna cotta! the honey and walnuts look spectacular, and I suspect pistachios would go well, here too. And berries. The possibilities are endless!

    Is there a particular greek yogurt brand you like the most? I like full fat fage, but find that it’s pricier than good ol’ chobani.

  10. Heather

    Deb, given that you said you cleared out your neighborhood’s inventory of Greek yogurt, I’m wondering if there’s a brand you prefer, either in general or for this recipe. I’ve been spoiled by a Greek place near my house that serves up the real deal–you could put a big dollop on a spoon, flip it over, and it would not move–but I’m not always able to get over there before it closes, and with so many options on the market these days I’m not sure which is the best.

    1. deb

      Gauri — It could be delicious. But, condensed milk is very sweet, possibly sweeter than the amount of sugar I have suggested.

      Brooke — Mine is on the soft side, so closer to a pudding. Some can be much more firm and Jell-o-ish. Thanks.

  11. Deb, they do have full-fat Chobani, though it is harder to find. The best if you are looking for a fuller fat greek yogurt is Cabot, which makes a 10% that I use for frozen yogurt when I want a more ice cream-like experience. It is wonderful!

  12. Brooke

    These look so yummy, but I’ve always been nervous about trying panna cotta – I really dislike anything jello-ish, and I assumed it would be kind of like milk flavored jello. Is it as gelatinous? Also, you’ve got a typo in your ingredients, I assume you mean freshly squeezed lemon juice.

  13. Sarah

    Any ideas on how non-fat milk will fare for this? I know more fat is always better (flavor-wise), but will the panna cotta still retain its form and most of its taste? Have you tried this in one of your renditions?

  14. Killian

    I’ve never made one myself, but I love yogurt and honey together; the walnuts just put it over the top. Baklava made creamy! =)

    Small typo in the ingredients – “freshly…lemon” needs “squeezed” in it. =)

  15. Tone L

    I’m a great fan of panna cotta. You mention this is for “yogurt lovers”.I’m curious to make this but wondering whether it tastes like just a thicker greek yogurt?

  16. Next on my list of dairy-things to try! Thanks for adjusting the ingredients and de-emphasizing the sweetness, which makes it sound much more versatile and interesting to me!

  17. Brittany

    It is incredibly sweet and thoughtful that you included animal-friendly/vegan options/suggestions. HOWEVER, is this because folks have asked you to do so? or have given you grief about it? Your blog is so wonderful and you cook/bake within a very established realm; if vegans want animal-friendly recipes there are PLENTY of blogs they can go to. You are wonderful & your recipes are lovely!

  18. Melissa

    I love the transformation of Greek Yogurt into Panna Cotta!

    If you want to add a really special flavor, as opposed to “just” sweetened Greek yogurt, try adding a bit of rose blossom water and cardamom!

    For years, have made a personal “dessert” of sweetend Greek yogurt with rose blossom water and cardamom, topped with pistacios and honey (my riff on Lebanese milk pudding). But I couldnt quite figure out how to get it into a form suitable for company… until I read your post!

    I also think it would be interested to substitute some goat cheese for part of the Greek yogurt!

  19. Cyndi

    I am not a fan of yogurt (I know, this is the wrong recipe for me!), but I wonder how this would be with labne? It’s yogurt cheese, creamy, but tart.

  20. I think I’ll be trying this one some time soon. For me yoghurt has always been dessert, actually, so seeing it classified as a breakfast food is weird.

    I would be using agar agar, since I’m vegetarian. The trick here is to do the conversion right, because agar doesn’t set as good when there is an acid (the lemon juice) in the mix. I’m still playing around with the conversions when the recipe includes acids :/

  21. Rebeca

    I adore panna cotta, but I have yet to try a yogurt one. I’ll have to make it soon! I was wondering, do you prefer powdered gelatin over the sheet kind? I tend to use the later although both are available here in Spain, but every American recipe I’ve seen that called for gelatin used the powdered kind.

  22. Abbie

    Oscar Wao is terrific, isn’t it? I worked at Left Bank Books in St. Louis when that came out in paperback, and it was my bookseller’s choice. So easy to sell because it was just so freaking good.

    1. deb

      Abbie — I was there in March! What a fun store.

      Rebecca — American recipes tend to call for powdered because it’s more readily available here. (I’ve bought sheet gelatin, but only from a baking supply shop.) It’s also a touch easier to use (no soaking, squeezing, then dissolving, you just dissolve it).

      I haven’t tried this recipe with sheet gelatin, but it’s my understanding that it’s tricky to find an exact formula. According to David Lebovitz, “Substituting sheet gelatin for powdered gelatin is perhaps the most controversial ratio known to the baking world. I’ve seen everything from 1 envelope equals 3, up to 5 sheets. Three-and-a-half sheets seems to work best for me. I use sheets that are 3-inches by 5-inches.*” From eGullet, I found some other conversions.

      Cyndi — I am sure labne would be delicious. However, I’ve always understood labne to just be yogurt with extra straining — one step further than Greek yogurt — so it’s almost closer to cheese. It’s just used more often in savory presentations.

      Brittany — I like to use recipe notes to anticipate places where I imagine extra information is needed or where — after nearly 7 years of food blogging — I can already guess what questions people will ask (i.e. someone always asks about the tumblers I used) so I don’t need to repeat myself in the comments or direct a question in comment #200 to my response in comment #12. I don’t feel obligated, don’t worry, but if I know something that could be helpful, well, you know, I try to help.

      Tone L — I didn’t find that to be the case. Because of the cream/sugar/gelatin, it really felt to me like a rich, smooth yogurt-flavored pudding.

  23. Emily

    Last month, I bought some of those Duralex cups on Fab.com. You might want to check there to see if they come back up for sale.

  24. Marilou

    For those who are kinda allergic to walnuts–but not all nuts, or even all tree nuts–any thoughts about the best substitution?

  25. Linda

    Panna Cotta has been my main summer dessert for the past 2 years.
    I have often played with reducing the cream and using yogurt to make it healthier, but now I have a recipe to follow thanks.
    When I make it for a crowd I have used a spring form pan and its easy to release. I didn’t have problems with leaking.

  26. bergamot

    Looks amazing. I just love thick hung yoghurt and I just love this recipe. I use hung curd in my cheesecakes, mousse, dips. So this is another recipe in my armory of healthy and flavoursome recipes. I will subsitute the gelatin with agar agar, so I guess I will have to mix it heated with the cream.

  27. Deb,

    The recipe is great, but the little All-Clad butter warmer is what I want for my birthday. But…it’s rounder and cuter than the one I’m finding on the Williams-Sonoma site. Can it be procured at Williams-Sonoma?

  28. I must have missed the panna cotta train years ago, because this is the first time I have ever “seen” it made, but now I feel like I can’t live without at least trying it:)

  29. CJ

    I am so glad tomorrow is Saturday so I can get to the store and buy yogurt to make this! I love panna cotta, never made it before, thought it needed cream… I’m going to try whole milk and see what happens.

  30. Judy in South Africa

    I make this with buttermilk – very yummy and also lower in fat ;-) – I also serve it in jam jars – easy in fridge just stick on the lid – and everyone thinks it is cute to get their own jam jar of sweet creamy deliciousness!

  31. Allie

    If I make this and keep it in the mold, can I put the honey on ahead of time? Also, once the honey is on, will it keep in the fridge ok, or become runny? Thanks!

  32. Rebeca

    Thanks for the reply, Deb! My curiosity is now satisfied.

    I ended up making this last night (thank you, insomnia) and substituted gelatin sheets because it was what I had on hand. Looks great! I think we’ll have it with strawberry coulis since we’re not fans of honey.

  33. Carole

    I am currently living in Iceland, where greek yogurt is hard to find and rather expensive. Do you think you could make this with skyr?

    1. deb

      Carole — Yes. I’ve tried it before (I think) and it’s similar, yes? If not thicker, if I remember correctly.

      Allie — I would not put the honey on very far in advance. It does draw water out, even in cups. I wish I understood the chemistry of it, but it definitely happened on all of mine. It’s easy enough to drizzle it on before serving.

      Debra — I call the butter warmer my “microwave,” mostly because I don’t have one but I find I miss it most for heating or melting small amounts of things. Amazon informs me that I bought it in November 2009 and I don’t think I’ve gone a day without using it since. (Link here.) The one on Williams-Sonoma looks the same.

  34. Deb, at the very end of your recipe in the vegan/vegetarian notes (for which I thank you very much!) – there is a typo on the work almond milk- I know you like to have your blog in good shape grammatically and structurally! :)

  35. Susan

    Deb, I totally understand. I am still checking out “new” music from the late ’60s early ’70s. (When I came of age.) This panna cotta looks lovely

  36. Jacqueline

    Has anyone tried making this with rose water or orange blossom water for a middle eastern flair? I love those flavours, and think there’s a similar Lebanese dessert along these lines.

    Jacqueline

  37. How about a recipe for making yogurt from scratch, without using greek yogurt as a starter and without gelatin. I’ve made yogurt using the local (Vietnam) yogurt as my starter, but it is weak and not very good. Even using a lot (6) of 4 oz cups in a 1.5 liter bottle, and leaving it out (covered) for a couple of days did not stiffen it enough for my taste. I grew up in the dairy business and we made sour cream and buttermilk using a starter that we had been continuing for 30+ years. The sour cream was so stiff that you could make sand castles out of it, and the buttermilk had to be eaten with a spoon.
    Ahhhhhhhh, the good old days!

  38. Tiffany

    Hi Deb! I love greek yogurt, but right now I have a tub of nonfat plain yogurt that needs to be demolished. Would that yogurt work just as well with this recipe, or would I have to dial down some of the liquids?

  39. Mmm, this looks perfect for a tea party! Thank you so much for keeping this incredible blog. I hurt my arm a few years back, and it hasn’t been able to bend since. The first hobby I tried one-handed was cooking, and it has become an obsession for me! My family knows if the recipe came from Smitten, it will be divine! Now I am taking my first steps into the blogging world. Thank you for the inspiration!

  40. Jane H

    I have had shingles for the past couple of weeks and greek yogurt is the only thing that has really tasted good to me. I’m going to get my strength up and make this treat for myself. Thanks for the recipe.

  41. CL

    These recipes look ssssssoooooo good but – I am looking for wheat free and gluten free recipes. Do you have any good bread recipes?

  42. it looks so ridiculously good, that I will somehow manage to buy all the ingredients tomorrow (even if it’s sunday) and make that damn thing, too! holey moley…

  43. Rosemary

    Ooooh, this sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try it. But instead of buying so much Greek yogurt, try making your own. It’s so easy and inexpensive. The only equipment needed is a slow-cooker, a heating pad (or hot, Oklahoma summer), colander, and straining medium. I made a straining cloth from some loosely woven muslin. The yogurt can be made with any kind of milk from skim to full fat. I strain mine until it’s really, really thick because I’m lactose intolerant and most of the lactose in the milk is in the whey. Breaks my heart to throw out the whey.
    Deb, I love your book and your blog. Whatever recipe you post, it always comes out right the first time. Thanks.

  44. Sarah

    I have just made this. It is currently setting. I think I’ve screwed it up. How does one add lemon juice to warm milk without a resulting vomity-like mess. I added it anyway and whisked like there was no tomorrow, but I imagine there will be lumps. Any tips as the whole lemon-milk interface just seems so…..wrong?

    1. deb

      Sarah — Yikes! I hadn’t gotten any lumps. I’d seen a faint yellowish tinge when I added the gelatin, but it wasn’t noticeable when it was mixed back into the yogurt.

  45. Janet

    Interesting, pretty much this exact dish just debut-ed on the Montmartre brunch menu last weekend in Chelsea- your neighborhood?

  46. Jessica

    Just made this last night for a bbq I’m having today. Left it in the fridge overnight to set, so I had my first sample this morning. Have to say it is SOO delicious! The yogurt gives the panna cotta a light creamy flavor that is rich, but not heavy. Almost reminded me of cheesecake, but so much better. Looking forward to serving it to my guests with some lemon honey & walnuts drizzled on top. I know they’ll love it! Thank you for this great spring recipe!

  47. Amanda

    Trader Joe’s has a great full-fat regular yogurt in the big size, for a good price. I buy containers a lot for making frozen yogurt with my ice cream maker. Just strain to make it creamier!

  48. Annie

    I’m afraid I had the same issue as Sarah – the milk and sugar mixture curdled as I added the milk/lemon/gelatine. The resulting panna cotta is grainy, but still tastes gorgeous.

    1. deb

      Curdling, yikes — So sorry to hear that people are having curdling issues. I made this four times (I promise, I test everything as well as possible!) and it never happened. Nevertheless, it IS happening for people and that’s no good. I’m going to switch the lemon juice to be added at the end (the mixture before you pour it into pans is all of 89 degrees — yes I checked, because I’m crazy) where it should not curdle. So sorry for the trouble. I hope you still enjoyed the results.

      Olivia — It would still need to be loosened with warm water. It really gels to the side.

      Eileen — Just a space issue! My kitchen is really tiny. I’ve found I can live without it, but would buy one if I had a bigger kitchen (I think). The only time it annoys me is when I’m reheating food for Jacob.

      Amina — I am not sure of the size of your leaves (not sure if there’s just one standard) so without the weight, I can’t make a guess. I’d Google around once you know the size (try searching “using __ by __ size gelatin sheets instead of powdered gelatin”) and I think you’ll find a bunch of suggestions. See also my response in Comment #71.

      Andrik — It could be (presuming there was nothing wrong with your gelatin, but gelatin is really shelf stable so it’s not very likely that was it). You’re really not cooking the gelatin mixture; it dissolves immediately once stirred in. I’m sorry if the recipe didn’t (I will now add a note) make that clear enough.

      June2 — I am not sure it’s dry enough, but it can’t hurt to find out.

  49. Karolina

    Has anyone experienced issues with the mixture curdling when incorporating the gelatin/lemon into the simmering milk/sugar? thanks!

  50. Veronica

    This looks AMAZING, I have everything except for the gelatin. I do have a box of raspberry JELL-O mix though, do you think it’s substitutable?

  51. Megan2

    I’ve been meaning to try making panna cotta for at least a year. With the Minneola (cross btw tangerine & grapefruit) at the Farmer’s Market, I’ve been looking for a reason to make them into a curd. This might be the idea!

  52. ATG

    Will be making this in the near future. What percent milk did you use? What do you think you can get away with? As a breakfast option, I’m not so keen on the full fat deal. And if you tried this with 2% greek, how un-delicious was it?

    Also, do you have a favorite brand of gelatin? I don’t use it all too often.

    1. deb

      ATG — I use Knox gelatin. Wouldn’t say it’s a favorite or not favorite, just what I can easily buy. I talk about milk fat options in the headnotes. I use whole milk exclusively.

  53. Lisa

    Wanted to add that their website has all sizes of the Duralex tumblers,just need to order 6,thanks for the great recipe Deb!

  54. Perla

    Wow! I just prepared this recipe… one to bring tomorrow to a friend’s brunch, and another small one to taste it at home before. Because the hosts are vegetarian I used kosher gelatin instead regular, and it was perfect! It’s so refreshing and light. Thanks Deb for another great recipe :)

  55. Yum! Tried it tonight and it delicious! Topped with raspberries and a sprinkling of YOUR homemade granola which my friends and family have declared the best ever! Thank you.

  56. I just made these! They’re sitting in my fridge an I can’t wait to eat them, they taste way better than the buttermilk panna cotta I made recently. The recipe is great, Thanks.

  57. oooo, thinking a whiff of cardamom would be lovely here. and who knew panna cotta could be made with yogurt?

    and strawberries! sliced strawberries, for sure. then, raspberries. later, blueberries, maybe lemon. thinking this one’s got legs…

  58. Lauren

    I was eating Greek yoghurt with honey this morning as I browsed to smittenkitchen and lo, this was the most recent post!!

    We were in Greece on hols a few weeks ago and I was mesmerised and delighted by the array of yoghurt in the supermarkets. Some of it was just like eating delicious, refreshing, not-sickly cream. Mmmmmmmmm. But having said that, I am currently 5 and a half months pregnant and eating about a gallon of yoghurt a day, so I’m easily pleased on this front at the mo (I LOVE IT SO MUCH).

    I will make this next week (not keen on walnuts but might try with dried or even fresh apricots). Excited already!

  59. Priscilla

    I just tried to make this and my warm milk and lemon/gelatin mixture curdled. I am trying again and this time will eliminate the lemon and will flavor it with vanilla. Hope it works….love your blog, Deb!

  60. Maya

    I was just about to comment on that exact dessert, Jacqueline! :) My family’s Lebanese, and I lived for this dessert as a child. Just add a splash of rose water to the panna cotta (orange blossom water works great, too). Sub out walnuts for pistachios. And instead of honey, make atyr: a simple syrup with a splash of lemon juice and 2 tbsp orange blossom water or rose water (or 1 tbsp of each!) added per 2 cups sugar/water. If you’re using atyr, might not want to add too much into panna cotta, so it doesn’t get overly flowery. Yum!

  61. LOVE panna cotta! Every time I’ve been to Italy, I’d have it every day…it was important research (ha, ha) to see how every restaurant made it! But I think this version would likely add fewer pounds! :-) But much like all the lovely comments, panna cotta can be served so many ways with so many accompaniments. That’s one of the wonderful things about it (besides the deliciously creamy texture!).

  62. Mary Lou

    I made this last night and need advice about a problem with my execution of the recipe. While the flavor was great, the texture was grainy, not smooth. I think this may have to do with the curdling that occurred when I added the gelatin mix to the hot milk/cream. I follwed the recipe to a T. Any idea what went wrong? I’d love to repeat but end up with smooth panna cotta. Thanks!

  63. Abby N

    Mine curdled too. I’ve got hippie low-temp-pasteurized milk – maybe it’s a bit less stable than milk processed at a higher temp?

    I poured the whole mess through a mesh strainer to put it back in the yogurt, so I think I kept most of the curds out. It’s in the fridge now; I’ll report back on the set-up texture.

  64. Jayne

    Oh Deb, Greek yogurt has only just now hit our shores and the first time I had it was last month. It was love! I wanted more but the store where I first found it somehow doesn’t carry it anymore? Or maybe it just wasn’t on the shelves when I came that day. I wanted to cry but I am a big girl I can find it somewhere else. I think with that said, this will be something I’ll love. I’ll probably have to 1/4 the recipe to a single serving portion as I’m the only human in this household who loves yogurt. Yes, 1/4 of this recipe is MY single serving, thankyouverymuch.

  65. Currently scarfing down my second serving of this delicious dessert…in bed. I just couldn’t sleep thinking about these in my fridge all night. Thank you!

  66. june2

    Wonder if you can brulee pannacotta the way you do flan – maybe right before serving – seems like it would be lighter without all those yolks.

  67. This looks very similar to the set yoghurt pudding in Jerusalem, which I’ve been wanting to make for eons. It’s pomegranate season in Australia and I think they would beautifully with this, plus some pistachios for a more middle eastern take.

  68. Hey Deb! Absolutely gorgeous creation (as always of course), i made this last night and it sat for more than 15 hours in the fridge but was still wet to the touch. I could scoop it with a spoon but it didn’t look solidified enough. I used 2 cups milk, where did i go wrong? I dipped the pan into hot water to unmold and as i did the entire thing went to chaos hahahaha, everything melted. Is it a possibility that i cooked the gelatin for too long? I didn’t know when it was going to dissolve there was no sign.

  69. Amina

    Question on gelatin: I got a packet that has 12 leaves in it, how much should I use? The packet doesn’t have a weight on it … Thanks: looking forward to trying the recipe

  70. This panna cotta looks and sounds absolutely delicious! You make something so glamorous in appearance seems so simple and easy to concoct. I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post.

  71. Eileen

    Deb, great recipe. I am going to make it this week; although I have nothing against gelatin, for the heck of it, I will try using agar-agar. Just curious…can you tell us why you choose not to have a microwave? I avoided one for years and then broke down and bought one. Have never looked back, but no major cooking in the micro. Would love to know your thoughts on the microwave. thx!

  72. Smita

    Superb recipe – tried it today and it came out perfect! Right texture and wonderful flavour. Made it with 1/4 C sugar and topped it with in season (in India) pureed alphonso mango – absolutely amazing! Will be perfect for b’fast too, topped with some granola perhaps! Thanks for sharing.

  73. Caroline

    I nearly laughed out loud when I clicked on that link! I JUST finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and it was very good. Wish my girlfriend wasn’t on a health kick that involves avoiding yogurt; this looks so good.

  74. This looks wonderful. I am also quite late to the panna cotta game, but I’m eager to try it. A yogurt version looks lovely, especially since summer is looming, clothing stores already have swimsuits galore, and I’ve been looking for a little less fattening desserts to consume when the sweet tooth hits. Thanks!

  75. Well this looks scrumptious. I have a honey vanilla yogurt panna cotta recipe, but this sounds even better. I wonder how it would be with some lavender and maybe pecans? Panna cotta is such perfect dessert food, especially for summer.

  76. I made this recipe yestusday for a group of thirty and it was excellent. I went for half milk and half cream. I also infuse the milk and the honey with cardamome and sprinkles with roasted pecans. Thank you for the inspiration!

  77. For anyone trying to make this with agar agar – I used agar agar flakes and used a 1 teaspoon gelatin = 1 tablespoon agar agar flake ratio. Way too much agar agar, I would recommend halving it. Mines turned out far too firm.

  78. This is the best. I love panna cotta but don’t make it often because theres so much cream in it. And if you use too little cream you get an off texture (I’ve tried). But i imagine adding yogurt would let it still be creamy even if you don’t use a lot of cream :)

  79. I’m excited to see this recipe today. I just had an amazing goat cheese panna cotta with a cold beet salad garnish. I’ve been dreaming about recreating it at home soon. I’ll be trying this one, too!

  80. Janine

    This looks delicious and I’m on a quest for healthy dessert options, but I’m even more impressed by the fact that I’m not the last person on the planet who still needs to watch Arrested Development!

  81. Kathleen in MO

    Deb, you always make me feel sooooooooooo much better about myself and life in general — I think we might be twins that were separated at birth . . . you speak to my soul when it comes to all of your “failings” with regard to keeping up with trends,etc. I can always relate to your posts and they make me laugh out loud!! Thank you for sharing not only your recipes with us, but your thoughts on life and letting us all know that it’s OKAY to not be perfect!!! Maybe one day I, too, will watch more than a 10 minute swath of Arrested Development and I’ll get the old lady wall paper, seventies dark wood paneling and sheer curtains ripped down that came with the little house we bought & moved into nearly FOUR years ago!! But first this Panna Cotta is on my “to do” list :D Priorities, right?

  82. Mara

    Last weekend I was desperate for a sweet but good-for-me snack. I strain the $1.89 big tub of plain yogurt so it’s nice and thick…I was lucky enough to be gifted with real maple syrup…and I topped off the yogurt with toasted walnuts. No baking or cooking required and it was really satisfying. OH yah! I put some dark chocolate chips over it too.

  83. Alex

    Super easy and worked a treat! Thanks Deb – a lovely alternative to a richer, more indulgent pannacotta. We had this to round off a meal which consisted of your lamb chops with pistachio tapenade and a large greek salad.

  84. Daniele

    So… I made this. It was delicious.. but definitely not panna cotta consistency. I did the small cups, and put them in the fridge for about 4 hours.

  85. Because of you, I now have yogurt in my house… me, who ate no dairy for a good 20 pre-menopausal years! But after buying another vat of greek yogurt and paying too much for it, I got into making my own yogurt a few months ago. Now, jelly jars of the stuff line my refrigerator shelves, and it’s so much better – no plastic containers to spoil the planet; less tang than the commercial stuff; and an easy task to make.

    Then, also because of you, I started making my own ricotta – and now my freezer is full of homemade ricotta stuffed ravioli in beet, spinach, and saffron envelopes.

    You’re an inspiration! My kitchen used to be as tiny as yours, and now it’s thrice the size, and I still manage to make a huge mess of it. I don’t know how you do it.

  86. Kimberley

    Hi Deb! This sounds delicious! However, the Greeks eat their yoghurt with honey in the mornings too, not as a dessert.

    It makes for the most delicious breakfast :)

  87. CJ

    Hey Deb! I’m a huge fan of your pasta recipes and I’m just wondering if you’ve made a pink (tomato-cream) sauce pasta before? Thanks!

  88. Em from Oz

    This is such good timing, I have 2 litres of homemade coconut yoghurt that turned out a little runny, I strained it to make a thick greek style yoghurt, and now I obviously must use it to make this pannacotta! Mmmm coconut pannacotta, can hardly wait for tomorrow to give it a go!

  89. Eileen

    Thanks for getting back re the microwave. Was wondering if you had info re safety issues. We have a friend who believes microwaves are unsafe; we think he is misinformed.

  90. Great recipe Deb! and yes I did stumble along panna cotta. My family loves it. And your not the only one behind the times in tv shows and movies :) I too like Arrested Development! oh any idea what the calorie count is? Thanks so much, this is a HUGE hit.

  91. I am very much addicted to panna cotta right now! so simple and tasty. Thanks for the unfolding tip. I have been failing miserably at that.

  92. CJ

    Ok, so one thing I did that worked well is, I lined the pie plate with plastic wrap (sprayed lightly with Pam) and unmolding was no problem whatsoever.

    But the thing I did that didn’t work was, I added some vanilla and I used all milk, no cream. (I used full fat Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt, and whole milk, but I should have used cream.) Without cream it just tasted like regular vanilla yogurt from the store.

  93. I’ve been scratching around the internet, but can’t find a definitive answer. What is the difference between Greek yoghurt and quark?

    I’m not German, but I am living in Germany, and they sound very similar. I remember my German friend in Japan used to buy yoghurt there and then strain it to make cheesecake, because — she said — she can’t buy quark in Japan.

    So are they roughly the same thing? Do you have any info on/experience with this?

  94. deb

    Hi Ingrid — This gives more information, but not a clear answer. It seems that it can be as creamy as yogurt or more firm, like a stiff ricotta. (I always imagined it having a tiny curd to it, which yogurt does not, but that may just be one type.)

    Nevertheless, if you love quark, you may love a quark panna cotta and it might be worth trying here. I imagine the recipe is flexible enough to allow for different thickened dairy products instead of the yogurt here.

  95. Geraldine

    I just made these yesterday, adding just a tad of honey and vanilla extract in them. They are great! Awesome texture, perfect taste and so easy to make. A success!

  96. Megan

    This is amazing. Already thinking about the next time I am going to make it… it would be perfect topped with strawberry rhubarb compote.

  97. Claire

    Being a big panna cotta fan I made this using 4 sheets of gelatine as that was all I could find in the supermarkets here in Spain. It was perfect, very delicate. Next time I make it (soon) I think I will try substituting the sugar for 1/4 cup of honey (honey in the mixture, not on top) – has anyone tried this? Any thoughts?

  98. Hannah

    God I’ve been craving honey deserts recently and there seems to be a bit of a pannacotta revival going down at the moment. This is just perfect!

  99. AMC

    This was DELICIOUS. And for a treat, it’s not bad at all in terms of nutrition info. Using whole-milk greek yogurt and a mixture of 1c 1% milk and 1c. half-and-half, it all came to under 200 calories and 15g of fat per serving (that includes a few nuts and a little under a tablespoon of honey in each of the eight ramekins the recipe filled). I also took the advice of an earlier commenter and added some cardamom to the warm milk.

  100. Joyce

    Made this twice already since Friday…it was so so so good! It had a very ‘clean’ taste and a silky smooth texture. Thanks for the recipe!

  101. Marissa

    My name is Marissa…and I am a smitten kitchen addict. Ever since you introduced me to brown butter, I’ve never looked back:) It’s so bad, my family thinks you are paying me to advertise for you. Anyway, I made this for a fabulous brunch I hosted last weekend! It was a hit…I added shredded coconut along with the walnuts and honey on top. Just delightful. Of course many other smitten kitchen recipes adorned the table as well (Potato frittata, carrot cake pancakes, brown butter cinnamon muffins, meyer lemon scones to name a few). Thank you so much for your delicious, trustworthy recipes! Even if it’s something I’ve never made before, I will still make it for a crowd knowing it will be fantastic.

  102. britt

    Hi Deb,

    Any idea if this panna cotta freezes well? I’m making it for a huge mother’s day bruncg and am trying to make ahead annd freeze as much as i can today.

    Thx!

  103. I made this the other night. I just can’t get enough of it. This is the first time I’ve made panna cotta. I had not been impressed the panna cotta I’d tired before, but I love Greek yogurt so I gave it a try. It’s amazing. I love the honey on top, but it doesn’t even need it.

    I, like Claire, am curious if anyone has tried making this with honey instead of sugar. I might try it next time.

  104. Anat

    Hey debbie,
    I’m planning to make this dish a.s.a.p =)
    My english is poor, terfore i wold like you to help me to understand this procedure as described in line:”bring remaining milk or cream and sugar to a simmer. Stir in water-gelatin mixture (it will dissolve immediately) and remove from heat”..
    Please correct me if im wrong; i should first separatly mix the gelatin with water (60ml water?) and after i mix them both i should add them into the hot milk & sugar?

    Sorry for the “digging” ..hope to gen an aswer/

    Anjoying your cite,
    Anat.

    1. deb

      Anat — Yes, you first mix the gelatin and water so that it softens for a while. Then you stir that mixture into the heated milk/cream/sugar mixture.

  105. Kelly Culler

    Hi Deb,

    Read this on Friday, made it on Saturday, ate it on Sunday. Fantastic!!! We all loved it. I can’t believe how creamy and rich it tasted. It was just what I needed as I round home on my master’s thesis. Quick and delicious.

    Thanks so much,
    Kelly

  106. Alice

    I just made this today! I infused the warm milk/cream with a short piece of vanilla bean, then left out the lemon juice. Served it with fresh rhubarb sauce. YUMMY!!!! Thanks!!!!

  107. Karin

    We made it with the 1/2 C sugar AND drizzled it with cinnamon honey as some are nut allergic around here. The 3 & 4 year olds approved of the Greek yogurt version after being introduced to panna cotta last week at our favorite Italian place. Deb for the win! Thanks!

  108. Maggs

    I just made it. I added the lemon juice at the end, it didn’t curdled.
    It’s delicious!! Thanks a lot for this recipe. Can’t go wrong with SK !!!

  109. Dimitra

    Here in Greece it’s also common to serve yogurt with some type of preserve instead of honey, most often made from sour cherries or (even better in my opinion) quince (“preserve” being the closest word I can find to the syrupy gooey sweet goodness of Greek “glyka tou koutaliou”). I’m looking forward to trying your panacotta that way!

  110. Caitlin

    I always look to Smitten Kitchen for simple, delicious, stand-out recipes when I want to bake. For mother’s day I made my mom the yogurt panna cotta and it was an absolute hit. THis will be my new go-to summer dessert and can’t wait to experiment with different flavors. I used whole milk and 1/3 cup sugar which I thought was perfect. I could have eaten it without honey or walnuts!

  111. Jenny

    FYI other vegetarians,: I used 2g of agar agar powder and it did not set at all, so you will need more than this. Taste is delicious, though!

  112. Santi

    Loved this.

    For those using agar agar, I used 7g. The way you’re supposed to work with agar-agar is to bring the liquid to a boil and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes, so that’s what I did when I added the agar agar to the heated milk/sugar mixture. It ended up being too firm for my taste. Yesterday I tried again, same amount of agar agar, but I just added it to the milk mixture and simmer it gently for a little bit, and that worked better: nice and creamy and not too firm.

  113. Amy

    Panna cotta is one of my favourite desserts, so if I can have it for breakfast too then all the better! Look forward to trying this out soon.

  114. Dulcie

    I used 2 agar agar sticks and found it too firm as well. The usual ratio is 1 stick of agar agar to 2 cups of liquid. I figured this was 4 cups of liquid (2 yogourt, 2 milk) and used 2 sticks. Next time, I’ll use just one stick. Resulting texture with agar agar is not the same as gelatin. But it is vegetarian..so a little compromise is OK. I used no-fat yogourt and skim milk. Worked and was yummy!

    Thank you for a great recipe…as always!

  115. Caroline

    I had high hopes for this panna cotta, even making a berry compote to serve with it. But it wouldn’t set! I couldn’t find full-fat Greek yogurt, so I went with lowfat figuring I could add extra gelatin to help it firm up. Apparently that doesn’t work. The good news is I was able to pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker (with some of the berry compote) to make a delicious frozen yogurt.

  116. AmyO

    This was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe–it worked out perfectly. The only change I made was to substitute 1/4 c. stevia powder for the sugar (stirred in after taking the cream off the heat). I topped it with fresh berries and a little granola and called it breakfast–it was perfect for warm summer mornings and a nice change from the usual. I’m an American living in Germany and I’m always thrilled to find recipes that I don’t have to work hard at to find equivalent ingredients and this was perfect! I might have even had an easier time than in the US since I can usually only find full-fat milk products where I live. The yogurt I bought was even in the exact right size container for the recipe!

  117. Kirstin

    I’m in Australia where sheet/leaf gelatin is easy to come across and, although I’ve never really made a recipe with it before, I bought it for this because I had in my head that the sheets are superior to the powder. Reading through previous comments (#71 was really great, thanks Deb) I went with 4 sheets of ‘gold’ standard (maybe 3 if you have the ‘titanium’ ones) – each was about as big as a large banknote. Mine turned out wonderfully – held their form from their little molds (and justified their purchase, finally). I really like the idea of making them for a breakfast party with a few crushed berries swirled through – it was super quick and easy!

  118. Deb, I made this for dessert for some friends coming for dinner. 30 minutes before they arrived, the power went out to my kitchen (and half of the building). My great “homemade pizza” turned out to be Costco chicken and salad. But dessert was ready and waiting.

    IT WAS GREAT! It saved my day when the power went out, I got a rejection email on a job I had been holding my breath for 3 weeks on, and I was just utterly so bummed. Thanks so much for a great, “semi-healthy” dessert!

  119. Clara

    Hi Deb, Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. Got home today and gave it a try and just had a taste (with strawberries and a little honey) and it was delicious!

    Only question I had is I noticed when i put the gelatin/water mixture (after just about 15 minutes) into the simmered milk the mixture (1 cup of milk) appeared to get really grainy…like the gelatin was dissolving and turning the milk into tiny granules…i mixed quickly and then incorporated into yogurt mixture. My end product was overall smooth with a hint of texture but can’t figure out what I might have done wrong. Was I supposed to let the milk/gelatin mixture cool before incorporating into the yogurt? What should the gelatin/water mixture look like after 15 minutes? I’ve always had issues with plain gelatin in recipes so any guidance on what it should look like would be appreciated. I recall mine appeared runny (non-solid) prior to putting it into the simmering milk.

    Again, great recipe, great site. Thanks again.

  120. Daina

    Thanks for the fab recipe! I made this for a brunch and it received rave reviews. The honey went wonderfully and I also added berries and pistachios.

  121. elizabeth

    I made these a few days ago and topped them with some thinly cut up fresh pineapple and diluted lemon curd. I thought the acidic contrast against the creamy panna cotta was wonderful.

  122. I finally made a dairy-free version of this with agar-agar. I used coconut yogurt, canned coconut milk and agar agar – 2 tablespoons. Otherwise, I followed your recipe pretty much to a “T”. It came out great! So glad you posted this recipe. I’m going to make the dairy version too for those in my family who can have that! Yum. :)

  123. Peachy

    Loved your recipe, it was easy, foolproof and excellent when I made it. I topped it with fresh mangoes and honey, yum!Was wondering, not all my kids love the tang of greek yogurt, was wondering if you knew what can I substitute to make it just plain panna cotta? Milk instead of yogurt?

  124. Shanteri Baliga

    This was my saviour today! I was intent on making tapioca pudding but there was no tapioca to be had the store..so I went with this. And the result was fab even with non fat greek yogurt and 1% milk. I went with the 1/4 cup sugar and the sweetness was perfect, since I ate it with honey and walnuts. This reminds me so much of an Indian sweet called ‘mishti doi’ literally meaning ‘sweet curd’, since curd is what south asians use to refer to yogurt. Except that doesn’t have gelatin and is set in earthenware pots. But who’s really paying attention to that?

  125. Chaya

    Very nice! I do think it needs all the sugar (maybe a hint more) even if you add honey at the end…or, you risk it tasting like simple yogurt. Super simple to make. I am going to experiment with adding things like vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon. I topped with toasted pecans, honey, and blueberries. Definite easy and tasty make-ahead brunch dish!

  126. Meghan

    Thanks Deb! The only variation I made was using “coconut sugar” which is what I had at hand. It gave the panna cotta a caramel like flavour. Loved it. xx

  127. Aishwarya

    This was lovely, especially with the lower calories of yoghurt vs full cream. I had mine with toasted pitachios and date syrup for a totally Levantine vibe.

  128. Tracy

    I have made this soo many times in so many variations. I’m currently experimenting with strawberry and blueberry flavored yogurt with a splash of vanilla. Can’t wait to see how it tastes.

  129. Meg

    I’m just itching to make this, but I don’t think I could possibly get through it all before it went bad. Is there any way I could freeze this? Thanks

  130. Priyanka

    I have made this twice. The second time substituted 1 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup milk with 1.5 cup Mango pulp. So, 1 cup greek yogurt, 1.5 cup half-n-half and 1.5 cup mango puree. Came out great! I get can of Mango pulp from Indian grocery store. Tastes like a cross between Mango Lassi and cheesecake only lighter.

    Thanks Deb for all the great recipes. I love your blog!

  131. Katherine

    Added 2 cups frozen cherries to milk before/while simmering, then followed recipe. Turned out amazing–thanks for such a great recipe!

  132. Diana D.

    Hi Deb — I’m really looking forward to making this for my cookbook club brunch this weekend. Have you ever tried it in a tart pan with a removable bottom? I was thinking it might save some of the unmolding headaches, plus give it a pretty scalloped edge, too. But maybe the mixture is too runny, and will seep through the cracks…? Thanks in advance for any ideas you have!

  133. Norm Erxleben

    SK gonzo…..when reheating left over cream add zest of one lemon, strain and continue….. No f*cking raspberries, no mango pulp …..just honour the recipe or get you own website!