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Low-Carb Vanilla Panna Cotta

Makes 4 servings10 minutes hands on time240 minutes total time

Panna cotta is incredibly easy to prepare at home. Making this dessert yourself also means you’ll have complete control over its carb content.

Panna cotta, which means “cooked cream” in Italian, is so easy to make yet so deliciously fancy that you’ll feel like you’ve performed a magic trick.

It’s gently set with gelatin, and virtually any combination of dairy or nondairy will work here – plain yogurt, milk, cream, half and half, coconut milk, whatever you’ve got. However, if you reduce the fat to nothing you will definitely lose the velvety richness that makes this so wonderful.

I like adding a little sour cream to recreate the vibe of a favorite old-fashioned dessert of mine called a Russian Cream, but you can skip it if you like.

Recipe: Low-Carb Vanilla Panna Cotta

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 4 hours

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 11 grams per serving (Note that 6 of these are from the erythritol, which will not raise your blood sugar)

Recipe Note

Some recipes have you unmold individual panna cottas by running the bottoms of the ramekins under hot water, but this step feels so extraneous to me that I’m not even including it as an option.

If you’re looking to lower the fat, skip the sour cream and use 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream instead. To reduce the sodium content, you can also omit the salt from the recipe.


Low-Carb Panna Cotta Recipe

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (half of a 1/4-ounce envelope) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated erythritol, such as Swerve (or an equivalent sweetener of your choice to replace 2 tablespoons sugar – you don’t need it for texture, just sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup raspberries


  1. Place 1 tablespoon of water in a small pot and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it sit a minute or two (this is called “blooming” the gelatin and allows it to soften).
  2. Put the mixture over low heat and stir until it looks transparent, around one minute. Scrape the gelatin mixture into a small bowl and set it aside.
  3. In the same pot (you don’t need to wash it first), add the cream, milk, sour cream (if using), salt, and erythritol in the same pot and turn the heat to medium. Heat, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to simmer.
  4. Turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla and the gelatin mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture into four ramekins, tiny bowls, or teacups (I pour it back into the measuring cup to do this because it has a spout that lets me portion it into the ramekins without spilling it all over the place).
  6. Refrigerate for at least four hours or up to a couple of days (once they’re cool, you can lay a piece of wax paper over them to prevent a skin from forming)).
  7. Top with the raspberries and serve.

Photo credits: iStock (top); Catherine Newman (bottom).