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Chef John's Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Rated as 4.75 out of 5 Stars

"This is so perfect in the summer, and not just because it's easy and refreshing. All that amazing seasonal fruit gives you the perfect reason…excuse…to make these easy treats. If you start your panna cotta the day before you want to eat it, this classic Italian recipe is about as simple as it gets."
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5 h 10 m servings 315
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water; stir and let sit 5 or 10 minutes until it thickens and becomes rubbery.
  2. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan. Whisk in sugar. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just barely starts to simmer, 3 to 5 minutes. Add lemon peel as mixture is coming up to temperature. As small bubbles begin to appear here and there, remove pan from heat. Add tiny pinch of salt, vanilla, and bloomed gelatin. Whisk until gelatin melts into the cream mixture. Add buttermilk and lemon juice; whisk until blended.
  3. Strain through fine sieve to remove zest and any lumps. Pour into serving dishes or ramekins. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 5 hours or, ideally, overnight.


  • Cook's Note:
  • Keep the same basic gelatin to creamy liquid ratio and you can flavor this any way you want-scented with Earl Grey tea or cardamom-feel free to play around.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 315 calories; 27.7 15.6 2.8 103 71 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 15
  1. 24 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

This looks intimidating, but it really is easy - and delicious. Of course. I've probably made about twenty Chef John recipes and every single one is amazing.

Most helpful critical review

I happened to catch The Chew one day and they made a maple syrup Panna Cotta which sounded delicious so I searched Allrecipes and saw Chef John one. As a huge Chef John fan, I had to make this o...

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Most positive
Least positive

This looks intimidating, but it really is easy - and delicious. Of course. I've probably made about twenty Chef John recipes and every single one is amazing.

I replaced the buttermilk with the same amount of half and half, ditched the lemon (mostly because I didn't have any), and added way more vanilla and boy was it delicious! Perfectly creamy, it w...

This was delicious! Made this for a dinner gathering and my guests loved it. I used gelatin sheets as that was all that was available in the store. If you're making it the night before (highly ...

Awesome! First try I used the suggested amount of sugar and for the 2nd try I used about 1/3 cup sugar. Both were great. For flavouring , I used the lemon peel, vanilla but also cardamom. Wonde...

I loved this recipe. Panna Cotta can be so rich it is cloying; the small amount of buttermilk and lemon in this one makes all the difference!

This is a great, simple recipe! I stuck it in the fridge at 4:00 PM and it was ready to serve at 6:30. My wife loved it because it wasn't overly sweet, which she hates. I followed Chef John's...

Extremely easy and quick to make. My kids made it mostly by themselves. Delicious.

This was so good. We loved it! I prepared it according to the instructions and it turned out perfect.

Made Chef John’s buttermilk panna cotta for Mother’s Day. Jazzed it up with macerated strawberries with basil and a balsamic reduction. It was delicious l!