I am excited to share with you my recipe for creamy chocolate panna cotta! It’s super creamy, not too sweet, and it can be garnished and flavored in many ways. It’s the best.

For more panna cotta goodness, you may like my lemon corn panna cotta or cream cheese panna cotta tart.

And for an airier take on a chocolate dessert, try my chocolate mousse recipe. For ease of browsing, here are all of my individual desserts. Thanks for stopping by! Now let’s jump right in.

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2 plated chocolate panna cottas with spoons, white chocolate ganache, and whipped cream with grated chocolate sprinkled over all.

Watch my chocolate panna cotta recipe web story here.

Chocolate Panna Cotta, at a Glance

✅Skill Level: Intermediate
✅Skills: Blooming Gelatin, Heating, Whipping Cream, Molding a Dessert
✅Type: Individual Dessert/Gelatin-Set Dessert
✅Number of Ingredients: 7
✅Prep Time: 10 minutes
✅Cook Time: 5 minutes
✅Yield: 4 panna cottas

Jump Straight to the Recipe

Why You Should Make This Recipe

Panna cotta is easy to make and almost fool-proof.

Once you learn the procedure, you are free to experiment with your own flavor combinations.

The ingredient list is relatively short. The flavor payoff is big, and panna cotta is an impressive dessert to serve.

Everyone gets their own, which is always nice for a fancy dessert.

You can also garnish it in many ways, as you can see from my photos. Feel free to go your own way and garnish with whatever makes you happy.

The main flavor is chocolate, but you can also add other flavors. For example, adding mint or orange would be a lovely way to change up the flavor.

If chocolate panna cotta sounds like your idea of a great dessert, I have a favor to ask:

When you do make this recipe, it will help me and other readers if you:
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How To Make Chocolate Panna Cotta

Let’s run through what you’ll need and how to make this dessert. If you’re already confident in working with unflavored gelatin, feel free to skip on down to the recipe.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A collage of ingredients for making chocolate panna cotta: heavy cream, gelatin, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and chopped chocolate.
  • heavy cream The main liquid for making panna cotta, which literally means “cooked cream.”
  • powdered gelatin Provides the setting power for the dessert. You can also use one sheet of leaf gelatin. Soak it in ice water to soften. Never soak leaf gelatin in anything other than ice water or it will dissolve and you’ll have to start over again
  • whole milk Keeps the dessert from being too rich
  • sugar Provides the sweetness for the panna cotta. You can use plain granulated or go with brown sugar or something like sugar in the raw.
  • salt: Don’t leave out the salt. It brings out the flavor of the dish, and your panna cotta will taste flat without it.
  • vanilla: rounds out the flavors and adds a floral note.
  • dark chocolate I used a 70% dark chocolate, but if all you have are semisweet chocolate chips, use those. It’ll be fine!

What to Do

NOTE: Adding the cream in two additions and softly whipping the second addition ensures you’ll actually end up with a creamy chocolate panna cotta and not one that has the texture of chocolate Jello.

  1. Soften the gelatin in a portion of the milk (No worries about measurements. Just eyeball about half. It’ll be fine)
  2. Heat the rest of the milk with the sugar and salt until steaming but not boiling.
  3. Off the heat, add chopped chocolate and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  4. Heat over medium-low heat to make sure the chocolate is completely melted. Don’t let it boil.
  5. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the hot chocolate mixture.
  6. Strain into a bowl and add half the heavy cream to cool the mixture.
  7. Chill until just barely starting to thicken and set. Whisk well. (See the Pro Tip about using an ice bath, below)
  8. Whip remaining cream just until thickened and stir/fold into the chocolate mixture.
  9. Pour into containers and chill until completely set, about 4 hours.

Pro Tips

While the above “rules” sound a little fussy, following them isn’t hard, and it’s the best way to get a creamy rather than “slick” texture.

To cool your panna cotta mixture down quickly, chill it in an ice bath, whisking occasionally, until thick. Then fold in the last portion of heavy cream.

Panna Cotta Q & A

On a white plate, the panna cotta ingredients laid out, with text next to each. A metal measuring spoon with vanilla paste 9or vanilla extract) in it, squares of dark chocolate, a small mound of dry powdered gelatin, a mound of brown sugar in the raw granules.
Aside from vanilla, chocolate, gelatin, and sugar, you’ll also need heavy cream, whole milk, and a pinch of salt.
Is it hard to work with gelatin?

Gelatin is not hard to work with. Remember to let it sit in cold liquid for it to soften and bloom (hydrate) before adding it to hot liquid. Whisk it in well, and make sure the mixture is completely smooth and not at all gritty. Strain for insurance. The end.

What is the ratio of gelatin to dairy?

For each cup (8 oz) of dairy, use 1 teaspoon of gelatin if you plan on unmolding your panna cotta. If you plan to serve it in dishes or ramekins, you can get away with a bit of a softer set and use 3/4 teaspoon gelatin per cup of dairy.

How can I substitute sheet or leaf gelatin for powdered gelatin?

For each teaspoon of gelatin, you’ll need 1 sheet or leaf of gelatin.

Do I have to whip the cream?

No, you don’t. You can just add the cream all at once. I prefer the mouthfeel of whisking in gently whipped cream to the chocolate mixture, but if you are short on time, it’s fine to just add all of it and pour it into containers immediately. It will still be very tasty!

Serving Suggestions

A vintage teacup decorated with brown and green scenes of farms and trees. Cup is filled with chocolate panna cotta with whipped cream on top. A silver spoon rests on the decorated saucer.

There is nothing wrong with placing a dish of panna cotta in front of someone and telling them to have at it!

There are also lots of easy ways to jazz up your presentation if you want to, as well.

For my guys, I made four garnishes:

As you can see in the photographs, I mixed and matched the garnishes in different ways to get different looks.

This was pretty easy to do, and it literally took me about 10 minutes total to make all four garnishes.

Feel free to serve all your panna cottas with the same garnishes, but also know you can serve everyone’s garnished just a bit differently, just for fun!

There are plenty of other ways to garnish as well.

An individual serving of chocolate panna cotta with ganacheflowing over the top and sides. Whipped cream is on  top of all, with grated chocolate sprinkled over all. Served in a shallow white dish with a silver spoon.
individual 3 garnishes: ganache, whipped cream, and grated chocolate

Some ideas for you:

  • berry sauce such as raspberry or strawberry syrup
  • creme Anglaise
  • hot fudge sauce instead of simple ganache
  • caramel sauce
  • little chocolate covered crispy pearls
  • marshmallow sauce
  • peanut butter sauce
  • jimmies or sprinkles on top of whipped cream

The list goes on, so please have fun with it!


If you have any questions about this post or recipe, I am happy to help.

Simply leave a comment here and I will get back to you soon. I also invite you to ask question in my Facebook group, Fearless Kitchen Fun.

If your question is more pressing, please feel free to email me. I should be back in touch ASAP, as long as I’m not asleep.

A Note About Measurements

My recipes are almost all written by weight, including liquids, unless otherwise specified.

For accuracy and consistency of results, I encourage you to buy–and use–a kitchen scale.

I promise that baking and cleanup will be so much quicker and easier.

This is the scale that I recommend for home use. I have owned and used one for years.

Best for Home Use
Escali Primo Digital Food Scale
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Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.

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07/22/2024 07:15 am GMT

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chocolate panna cotta with white chocolate ganache

Chocolate Panna Cotta Recipe

Jennifer Field
This chocolate panna cotta is lightly sweet and rich. A wonderful ending to a meal any time of year, chilled desserts are especially nice in the summertime. Enjoy garnished with creme Anglaise, ganache, berries or berry sauce, or some shaved chocolate.
4.41 from 5 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course Individual Desserts
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 315 kcal


  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk divided use
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 oz sugar about 1/4 cup
  • 3 oz dark chocolate finely chopped (I used 70%)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream divided use


  • Stir the gelatin into 1/4 cup cold milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the rest of the milk, the sugar, and salt together in a small saucepan until steaming but not boiling.
  • Off the heat, stir in the chopped chocolate and vanilla.
  • If the chocolate does not melt all the way and the mixture looks like it has tiny specks of chocolate in it as opposed to a uniform "brown" look, heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, unitl the chocolate is completely melted.
  • Stir the bloomed gelatin/milk into the hot chocolate mixture and mix well. Check to make sure it's not grainy. If it is, barely heat and whisk again. You want to make sure the mixture is smooth so the gelatin can set up well and so your panna cotta is not grainy.
  • Strain the chocolate mixture into a bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream.
  • Chill until just starting to set and then whisk it well.
  • Softly whip the other 1/2 cup of cream just until thickened. It does not need to reach even soft peaks.
  • Fold/stir into the chocolate/gelatin mixture and pour into containers.
  • Chill until set, or freeze.
  • Allow to thaw before serving. See Notes.

Did You Make Any Changes?


TO UNMOLD: The easiest way to unmold these for serving is to pour the mixture into silicone baking cups or 4 oz plastic "souffle cups." Then you can freeze them. Before serving, pop them out of the silicone or use scissors to cut the souffle cups and then peel them away. Place on serving plates, top-side down and let sit until no longer icy. Then garnish as desired and serve.
STORAGE: The panna cottas will be just fine in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can freeze them for up to 2 months.
GARNISH: Serve these with chocolate sauce, creme Anglaise, berry sauce or fresh berries, whipped cream, shaved chocolate, caramel sauce, peanut butter sauce, etc. Anything that goes nicely with chocolate would make a great accompaniment.
  • Mocha: add 1-2 teaspoons instant coffee or 1 teaspoon espresso powder to the mix
  • Mint: add 2-3 drops peppermint oil or maybe 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the mix
  • Chocolate Orange: Add the zest of 1 orange in step 2 and let steep for 30 minutes before continuing. Alternatively, add 2-3 drops of orange oil along with the chocolate


Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 29.5gProtein: 5.7gFat: 19.9gSaturated Fat: 12.8gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 100mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 27.6g
Keyword chocolate panna cotta, how to make chocolate panna cotta, panna cotta
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

And there you have it friends. Easy, creamy, and I think the best chocolate panna cotta. I hope you enjoy it!

Take care, y’all.

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4.41 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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