Easy Coconut Panna Cotta Recipe

Silky smooth coconut panna cotta served with diced pineapple, passion fruit, and tiny meringues. This easy-to-make dessert tastes absolutely sensational and will make you shine at that dinner table. Let’s do it. Gluten-free of course.

coconut panna cotta on a white plate sreved with tropical fruit

Reasons to make this coconut panna cotta recipe:

  • Dairy-free: I guess you are here because you were looking for a dairy-free panna cotta recipe and you came to the right place. To make this creamy panna cotta we won’t need any cream Instead, we will be using coconut milk and coconut cream. A tropical twist on traditional Italian panna cotta.
  • Gluten-free: Panna cotta is a classic Italian dessert that is naturally gluten-free. And as you probably noticed all recipes on this blog are 100% gluten-free and safe for you if you are following a gluten-free diet. Make sure to explore.
  • Easy dessert: on my blog, you won’t find any recipes that require hours of cooking. While I am enjoying cooking and pay a lot of attention to what goes on our plates, I don’t like spending too much time in the kitchen. This is another reason why I like this recipe – it is easy to make.
  • Budget-friendly. Let’s face it the food prices have gone up by a lot in the last year and the last thing we won’t be doing spending extra money on some expensive ingredients. Luckily, this recipe only calls for a few basic and budget-friendly ingredients.
  • Crowd pleaser. As you can see, this recipe is not only easy to make but also budget-friendly, making it a perfect dessert to serve to a larger crowd and at dinner parties. The tropical flavors of this easy dessert are loved by kids and grownups. So, be prepared to share the recipe with your friends, as it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser! 😉
coconut panna cotta served with pineapple, passion fruit and merengue crumbs

Let’s have a look at what we will need.

Ingredients to make creamy coconut panna cotta

As promised above this recipe requires only a few simple ingredients. We will need:

  • Coconut milk. When selecting coconut milk or coconut cream, ensure that the ingredients list only includes coconut, without any thickening agent, preservatives, or stabilizers.
  • Coconut cream. The same goes for coconut cream.
  • Maple syrup or coconut sugar: You have the option to choose your preferred sweetener. Personally, I lean towards maple syrup due to its milder taste. Coconut sugar will add a deep coconut flavor to the dish. Regardless of your choice, the dessert will be refined sugar-free.
  • Vanilla bean paste: While this ingredient may be slightly pricier, you can easily substitute it with vanilla extract or vanilla essence.
  • Gelatine: I always use organic unflavored gelatin powder. I personally use Nutra Organics Natural Gelatin Powder which provides excellent results and lasts a long time. If you can find organic gelatine sheets, that is fine too.
  • Small fresh pineapple: If fresh pineapples are unavailable or out of season, you can substitute them with a small amount of canned pineapples.
  • Passion fruit. 
  • Coconut flakes and pistachios to garnish (optional)
ingredients needed to make coconut panna cotta

See the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below.

How to make coconut panna cotta

  • Combine coconut cream, coconut milk, and maple syrup in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat until it reaches approximately 40’C (100 ‘F). Be cautious not to bring it to a boil. You still should be able to touch it with your finger without burning it.
  • If using gelatine leaves: Place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl with cold water and let them soak for a couple of minutes.
  • Squeeze any excess moisture from the gelatine leaves using your hands, then add them to the coconut mixture. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.
  • If using gelatine powder, dissolve 2 teaspoons of gelatine powder in approximately 40 ml of warm coconut milk. Once gelatine is combined with milk, simply add it to the remaining coconut mixture and mix well to combine.
  • Lightly grease 6 molds or ramekins with coconut oil and place them on a baking tray. I love using silicon muffin trays to make my panna cotta.
  • Evenly divide the panna cotta mixture among the molds.
  • Place the tray in the fridge and refrigerate for 6 hours or until the panna cotta has set completely, and the center of the panna cotta feels spongy.
  • In a small bowl, combine diced pineapple and passion fruit. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and refrigerate for later use.

How to serve coconut panna cotta

Once the panna cotta has set, it’s time to serve. While my suggestion is just one of many possibilities, feel free to serve your panna cotta in any way you prefer.

To begin, carefully invert the panna cottas onto individual serving plates. Spoon a generous amount of pineapple-passion fruit mixture over each panna cotta. Sprinkle some pistachios and coconut flakes on top for added texture and flavor. For a finishing touch, garnish with 2-3 small mint leaves. Voila! Your perfect dessert is now ready to be served.

two plates with panna cotta served with merengues and tropical fruit

How to unmold the panna cotta without it breaking?

To unmold the panna cotta without any mishaps, carefully dip the bottom of the mold in warm water for a few seconds to loosen the edges. Then, gently invert it onto a serving plate and give it a light tap. If needed, you can use a small knife to help release the edges.

Variations:

There are several ways to customize and serve the coconut panna cotta according to your preferences.

  1. Fruit: Instead of the pineapple-passion fruit mixture, you can serve the coconut panna cotta with a delightful strawberry sauce, mango slices, or any other fruit or fruit puree of your choice.
  2. Serve in glasses: Instead of using molds, you can opt to serve the panna cotta in small glasses or dessert cups. Simply pour the panna cotta mixture into the glasses and refrigerate until set. This presentation adds a touch of elegance to your dessert.
  3. Chocolate Drizzle: Enhance the coconut panna cotta with a decadent touch by drizzling melted chocolate over the top. Choose dark, milk, or white chocolate based on your preference, and let it gently cascade over the creamy panna cotta.
  4. Nutty Crunch: Add some crunch by sprinkling crushed nuts, such as toasted almonds or pistachios, on top of the panna cotta. The combination of creamy texture and nutty goodness creates a delightful contrast.
  5. Citrus Zest: Garnish the panna cotta with a sprinkle of citrus zest, such as lemon, lime, or orange, for a refreshing burst of flavor. The citrus notes beautifully complement the creamy coconut base.

Make it vegan

To make a vegan panna cotta, you can substitute agar agar for gelatine. Follow the instructions on the agar agar package to achieve a vegan-friendly result.

Frequently Asked Questions about Coconut Panna Cotta:

Can I use light coconut milk instead of full-fat coconut milk?

While you can use light coconut milk, it may result in a less creamy and rich texture compared to full-fat coconut milk. The full-fat version provides the best results for a luscious panna cotta.

How long does it take for the panna cotta to set?

Typically, the panna cotta will need to refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, or until it is fully set. 

Can I make the panna cotta ahead of time?

Absolutely, panna cotta is a great make-ahead dessert. You can prepare it a day or two in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Just be sure to keep it chilled until serving.

coconut panna cotta

How to store panna cotta

The panna cotta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. However, it is best to consume it within the first day or two for optimal freshness and texture.

Panna cotta is not typically recommended for freezing as it may alter the texture and affect the creamy consistency. It’s best enjoyed fresh and refrigerated.

I love this recipe and hope you will too. It is easy to make and yet doesn’t fail to impress. It only requires a little time and a few simple ingredients. I hope I could convince you to try this delicious and good-for-you dessert.

More gluten-free dessert recipes:

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coconut panna cotta served with pineapple, passion fruit and merengue crumbs

Coconut Panna Cotta – Gluten-Free

Elena Elliott
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chilling Time 6 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 300 ml coconut cream
  • 300 ml coconut milk organic if possible
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 6 gelatine leaves or 2 teaspoons of gelatine powder Check the instruction on the packaging, they might vary.
  • 1/4 pineapple pilled, cored, and chopped or use sugar-free canned variety
  • 4 passion fruit halved
  • meringue kisses to serve
  • fresh mint leaves to serve

Instructions
 

Pineapple – passion fruit garnish

  • Peel, core, and finely dice the pineapple. Place in a small bowl.
  • Wash and cut the passion fruit in halves and spoon the juice, seeds, and pulp and add to the pineapple. Mix and set aside.

Making Coconut Panna Cotta

  • Combine coconut cream, coconut milk, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over law heat, stirring constantly until mixture is heated through but not boiling.
  • Take the coconut mixture off the heat and add maple syrup, mix to combine.
  • If using gelatgine leaves: place the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 3 minutes. Drain using your hands to squeeze exess moisture.
  • If using powder: add 2 teaspoons of the gelatine powder to 40 ml of warm coconut milk and stir until gelatin powder is fully dissolved. Add gelatine to the remaining coconut milk mixture and stir until everything is well combined.
  • Prepare the moulds by greasing them with a little bit of coconut oil.
  • Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly between 6 molds. Place the molds in the fridge for at leas3-4 6 hours or until the panna cotta has set.
  • Gently invert the coconut panna cotta on a serving plate and garnish with pineapple and passion fruit mix, crushed meringues, and small fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

Notes

Check yours how to prepare gelatine instructions, they might vary from my method. 
The panna cotta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. It is great a make-ahead dessert.
To make a vegan panna cotta, you can substitute agar agar for gelatine. Follow the instructions on the agar agar package to achieve a vegan-friendly result.
Keyword Panna cotta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Coconut panna cotta is a tropical dream—creamy, coconutty goodness that melts in your mouth. A dessert worth savoring! 🥥🍮😋

  2. 5 stars
    This panna cotta is so creamy and delicious! The fruit and meringue topping is out of this world, and I love that the recipe is gluten free.

  3. 5 stars
    This was such a delicious and creamy dessert, but still ended up being pretty light and refreshing! Was great to make for all this hot weather we’ve been having!

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