Sugar-Free Panna Cotta Recipe

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Total Time: 195 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 180 min
Servings: 5

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

335 calories
35g fat
4g carbs
2g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving  
Calories 335
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 22g 110%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 39mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 2g  
Vitamin D 1mcg 5%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 74mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Panna cotta is a very simple Italian dessert to make and can be flavored in many ways. It is a mixture of sweetened cream and powdered gelatin and results in a sort of custard. Panna cotta in Italian means "cooked cream," and, although the ingredients are often cooked on the stovetop, they are just warmed enough for the gelatin to dissolve.

This recipe makes the dissolving even easier by using boiling water, eliminating the stovetop. Instead of the cream being sweetened with refined sugar, this recipe uses a sugar substitute (such as stevia) to allow those of us who are watching our sugar intake to enjoy such a luscious dessert.

Gelatin, when part of a healthy diet rich in vitamin C, may help with tissue repair and recovery. It may also help improve the appearance of your skin by supporting natural structures that maintain elasticity.

This is a basic vanilla panna cotta, which is great topped with fresh berries or a berry sauce.


  • 1 1/2 tsp. gelatin powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup water (cold)
  • 1/4 cup water (boiling)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Sugar substitute, such as stevia, equal to 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the cold water in a bowl and let soften for several minutes. Then add the boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved (a fork works well).

  2. Combine dissolved gelatin with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix completely, and taste. Adjust flavors to your liking. 

  3. Pour mixture into custard cups, ramekins, or glasses. Chill completely—it will take 3 to 4 hours until completely set. The resulting dessert is "delicately gelled"—not as firm as a "Jell-O" type dessert but nicely congealed.

Variations and Substitutions

Feel free to try other flavorings such as coffee or rum in place of the vanilla.

Try replacing the heavy cream with coconut milk (full-fat) or coconut cream.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • You can make it in ramekins or custard cups and unmold it directly onto a plate or bowl, or pour it into wine glasses or other smallish glasses and serve it that way.
  • Serve this sugar-free panna cotta with fresh or frozen berries. 
  • Serve with a simple berry sauce. To make a raspberry sauce, simply thaw frozen raspberries and add sweetener to taste. Mix well until it is a sauce consistency. If you'd like, strain the seeds out by forcing the berries through a strainer into a bowl.
  • Another berry sauce to try is this easy three-berry sauce.
  • Stevia is a noncaloric herb that is made into both a powder and a liquid and is very, very sweet. Only a small amount is needed to achieve the same amount of sweetness you would get from refined sugar. The general rule of thumb is for every 1 cup of sugar you need 1 teaspoon of stevia. However, the level of sweetness can differ depending on the manufacturer, so you will need to taste the stevia before determining how much you will need in a recipe.

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shaw G, Lee-Barthel A, Ross ML, Wang B, Baar K. Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesisAm J Clin Nutr. 2017;105(1):136-143. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.138594

  2. Inoue N, Sugihara F, Wang X. Ingestion of bioactive collagen hydrolysates enhance facial skin moisture and elasticity and reduce facial ageing signs in a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study: Collagen enhances skin properties. J Sci Food Agric. 2016;96(12):4077-4081.

By Team Verywell Fit
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