Chocolate lovers rejoice! This Chocolate Panna Cotta is a chocolate lover's dream. It's a dense, rich, totally satisfying chocolate pudding that is wonderfully smooth and intensely decadent. And easy to make too!
It's a panna cotta chocolate recipe that is totally indulgent and the perfect way to satisfy any and all chocolate cravings. Serve it for holidays, special dinners or just to say I love you.
Creamy Chocolate Dessert
You know that feeling when you lick the batter off the spoon? That's how it feels when you eat this chocolate panna cotta recipe. It has an intense chocolate flavor that is definitely decadent and truly is spoon-lickable worthy! Make it. You deserve it.
Even if you have no idea how to make panna cotta, this recipe will walk you through every step.
What is Panna Cotta?
Panna Cotta is a creamy Italian gelatin dessert served cold. The texture of panna cotta is similar to custard or thick pudding. It's made with heavy cream or milk, sugar, and gelatin.
It is cooked enough to heat the milk and cream and dissolve the sugar. It's then poured into molds and refrigerated where it thickens as it cools.
This rich and creamy dessert can be plain or flavored with fruit or chocolate. (See my mango panna cotta recipe).
Why You'll Love This Chocolate Panna Cotta Recipe
Creamy, rich chocolate custard that begs to be savored
A fancy dessert that is as easy to make as pudding!
Only 5 simple ingredients and 15 minutes prep to this chocolate lovers dessert
Individual servings that look as beautiful as they taste. Top with berries and mint for extra flavor and aromatics.
Chocolate Panna Cotta Ingredients
- Unflavored powdered gelatin - gives body and texture to this dessert
- Whole milk or half and half - both work just as well
- Sugar - sweetens the pudding
- Salt - enhances the chocolate flavor
- Dark chocolate - the higher the quality of chocolate the better the panna cotta will be
- Berries - optional for garnish
- Fresh Mint - optional for garnish
Best Chocolate To Use For Panna Cotta
The best chocolate to use for this panna cotta recipe is dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao. Use a chocolate bar and not cocoa powder. Finely chop the bar for faster melting.
How to Make Chocolate Panna Cotta
- Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup milk. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat milk, sugar and salt until simmering.
- Remove from heat and stir in gelled gelatin.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in-between until melted and smooth. Pour into milk mixture and stir until smooth
- Pour into ramekins that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set.
This panna cotta chocolate recipe can be served in two ways. The easiest way is to serve in the ramekins with garnishes of whipped cream, berries, and mint.
Or for a more spectacular presentation, run a knife around the edge of the ramekin and invert it onto a plate then dust with cocoa powder, raspberries, and a mint leaf. Enjoy!
- Cook the liquids over low heat and stir often to avoid scorching.
- Be sure to completely dissolve the gelatin in cold milk before adding it to the cooked mixture. You will have lumps if it is not fully dissolved.
- For ease of pouring the cooked mixture into ramekins, transfer it to a large measuring cup or small pitcher.
- Panna Cotta without Gelatin - Substitute the gelatin with agar agar powder (⅛ of the amount of gelatin). Add the agar agar once the cream mixture is boiling and whisk it vigorously.
- Dairy Free Panna Cotta - Substitute the milk with any dairy-free milk. Almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk are great options.
- Vegan Panna Cotta - Substitute the gelatin with agar agar and use a vegan milk substitute.
- Sugar Free Panna Cotta - Substitute the sugar with powdered Swerve sweetener.
- White Chocolate Panna Cotta - Substitute white chocolate for dark chocolate.
- Christmas Panna Cotta - Top it with sugared cranberries.
- Valentine Panna Cotta - Top it with raspberries or strawberries. Or sprinkle the top with powdered sugar in a heart shape using a paper cutout.
How to Serve Panna Cotta
Traditionally panna cotta is made in a mold and then inverted onto a plate before serving. It is often served with fruit or a sauce (try my raspberry sauce).
Plating chocolate panna cotta isn't necessary. You can serve it in the ramekins either as-is or topped with fruit and a sprig of mint.
Can you make panna cotta in advance?
Panna cotta is the perfect dessert to make ahead. Prepare it up to 3 days in advance.
How to Store and Freeze
To Store: Cover the chocolate panna cotta with plastic wrap. Press it on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on top. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
To Freeze: Cover it with plastic wrap, pressing it on the surface. Wrap it with aluminum foil. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Panna Cotta Frequently Asked Questions
The literal definition of panna cotta is "cooked cream." There are lots of different panna cotta flavors out there - chocolate happens to be one of my favorites.
The gelatin is a thickener that is needed to set the dessert. It gives the panna cotta structure.
It is pronounced as "pa nuh kaa tuh".
While panna cotta has a custard texture, it is not a custard. Real custard is thickened with egg yolks. Panna cotta is thickened with gelatin.
No. While they are both custard-like, panna cotta uses gelatin as a thickening agent, and creme brulee uses eggs, cornstarch, or flour. Creme brulee also has a sugar crust.
More Chocolate Dessert Recipes
- Chocolate Cherry Pie with a chocolate cookie crust.
- Chocolate Coffee Mousse is light and airy.
- Chocolate Pound Cake topped with chocolate glaze.
- Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes from Life Made Simple
- Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Pie with an Oreo cookie crust.
Find lots of easy dessert recipes on 2CM!
Chocolate Panna Cotta
- 2 ½ teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 ¾ cups whole milk or half and half
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces dark chocolate chopped
- Spray 6 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small measuring cup or bowl, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup of cold milk
- and let sit for 5-10 minutes until gelled.
- While gelatin is softening, mix remaining milk, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a small
- saucepan and bring to a slow simmer.
- Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin.
- In a large measuring cup, place chopped chocolate and microwave on high in 30 second
- increments until melted. It usually takes about 1 minute. Stir after each segment to help melt
- Stir into milk mixture until well blended then pour into prepared ramekins.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or longer until set.
- To serve, run a knife around pudding and invert onto serving dish. Garnish with whipped cream, mint sprig and raspberries.
This post has been updated with new photos, step-by-step directions, and more useful information. It was first published on September 10, 2013.