Easy Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy-free, Paleo)

There are plenty of chocolate recipes floating around for Valentine’s Day, so how about something for my non-chocolate lovers?

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This coconut panna cotta is a quick dessert to throw together, but it’s sure to impress your loved ones. Featuring just four ingredients, it couldn’t be easier to prepare!

I had originally planned on using almond milk to make this dairy-free dessert, but the homemade almond milk I used ended up separating in the final result. The creamy layer tasted amazing, but the ugly darker layer that separated away tasted like… nothing. So, I don’t recommend using homemade almond milk for this recipe. Canned coconut milk, however, works perfectly!

Paired with grass-fed gelatin, which may promote digestion and skin health, you can feel good about serving this naturally sweetened treat to your sweetie.

Easy Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy-free)
serves 4

Adapted from Deliciously Organic

Ingredients:

1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk (this brand is BPA-free)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon grass-fed gelatin (I used this brand)

Directions:

In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of the coconut milk with the powdered gelatin. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to allow the gelatin to “bloom.” Add in the vanilla, then gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking well to help the gelatin dissolve. Be careful NOT to boil this mixture! Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and remaining coconut milk.

Pour the mixture into 4 small dishes, and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours before serving.

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For easy removal, place the chilled dishes in a shallow bowl of hot water for 1-2 minutes, then flip the dessert onto a plate. The panna cotta should slide right out! Serve immediately, with fresh berries, if desired.
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4.8 from 19 reviews
Easy Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy-free)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A dairy-free panna cotta that's naturally sweetened and easy to prepare!
Ingredients
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk (this brand is BPA-free)1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ teaspoon grass-fed gelatin (I used this brand)
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of the coconut milk with the powdered gelatin. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to allow the gelatin to "bloom." Add in the vanilla, then gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking well to help the gelatin dissolve. Be careful NOT to boil this mixture! Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and remaining coconut milk.
  2. Pour the mixture into 4 small dishes, and place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours before serving.
  3. For easy removal, place the chilled dishes in a shallow bowl of hot water for 1-2 minutes, then flip the dessert onto a plate. The panna cotta should slide right out! Serve immediately, with fresh berries, if desired.


As always, if you try making this recipe with any other milks or sweeteners, please share your results in the comments below! Agar agar may work as a vegan substitute for gelatin, but the ratio will need to be adjusted.

Reader Feedback: Have you ever made panna cotta before? Now that I know how easy it is, I’ll be making it much more often.

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organsβ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

76 thoughts on “Easy Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy-free, Paleo)

  1. babs

    YUM! I want to try this, but can’t use sugar of any kind, so will try it with stevia. Also, can I use lower fat coconut milk? Thanks

    Reply
      1. Michaela

        rowyn- coconut is very calorie dense though and not everyone can eat that much especially me- i am an 85lb woman w/ thyroid issues.

        lite is just regular coconut milk mixed with water

        Reply
    1. Ginger

      lower fat coconut is not healthful. The full fat is a medium chain fatty acid that is good for you. Count your calories and don’t skimp and make it unhealthy.

      Reply
  2. Rachael

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I attempted to make a “vegan flan” last week with almond milk and agar agar – and it turned out terrible! I’ll have to get some coconut milk, give this a try and hope for a much tastier result! Thanks again! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Yes, but the ratio will need to be adjusted. Since I’m not as familiar with agar agar, I’d recommend looking up substitution recommendations for best results.

      Reply
  3. Brittany

    Tried this with 1 tbsp agar powder instead of gelatin. It was delicious but the texture wasn’t quite the same as original.

    Reply
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  5. grizzly

    why do you care if its non-dairy, if you are using BEEF gelatin? seems silly to me!

    how about making an actual vegan dish ???

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Many people are not vegan or vegetarian but still need to avoid dairy. There are plenty of vegan recipes on my website, if that’s what you’re looking for, and I have offered a vegan alternative in the notes above, for those who would prefer a gelatin-free version.

      Reply
      1. Marlene

        I don’t think grizzly meant anything bad, but this dish is categorized under “vegan” on your site and I too was a bit disappointed when I discovered it was including gelatine. So waiting for the vegan version! πŸ™‚

        PS! Your site is great, there is all sorts of interesting vegan recipes, so thank you!

        Reply
    2. Michaela

      sheesh grizzly. it’s possible to be allergic to dairy and not be a vegan yknow. i subbed for porcine because i am allergic to beef too

      Reply
    3. Millie

      What a stupid statement, I have a very serious illness related to dairy and if I was to mistakenly eat something with a form of dairy in it there is no doubt I would be in hospital fighting for my life but this certainly does not make me a vegan as meat, eggs etc are a very important part of my diet so if you care to make a statement make it an educated one thanks

      Reply
    4. Ashley

      Maybe because some people like me Are lactose intolerant? And since there’s no dairy in beef, I’m not so sure why you would think it’s silly.

      Reply
  6. Lisa

    Grizzly – if you want a vegan dish then go to a vegan website. Megan is awesome and amazing and makes the most delicious foods, I’m vegetarian and avoid lactose but don’t have a problem with eggs and I would still eat something with gelatin in although I don’t eat meat.

    Reply
  7. Theresa

    Thank you Megan for another recipe πŸ™‚ Please keep them coming.

    Grizzly, some people can not tolerate dairy or eggs or they are allergens for them but are not vegan or even vegetarian. While I have to avoid dairy and eggs I do eat meat and meat products. Megan’s recipes are delicious and easy to make. There are many who are quite thankful for her hard work!

    Reply
  8. Asproulla

    I just made this, using full fat organic coconut milk. I had two problems: it separated (into a dark and a light layer) after I put it in the fridge so I stirred it and after a few hours it had separated again where the oil had separated out into a thicker and somewhat grainy layer on the top. Any ideas for avoiding the second separating? The coconut milk I was using has no emulsifiers or additives, and I would rather avoid them if possible. Still tastes great, though πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Francesca

      Maybe just go with it? If you start by separating the fat from the fluid in coconut milk then you could even play with the flavors and colors for each layer. More work but could be fun.

      Reply
  9. Abbi*tarian

    This is great! I love coconut everything (so far :0)!) I will make sure to make this for my mom (and myself :0) ), as she’s allergic to lactose & dairy fat! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  10. Inga

    I made this last night and it was really tasty. I made it with stevia and it turned out great. I’m excited to try it with different milk combinations (almond, regular milk/cream). Great, easy dessert!

    Reply
    1. Erica

      Oh, great! Really need to know how much stevia. Then I can actually have birthday dessert next week! Yay!

      πŸ™‚
      Much gratitude to anyone who can help.

      Reply
  11. Rebecca

    would regular Knox unflavored gelatin work, if you don’t care about the health benefits of the dietary supplement you linked to? I want to make this today and don’t have time to order the fancy gelatin.

    Reply
  12. Jenifer

    This was AMAZING, Megan! Great job! I went to grab a can of coconut milk and OOPS! I was out! I did have a can of the coconut cream from Trader Joe’s on hand. So, I used half a can of that and filled the rest of the measuring cup with Almond Milk. I used my immersion blender to combine them, then just dumped the whole thing in with the gelatin and whisked thoroughly. After heating it up just enough to make sure the gelatin was dissolved, I poured it into little bowls (yesterday). I just indulged now as my little nap time reward for getting 4 kids to sleep at the same time! πŸ™‚ Woohoo! It was restaurant quality!

    And to whoever was complaining about the beef gelatin – be positive, my friends and look elsewhere if what you don’t want is here. I have tried many, many of Megan’s recipes and never.not.one disappoints! They are all FABULOUS and delicious. Several have become staples in my household.

    Thanks for sharing your gift with us, Megan! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  13. Bubbles

    I agree. People who post recipes and experiment to get things comparable to foods we know and love, but can’t have anymore are my angels!! I appreciate their hard work so much!

    Reply
  14. CalGalRoyale

    I did this recipe as directed but it never gelled properly. It had the consistency of pudding so it still tasted amazingly awesome. Unfortunately I could only eat it out of the container rather than in its mold. Am I the only one to have this happen?

    Reply
  15. JBH

    Hi, I made this and it was wonderful! Thanks for the recipe. It didn’t set though using this amount of gelatin. It was half set at best. When I made it again I used 2 teaspoons gelatin and it set just the right amount. I also used 2 teaspoons of raw honey instead of so much maple syrup the second and third times and it was still lovely and sweet. It tastes extra good with a half tablespoon of rosewater added as well…mmmm Turkish Delight flavour! Thanks again.

    Reply
  16. Ivy

    I did it on Easter Sunday. All my quests loved it. Worth doing again .i used jelly sheets instead of agar agar.thank you.

    Reply
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  18. ciudadanasin3cal

    To the people who have set layers in 2 different colors:

    After many trial and error sessions with every panna cotta recipe on the internet, I finally figured it out by reading the comments somewhere.

    You have to let the mix come to room temperature before you put it in the fridge to set. I give mine a stir after letting them cool but before I put them in the fridge.

    I you get the temperature just right and you use fresh vanilla beans, there is a way that you can get the seeds to condense at the bottom, so that when you flip it you have a beautiful gradiated vanilla beans, dark at the top fading to just a few seeds.

    Did it once by accident :/ Can’t figure out how…

    Reply
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  20. Kayla

    This was awesome!! The only thing with mine is I got a waxy layer on the top but it didn’t affect the taste. Thank you, Megan, for all your wonderful recipes!!

    Reply
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  22. Julie

    I used coconut milk with honey and it did not set…not my first time making that mistake either…I think i have learned my lesson now tho.
    I see others have used honey and had no problem. Wonder if there is differences in types of honey that affect the setting of the gelatin??

    Reply
    1. Mary

      Real honey is quite acidic compared to maple syrup, and there are many different kinds of honey, either one of those two things could be messing you up.

      Reply
  23. Donna

    Julie, I make it with honey all the time & mine sets. Although I generally use more gelatin, because I like mine firm. I wind up using a tbsp. or slightly more. Also, did you use the coconut milk in the can, or the carton? I’m thinking that would make a big difference.

    Reply
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  25. Tara

    This was wonderful. I made it with Stevia using a mix of vanilla cream liquid and plain powdered and it turned out really well. Thanks so much!

    Reply
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  27. Brenda

    Thanks so much for this!! I took your recipe, tripled the gelatin and used it as the “cream” layer in the old favourite “knox blocks”!! The kids loved it and the school loved the fact that it was a dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free treat that was ACTUALLY kid-friendly!! Thanks so much!!!!

    Reply
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  29. Katie

    Thank you for this recipe! I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! And so easy. I will definitely be making this again. And again. And again.

    Reply
  30. Merli

    Megan, thanks so much for posting this recipe! I layered it with maple syrup for a family member who follows the FODMAP diet for medical reasons. She was so thrilled to eat something so tasty after a year of figuring out her new restrictions.

    I’ve posted my dessert images on my blog, and gave you thanks and a link to your site. Thank you for this recipe, and I’ll be sure to follow your site more closely.

    Reply
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  33. Pat

    Tomorrow I am catering a gluten-free, dairy-free event for 60 people and I will be serving this, in small shot glasses, garnished with pistachio brittle (for “spoons”) and a few fresh raspberries. When I did a trial run of this recipe, it was so good that I virtually inhaled the whole batch. I added 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom and a couple of drops of coconut extract because I cannot leave well enough alone. Anyway, THANK YOU.

    Reply
  34. Cathy

    This recipe is super easy to make, though you have to make sure to account for the 4 hrs it takes to set!
    Other than that, it got RAVE reviews from friends!

    Reply
  35. Vicky

    Thank you for the recipe. I replaced maple syrup with 1/3 cup of granulated Splenda and used 2 and a half gelatin sheets. 30 mins in the freezer and they turned out fabulous! So very pleased πŸ™‚

    Reply
  36. JhansiRani

    This looks so good ! Thanks for posting this recipe … How long do you think you can store this in the fridge? I can make it 2 days in advance?

    Thanks
    SS

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I think you can make it ahead of time (it never lasts that long in my house!) but I would be sure to wrap the tops very well so they don’t develop too much of a dry crust on top.

      Reply
    2. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I think you can make it ahead of time (it never lasts that long in my house!) but I would be sure to wrap the tops very well so they don’t develop too much of a dry crust on top.

      Reply
      1. Patty

        Megan – making this for dessert tonight. Can you tell me if the picture displayed is the consistency the panna cotta will be? I have made a few recipes with varying results. This one looks perfect . . .

        Reply
  37. Danielle

    This recipe (with the honey) was a success! Delicious, BUT it separated when I chilled it – maybe that was because I didn’t whisk long enough?? Still tasted awesome, so I didn’t mind at all.

    Reply
  38. Rosie

    Thanks for the recipe! I made mine a little different as I am avoiding all added sugar right now. I omitted the syrup and added a few sliced strawberries. It came out delicious, no (added) sugar necessary. Oh but I ate it as jello – not panna cotta!

    Reply
  39. Michaela

    Thank you! I substituted the maple syrup for stevia. To lighten it up, you can use lite coconut milk. I’ve tried both. (it’s just watered down coconut milk, lol.) I am on keto and often have trouble getting enough fat, so this is perfect for me!

    Reply
  40. kirstan horn

    Delicious recipe. I used date syrup instead of Maple Syrup, oh my god, so good and served with a mango coulis…

    Reply
  41. Lori

    I had mine in dessert glasses and noticed it was starting to separate. I poured them all into a glass bowl and set it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Then I poured it back into the dessert glasses and put them in the fridge. It worked and was so delicious. My children still rave about it a month later.

    Reply

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