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A fresh and fruity twist on my vegan panna cotta recipe, this easy dessert combines the tropical flavor of mango with an Italian classic.

Traditional panna cotta is made using bloomed gelatin and dairy making it unsuitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

My homemade dairy free panna cotta is made without gelatin and uses plant-based milk, coconut cream, and agar agar powder instead. It's also naturally gluten-free.

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It uses just the right amount of agar to give it a fabulous wobble and melt-in-your-mouth consistency, without being gummy!

🧾 Ingredients

As promised, you only need 5 main ingredients for this easy mango panna (salt and lime are optional!). Here's what to grab:

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Ingredient Notes

Mango Pulp: I prefer to use Alphonso or Kesar mangoes for their vibrant color and sweet flavor when it's mango season. I've used canned mango pulp here, but feel free to use fresh mango purée if you can find good quality ripe mangoes.

Non-Dairy Milk: Panna cotta generally uses whole milk, which is easily replaced with almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. You can also use coconut milk from a carton here.

Coconut Cream: This replaces the heavy cream present in traditional cotta panna. Make sure you use coconut cream, not creamed coconut which is a different product altogether.

You can use full-fat canned coconut milk too, just chill the can overnight and use only the thick cream from the top. As coconut cream firms up when chilled, it will add to the structure and creaminess of the panna cotta, rather than relying solely on agar as a setting agent.

Agar-Agar Powder: This is used in tandem with coconut cream as the setting agent for this panna cotta.

Sugar: I recommend using regular granulated or cane sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar can overpower the flavor.

Sea Salt: This helps to balance the sweetness and enhance the overall flavor of the dessert.

Lime Zest: This is an optional addition, but it adds a lovely twist and complements the mango flavor nicely!

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🔪 Instructions

Here are step-by-step images showing how to make this mango coconut panna cotta. Remember, the detailed printable recipe card is at the end of this page:

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Step 1: Combine ingredients: Add the mango pulp, almond milk, sugar, and agar powder to a saucepan and whisk well.

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Step 2: Cook: Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking regularly. The mixture will thicken slightly and should coat the back of a rubber spatula or spoon.

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Step 3: Add flavors and cream: Reduce the heat to low, and whisk in the coconut cream, salt, and lime zest. Cook for another minute until the coconut has melted - but do not boil.

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Step 4: Sift: Pass the mango panna cotta mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or large jug.

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Step 5: Mold: Divide between flexible molds, I use four 8.5 cm x 7 cm molds. You can also use cleaned empty yogurt containers. Let the mixture cool slightly for 10 minutes, then cover with lids or plastic wrap

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Step 6: Set: Place the filled molds in the fridge to set for 4 hours, or overnight if serving the next day.

💬 FAQs

Is panna cotta like pudding?

They are pretty similar desserts in terms of consistency. The main difference is in how they are set and prepared. Italian panna cotta translates to "cooked cream" and uses gelatin (or agar in this case) to set it, without using eggs.

Pudding is mostly custard-based and is thickened with egg yolks or cornstarch in the case of vegan custard.

Can I use cornstarch instead of agar agar?

No, while cornstarch is a thickening agent, it will create a consistency more reminiscent of a mango pudding or mango custard. It will not set the panna cotta to the right consistency to hold it while giving it that signature wobble.

The key with agar-agar is using just enough to hold the panna cotta together, so this recipe uses a very small amount that works together with coconut cream to set the dessert when chilled.

Why did my panna cotta not set?

This could be because the agar-agar was not heated high and long enough to activate it, or the wrong type of agar/setting agent was used.

Another reason could be down to the coconut cream. As mentioned, it's important to use coconut cream or full-fat canned coconut milk using only the thick part from the top of the can. Products like light coconut milk or creamed coconut will not work.

Lastly, it could be as simple as giving the panna cotta more time to set. I suggest giving it 4 hours at least but overnight is always a good bet.

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📖 Recipe

Mango Panna Cotta (no gelatin, dairy-free)

5 from 2 votes
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 4 hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4
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Description

This easy vegan mango panna cotta is the lightest, most refreshing dessert, perfect for summer. It uses just a handful of main ingredients, without gelatin or cornstarch, and has a delicious mango flavor with a hint of creamy coconut.

Ingredients

  • 200 g (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) mango pulp, *see note 1
  • 200 ml (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) almond milk, or soy milk
  • 50 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon agar-agar powder, *see note 2
  • 240 g (1 cup) coconut cream, or chilled full-fat canned coconut milk *see note 3
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest, optional

Instructions

  • Combine ingredients: Add the mango pulp, almond milk, sugar, and agar powder to a saucepan and whisk well.
  • Cook: Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking regularly. The mixture will thicken slightly and should coat the back of a rubber spatula or spoon.
  • Add flavors and cream: Reduce the heat to low, and whisk in the coconut cream, salt, and lime zest. Cook for another minute until the coconut has melted through - but do not boil.
  • Sift: Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or large jug.
  • Mold: Divide between flexible molds, I use four 8.5 cm x 7 cm molds. You can also use cleaned empty yogurt containers. Let the mixture cool slightly for 10 minutes, then cover with lids or plastic wrap.
  • Set: Place the filled molds in the fridge to set for 4 hours, or overnight if serving the next day.
  • Serving: Once ready to serve, remove the lids/plastic wrap and place a serving plate on top of the mold, carefully turn the plate over and remove them from their molds by very gently pushing in the edges of the silicone mold, they should pop out after a little coaxing.
  • Storage: You can keep them refrigerated in their molds for 3-4 days.

Notes

  1. Mango Puree: I recommend using canned Alphonso or Kesar mango pulp unless you can get sweet ripe fresh mangoes. If using fresh mango, puree the flesh in a blender until smooth.
  2. Agar-Agar Powder: Do not use agar flakes.
  3. Coconut Milk: Chill the coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick coconut cream from the top of the can.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion | Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 228mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1.2IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 8mg
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