Classic desserts like this vegan panna cotta and creme caramel are some of my favorite desserts!

What is panna cotta?

Panna cotta or "Cooked cream" is a traditional Italian dessert that is wildly popular and regularly featured on menus all over the world. This light and creamy pudding is subtle yet satisfying and is usually made with vanilla bean as the main flavor however there really aren't any limits to the flavor possibilities with this versatile dessert.

Traditional panna cotta is usually not vegan, as it contains dairy and gelatin. So we're making this panna cotta vegan by leaving out those ingredients and subbing in vegan alternatives. I've tested this vegan panna cotta recipe close to ten times to get the consistency and flavor balance just right and it is beyond delicious!

What to expect from this recipe

  • Uses just 6 main ingredients
  • Really easy to make
  • Eggless and dairy-free
  • Made without gelatin
  • Gluten-free and nut-free
  • Great for dinner parties and special occasions
pouring strawberry sauce over dairy free panna cotta.Pin

Ingredients overview

For the panna cotta:

  • Soy milk: I find soya milk works perfectly for this dessert as it's rich without an overpowering taste, feel free to sub it with coconut drinking milk, oat milk, or cashew milk if you'd prefer.
  • Coconut cream: this is the key to getting a nice creamy consistency to your vegan panna cotta. You can also use tinned full fat coconut milk, in this case, refrigerate the can the night before and only use the thick cream that separates to the top.
  • Caster sugar: I use caster sugar as it dissolves easily. If you're based in the US, be sure to go for organic white sugar as others may not be vegan-friendly due to the processing method.
  • Cornstarch/cornflour: this is the thickening agent for the pudding, cornflour is known as cornstarch in the US.
  • Agar-agar powder: the setting agent which replaces gelatine which is used in non-vegan panna cotta.
  • Vanilla bean paste: you can also use a vanilla pod, by cutting through and cooking it with the mixture as it heats and removing it when done. I find vanilla bean paste to be much more cost-effective, and the quality is really great too. I usually use Neilsen Massey pure vanilla extract and Taylor and Colledge vanilla bean extract.
  • Sea salt: although just a pinch, the salt helps to intensify that vanilla bean flavor of this dessert!

For the strawberry coulis:

If you plan on serving this dairy-free panna cotta with strawberry coulis you will also need the following ingredients.

  • Strawberries: preferably fresh if they're in season, if not, you can go for frozen strawberries. The flavOr of the coulis will depend on the quality of strawberries you use.
  • Caster sugar: you can also use pure maple syrup to sweeten the coulis if you'd prefer.
  • Lime juice: a lot of coulis recipes will call for lemon juice, I personally love the combination of strawberries and lime!
  • Cornflour: this helps to thicken the sauce slightly and make it a nice pourable consistency.
ingredients to make dairy free panna cotta on a metal tray.Pin

Making vegan panna cotta

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

So here's how to make the perfect dairy-free panna cotta. First, make a paste with cornstarch and agar-agar powder with a little soy milk. This is also known as a cornstarch slurry, and it will prevent the custard from forming lumps when it's cooked later. Mix the ingredients well and set them aside, this prevents the cornflour from clumping and giving you a lumpy consistency!

Next, add the soy milk and sugar to a saucepan and heat whilst stirring for a couple of minutes until all of the sugar has dissolved. After that add in the coconut cream, vanilla, and salt and bring to a simmer.

For the next step, make sure you don't leave the saucepan out of your sight. Add the cornflour paste to the saucepan and whisk while it cooks for a few minutes. The mixture will thicken as the cornflour and agar-agar are activated by the heat, therefore it's important to keep stirring to prevent burning to the bottom of the saucepan.

For the smoothest mouthfeel, I recommend passing the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps or particles before pouring the mixture into silicone molds or serving jars.

The mixture will need to be set in the fridge for about 2 hours, in the meantime get started on making the strawberry coulis!

panna cotta in moulds on a metal tray.Pin

How to make strawberry coulis

Making the sauce is super easy, you can prepare it while the vegan panna cotta sets in the fridge so that it has time to cool before you serve them up!

Simply add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender (strawberries, water, sugar, cornstarch, and lime juice) and blitz them until smooth. Then you'll need to cook out the cornstarch over medium heat while stirring for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.

strawberry coulis in a saucepan.Pin

Storage instructions

This homemade panna cotta will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.

panna cotta without gelatin with fresh strawberries and raspberries.Pin

Frequently asked questions

Can I make panna cotta with agar-agar flakes instead of powder?

No, this recipe specifically calls for agar-agar powder. Agar flakes will not yield the same result.

Can you freeze panna cotta?

I do not recommend freezing this panna cotta as the defrosting process may interfere with its creamy consistency.

Is this panna cotta nut-free?

Yes, it is nut-free, depending on the type of plant-based milk you use.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this panna cotta is gluten-free.

vegan panna cotta with vanilla and fresh berries on a plate.Pin

More vegan desserts

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!

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📖 Recipe

Vegan Panna Cotta

4.94 from 82 votes
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
Set Time: 2 hours
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4


A delicious vegan take on classic Italian panna cotta. A creamy, dairy-free moulded pudding served with sweet strawberry coulis. This light dessert is perfect for summer!


Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder, not agar flakes
  • 1 cup (240 ml) soy milk
  • ¼ cup (50 g) caster sugar
  • 7 oz (200 g) coconut cream, or canned full-fat coconut milk *see notes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla pod
  • pinch sea salt

Strawberry Coulis

  • 8.8 oz (250 g) strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water


Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • Add the cornstarch and agar agar powder to a small bowl with 4 tablespoons of the soya milk and stir well. Set aside. If using a whole vanilla pod, slice it down the middle and scrape out the seeds.
  • Add the remaining soy milk and caster sugar to a saucepan on medium heat and stir for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the coconut cream, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla pod with the scraped out seeds), and salt to the saucepan and continue to heat until simmering.
  • Add the cornstarch paste to the saucepan and simmer for another 3-4 minutes, whilst continuously whisking to ensure that it does not burn to the bottom of the pan. The mixture will thicken to a runny custard consistency.
  • Pass the mixture through a sieve and distribute it between 4 silicone molds, or add to serving jars. Allow them to cool to room temperature for about 15 minutes before transferring them to the fridge to set for 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, follow the instructions to prepare the strawberry coulis. When the panna cotta has set, remove them from their molds by very gently pushing in the edges of the silicone mold, they should pop out after a little coaxing.

Strawberry Coulis

  • Add the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and lime juice to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blitz them until smooth.
  • Add the mixture to a saucepan and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly with a whisk or rubber spatula to prevent it from burning to the pan. Once thickened, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve the panna cotta with some strawberry coulis drizzled on top.


  • This panna cotta will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.



  • Chilled coconut milk: Refrigerate the tins of coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the can. Every brand of coconut milk yields a different amount of cream but I've found this recipe generally calls for 2x400ml cans.


Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Tag me TodayBe sure to leave a rating and a review in the section below, and mention @addictedtodates or tag #addictedtodates

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    I really liked this recipe overall but I found that allowing the soy milk and coconut cream to simmer resulted in a concentrated soy flavour and coconut flavour. I experimented with the recipe a bit to try and prevent this occurring. For me, panna cotta should taste milky and creamy with a wobbly custardy texture (panna cotta is traditionally made with a 1:1 cream to milk ratio). I was really happy with the below revised recipe that I developed through a few trials. Sharing this here in case it helps anyone else and also as thanks and credit to Christina for the original recipe and inspiration!

    Creamy vegan panna cotta:
    1. Mix 2 tbsp corn flour and 1 tsp agar agar in a cup with 4 tbsp soy milk. Set aside.
    2. Bring 1 cup water to boil with lid on. Then take lid off and reduce to simmer.
    3. Add 3/8 cup sugar, stir with silicone spoon until dissolved while simmering.
    4. Stir in 1 cup vegan cream, 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste and a pinch of salt.
    5. Add cornflour mixture and stir continuously while bringing to simmer.
    6. Allow to simmer 3-4 min while stirring.
    7. Take off heat and add 1 cup soy milk. Stir until uniformly mixed.
    8. Strain into a jug then pour into 4-5 moulds. Tap on bench to remove bubbles.
    9. Allow to cool in fridge.

    Tip - use barista styles of soy milk with a bright white colour if possible.
    Note - vegan cream is a specialty product that is not available at all stores. It should say on the container or carton that it can be used as a direct substitute for cream. Find one which is either oat or lentil based if possible.
    Note - serve with fresh raspberries and also berry coulee as per the original recipe by Christina 🙂

      1. I followed the instructions exactly but missed the note at the end about only using the coconut cream part so my panna cotta never solidified. Please clarify that next to the ingredients list earlier. It’s a very important note *coconut cream part of a full fat coconut milk can *see notes

  2. What do you do do with the remaining coconut milk (the runny part) no to waste it? Do you have any interesting idea how to use it?

    1. Hi Justyna, Great question! You can keep it covered in the fridge for a few days and add it to smoothies, soups, stir-fries, or curries. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. If I wanted to make this for 80 people is it as simple as x the recipe by 20 I have a community event that I'm cooking for next Sunday and would love to use this as the desert

    1. Hi Edward,

      Yes I think so, although personally, I would probably batch it off into 4-5 parts just to have a little more control of the mixture's consistency when cooking and to make sure it sets at the right stages etc. Thanks so much for choosing my recipe for your event, hope all goes well!

    1. Hi,

      I'm afraid not, the flakes are much more potent than the powder so you will have a much firmer result.

  4. 5 stars
    will these pop out of greased (veggie oil) glass ramekins, if coaxed by a little hot water, do you know?

    1. Hi Carol,

      I don't recommend using oil as this will transfer to the panna cotta. If you don't have ramekins, you could also use yogurt cartons for example, anything that has a bit of flexibility. I hope this helps!

  5. I couldn't find any agar powder so subbed it with agar agar in a form that look like slightly melted dried vermicelli noodles. How much of that would you use? Mine ended up slightly firmer than the jelly part of fruit cakes sold at Asian stores. It was also course and on the dry side. It would not jiggle at all. Not sure which ingredients i put too much or too little of.

    1. Hi Eric,

      I ony recommend using agar powder (i usually order it online). Other forms will yield a completely different result, so I can't say the exact measurements needed unfortunately.

    2. Sound alike you used flakes, they are much much stronger form of agar agar and is why it was so firm, best to use the powder and even then you can get a very firm result of you cook it too much. If you tried again I would experiment with way less of the version you used.