Panna Cotta with blueberries

Panna Cotta is a creamy, cool and refreshing gelatin dessert that is a perfect treat for the warmer months. Flavored with lemon zest and juicy blueberries, you can add lots of other berries or fruit, like pineapple. This no-bake dessert is so easy to make and it’s so convenient that it can be made in advance.

Blueberry, Pineapple and Lemon Panna Cotta

This recipe for a creamy, cool and luscious dessert is the perfect way to showcase any kind of berry. It’s very similar to a panda cotta in flavor and texture, but has a more firm texture, which makes it perfect to serve in a loaf style, since it won’t completely fall apart when serving. The soft and tender pana cotta is best suited for individual or smaller servings.

Blueberries are one of my favorites, and paired with pineapple, it is a really great combination. The berries are sweet and juicy and the pineapple slightly tart, crisp and very tropical. The lemon zest and vanilla really bring the flavor of this gelatin dessert up several notches. I got the recipe from my sister in law, Natasha, about 8 years ago, and we’ve been enjoying it ever since. 

One of the best things about gelatin desserts is that there is no baking required, which makes it really quick to prepare and it is perfect to make in advance. I usually make this the day before I am planning to serve it, so keep this in mind for parties.

How to Make Panna Cotta With Berries Video:


Ingredients for Blueberry, Pineapple Lemon Panna Cotta
  • Milk – I usually use whole milk, but you can also use reduced fat milk or even dairy free milk varieties.
  • Unflavored gelatin – this is usually sold in the same aisle as the boxes of flavored jellos. I have never used any other options instead of gelatin, so I can’t advise you what else can be substituted.
  • Sour cream – I use full fat sour cream. You can also use reduced fat sour cream or even plain Greek yogurt as well.
  • Heavy cream – this gives a smooth, rich texture and flavor to the dessert.
  • Granulated sugar – powdered sugar will work well in this recipe too.
  • Vanilla extract and lemon zest – these both add so much flavor and aroma to the dessert. I highly recommend using both.
  • Blueberries – the combination of blueberries and pineapple is perfect, but you can also use any other berries – strawberries, raspberries, currants, blackberries, etc. You can also use chopped up peaches, nectarines, apricots and much more.
  • Pineapple – it is very important to only use the pineapple to serve with the dessert, not to add it to the creamy gelatin mixture. Pineapple contains something that will prevent the dessert from setting if added to the creamy gelatin mix.

What is Panna Cotta?

Panna cotta is a creamy dessert that is thickened with gelatin. Most of the time, it has a really tender, pudding-like texture. I use a bit more gelatin in this recipe, so that it is able to be removed from the pan that it is poured into after it firms up. If you want to have a more tender texture, reduce the amount of gelatin and pour it into individual serving bowls.

How to make Panna Cotta

  • Bloom the gelatin in the milk for about 5 minutes, until the gelatin softens. After the gelatin softens and expands, melt it in the microwave or on the stovetop. It is very important not to bring the mixture to a BOIL, otherwise the gelatin will no longer be active and your dessert will not set. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl and using a hand held mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the sour cream, heavy cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
  • Start mixing on low speed then increase the speed to high, mixing until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour in the milk and gelatin mixture and mix to combine.
  • Add half the blueberries to the creamy gelatin mix to combine. (You will use the other half for serving.)
  • Pour the creamy gelatin mix into bread loaf pan or into any other mold or individual serving bowls or cups. Refrigerate until firm, 2-4 hours, or overnight, until ready to serve.

This is an ideal dessert to make the night before you are planning to serve it, or even a few days in advance.

How to Remove the Pana Cotta from the Pan and How to Serve:

Step by step tutorial of how to remove panna cotta from the pan to serve.

When you are ready to serve the dessert, to remove it from the pan, fill your sink or a large pan (I like using a roasting pan) with really hot tap water. Submerge the bottom of your pan right below the edge of the rim of the pan into the hot water for 30 seconds or so.

Invert the pan onto a plate and the dessert should slide right out.

Serve with fresh chopped pineapple and more berries.

Spoonful of creamy Panna Cotta

It is so creamy and almost souffle-like in texture. Each bite is cool and delicious. I also love that it’s not too sweet.

More Cold Desserts:


Panna Cotta With Blueberries

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5 from 1 review

Smooth, cool and refreshing this creamy gelatin dessert is a perfect treat for the warmer months. Flavored with lemon zest and served with pineapple, blueberries and other berries, the juicy and sweet fruit are the perfect combination to accompany the panna cotta dessert.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 min
  • Total Time: 21 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Sweets


  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 16 oz. (2 cups) sour cream
  • 12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (for serving ONLY)
  • other fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, chopped peaches, etc. as a garnish


  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, mix and allow to stand for 5 minutes, until the gelatin blooms.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the sour cream, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or using a hand mixer. Start mixing on low speed and eventually increase the speed to high until it’s a thick mixture.
  3. When the gelatin softens and is “bloomed”, place the milk and gelatin mixture in the microwave for 1 minute or heat in a small saucepan on very low heat, just until the gelatin melts. Do NOT boil. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Pour in the milk and gelatin mixture into the large bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix to combine. Add the blueberries and gently fold them in. I usually use 1/2 a pint in the dessert and use the other half to serve as a garnish. You can also use any other kind of berries or fruit that you like. Do NOT add the pineapple to the creamy gelatin mixture, or else your dessert will not set.
  5. Pour the dessert into some sort of mold. I used my bread pan, but you can use a bundt pan or any kind of deep dish. You can also make individual portions.
  6. Refrigerate until set. There is a good amount of gelatin in the dessert, so it sets fairly quickly, about 1-2 hours. This is an ideal dessert to make the night before you are planning to serve it.
  7. To serve, pour some hot water into a large pan or into the sink and dunk the bottom of your pan into the hot water for 30 seconds or so. Invert the pan onto a plate and the dessert should slide right out.
  8. Serve with fresh chopped pineapple and more berries.

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Blueberry and Pineapple Panna Cotta

This is an updated version of the Pana Cotta With Blueberries recipe that was published originally on August 22, 2014. I have updated the pictures, added a video and clarified the instructions, but the recipe is still the same. Enjoy!


    • olgak7

      I wrote in the recipe that it will take a few hours to set, Sabrina. It really depends on your refrigerator and the type of container you are using to hold the dessert. The thicker it is, the longer it will take to set.

  • Snezhana

    Olga, when I was a kid, my mom made vanilla and chocolate layered smetanka. Is this dessert kind of like that?
    Do you have a recipe for the chocolate one? I am thinking about removing the lemon and berries in you recipe to get the vanilla layer, but not sure how much cocoa to add to get the chocolate layer (or melted chocolate).
    Any suggestions. Thank you.

  • Wendy

    Panna Cotta, finally a ‘name’ for what we have been making for over 20 years lol. Ours is made with cottage cheese, whipping cream, gelatin, sugar and vanilla. The cottage cheese is in a blender so there are no chunks. Velvet texture as you describe. Thanks Olga!, love all your recipes!

  • Alyse Eytan

    Beautiful delivery of a very tasty seeming recipe. Personally prefer theStrawberries better for the top decoration!

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