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Olive Oil and Lemon Panna Cotta

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Silky-smooth creamy panna cotta that’s even more luxurious with extra-virgin olive oil and an infusion of lemon and vanilla bean.

Olive Oil and Lemon Panna Cotta

Classic Italian panna cotta is an easy, creamy dessert you’ll absolutely want to add to your to must-make recipe list.

These elegant-looking panna cottas are infused with the rich flavor of extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon zest and flecked with fragrant vanilla beans.

This is a dessert that looks like something you’d order in a restaurant, but panna cotta is actually really easy to make with just a handful of ingredients.

What is panna cotta?

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert usually made with scalded sweetened milk or warm cream and a bit of gelatin to help it set.

Its name literally translates to mean “cooked cream” and it’s always served chilled, sometimes with fresh fruit.

The dessert kind of resembles a wobbly pudding.

But since it doesn’t contain eggs, panna cotta is lighter than egg-based custards, which allows the pure flavor of the ingredients to shine.

Olive Oil and Lemon Panna Cotta

It’s that very simplicity of ingredients that basically makes panna cotta a creamy neutral canvas.

I see it as an invitation to get creative with complementary flavors, and what goes better with delicious Italian-style food than olive oil and lemon?

Olive oil might not be the first thing you’d think to add to a creamy dessert, but quality-crafted extra-virgin olive oil only reinforces the luxurious flavor and texture.

After I tested and tasted this recipe, I loved how the olive oil perfectly highlighted the pure and simple flavors in my creamy panna cotta.

Olive Oil and Lemon Panna Cotta

I’m kind of obsessed with really good olive oil, and always stalking the aisles of my favorite stores looking to discover new ones to love, for cooking with and drizzling over dishes as a finishing touch.

I used my favorite extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe and really loved how it tasted.

Olive Oil and Lemon Panna Cotta

Any occasion becomes an excuse to gather everyone around the table, definitely my happy place.

When I have people over and already have a long list of things to do, panna cotta is often what I’ll make for a sweet ending to the meal.

Not only do they look pretty, but they’re one of the easiest make-ahead desserts out there.

You can make these panna cottas one or two days ahead, and pull them out of the fridge when you’re ready to serve.

The golden olive oil looks so beautiful drizzled over the creamy-white top of the finished panna cotta as a finishing touch, and will impress everyone at the table.

This post has been created in partnership with Carapelli.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Olive Oil and Lemon Panna Cotta

Olive Oil and Lemon Pannacotta

Karen Tedesco
Classic Italian panna cotta is an easy make-ahead dessert that will impress everyone at your table. This olive oil-infused panna cotta is light silky-smooth, made with cream, tangy buttermilk and scented with lemon and vanilla bean.
Print Pin
5 from 4 community reviews
Prep Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups (375) heavy whipping cream
  • 7 tablespoons (105 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and interior scraped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Additional lemon zest, for garnish


  • Put the gelatin in a small dish and pour the water over. Stir to dissolve.
  • Whisk the olive oil into the buttermilk.
  • Combine the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla bean and scraped seeds, lemon zest and salt in a saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and whisk to dissolve sugar. Heat just until bubbles start to form on the edge of the pan.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it dissolves. Add the buttermilk mixture and stir to blend. Pour through a mesh strainer into a container with a pour spout, such as a liquid measuring cup.
  • Pour into 6 custard cups or ramekins with 1/2-cup capacity. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.
  • To serve, dip the bottom of each cup into warm water and loosen the sides with the edge of a dull knife or small offset spatula. Invert over a serving plate, wiggling the cup until the panna cotta releases. 
  • Sprinkle the tops of the panna cottas with lemon zest and drizzle with olive oil.

Karen's Notes and Tips

Panna cottas will keep refrigerated 3 days,


Serving: 1g | Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 974IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 110mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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  1. Jessica Evelyn Nitzany says:

    Can I replace the sugar with honey?

  2. 5 stars
    This panna cotta looks and sounds so delicious and creamy! I love that flavors combination – olive oil and lemon – so refreshing!