Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce

We made this a while back and completely forgot to share it with you! Panna cotta is a great dessert to make at home — there is very little hands-on time needed. All you need to consider is the time it takes to set in the fridge, which is 3-4 hours, making this a perfect make-ahead.

How to make Blueberry Sauce

Start by making a fresh blueberry sauce – all you will need is a large skillet, blueberries, water, sugar and a squeeze of lemon. The sauce takes less than 15 minutes and any extra is the perfect topping for ice cream! Depending on availability of fresh blueberries, substitute with frozen (just thaw, then drain first) or replace them with another berry. Your favorite jam could work too, if you’re tight on time.

How to make Panna Cotta

The star for this is a vanilla bean. They are a bit expensive, but you can usually just buy one in the store. It is worth it, but if you don’t want to spend the money, you can totally substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract – we won’t tell.

To make sure we get every bit of flavor out of that vanilla bean, we” steep” the vanilla bean in heavy cream and honey for about 30 minutes. Just bring everything to boil, take off the heat, cover and walk away. This is the same concept as a tea bag in hot water — all the vanilla’s sweetness, depth and flavor will perfume the cream.

After 30 minutes, add the buttermilk. This step was inspired by Helene (Tartelette) and her Apricots Honey Panna Cotta. The buttermilk adds such a lovely tang that complements the sweetness of honey and vanilla bean, it’s not to be missed. We don’t usually buy buttermilk, so we had to figure out other ways to use up the bottle, see below for some ideas from a few favorite bloggers.

After adding the buttermilk, remove the vanilla bean and assemble the panna cottas. We went with pretty shot glasses for ours, but you can use a martini glass, bowl or any other container you like. Choose something pleasing to the eye, since the panna cotta is served as is.

To assemble the panna cottas – drop a tablespoon or two of blueberry sauce into the bottom of a glass or ramekin then carefully pour the panna cotta mixture over it. Some of the sauce may mix into the panna cotta, don’t worry about that. Let everything sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes then refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until the gelatin has done its job and firmed up.

Leftover buttermilk? Here’s what you can do with it:

Easy, Creamy, Lemon Dream Popsicles from Whipped
Best Buttermilk Fried Chicken from No Recipes
Buttermilk Banana Bread from Two Peas and their Pod
Buttermilk Pancakes from Brown Eyed Baker
Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Mint Infused Whipped Cream from honey and  jam
Buttermilk Pudding with Spiced Mango Sauce from Vanilla Garlic

4.5 from 2 reviews
Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Created By:
Yield: 6 small desserts
You Will Need
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (substitue thawed and drained frozen blueberries)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup whole fat buttermilk
  1. For the blueberry sauce: Add blueberries, water and sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Add lemon juice then reduce heat to medium low; simmer for 10 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Occasionally stir and use the back of a wooden spoon to crush a few of the blueberries into the sauce. Cool to room temperature and reserve.
  2. Prepare the panna cotta by adding cream, honey, vanilla bean and seeds to a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and allow the cream to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Once the cream has steeped, add 1/4 cup of water to a small bowl and sprinkle with powdered gelatin. Reserve.
  4. Reheat the cream, remove the vanilla pod, and then add reserved gelatin. Remove from heat and whisk well until gelatin has dissolved. Add buttermilk and whisk until blended.
  5. Assemble the panna cotta. Spoon a small amount of blueberry sauce to the bottom of each serving glass then carefully pour the panna cotta mixture over the blueberry sauce (the sauce may mix into the panna cotta slightly, this is normal). Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes, and then place into the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.


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20 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Melina September 18, 2013, 10:13 am

    No buttermilk where I live… wondering what you’d suggest as a substitute, if anything? Yogurt? Or Milk with vinegar?

    • Melina September 18, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Nevermind, I made my own buttermilk 🙂 I’ll report back tomorrow when we eat it!

      • Melina September 20, 2013, 11:07 am

        This panna cotta was delicious! The blueberry sauce was great! Personally, I’d like more vanilla flavor in mine next time (I used the extract). Also, after my first cup turned blue, I found it helped to place the blueberry sauce in the individual cups and place them in the fridge for a while before adding the panna cotta- that way the colors didn’t mix. Such a great recipe, thanks!

  • Ankita July 26, 2013, 4:01 pm

    I religiously follow your recepies post … could you plz post recipe for BAKLAVA or can you e-mail it to me .

  • Gina July 2, 2013, 3:16 pm

    I am so making it haha, looks great!! Can you substitute the buttermilk if needed?

    • Adam July 6, 2013, 5:57 pm

      Yes, buttermilk will work nicely.

  • Colleen June 16, 2013, 8:21 pm

    Just pinned this recipe to my Pintrest page. Looks amazing. Thanks for the awesome email newsletters – I just love your stuff.

    • Joanne June 17, 2013, 9:22 am


  • Nancy Long March 27, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Yum, love panna cotta and blueberries – use a fair amount of buttermilk and here is a recipe I make all the time that everyone loves.

    Irresistible Irish Soda Bread
    Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Cook Time: 1 Hour 10 Min., Ready In: 1 Hour 25 Min., Rating: 5 stars, Servings: 12

    “Try this tried-and-true recipe for plain Irish soda bread with buttermilk that is a snap to prepare. Make it early in the day, as it tastes best after sitting for a few hours.”

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    2 cups buttermilk
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

    Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.

    Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

    We are not big fans of raisins baked in things so it suits us better than most traditional ISB recipes. I usually make it in 3 mini loaf pans and bake it for about 40 minutes.

    I like my bread a bit on the dense side so I tried not to overcook it. I baked it in a loaf pan at 350 for 1 hour and it came out perfect!

    The only tip I can offer is that chemically leavened breads should sit out at room temp for 30 minutes or so in the loaf pan following the mixing to allow the soda and powder to do their jobs. This will create an airier loaf – this holds true for pancakes, biscuits, etc…

  • JavelinWarrior October 14, 2011, 8:35 am

    This post is so fetish-worthy, I’ve been inspired to include it in my Friday Food Fetish blog. If you have any objections, please let me know

  • Juls October 11, 2011, 3:21 pm

    These look so striking and your photos of them are beautiful. The colour is really impressive and I imagine in a pannacotta the taste is amazing!

  • JavelinWarrior October 11, 2011, 11:30 am

    I love buttermilk – and vanilla seeds in pretty much anything just makes it better 🙂 These are gorgeous and I love the glasses you used for the photos. I typically wind up dumping leftover buttermilk into scrambled eggs – a little adds a lovely tang.

    • Joanne October 11, 2011, 11:34 am

      Thanks! Love the idea of buttermilk and scrambled eggs — trying that one soon!

  • Eliana October 11, 2011, 11:10 am

    This panna cotta looks amazing! And I love the way you served it. Super cute.

  • Jessica October 11, 2011, 12:18 am

    Holy moly! This sounds amazing!

    • Joanne October 11, 2011, 11:00 am

      Thanks, Jessica — it’s all about that buttermilk! We were shocked with how much the tang when with the honey / vanilla sweetness!


  • Ryan October 10, 2011, 12:04 pm

    Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts, I always look for on desert menus but rarely find…

    • Joanne October 10, 2011, 2:16 pm

      Ours, too! Not too heavy after a larger meal.


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