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Mango Panna Cotta

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Prep Time: 15 minutes     Cook Time: 0 minutes

5 from 10 votes

Light and fruity, no-bake desserts such as mango panna cotta are perfect for the summer months. Boasting fresh mango cubes as well as mango sauce, cream, and vanilla, these desserts are as refreshing as they are light and delicious.

A glass dessert bowl filled with mango panna cotta.
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Panna cotta is an Italian, sweet cream dessert with gelatin. It means "cooked cream" in Italian. It comes in different flavors, but I have to say mango works beautifully and is my absolute favorite fruit to add, with my strawberry version a close second.

This rich, indulgent, and creamy dessert is as easy to make as it is impressive. When the weather is hot and you don’t want a baked dessert, this is a lovely alternative. Strawberry granita is another fabulous Italian treat to cool off with as well.

If fresh mango is a favorite in your household, there is nothing about this easy summer dessert not to love.

Main Ingredients

The ingredients to make mango panna cotta laid out on a table.

You can rustle up this famous mango panna cotta Italian dessert by yourself with ease. The sweetness of fresh mango adds a beautifully soft texture as well as a naturally sweet, juicy flavor. These are some of the key ingredients in this mango panna cotta recipe:

  • Mango: The main fruit flavor in the dessert. I like to use fresh mango. Frozen would probably work too if that’s all you have.
  • Gelatin: For body and texture. Plain gelatin ensures a perfect texture without adding a clashing flavor. Agar-agar is a vegetarian-friendly alternative to gelatin.
  • Cream: For a rich flavor. Heavy cream features in this dessert along with milk to add a rich, creamy twist which contrasts wonderfully with the juicy mango. Use whole milk for the most decadent result.
  • Sugar: To add sweetness. Sugar features in both the panna cotta and the mango purée. White sugar is the best type to use.
  • Lemon juice: For a contrasting tartness. Since everything else in the recipe is sweet, a splash of lemon juice balances the flavors out, offering a touch of tartness. Along with orange juice, this achieves a good purée consistency. Feel free to substitute lime juice for the lemon juice. You can use bottled instead of fresh if you want. The flavor difference will be minimal.

Instructions Overview

This is a molded, chilled mango panna cotta dessert that is incredibly simple to prepare. You can make it ahead too. First of all, combine gelatin with water and then stir in milk, sugar, and vanilla extract while warming the mixture up and whisking it well.

Add ice cubes to a bowl and then put an empty bowl on top. Sieve the milk mixture into the second bowl which sits on top of the ice. Now mix in the cream. Whisk until the mixture is nice and thick.

The next thing to do is chill the mixture while you prepare the purée. Stir the mango cubes, sugar, lemon, and orange juices in a pan until the mixture boils, then blend until smooth. Simmer the mixture briefly then chill.

Now all that’s left to do is assemble the dessert. Spoon the purée over the panna cotta and add fresh fruit and/or fresh mint to garnish. These are best served right away.

An overhead shot of three servings of panna cotta.

Common Questions

Why is panna cotta so good?

You know there's a reason this is one of the most popular desserts on the menu of every Italian restaurant. Panna cotta is a very simple dessert made with gelatin, sugar and cream. This silky-smooth dessert is just perfect after any kind of main dish. In fact, I can't think of an occasion where this wouldn't be a great dessert! It keeps well refrigerated and you don't have to torch it like with crème brulee. This quick and easy dessert is the perfect go-to if you want quick, easy and impressive!

How do you eat panna cotta?

Served with a small spoon, panna cotta makes a wonderful dessert. I like to add some berry coulis on top or some berries, just to finish it off in style.

How do you stop skin from forming on panna cotta?

If you want to keep your mango panna cotta refrigerated for more than a day, you should cover the dessert with plastic wrap, pressing it down to touch the dessert surface. This way, the top will stay soft and moist and it won't form a skin. Bear in mind though that if you make this dessert more than a day ahead it's going to firm up noticeably and then the top will seem firmer anyway.

How do I store panna cotta?

It needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Cover them with plastic wrap and press it gently onto the tops so they don’t form a ‘skin’ on top.

Can I make it ahead?

It can be made up to 2 days ahead. Bear in mind it will set somewhat firmer if you make it more than one day ahead.

Can I freeze panna cotta?

This actually freezes well for up to 2 months. Again, use plastic wrap on top. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

What is good to serve with it?

You can get creative when decorating mango panna cotta. Add fresh mango cubes or raspberries. A sprig of mint always looks pretty. Another idea, which would be wonderful for a dinner party dessert, is adding a couple of colorful, edible flowers to each one.

How can I make sure it will set?

Simmer the mixture rather than boiling it which will stop the gelatin setting. If you’re adding other ingredients to the mixture, avoid fresh pineapple and kiwi which also stop it from setting. Finally, bear in mind it can take a while to set fully, sometimes up to 4 hours, so plan accordingly.

Panna cotta topped with fresh raspberries and a mint sprig.

Chopnotch Tips

  • If it hasn’t set in time, just serve it from the molds rather than unmolding it onto serving plates.
  • For the richest flavor, use heavy cream and whole milk rather than any lower-fat alternatives. It’s worth it!
  • Add a contrasting flavor by adding cake or cookie crumbs between the smooth creamy layer and the mango purée layer.
Panna cotta in a bowl with a fresh mango slices.

I am completely confident that you’re going to love how easy mango panna cotta is to make! It’s wonderful for an after-school snack, a potluck supper, or even a dinner party. You can dress it up to look as elegant as you like.

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.


How to Make

Mango Panna Cotta

This recipe is a breeze to prepare, but it offers an exquisite flavor and elegant presentation. It is creamy, fruity, and hard to resist!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


For the panna cotta:

  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 ⅓ cups milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

For the purée:

  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice

For the topping:

  • mango, diced
  • raspberries
  • fresh mint
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To make the panna cotta:

  • Mix the gelatin and water in a bowl until it thickens and then microwave it for 10 seconds.
  • Mix the sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium pan over low heat. Stir until the mixture starts to simmer, and then add the gelatin mixture. Whisk until well combined.
  • Fill a medium bowl with ice cubes ⅓ of the way full and then place another empty bowl on top of the ice. Use a sieve and strain the milk mixture into the empty bowl, and then add the heavy cream and whisk until thickened. Now transfer the mixture into four glass dessert cups, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

To make the purée:

  • Combine the diced mango, sugar, lemon juice, and orange juice in a medium pan over medium heat and stir until the mixture begins to boil. Blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Turn the heat down to low and bring to a simmer, then move to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.

To serve:

  • Pour the chilled purée over the chilled panna cotta, top with several slices of diced mango, a fresh raspberry or two, and fresh mint. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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  • If it hasn’t set in time, just serve it from the molds rather than unmolding it onto serving plates.
  • For the richest flavor, use heavy cream and whole milk rather than any lower-fat alternatives. It’s worth it!
  • Add a contrasting flavor by adding cake or cookie crumbs between the smooth creamy layer and the mango puree layer.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 319kcal (16%), Carbohydrates: 32g (11%), Protein: 6g (12%), Fat: 19g (29%), Saturated Fat: 12g (75%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 69mg (23%), Sodium: 57mg (2%), Potassium: 267mg (8%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 30g (33%), Vitamin A: 1379IU (28%), Vitamin C: 29mg (35%), Calcium: 130mg (13%), Iron: 1mg (6%)
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Comments & Ratings

  1. 5 stars
    Made this today it was AMAZING. Huge hit with the family and a very pretty dessert.

    • Thank you for trying this recipe, Tammy. I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed it! It's such a delicious dessert!