This one’s going to be short and sweet, because, hey! It’s Saturday! Ain’t nobody got time for reading long meandering blog posts. There are lawns to mow and trails to hike and friends to brunch with, or maybe just couches to nap on—whatever floats your Saturday boat. No judgment here.

I did want to pop in and share this quick party dessert recipe: Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta. Are you down with panna cotta? It’s a bit like a custard, but instead of being thickened with egg yolks or cornstarch, it uses unflavored gelatin. The gelatin gives it a really clean, pure texture, and lets the flavors of the simple ingredients shine through—in this case, heavy cream, crème fraîche (or sour cream), a bit of sugar, and vanilla bean paste.

Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta |

This panna cotta is soft and supple, spoon-able like pudding but not cloying or thick. The mix of sweetness and tanginess is echoed in the toppings of balsamic glaze, fresh strawberries, and fresh basil leaves. The best part, though, is that it comes together in 10 minutes, then all it takes is a little chill in the fridge until it’s ready to serve.

Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta |

Okay, I lied. The BEST best part is that everyone thinks they’re super fancy! I think it’s the name. Panna cotta must be Italian for “I am way better than you and I serve frou-frou desserts to prove it, capice?”

Seriously, though, I served these at our Godiva Girl’s Flight Night Party and everyone loved them. I felt like a character in a 1960’s tv show, deflecting compliments all night: “What, these old things? Oh nonsense, Gladys, they’re so easy to make, I must give you the recipe!” So here you go, Gladyses of the internet: the recipe for the easiest, most impressing-est, mostest tastiest thing you can serve your dinner guests. Capice?

Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta

5 from 1 vote
This Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta is soft and supple, spoon-able like pudding but not cloying or thick. The mix of sweetness and tanginess is echoed in the toppings of balsamic glaze, fresh strawberries, and fresh basil leaves. Best part? Comes together in 10 minutes!
Prep10 minutes
Cook2 hours
Total2 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz crème fraîche, can substitute full-fat sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, can substitute vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Balsamic glaze, or 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar; see Note below
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Fresh basil leaves
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  • Whisk together the gelatin and the water in a small bowl. Set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water, for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Whisk together, and place over medium heat until the cream is hot and the sugar is dissolved, but do not allow the cream to boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is liquefied. Whisk the gelatin into the cream, then add the crème fraîche, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Whisk until everything is smooth.
  • Pour the panna cotta into six 1/2-cup serving bowls. Refrigerate them until chilled and set, at least 2 hours. (Panna cottas can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. If making in advance, cover the bowls loosely with cling wrap.) Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, a few sliced strawberries, and a sprinkle of fresh basil.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?


Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 97mg | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 1110IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.



Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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  1. I love panna cotta and any thing that involves créme fraîche and vanilla bean paste gets my vote.

  2. Your definition of panna cotta is THE BEST. Thank you for making me laugh! 🙂 Well, if it is that easy and that delicious (it looks fantastic!) then I am so trying it! (I won’t say whether or not I am a Gladys of the internet or not … 🙂

  3. These are such cute little treats and like you said, perfecccccct for a party idea! 😀 Loveeeee it!

  4. I’m not overly fond of Balsamic vinegar, but I’m very partial to Vino Cotto; (also Fig Vino Cotto) would you recommend these as a substitute as I fully intend to try out this recipe, the War Office aka my wife has nagged me for years to make panna cotta? Are Basil leaves really necessary; are they there for decoration or to eat? If for devouring can you suggest a substitute as I’m not particularly fond of eatng raw Basil leaves 🙂

    1. Hi Brian, vino cotto (or fig vinno cotto) would be an excellent addition to this panna cotta! I mean, it’s fine on its own, but I think a little drizzle of that would be awesome. The basil is absolutely optional. We did nibble on the garnish, but it’s not the focus and can easily be omitted. I’d love to hear how it goes after you give them a try!