Jacques Pépin’s Coffee Panna Cotta

Coffee Panna Cotta with espresso beans

June 28, 2024

Are you looking for a simple but stunning summer dessert that requires little to no cooking? If so, this light, not-too-sweet, coffee panna cotta from Jacques Pépin is for you. It is easy to pull together and can be made in advance.

Easy dessert for summer entertaining

This recipe requires a total of 30 seconds of cook time in the microwave (technically you should add another minute or so for making espresso). And that’s it. You really can’t ask for much more on a warm summer day. Once you mix everything together, the refrigerator does all the work. Just a few more minutes to zhush it up before serving and you’re good to go.

Coffee Panna Cotta - clsoeup

Perfectly portioned

I love making desserts where everyone has an individual serving. This is a soft panna cotta, meant to be eaten out of its serving dish. If you wish to present it unmolded on a plate, you would need to add a bit more gelatin (see recipe notes). Otherwise, find your prettiest serving glasses (about 4 ounces in size) – who cares if they don’t match.

Serving and storage

The great thing about this dessert is it can be made several days in advance (but at a minimum you’ll need a couple of hours in the refrigerator so the panna cotta will set). Serve the panna cotta with a dollop of whipped cream. You can top it with a chocolate covered espresso bean or two or even a little shaved chocolate. A few cookies (store-bought is fine) on the side and you’re good to go.

Coffee Panna Cotta with cookies and espresso beans
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Coffee Panna Cotta - clsoeup

Jacques Pépin’s Coffee Panna Cotta

  • Author: Jacques Pépin (modified)
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 16 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This cool, creamy dessert can be made in advance and barely requires any cooking. It has a lightly sweet coffee flavor and is perfect for a warm summer evening. Serve with some cookies on the side (store-bought is fine).



2 teaspoons plain powdered gelatin (like Knox)

¼ cup water

5 tablespoons sugar

½ cup hot espresso

1½ cups half and half

Whipped cream and chocolate covered espresso beans, for garnish (optional)

Cookies, for serving (optional)


In a small, microwave-safe bowl, mix the gelatin in the water. Heat in a microwave oven for 30 seconds to dissolve.

Mix the sugar with the espresso in a medium bowl until dissolved. Add the gelatin mixture and stir well with a rubber spatula, as the gelatin mixture tends to stick to the bottom of the bowl. Mix in the half-and-half.

Pour into serving cups. Refrigerate. The panna cotta will take 1 to 2 hours to set.

At serving time, top the panna cotta with a little whipped cream and a chocolate covered coffee bean. Set the cups on small plates and serve with cookies, if desired.


This is a soft panna cotta and is not meant to be unmolded. Select pretty 4-6 ounce vessels for serving. However, if you prefer to present them unmolded, add ½ teaspoon more gelatin to the recipe.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 minute
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Calories: 185.99
  • Sugar: 18.72 g.
  • Sodium: 64.3 mg.
  • Fat: 10.54 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 6.41 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 19.33 g.
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 4.58 g.
  • Cholesterol: 31.76 mg.

Keywords: espresso, half and half

You May Also Like…

Chocolate Yum

Chocolate Yum

I love a good potluck dessert. You know, the ones made in a 9" x 13" pan that aren't fancy or fussy, and that everyone...

Lemon Ginger Parfaits

Lemon Ginger Parfaits

I love the combination of lemon and ginger - whether it's in a comforting tea or in these cute desserts. These...

Ube Mochi Donuts

Ube Mochi Donuts

In Hawaii we love mochi in all forms. From traditional forms like ozoni (mochi soup served on New Year's Day to bring...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating