Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Yesterday, we got hit with a taste of warm weather and it’s almost as if I could smell spring blooming in the air. We took full advantage of being able to step outside without freezing our buns off. The kids and I walked to the park and when my husband got home, we took another walk because we’ve missed being outdoors so much! Being cooped up the past few months has been so rough.


Of course, the warmer temps and cool breeze also got me antsy for the fresh, light food the season brings – I’m talking grilling, fresh fruits and veggies, and creamy desserts. The weather not only got me antsy, but inspired. Well, that and the vanilla bean paste Nielsen Massey sent me last week. As soon as I opened the package and smelled the sweet aroma of vanilla bean, I knew I wanted to make the ultimate light, springtime dessert – panna cotta.



If you’ve never had panna cotta, it’s a mix between a creme brulee and a pudding. It has a little bit of a bounce, and is just as decadent as a creme brulee. It’s also one of the easiest desserts you can make and something you can prep in advance because it takes 4-6 hours to set. It’s perfect for spring bridal or baby showers, and the perfect sweet bite for Easter celebrations.


I’ve made panna cotta in the paste with vanilla extract which is always great, but this panna cotta made with Nielsen Massey’s pure vanilla bean paste was on another level. Just incredible. The paste is pure and and all-natural, adding such a crisp sweetness. I can’t forget those gorgeous vanilla bean specks I love so much. They make this dessert so cute!


Nielsen Massey graciously sent me a bottle of their vanilla bean paste in exchange for a post, and in addition, will be sending a second bottle to one of my readers! To enter the giveaway, please visit my Facebook page and comment on my most recent post (about this panna cotta) with your favorite springtime dessert. In order to enter, you must like my page. The giveaway will end Friday (3/16) at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announced on Monday (3/19) morning.

Thanks in advance for participating! If you end up making this panna cotta, don’t forget to tag #marinamakeseats! Andddddd for more recipe inspiration, visit Nielsen Massey’s recipe page, here for creative, scrumptious ways to use their extracts, pastes and sugars.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Serves 2-3


  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (vegan option: coconut cream)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Nielsen Massey pure vanilla bean paste
  • Ramekins or heat-proof glasses
  • Fresh blueberries and raspberries


Add the whole milk and 1/2 tablespoon of gelatin to a saucepan and let it stand for 2-3 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook until the gelatin dissolves (about 3-5 minutes) and add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking until the sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into two or three ramekins (depending on the size).

Place in the refrigerator to let the panna cotta set for 4-6 hours or overnight.

Top with fresh blueberries and raspberries, and enjoy.

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