Dessert, Food, Gluten-free, Spoon desserts

Saffron Pannacotta

Nicoletta March 29, 2016

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Saffron Pannacotta, a smooth, velvety, creamy dessert with a beautiful golden hue and the spicy, pungent yet delicate taste of the saffron.

Saffron Pannacotta

March has almost gone, and with it the unpredictable weather that so represents it. A roller coaster of temperatures and climate: bright and sunny days and absurdly hot temperatures are followed, without notice, by cloudy, grey and muggy cold air; azzurro skies seamlessly leave room to opaque ambience; rainy skies gives birth to beautiful rainbows. A wavering month, March, no longer winter, not yet fully spring. A painfully long, moody month, that’s what it has been for me. A month good for waiting. For something to change. For me to go back to my love.



Unfortunately, and sadly, after only few days from another ferocious assault, innocent people in Pakistan have been murdered by the hands of coward aggressors that don’t respect diversity, of thinking of race, of religion. Again, I find myself reflecting on what kind of world we live in, a world where you constantly feel menaced. Our response to that can only be to keep spreading love, acceptance, and inclusion, fighting the urge to respond to hate with hate.

I spent  Easter days with my family in the Italian countryside; quiet, slow, simple,  beautiful days where the time was dictated by visiting relatives and enjoying meals. How much we ate you can easily guess. Weather has been the typical March weather: magnificent blue, shiny skies on one day, rain, mist and dimness on another, but the food has been colorful, vibrant and so flavorful. And the time spent with my dear ones: parents, brother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins, priceless. Back to Rome for Pasquetta, Easter Monday, we wanted a different dessert, a much lighter, smooth on the palate, dessert. Perfect time to experience something new in the kitchen to bring to the table on a rainy overcast day, a golden, radiant Saffron Pannacotta. In an even lighter version, because I used lactose-free ingredients: vegetable panna (whipping cream), and lactose-free milk. And as the main, distinct flavor, an exquisite, crimson powdery saffron.

Saffron Pannacotta

Making of the Pannacotta:

The milk turns into a lovely deep hue when you add the saffron. Stir and stir and let it melt and incorporate in the panna/milk mixture. Few minutes and your Pannacotta is ready to rest in the fridge for a few hours before you can enjoy it. I could have added any kind of sauce, chocolate, caramel, fruit, but it would have taken away from the Panna Cotta. A little crunch is what I thought would enhance the flavor and the overall experience of this Saffron Pannacotta. Three different toppings, chosen from what I like most: pistachios, almonds and dark chocolate. Each one a unique and delightful flavor. My favorite was the pistachio topping.

Saffron Pannacotta

The pannacotta so smooth and creamy, the color lively, the flavor intense. Each spoonful a delight for the tastebuds due to the contrast of the velveteen and the brittle. A succesful dessert, highly enjoyed by everybody. If you can easily find the agar agar, substitute it to the gelatin sheets and you will have a vegan and gluten-free dessert. I am definitely going to make it again, playing with different toppings, and I am going to savor it with my husband when I go back home.

Saffron Pannacotta

Saffron Pannacotta

Hope you make it and enjoy it with your dear ones. And let me know what flavors you liked best.

Song of the day: Birdy, “Keeping Your Head Up”.

Saffron Panna Cotta

Saffron Panna Cotta

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes


Saffron Pannacotta, a smooth, velvety, creamy dessert with a beautiful golden hue and the spicy, pungent yet delicate taste of the saffron.


  • 250 g vegetable whipping cream
  • 250 g lactose-free milk
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 0,1 g (1 package) powdered saffron
  • 3 gelatin sheets (or 1 tsp agar agar)


  • a handful of organic unsalted pistachios, grinded
  • a handful of peeled almonds, grinded
  • some dark chocolate, shaved


  1. Soak the gelatin in cold water for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a high-sided pan over medium/low heat, pour the whipping cream and milk with the sugar, mix well, and when warm, add the sheet gelatin that you have previously squeezed out.
  3. Bring to boil.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the powdered saffron and stir well to melt it.
  5. Put the pot back on to the heat for another 2-3 minutes, always stirring.
  6. Pour the cream into cups, shot glasses or jars and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  7. When the Panna Cotta is set you can top it with your favorite toppings.


You can use agar agar in place of the gelatin. In that case, bring to boil the cream, milk, sugar and agar agar mix, all together.
Remember you will need about 4 hours in the fridge to set up.


  • Serving Size: 8 small servings
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Saffron Pannacotta

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  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After March 30, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I know how you feel Nicoletta. I get so downright depressed about what’s happening in the world and why people are so mean. Then I try to overcome it by thinking positively and focusing on all the good that’s around us, but it’s hard to do that. Glad that you will soon be with Loreto 🙂
    Your saffron panna cotta will cheer anyone up. Panna Cotta are a favorite of mine but I never make them at home. I’ll have to make yours soon 🙂 xoxo

  • Nicoletta
    Reply Nicoletta March 31, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Hello Karrie 🙂 . I thought Pannacotta would be such a difficult dessert to make…but I was wrong. It is easy, fast (not including the setting time) and the result is fantastic! This particular one with saffron flavor is unbelievable! Hope you make it and let me know 🙂 . Thanks for stopping by.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jolina - The Unlikely Baker April 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Funny how I just had pannacotta last night at a restaurant and I thought that I MUST get around to trying to make one myself already! And here I see your wonderful recipe and gorgeous photos…it’s a sign! 🙂 These look delightful. (And yes, I also feel the way you do about all that’s going on in the world. I wish people can just learn to choose kindness over hate.)

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta April 3, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Exactly. Choose. Kindness over hate. Thanks Jolina, very much. I wanted to try making my own pannacotta for years and finally I did it. It is actually easy, fast and the result is a smooth, creamy, delicious dessert. Let me know if you try it (with the milk and whipping cream of your choice).

  • Avatar
    Reply MDIVADOMESTICA July 27, 2016 at 8:11 am

    What a simply perfect ending to any great summer meal. The saffron is a great choice for colour and flavour. Fantastic!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta July 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks! It is a light dessert and so enjoyable!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marie-Pierre July 27, 2016 at 8:24 am

    This looks sublime! A delicate summer dessert! I’ll try it soon, thanks for sharing.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta July 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you Marie-Pierre! Perfect for summer, with any topping you like 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Samantha @mykitchenlove July 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Such a beautiful vibrant colour! Love the spin of the flavour combos.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:15 am

      Thank you Samantha! The saffron adds a beautiful color and a lovely flavor, enhanced by the toppings.

  • Avatar
    Reply Hasani Franke November 6, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Hello! If I wanted to make a non vegan Pannacotta would the measurements stay the same if I use normal whipping cream, milk and so on? Looking forward to making these!!

    Also for the great picture with the pannacotta on the plate and the pistachio crumb sprinkled on top, what mold did you use?


    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 6, 2016 at 6:09 am

      Hi! Yes, you can substitute regular milk and whipping cream for a non vegan Panna cotta. The molds I used were the little white cups you saw in the pictures, they are espresso shots in Italy. You can use whatever you have, ramekins, small glasses, etc. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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