Simple Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Sauce

Panna cotta is an impressive dessert–but it’s so easy to make! You can even prepare it ahead of time, which makes panna cotta the perfect dessert for company. Try topping it with a blood orange sauce for a showstopping finish to your company meal!
Easy panna cotta recipe with a sweet blood orange sauce -- the perfect simple but impressive dessert! #PannaCotta #BloodOrange

For the ultimate in simple, elegant desserts, panna cotta (and its custard cousins) wins hands down. Panna cotta calls for just a few ingredients, and produces the perfect silky-smooth base for all manner of seasonal fruits. In the spring, garnish your panna cotta with strawberries and a sprig of fresh mint. Come summertime, you can serve it with ripe red raspberries or blueberries. And in the fall, a plum sauce is the perfect accompaniment.

See what fruits are in season in your region for springsummer and autumn!

Citrus fruits are in season in the winter, so I decided to try my panna cotta with a simple sauce made from blood oranges. I don’t recall ever trying blood oranges before, and I wanted an excuse to do so. As you can see from the pictures, they really are the colour of blood! The flavour is rich and deep, too, almost berry-like rather than citrus.

If you don’t have blood oranges on hand, you can use any other freshly-squeezed fruit juice or mashed berries to make the simple sauce that this recipe calls for.

Blood orange sauce for easy homemade panna cotta.

Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Sauce

Panna cotta is always a simple, elegant dessert. But with this juicy blood orange sauce, it will be a showstopper, too!

Course Dessert
Servings 6


For the Panna Cotta:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin (about 5 teaspoons, if you're using a bulk gelatin)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup blood orange juice (about 3 small oranges)


  1. In a medium saucepan, mix the milk and cream; sprinkle gelatin on top and let stand 1 minute. 

  2. Add sugar and stir everything over medium-low heat until the gelatin and sugar are fully dissolved.

  3. Divide liquid between 6 ramekins, dessert bowls, or goblets. If you plan to unmold the panna cottas for serving, then first coat the dish with a small amount of butter.

  4. Chill the panna cottas in the refrigerator for three hours, or until set. Serve with blood orange sauce.

For the Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in orange juice and heat everything to boiling over medium-high heat. Boil for 1-2 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and refrigerate until serving time, or serve warm over chilled panna cottas.

Recipe Notes

You can buy gelatin in bulk online.

Simple make-ahead panna cotta with blood orange sauce.Would you like more custard recipes? You’d be crazy not to! Here are some for your enjoyment:

Classic Crème Brûlée

Custard Ice Cream

French Chocolate Custard

Maple Custard Cups


  1. I am British and do not use American cup measurements. Would it be possible to add metric measurements to your recipes? It would make them more accessible to the UK market. Thank you.

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