Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy Free, Gaps, Paleo, Grain-Free)

 Coconut Panna Cotta via #paleo

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to protein powder, gelatin is a great option. It contains between 6-12 grams of protein per tablespoon, helps aid in digestion, and can contribute to the building of strong cartilage and bones. Gelatin has also been shown to benefit the digestive tract, immune system, heart, liver, muscles, and skin. It also helps aid in detoxification.

One of the best ways to consume gelatin is in homemade chicken stock. If you’re looking to increase the amount of gelatin in your diet, you can add granulated gelatin to soups, stews, puddings, baked goods, etc. I like to use it in grain-free baked goods because it acts as a binder and I also add it to smoothies for the nutritional benefits.

Not all gelatin is created equal, so it’s important to purchase from a good source. Bernard Jensen and Great Lakes gelatins both come from grass-fed animals and do not contain any MSG (most other brands of gelatin do contain MSG). Now, it might sound like a processed food, but it’s basically the same as if you made a pot of chicken stock, moved the gelatin from the liquid and let it dry.

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Coconut Panna Cotta via #paleo

Panna Cotta is a simple, slightly sweet and creamy dessert that is a great way to get some extra gelatin in your diet. I adapted this recipe from my first cookbook Deliciously Organic. The original version uses milk and cream, so for a dairy-free version, I substituted with coconut milk. It’s a popular “girly” dessert (great for bridal or baby showers) because it’s smooth, creamy, and not too sweet. Top with seasonal berries, and you have the perfect light dessert.

Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy Free, Gaps, Paleo, Grain-Free)

Serving Size: Serves 6

Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy Free, Gaps, Paleo, Grain-Free)



Pour 1 cup coconut milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle evenly with the gelatin. Let the milk sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften.

Heat the milk and gelatin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and milk begins to steam. Stir the remaining coconut milk and honey into the warm milk and whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Divide the coconut milk mixture evenly among 6 glasses or small bowls. Cover panna cottas tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap does not touch the cream's surface. Refrigerate for about 5 hours, until cold and set. When you are ready to serve, top with seasonal berries.

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  1. Gabe

    These look great! I’m thinking they would make a wonderful, light, summer breakfast too. How easy it would be to make them up the night before and pull them out of the frige in the morning.

  2. Hi Carrie,
    I just found your site by checking a pin on pinterest. I’ve bookmarked it so I can return and learn more. I’ve started having some health problems that seem to have no real reason, but I suspect some of it is eating chemical-laden food for so many years. I am now trying to eat healthier, more organic, no GMO, but it is a huge lifestyle change for a 61 year old like myself. By the way, I am a former military wife (my husband retired after 22 years in the Army).
    So glad to have found your site.
    Bless you,

    • Deliciously Organic

      I’m glad you found my site! I hope it’s helpful for you in your quest to better your health. And, it’s always nice to “meet” another military wife! If you ever have any questions, please let me know!

  3. It’s great to see that also Americans have discovered the delicious Panna Cotta!
    Hi Carrie, I’m writing from Italy and enjoy reading your blog, it’s full of interesting tips and great cooking ideas…but I never thought you could make Panna cotta with coconut milk! I’m gonna try this recipe soon!

    Happy Sunday from sunny Italy,

  4. Betsy

    Made this yesterday because I had extra coconut milk leftover from another recipe. I didn’t have 4 cans, so I halfed the recipe.

    I think I did something wrong though, because while the mixture did thicken in the fridge, it’s still liquidy. I didn’t cook it very long, just til the honey and gelatin looked dissolved and steam was coming off it. I didn’t let it thicken in the pot. Is that where I messed up? Or maybe this is the right consistency? I’ve never had panna cotta.

    It’s delicious though, so it will get eaten, just wondering if it should heve gelled more?



    • Deliciously Organic

      Hmmm….did you make any substitutions? What brand of coconut milk did you use? It should have gelled more and shouldn’t have been liquid. Maybe it didn’t set long enough?

      • Betsy

        Thanks for your reply.

        Let’s see, I did use 1 cup of Trader Joe’s light coconut milk and the other can was Native Forest. I used Great Lakes brand gelatin. I will try again sometime, but wasn’t sure how thick it’s suppose to be.

        • Deliciously Organic

          It might have been because it was light coconut milk – it’s much more thin than other brands. If you use the TJ’s brand again, I would increase the gelatin by 1/2 teaspoon.

        • Kelly

          I too tried this with 4 cups TJ light coc milk (the only brand I’ve found w/out a bunch of other ingredients) and Great Lakes gelatin and followed directions. It separated in the fridge and never firmed up. I then poured everything back in the saucepan thinking I didn’t heat it enough the first time, so I got it closer to boiling this time. Put it back in the dessert cups overnight with the same result. I then gave up and added chia seeds to make a pudding (a la

          • Deliciously Organic

            I’m sorry to hear this. I’ve never tested this recipe with a lite milk, so I’m thinking that was the issue. Panna Cotta needs a full fat milk to gel properly. Also, are there preservatives in the lite milk? It could be that the preservatives or emulsifying agents played a part in it not gelling. And, if the mixture separated, then it’s possible that the gelatin wasn’t completely dissolved.

            • Kelly

              TJ coc milk is just coc milk and water…I’m guessing the “lite” caused the problem. TJ’s is the only coc milk (in stores) I’ve found without a bunch of other ingredients, unfortunately they only have lite.

  5. Michelle

    I made mine last night…haven’t tasted it yet, but I’m sure it will taste great. Mine settled on the bottom. about a half inch of yellowish clear looking substance at the bottom. Do you know what that could be (gelatin?) and why it happened? Can’t wait to eat it later!!

  6. Karen

    I made this yesterday for my husband, he LOVED it! I could only make half a batch because I only had one can of Coconut milk. In cutting down the recipe my only mistake was not enough gelatin. It wasn’t quite thick enough for his taste, never having Panna Cotta before, maybe that’s the way it is. But, it was still DELICIOUS! I topped it with fresh boisenberries from our garden, yum! I will definitely be making it again, one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made.

  7. lyra

    I was searching the web for a recipe to make coconut yogurt with Native Forest coconut classic milk and Great Lakes gelatin and came across this recipe. Think I will make some changes and try to mix this with a probiotic to make yogurt in my one quart Salton yogurt maker! I tried yesterday, but didn’t have any idea about properly dissolving the gelatin and coconut milk, and ended up with separated yogurt and gelatin on the bottom. This sounds like the way to start it and then add to the machine! I only have some conventional starter from yogourmet and some probiotic capsules to use to ferment, so I am definitely still in the experiment stages here, with too many variables! Hope this helps!

  8. E Barry

    I made this today.. added vanilla, maple syrup and sweet cinnamon. It tastes SO good. The only thing is.. the fat rose to the top and hardened and it isn’t very creamy. Not sure how to remedy this.

    • Deliciously Organic

      Hmmm…I’m not sure why the fat rose to the top. Did you use coconut milk or non-homogenized cream/milk? If you used a coconut milk, do you mind telling me what brand you used? Thanks!

  9. sylver bee

    Hi there
    I have been looking for easy to make coconut type yogurt
    Is it like a yogurt ? and Can you tell me how long you can keep it the fridge ?
    Also was thinking to replace gelatin with AGAR

  10. Linda Van Akin

    Hi, looks good I will try it but was wondering if you could use chia seeds instead of gelatin for vegans and get the same result. Or, is it the purpose to consume the gelatin , is that a protein source?

    • Deliciously Organic

      Chia seeds would create a pudding and not a panna cotta so that wouldn’t be a good substitute. Yes, gelatin is a good source of protein. It contains between 6-12 grams of protein per tablespoon, helps aid in digestion, and can contribute to the building of strong cartilage and bones. Gelatin has also been shown to benefit the digestive tract, immune system, heart, liver, muscles, and skin. It also helps aid in detoxification.

  11. Jen B

    I made this exactly as the recipe specifies, using 4 cups full fat Natural Value coconut milk and Great Lakes Gelatin. It gelled appropriately (to the consistency of regular panna cotta) but mine also separated. There is a ca gelatin-y base with a creamy top. Since coconut milk separates on its own, I’m wondering if that’s why? Regardless, it tasted great, but didn’t look very pretty (I wouldn’t serve it to guests…).

    • Deliciously Organic

      Hmm..I’m not sure why it separated. When coconut milk is whisked and then put in the refrigerator to chill it won’t separate like it does at room temp, so I’m not sure what happened. Did you let it sit out on the counter for longer than 10 minutes before putting it in the fridge? What kind of honey did you use?

      • Jen B

        I agree that the issue was that the mixture wasn’t cooled rapidly enough. I did allow it to sit for 10 minutes before putting it in separate dishes, but I also allowed those dishes to sit out a few minutes before putting them in the refrigerator. That’s probably the reason. Thanks!

  12. Megan

    I have made this twice and it’s been a HUGE hit each time. The first time I made it for Easter and as I completing a Whole30, I made it w/out the honey and it was still delicious. The second, I made mini versions to serve at a picnic. I added cardamom to the milk mixtrue and strained it before putting into cups, it was excellent. I topped it with mango and toasted coconut. I used Native Forest Brand coconut milk and before using it, I blended it really well with my immersion blender. If it begins to separate during the final 10 min rest, I’ll blend it again just to make sure it doesn’t separate in the fridge. I haven’t had any issues with separation so far and this is my FAVORITE go-to dessert (or breakfast!!!). Thank you!!!

  13. Marada

    This was soooo good! I used 1 can of TJs coconut cream and the rest full fat coconut milk (just hand whisked it together) and it came out amazing! Will try everyone else’s tweaks as well. Definite dessert to serve company. Thanks!!!

  14. Jessica

    Mine separated as well (following the recipe exactly)–I just gave them a stir after about 1.5hrs in the fridge, and they haven’t separated again.

    I’m wondering if giving the mixture a quick blend before portioning might avoid this issue.


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