Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Peaches

For me, the panna cotta is the answer to my classic conundrum of low-dessert-making-confidence, contrasted with a voracious craving for custardy desserts. Panna cottas are a light-tasting Italian custard dessert made with cream and gelatin. If you are looking for a summer dessert with an outstanding work to reward ration and guaranteed guest appreciation, Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Peaches is your dessert. Simple to make and tasting of sweet peaches and tangy cream, we eat a lot of panna cottas in our household. My goal in Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Peaches was a recipe with a nuanced tangy buttermilk base, and found that I couldn’t resist the classic peaches and cream combination.

Looking for more creamy summer desserts?  Check our funky Basil Yogurt Panna Cotta with blueberries and dead simple Meyer Lemon Posset.

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Yield: Serves 6


Buttermilk Panna Cotta:

  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups full fat buttermilk
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Peach Sauce:

  • 3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into rough quarters
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar (increase if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (optional)


  1. For the Buttermilk Panna Cottas: Bring the cream and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, whisking occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  2. While the cream sugar mixture is heating, in a medium bowl combine the gelatin and buttermilk, whisking briefly to allow the gelatin to dissolve.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat, add the buttermilk-gelatin mixture and vanilla to the hot cream and whisk to combine. The hot cream will melt the gelatin, allowing it to set up properly as it cools.
  4. While still warm, pour the panna cotta mixture into 6 small containers (we've used small ramekins or jars with lids). Let sit at room temperature until the mixture has cooled down to prevent condensation. Refrigerate covered overnight to allow to gelatin time to set up completely before serving. 
  5. For the Peach Sauce: Puree the peaches until smooth. Add the peaches , brown sugar and whiskey (if using) to a medium saucepan on medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Taste and adjust sugar level to your preference. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve. Note, this makes quite a bit of sauce, we liked it so much we continued to ladle the sauce over our panna cottas as we ate them!
  6. Serve the panna cottas and sauce cold within 2 days of making.