Silky-smooth chocolate Nutella panna cotta made with Greek yogurt is a perfect chilled dessert for a hot day or a dinner party! It’s much easier to make than you might think, and requires only five essential ingredients (plus vanilla extract for an extra oomph of flavor).
You can make it two ways: in molds (like ramekins or wine glasses), or in parfait glasses. Either way, you can add any toppings you want to dress it up! I love raspberries, toasted hazelnuts, and more Greek yogurt or a dollop of whipped cream.
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Chocolate Panna Cotta with Nutella
For years, I was intimidated by panna cotta. I assumed it was super complicated to make, because it looks so fancy. But I have some wonderful news for you: it’s actually super simple!
The only cooking involved is heating up a couple ingredients in a saucepan, and then it’s just a matter of whisking the other ingredients in, pouring the mixture into molds, and chilling them in the fridge. I’ve made sure to include some tips for how to easily remove the panna cotta from the molds, too.
Traditionally, panna cotta is made with heavy cream, but I wanted to do something a little different (and lighter). So I swapped it out for a combination of milk and Greek yogurt. And it was a huge success!
It ends up with a smooth texture, just enough sweetness, a hint of tang, a decadent chocolate hazelnut flavor, and enough structure to keep its shape. All the things you’d want in panna cotta, but with a unique flavor!
Here’s what you’ll need to throw together this panna cotta:
- Nutella: Nutella is a sweet chocolate hazelnut spread that’s delicious in desserts. Here, it gets stirred into melted chocolate to add a luscious flavor to our panna cotta! Another brand of hazelnut spread (or a homemade version) should work, as long as it’s mostly creamy.
- chocolate chips: I used dark chocolate for a deeper chocolate flavor, but semisweet or even milk chocolate should work. You can use chocolate chips, or a high-quality chocolate bar chopped into small pieces.
- gelatin: Powdered gelatin is essential to give the panna cotta its structure. (You might be able to replace this with agar agar, but I haven’t tested it.)
- milk: I used 1% dairy milk, but other types of dairy milk should also work. I haven’t tested this with a plant-based milk yet. (I think coconut milk should work, but you’d have to be really careful to keep it at a low simmer, since it can curdle if boiled.)
- Greek yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt gets stirred into the mixture for extra creaminess, and to thicken it up a bit. I prefer using full-fat Greek yogurt (around 5% milkfat) for the best flavor and texture. (But nonfat should also work.)
- vanilla extract: To compliment the hazelnut and chocolate flavors.
How to Make Nutella Panna Cotta with Greek Yogurt
First, sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold milk in a saucepan (don’t heat it yet). Allow this to sit for 5 minutes so the gelatin can “bloom”.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring between each interval. Stir in the Nutella and set aside for now.
Once the gelatin has bloomed, heat the milk to medium heat until just simmering, whisking continuously. Remove from heat.
Then, add the chocolate and Nutella mixture and whisk again until combined. Allow the mixture to cool for 1 minute. Then, stir in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract, whisking until smooth.
Spray your molds or glasses with cooking spray (or wipe with a paper towel soaked in olive oil). Then, wipe them out with a paper towel so there’s just a light amount of coating left behind.
Let the panna cotta mixture cool to room temperature, then pour it into your molds (dividing it evenly).
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (preferably 4 hours), until set.
Remove the panna cotta from the molds (see tips later in the post). Lastly, top with whipped cream or Greek yogurt, chopped toasted hazelnuts, and raspberries (if desired), and serve!
Panna cotta should be served chilled, directly from the fridge.
Can I make panna cotta ahead of time?
Yes! It can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. It’s best to wait to add the toppings until you’re ready to eat it.
What to use for panna cotta molds?
The sky’s the limit when it comes to panna cotta molds! You can buy fancy panna cotta molds or fun flower-shaped molds, or you can use whatever you have lying around your kitchen. Ramekins, wine glasses, or small bowls should all work.
Tips for removing panna cotta from molds
To remove the panna cotta from its molds, run the bottom of the molds under hot water for 5 seconds. Place a plate upside down on top of the molds, then flip it right side up and slowly remove the mold.
The panna cotta may take a few seconds to start slowly sliding away from the mold, so be patient! If it still isn’t coming out, try running it under hot water again, all the way around the outside edges and bottom of the mold.
As a last resort, you can run a thin spatula or knife around the edges of the panna cotta to loosen it from the molds.
Why didn’t my panna cotta set?
There are a few reasons that panna cotta doesn’t set properly:
- Not enough gelatin: If you don’t use enough gelatin, or you don’t give it enough time to “bloom”, your panna cotta won’t have enough structure.
- The gelatin didn’t fully dissolve: The gelatin needs to dissolve fully in the simmering milk, so be sure to whisk it well.
- Not enough chill time: The panna cotta needs to be cooled and then chilled in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, but 4 hours is better for more structure.
- The gelatin was boiled: When gelatin is boiled, it loses its power to thicken. The mixture should only be brought to a gentle simmer in this recipe.
Here are more ideas for topping your Nutella panna cotta:
- chocolate shavings
- chopped nuts: peanuts, pecans, etc.
- cocoa powder
- fruit: chopped strawberries, blackberries, sliced banana, etc.
- crushed Oreos or graham crackers
- shredded coconut
Whether you’re making this panna cotta for a date night, dinner party, or a chill night in, it’s a must-try dessert. It’s so simple to make, yet so luscious and decadent-tasting. Not to mention how fun it is to decorate!
If you make this Nutella panna cotta, I’d love if you shared your thoughts with a rating and comment below.
More easy chocolate dessert recipes:
- Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Bites
- Avocado Truffles with Pecans
- Chocolate Nutella Tarts with Greek Yogurt
- Biscoff Brownie Truffles (No Bake)
- Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bites
Chocolate Nutella Panna Cotta
- 1 packet powdered gelatin (about 2.5 teaspoons)
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup Nutella hazelnut spread
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Pour milk into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over the milk. Wait 5 minutes to allow it to "bloom". (Do not heat yet.)
- Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring between each interval. Stir in Nutella until combined. Set aside.
- Once the gelatin has bloomed, heat the milk to medium heat until just simmering. Whisk continuously to dissolve the gelatin. Remove from heat.
- Add the melted chocolate and Nutella mixture and whisk again until combined. Allow the mixture to cool for 1 minute.
- Whisk in vanilla extract and Greek yogurt until smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Spray your molds or glasses with cooking spray. Then, wipe them out with a paper towel (leave just a light amount of coating on them). Pour the panna cotta mixture into your molds, dividing it equally.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (preferably 4 hours), until set.
- Remove the panna cotta from the molds*, add desired toppings, and serve!