Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Editor's Note: The next time you plan a dinner party, end the meal on the right note by whipping up this Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta. The delightful lemon dessert recipe checks all the boxes for the busy home cook. This lemon panna cotta recipe is easy to make, has fewer than 10 ingredients, can be made in advance, and is a no-bake dessert, too. Your guests will love being served this lemon panna cotta; after a heavy meal, they will love a dessert that's both understated and full of flavor. If you're planning to make this lemon panna cotta, then take a look at the recipe author's suggestion for wine pairing, which follows the instructions. 

While flan and panna cotta have similar pudding-like textures, they're made a little differently. Both are cooked on the stove, but flan uses eggs as a thickener, while panna cotta, or "cooked cream," relies on gelatin. Italians, myself included, are partial to panna cotta, but I enjoy mixing things up a little and add Meyer lemon juice, which gives the dessert a nice zing. Serve it with a slice of candied lemon peel on the side.




Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Buffet Meal, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseDessert

Taste and TextureCreamy, Rich, Sweet, Tangy, Tart

Type of DishDessert


  • 3 sheets gelatin (available in specialty stores)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice (if not available, use regular lemon juice) and an extra teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon grated Meyer lemon zest
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Fill a bowl with cool water. Add the gelatin sheets and let soften.

  2. In a medium saucepan bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat. Remove the softened gelatin sheets from the water and add them to the hot cream. Stir to dissolve.

  3. Stir in the yogurt, sour cream, Meyer lemon juice, and zest.

  4. Coat the inside of eight 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray, then fill the ramekins with the lemon mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

  5. To serve, unmold each ramekin on a dessert plate and and top with a fresh fruit of choice.

Wine Suggestion

I like Florus Moscadello from Castello Banfi with this. It picks up on the tangy lemon of the dessert.


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