Pesto Panna Cotta Recipe – a savoury take on a sweet classic

Pesto Panna Cotta, a savoury take on a sweet classic, served as a starter or as an amuse-bouche.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Pesto Panna Cotta
What do you do when you’ve got a whole lot of pesto and cream lying about? Pesto Panna Cotta, of course!

This was the result of a lightbulb moment the day after a party. I was having a lazy afternoon, and helping myself to the last panna cotta from the night before (that I hid – shhh!). I was just letting my mind wander, thinking about the various panna cotta flavours I love. Naturally, I got to thinking about savoury combinations too and given that we had pesto leftover in the fridge from the party, and how much I love pesto, it wasn’t long before I got to thinking pesto + cream/gelatine = ? There was only one way to find out! So much for a lazy afternoon!

Like your regular panna cotta, this is extremely easy to make, and as it has to be made ahead and chilled, it really is the perfect starter for entertaining. Give it a good 5 hours to set before serving, especially if you are going to turn it out of a mould.

Pesto Panna Cotta
Pesto Panna Cotta

How to Serve Pesto Panna Cotta?

Serve it as a starter in a glass or bowl, or as an canapés/finger food. If you are planning a sit down meal, they could even be served as amuse-bouche between courses, just to surprise and impress your guests.

The flavour of Pesto Panna Cotta is predominantly creamy as panna cotta is. The pesto is very obvious but tempered down by the dairy. So in terms of topping, think about items that will complement the creamy pesto panna cotta, and/or contrast with.

Pesto Panna Cotta
Pesto Panna Cotta

In the images here, I have julienned grilled peppers, sundried tomatoes, pistachios and toasted almonds. Here are other toppings that we have successfully paired this pesto panna cotta with, some quite adventurous:

  • toasted pine nuts (naturally)
  • balsamic strawberries
  • cranberries sauce
  • oranges
  • smoked salmon
  • a very light sprinkle of pounded Sichuan peppercorns (one of my favourites)
  • chilli flakes

For more stylish and topping ideas, you may want to check out the Canapés and Fine Dining Pages. And of course, my pesto love affair continues on the Italian Page.

Are you a fan of Pesto? How do you use it differently? I’d love to know!

Now, shall we get our aprons on?

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Pesto panna cotta

Pesto Panna Cotta – a savoury take on a Sweet Classic

Pesto Panna Cotta, a savoury take on a sweet classic, served as a starter or as an amuse-bouche.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetiser, Appetizer, Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: panna cotta, pesto
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Chilling time: 6 hours
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 4 as a starter OR Makes about 20 little amuse-bouche portions
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 200 ml whole milk
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 10 Tbsp pesto homemade or shop bought
  • tsp gelatine
  • 1 pinch salt
  • dash of pepper

Toppings – see explanation above

  • grilled peppers
  • nuts
  • balsamic strawberries etc.


  • Pour half the milk in a very shallow dish and sprinkle the gelatine all over and leave to soak for a good 20 minutes.
  • While the gelatine is soaking, get your topping ingredients ready.
  • Mix the cream and the rest of the milk in a saucepan and set aside.
  • When the gelatine's had its soaking time, heat the milk/cream mix and bring to boil. Watch it very closely as it will just suddenly rise up!
  • Take it off the heat and add the gelatine mix and beat with a whisk or fork to mix thoroughly.
  • Strain into a clean, medium sized jug if you don't have a smooth mix. If your gelatine had been given enough time to soak, and there were no more granules on the surface, you should have a smooth mix with all the gelatine dissolved.
  • Add the pesto, salt and pepper and stir well.
  • Pour into your mould or glass of choice and place straight into the fridge and let set overnight or a minimum of 6 hours.
  • Serve with your chosen toppings.


Total time does not include chilling time.


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1572IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

27 thoughts on “Pesto Panna Cotta Recipe – a savoury take on a sweet classic”

  1. We enjoy trying out new desserts in our home. These look delicious and not difficult to put together. I will have to try making it.

  2. Elizabeth O.

    I love Pesto but I’ve never tried it in Panna Cotta before. That sure is interesting! I’m definitely more used to it as a dessert, so I’m curious about the taste of this one.

  3. I would like to taste this unique dish but I still prefer pasta with pesto. I usually like to have berry sauce with a simple classic panna cotta. The balsamic strawberries sound delicious with this panna cotta.

  4. When I see panna cotta I think dessert. What a great savory treat! Love the use of the pesto and then the peppers and pine nuts. I would definitely be proud to serve these to my guests!

  5. Wow, I never seen savory panna cotta…and I must tell you that it sounds and looks delicious. Beautiful and so tasty Lin.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week 🙂

  6. Absolutely beautiful! I have to make this. I always love the little twist you put on your food. Makes it so unique and pretty!

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