This coconut panna cotta is a luscious summer pudding. Served with mangos and lime it is irresistible (and bonus, it can be made vegan). 

coconut panna cotta with mango and lime

I have a little secret. For the entirety of last year, I was in the process of writing a cookbook. Every time I came home for the holidays, I poured all my time into it. I scoured the web, and delved various cookbooks for inspiration. I spent days trying and testing recipes and tweaking them. I bought different plates and props for each recipe photo shoot, and painted backdrops for photographs. I drove everyone in the house mad with this project, including myself.

But it was worth it. Every time I did a recipe shoot, I felt so proud.

Sadly, the project fell through, for reasons beyond my control. And since the recipes that I came up with are pure gold, I decided that I would share them here on this blog with you.

coconut panna cotta with mango and lime

This coconut panna cotta is one of the recipes I developed for the “summer” section.

A panna cotta is a velvety Italian custard made with heavy cream, a dash of sugar, vanilla and its set with gelatine. Typically it’s made with heavy cream and milk, but I wanted to make something a little extra(vagant), a little more exciting.

coconut panna cotta with mango and lime

Enter: coconut panna cotta, served with mangoes and a sprinkle of lime zest.

Its luscious texture will have you return for bite after bite.

And it’s so easy to put together.

Now you could serve this with any fruit, of course, but as we know, my all-time favourite fruit is mango.

Vegan-izing this recipe

This coconut panna cotta recipe can be made vegan by doing the following:

  1. Use only coconut milk instead of a combination of coconut milk and cream.
  2. Substitute the gelatine with agar-agar powder.

That’s it! So it’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low in sugar AND no-bake. What else could you ask for?

coconut panna cotta with lime and mango

Coconut Panna Cotta with Lime and Mango


Coconut panna cotta
  • 250 mL (1 cup) full-fat coconut milk
  • 250 mL (1 cup) heavy cream (replace with more coconut milk for vegan version)
  • 1 tbsp gelatine (*or 1 tsp agar-agar, see note below for vegan option)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla bean
  • rind of 1 lime (or lemon) – use vegetable peeler to peel it
  • diced mango, to serve
  • lime zest, to serve


  1. Sprinkle the gelatine over water and let it bloom. The water will absorb the gelatine, becoming a thick mass.
  2. Next, run a knife down the vanilla bean (if using), making a slit. Do not cut it in half, only one side should be split - kind of like opening a pod of peas.
  3. Position the knife horizontally and drag it down the open vanilla bean to obtain the seeds (essentially you're scraping the bean).
  4. In a medium sized pot, combine the coconut milk and cream. To this, add the sugar, both, the vanilla bean and the vanilla seeds (if using) and the lime rind. Let the mixture come to a boil.
  5. At this stage, add in the gelatine mixture, stirring till it has dissolved. At this point, you can add in the vanilla extract if using.
  6. I like to strain the mixture, but keep in mind that gelatine sets very quickly (agar-agar sets even quicker). You can also remove the vanilla bean if using and pour it directly into the ramekins.
  7. Divide the mixture between the ramekins. You'll need around 1/2-2/3 of a cup of liquid in each portion to make 4 servings.
  8. Cover each ramekin with cling film, and refrigerate until firm, I would say 4 hours at the least, or even better, overnight.
  9. To release the panna cotta from its mould, dip each ramekin into hot water for around 3 seconds, then run a knife around the edges to loosen it.
  10. Invert the panna cotta onto a plate.
  11. Serve the desserts diced mango and grate a bit of lime zest for that final finish.
  12. This panna cotta is a great make-ahead dessert (in that you can make them a day or two in advance) and leave them in the fridge, then garnish right before serving.
  *For a vegan version of this recipe, replace the gelatine with 1 tsp of agar-agar powder.  Agar-agar is a plant-based substance that works as a gelatine substitute and should be available in most Asian, vegan or bi0 food stores.  I found the following article on how agar-agar replaces gelatine in baking quite helpful. Instead of dissolving the powder in water beforehand, you can add it directly to the hot liquid mixture. You can also replace the gelatine with agar-agar flakes, and this would be 1 tbsp - use it in the recipe as you would the gelatine.