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Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

There are a few ways that I know Spring is truly here when it comes to living in New Mexico. The first: the wind has started.

I’m not talking about a few breezy days here and there, but rather months on end of days where we regularly see winds raging from 20 miles per hour. The Sandia Mountain vanishes from view because the winds have kicked up so much dust.

vanilla panna cotta with strawberries

There are other more subtle signs too. The hibernating trees in our yard slowly start coming back to life and are eventually covered in beautiful pink and white blossoms. Green is a color that creeps its way back into the landscape.

The birds chip happily. Once or twice a week there is no wind and the days is so absolutely beautiful that you can’t help but want to spend it outside. And our rhubarb plants begin coming back to life.

Spring is the perfect time for strawberry and rhubarb, one of Eric’s all time favorite dessert pairings. Over the years we’ve made Lemon Cloud Tart with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, Rhubarb Crumb Coffee Cake, pies and crisps featuring that iconic spring pairing.

So when I knew that for sure, spring had arrived here in New Mexico I decided that it was indeed time for a new Strawberry Rhubarb recipe to make a debut on our family’s dessert table.

strawberries with panna cotta

Panna Cotta is a fabulously simple, yet seemingly fancy, dessert recipe. Essentially, it is just gelled sweetened cream, but it tastes so much more than that.

In this recipe, the Panna Cotta is flavored with vanilla bean and a hint of lemon essential oil. Then, after chilling the Panna Cotta is served with spoonfuls of fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, which incidentally tastes also delicious spooned onto ice cream, yogurt, or oatmeal.

More Strawberry Rhubarb Recipes to Try:


What is your favorite Strawberry Rhubarb recipe?

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 5 hours 50 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours

Panna Cotta is a fabulously simple, yet seemingly fancy, dessert recipe. Essentially, it is just gelled sweetened cream, but it tastes so much more than that.


Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 3/4 cups cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup half and half or whole milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 - 2 drops 100% Pure Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean, seeds only

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, if desired (to thicken)


For the Panna Cotta

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the of water in a small bowl. Let sit to soften.
  2. Put the half and half or milk in a small saucepan with the sugar over medium heat and heat until bubbles form around the edges. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Whisk in the cream, salt, lemon essential oil, and vanilla bean seeds.
  3. Divide the panna cotta mixture between four 6 - 8 ounce individual serving containers and chill until set. Before serving, top with spoonfuls of strawberry rhubarb compote.

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

  1. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and add to the rhubarb mixture. Add strawberries, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Transfer rhubarb mixture to bowl. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 876Total Fat 46gSaturated Fat 29gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 145mgSodium 131mgCarbohydrates 113gFiber 3gSugar 106gProtein 9g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

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Tara Guillen

Sunday 25th of November 2012

This was a perfect dessert and my family enjoyed it! Great recipes, thank you Katie! :)


Friday 27th of April 2012

Wow, these look gorgeous. Your lines on the panna cotta are so crisp and neat! I'm loving rhubarb season as well.

cooking rookie

Thursday 12th of April 2012

This is a perfect spring dessert! Just in time for the strawberry season :-)


Sunday 1st of April 2012

I stumbled across your blog when looking for a slow cooker shredded chicken with Mexican flare! I live in Farmington & had to laugh about the winds - they are howling out my window right now. Anyhow - neat to "run into" a fellow NM resident! I am getting ready to cook your chicken now!


Friday 30th of March 2012

Adore these, and not just because they're in my favorite jars. Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts. Subtly sweet, and with the strawberry rhubarb compote? Glorious.